I weep for the future

begin rant – please don’t be offended –

ok, i’ll admit it.  it bugs me when people use poor grammer or just plain misspell things in their posts.  actually, it’s not the grammar so much as the obviously incorrect use of words.  (and yes, i purposefully spelt those words differently in the first sentence) :)

I was commenting to Luann how it surprises me how many people just don’t get the difference between to, too, and two.  They’re, their, there.  Were, we’re. Effect, affect.  You’re, your.  Here, hear.  I could go on.  Not that i dislike these people, but … am i the only one who cares about these things?  I’m no english professor.  I don’t mind a “hey u, ‘sup?” but it just pains me sometimes.

Lu says it’s probably common and i just notice it now because more and more people are writing in public places (facebook, email, twitter, blogs) where everyone can see it, and the viewing of horrible spelling isn’t confined to school teachers grading papers anymore.  If this is true … the school system has failed us.  Or English is just too damn complicated.  Either way – please – take a moment to proof your writing and make sure you’re using the words right.  We’ve got the all-knowing Google at our fingertips.  Dictionary.com.  Wikipedia.  Anything.  Just because the word isn’t underlined red doesn’t mean it’s not incorrect.  (parse that sentence, it makes sense, trust me).

-end of rant-

Crappy day

I don’t normally write about crappy days, but hey – today is extra crappy and it’s too much to rant about in a tweet or facebook post, so here i am.  Feel free to ignore or skip this one if you don’t care.  I’ll understand.  Mostly i just want to vent.

I am sick.  Woke up groggy and flu-like.  Probably infected by the kids who have been sick recently.  Didn’t get to sleep in though because aforementioned kids wanted to snuggle.  Cute normally.  Today just meant i lost some extra sleep.  Oh, and then they hoped in the tub before i could get in a shower, so i was stuck in bed feeling all icky and not able to take a hot shower.  When they did get out, i was in a rush so i could get to work.  No relaxation this morning.  oh well.

Let’s grab breakfast on the way in to work to try and speed things up.  But wait – i can’t go through the drive through because my freaking window is frozen shut! UGH.  And what’s this – the restaurant is under construction so the only way to order is via the drive-through.  lame.  skip breakfast.  who needs it anyway?  maybe i can pick something up by work.  my window should be thawed by then.

But first, let’s spend 1 hour and 15 minutes at a standstill on the interstate because of multiple accidents because stupid Utah drivers forget that snow = slippery.  Bad mood increasing.  And i couldn’t even play on my phone because stupid me forgot to charge it last night, so it won’t turn on until i get to work.  At least i got some breakfast, although i almost got side-swiped at the intersection because some lame truck driver was on his phone and didn’t realize the double-turn lane.  @)#(UR$.

Why should the fun stop there though?  Go in to work, turn on my computer and …and hour later, it’s still not on.  machine completely hosed.  i’d go home, but there’s a bunch of men in my basement with jackhammers cracking my foundation and laying pipe all day.

And hey – one final straw.  Someone that i hired to do some time-critical contracting work has completely flaked out.  Not a peep from him in over 2 months.  Everyone’s pissed at me and he wont’ return my calls.  I’m f’d and we’re two months behind schedule on this project now.  Perfect way to top off the morning.

I’m off to lunch.  A LONG lunch somewhere. Too bad i didn’t bring a book.

Why the java hate?

What is up with all the java haters out there?  I’ve been thinking about this for a while.  If you don’t care about techy posts, this will probably just bore you.

First off i’ll say that any language has its detractors.  No one language is perfect for everyone.  No one language is good at doing everything.  I think lots of languages have their places and lots of problems can be solved in different ways with different degrees of success by any number of languages.

But seriously – why is it that java is viewed in such a harsh light now a days?  in multiple job interviews and companies i’ve worked out, java is a hiss and a byword.

When i was going to college and java was the shiny new toy, two things happened.  First – everyone (including myself) went “uh, why would i want to do anything using java?  it’s just for making silly web animations, right?”  And at first, that’s mainly what people used it for.  Applets.  Those silly web animations.  But actually you could do much more.  You could write an entire fully functional program that ran in the browser if you wanted (and you could even access restricted resources if you asked nicely for the users permission).  Still, applets kind of sucked then, and they still suck today.  They’re slow, they are memory hogs, and they never work very “smoothly”.

Second, after the applet, everyone went “but what about for create cross-platform GUI’s?  Swing to the rescue, right?”  I did that too.  I created several large enterprise applications back in the 90’s and even early 2k’s using swing.  And guess what – swing is slow.  It sucks.  It doesn’t look “smooth”.  It doesn’t behave like the native GUI apps.  So again – can’t complain when anyone says java isn’t good at making gui apps.

So what’s left?  Well, there’s the server side.  And this is where i think java absolute rocks and why i don’t get why people think it just totally sucks all around.  It’s got all the features you could want to do anything.  It’s a simple language, syntactically speaking.  You can come up to speed on it much more quickly than you can with c/c++.   If you really need to drop low for some serious speed in a critical section, use JNI and call a c function.

But here’s where i think people get the wrong impression.  And i can’t believe i’m going to say this, but “kids nowadays use java as a crutch”.  Yes, i think that’s probably true.  They don’t start out learning the low level constructs and theory behind programming languages.  They don’t understand what makes the programs tick.  They just fire up a java editor and start writing code.  There’s so much detail that’s hidden from a java programmer that it’s easy to see why someone more “hard core” might poo-poo someone who’s main competency is java.

I’ll tell you though – not all java programmers are like that.  There’s quite a few of us who DID do c/c++ in school (and even in our professional careers).  We learned the theory.  We know why compilers and languages do what they do.  And you know what – i’m damn glad there’s a language like Java that hides most of the crap from me.  It lets me focus much more on solving the problem at hand and writing the app.  Whenever i dive into c, i spend more time worrying about the syntax of the language and the memory management and the pointer arithmetic than i do about the algorithm.  My productivity is cut down by 50% or more.  THAT’s why java rocks.

But yes – you can write some really shitty code using java if you don’t understand why things work they way they do.  So to all you java haters out there – make sure you give a java guy a fair shake.  They might surprise you and actually be able to write some seriously good stuff with the language.  And for all you java weenies out there that don’t understand the guts of why things are the way they are – figure it out.  Take a class, read a book, pick someone’s brain.  Find out the lower level details so that you’re aware of and can make use of that information.  It’ll help you write better code and avoid a lot of issues that java helps you to gloss over.  And you’ll be a lot more marketable as a result.

The Vuvuzela debacle

There’s lots of talk about the use of the Vuvuzela at the South African World Cup soccer (football) games this year.  Lots of people are complaining about the noise.

I actually attempted to watch a few minutes of the game the other day but after 2 or 3 minutes of constant buzzing, i just shut the TV off.  I couldn’t take it.  I can’t imagine what the players on the field must be dealing with.  People have said the decibel level is about that of a chainsaw.  Imagine playing soccer next to a chainsaw for a few hours!

Many people have asked for the instrument to be banned from the games, but the people in charge of the event have given an unequivocal “NO”.  They say it’s part of their culture.  I suppose that’s all good and fine, but i think they’re missing the bigger picture.  What are the chances that anyone will ever want to host a major sporting event in South Africa again?  Pretty much nil.  So i guess they’d better enjoy it while they can because this is all they’re going to get.

2 + 2 = … uhhh

I just went to the gas station to purchase a drink.  It was $0.84.  I gave the girl at the cash register $1.09.  If you do the math, you’ll notice that it works out to be $0.25 in change.  A nice shiny quarter, right?  Well, I hand her the money, she looks at it kind of weird, hands me back my nickle with a “uhm, this is more than you need” look, and then proceeds to give me two dimes in change.  I just sort of rolled my eyes and went, “really, you don’t want to just give me a quarter?”  “oh, ya … ok.”.  Ya … Whatever.  I think i’ll go back tomorrow with 84 pennies and see how that works for her :)

The unintentional homophone

Ok, i can’t keep quiet about this any longer.  I’m also not going to post it on twitter or facebook, since that is primarily where i see such behavior.  I’ll graciously assume that all my blog readers are a bit more educated. Plus i don’t want to make anyone feel bad.  Maybe they really don’t know they’re doing anything wrong … I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.  :)

<rant>

It just grates on my nerves every time i see some status update where someone unintentionally uses a homophone.  A what?  “Words hat are spelled differently but sound the same.”  For example, you use the word “to” when you should have used “too”.  Or Two.  What about “knight”, or “night”.  “There, their, they’re”.  Break, brake.  Piece, peace.  Rain, reign, rein.  You get the idea.

If someone does it intentionally now and then for artistic purposes, that’s one thing.  But it’s crazy how many times a day i cringe reading some status update where someone put in the wrong word.  And i can guarantee it wasn’t on purpose.  Yay for spell checkers, but COME ON PEOPLE!  Seriously …  Do you honestly not know the difference between piece and peace?

It reminds me of a book i read many years ago where there was a “spelling bee” – a literal bee that would spell-check your papers for you.  The only problem was that the spelling bee was mischievous and intentionally used as many homophone’s as possible.  Sure, technically every single word was spelled correctly, but the entire paper was gibberish.  And gibberish is all i get when i read these status updates.  I don’t remember what the post was about.  All i remember was that they used a homophone.

</rant>

I weep for the future!

Bathroom advice

We were traveling the other day on our way to my parents for Thanksgiving dinner.  We stopped at a gas station for one of the many obligatory potty breaks.  When my wife got back into the car with the little ones, she told me a story.

After the two little kids had gone to the bathroom, she was helping them wash their hands.  She turned on the faucet, got their hands lathered up, and they rinsed off.  Somehow during all this, an old lady in the bathroom was watching them and made the comment: “You should turn off the water while they’re lathering up.  We do live in a desert, you know”.

Wow.  I have no response to that.  How annoying.  Do you even have kids?

After thinking about it a bit more, i tried to imagine what i’d have said.  And all i could come up with was “this would never happen in the mens room”.  Men don’t sit around watching other guys wash their hands.  They don’t talk to each other.  They go in, do their business, and get out.  The only quote i can find that would apply would be from Office Space.

Does anyone ever say “looks like someone has a case of the Monday’s?”

No.  No man.  I believe you’d get your *** kicked if you said that.

Another fallen knight

One of these things is not like the other. It’s also not like i left it this morning after i finally finished painting it after weeks of work… I have no words…

Some little person decided to take a look, and then take the knight for a walk, and then leave it on the driveway and then let it get run over by a bicycle. I guess i can try to salvage something. He’s got battle wounds, right?

You make me sick

I hate the cold and flu season. Every year it seems to strike our home. The fact that we have kids in school probably doesn’t help. Alex came home last week feeling miserable and achy and coughing. I made a few jokes at his expense and even (in a joking way) went over all the things to do to avoid getting sick, like washing your hands, not touching your face, staying as far away from coughing people as you can, etc..etc..

Oh well – it didn’t work. Being in a confined space like a house with someone sick inevitably leads to more people getting sick …. like me and Luann. We’ve both got what he had. He was out for 3 days. I’m now on day #3 and it’s finally starting to let up just a bit. At least i can breath this morning and the coughing has stopped.

What to do … It seems like over the years the human population has built up quite a catalog of viruses that transmit from person to person in never ending waves. It would be cool to see an animation of the flu and cold virus’s as they spread around the globe in a constantly shifting pattern, going from here to there, changing intensity, mutating, infecting everyone in sight.

If only it were possible to take every single person on the earth, physically separate them from each other for a week or two (long enough for any viruses to have run their course and been attacked and killed by the immune systems). Then when everyone got back together, nobody would be sick. We could get on with our lives without having to worry about the common cold and flu viruses being all around us!

reboot rant

WTH??? I lost a LOT of work last night because Micro$#$(&* decided to be oh so helpful and reboot my computer in the middle of the night without bothering to ask me first.

“Why are you leaving your computer on all night without saving your data first, stupid?” “Because i was running a long process that was taking hours to complete … Now i have to run it again. #@$!”

Solution:

This page tells how to edit the group policy to prevent the computer from automatically rebooting after updates.

  1. Start -> Run
  2. Type: gpedit.msc
  3. Expand Local Computer Policy / Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / Windows Components / Windows Update
  4. Double-click “No auto-restart for scheduled Automatic Updates installations”
  5. Select “Enabled”, then OK. Close the Group Policy configuration program.