31 May 2006

Technical Recruiters Crack me Up

I just received an email from some recruiter who most likely found my resume on Monster or Dice. I keep meaning to pull those resumes, but being so lazy, I haven't gotten around to it yet. Besides, it provides opportunities for high humor like this. The subject, I think, says it all:
Jr. Java Developers

And, just for good measure, here's the first graph:
If you are still available and are interested ih[sic] the following job,send me your updated resume. We have the foll requirement in Boston, MA
To which I so graciously replied.

I'm not currently available or looking for contract work out of state, but more importantly...how on earth could you read my resume and try to marry it with a Jr. Java Developer position? You might want to reexamine it, and the criteria and metrics by which you evaluate talent.

Richard Porter

Gosh, I hope Shawn gets back to me. Sure it's like shooting fish in a barrel, but I could use some cheap laughs this week.

30 May 2006


On just half a calf
He still outshone Hasselhoff
And unpimped Dirk's ride

29 May 2006

All I Need is a Metric(le)

Over at Gladwell's, Malcolm's blogging his latest New Yorker book review of "The Wages of Wins." Yet another attempt to apply Moneyball-style analytics to basketball. I'm all for improving the tools GMs use to evaluate talent, if only to keep the Tsakalidis of the world out in the rest of the world. But there's a problem when those stats tell me that Josh Childress is the most underrated player in the league.

His 'fro, yes. No matter how many props it gets, it's always going to be underrated. Much better than Ben Wallace's do. Shane Battier comes in at number 8 on the list. I forgot, were we rating players or unusual hair?

And of course, KG is the best player in the league, hands down. His team can't win, but that's beside the point. His win shares are huge! Bron-Bron gets within a whisker of the ECF before his 22nd bday, Nash turns Boris Badenov into a breakout star and makes it to the WCF, but KG is the stud. I know he's revolutionary, and at 30 is only a bit past his peak performance years, but he's got to learn to win. Do his teammates suck? Yep. But I'm not sure they wouldn't beat the Cavs-sans-King. Handily.

Like everyone else, I'm going to jump on the fact that one of the economists, David J. Berri, wrote a paper in which he contended that the real MVP for the '97-'98 season was Dennis Rodman. I love Rodman as much as the next earth-bound guy who's only skill is boxing out. But seriously...there's a reason no one picks me first and it's the same reason (writ VERY, VERY small) why no one who actually, you know watches basketball thinks Rodman was ever MVP.

Maybe if Malcolm and The Economists came out for a game sometime (or, in Malcolm's case, just got a little sun) they'd develop a different appreciation for it.

28 May 2006

I'm recursing I'm recursing

WooHoo!!! I'm giving up on the Linksys. Tech support wanted me to try port forwarding (isn't there a test they can give me to automatically move up to 2nd or 3rd tier support?) and while I was switching over to a static IP on the laptop etc., I lost my chat window. Since it was an inane idea anyway, it's pretty much like losing lint.

Checked some reviews on this router and they were more abysmal than the usual, so I'm going to go Back to the RangeMax!

The Casenums Keeps Rolling Along

Awesome! I've got a problem with the Linksys as well! Works great wired, and works fine for most sites wirelessly. Google doesn't come up when I'm wireless, though. Can't google my problem if I can't get to Google!

I'm trying a new approach - Live Assistance. We'll see if it works better. On the definite plus side, my tech's written English is, so far, exemplary.

27 May 2006

Hyderabad Hijinks

We've needed a new wifi router for quite some time. Our old Linksys has limited range and sometimes behaves like it's under a DoS attack the way it just stops working wireless for a while. Who knows...maybe there's a wardialer in my neighborhood, but it's still time for an upgrade.

I'd picked out the router I "wanted" a couple of months back, the Netgear RangeMax 240. I know there are draft N routers on the market now, but until that spec is finalized, I don't want to jump into it. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned that way. (Apparently not that old-fashioned.) Anyway, our anniversary is coming up, and amongst the themed presents I got was the router. (Got it early so I could set it up on a weekend, natch.)

As with most things, routers are a bit harder to set up if you have a clue, but even skipping the install CD and just plugging in and pointing Firefox to the right network addy, I was able to correctly configure it in less than 40 minutes. I consider that a serious win! I know it was correctly configured, because it finally succeeded in connecting to Netgear to look for firmware upgrades. Well, of course I want the upgrade, especially since this is supposed to fix XBox disconnect issues.

Firmware upgrades don't take 45 minutes. At that point, I realized there was a serious problem, but assumed I could reset to factory defaults and try again. Why, with my first pass so quick, I'd be able to get it configured right this time in sub-10! It won't reset. The test light just stays lit solid. I held the button, jiggled the button, held it while powering down, held it while powering up. Nothing.

Which leads us to my joyous phone callS to the lovely Indian subcontinent. I'm not sure we we're transported to Hyderabad; maybe it was Bangalore. First off, our connection is crappy. You can't tell me the world is at my fingertips if no one can hear anyone through all the static. If we insist on off-shoring all our call centers, maybe we should refurbish the Telstars and Westars we repositioned over SE Asia.

Alright, so, tin cans and string. Check. Now lets get to the content of the call...well, my product's not registered yet. I knew this would be a problem, as the interminable recorded voice let me know I needed to go online and do so first. A little chicken-and-egg there, (though honestly, I could hook the Linksys back up...I just don't want to cede that ground yet.) but I'm going to push through. The woman answers. You know those stories you hear about the offshore callcenter employees learning American accents? She missed that class. And so it begins.

We first must register the broken router. So we do. Five painful minutes of serial number, name, email address, phone number. A lot of readbacks and corrections. And she's inconsistent with her military alphabet. I hate that. She's finishing up the registration when Sputnik shifts orbit and we get disconnected. I'm pretty sure it's not her, as I'm pretty sure I've kept my voice calm to this point.

I call back. This time, hold is terminable, and I get a dude. He's quicker and understands me better, but his accent is about as thick. Did I mention I'm a software engineer? Quite accustomed to Indian accents? His is pretty damn thick. We register the router. Now, it's time to get to the heart of the darkness. It don't work. We try several basic things (really, there's not much you can do with a device with ports, a reset button, and no connectivity.) Finally, he gives up. It's time to replace my router.

The saga concludes
We went to BestBuy to exchange the router, but they couldn't find another RangeMax. But the new LinkSys draft N is in...eh, what the hell!

26 May 2006

Colin Powell vs. Magneto

I'll grant that comic books are rarely great art. For the most part, they're so far down on the brow they're eyelids. Still, there are and have been great works and great writers in the genre. People who are telling interesting and sometimes important stories.

Then, there are the popcorn movies. We don't expect more from our summer blockbusters than entertainment. It's hot out, the sun's been beating down on our heads all day, we just want to crawl into a theater's dark cocoon, mainline some sugar, and be taken away. When they do their job well, filmmakers give us great thrills and our hearts race. Often corny, a good popcorn flick will nonetheless succeed at its intended goal - entertaining its audience and making money for its backers.

Sometimes, someone with vision (and love for his source material) will come along and do more. Sam Raimi, or Christopher Nolan, or (please, don't screw it up) Joss Whedon will bring depth to the screen in ways that only seem unusual to people who grew up on Adam West and Christopher Reeve. More often, hacks, fools, the overrated, and the galactically stupid will bring their visions to the screen and make audiences cringe and studios bankrupt.

Unfortunately, while screenwriters and directors who understand their source material are rare, critics who know comics are even rarer. There are the fanboys, but every word out of their mouths is to be taken with a grain of salt. Personally, I like A. O. Scott's comic book movie reviews at the Times because he's a) a fan b) not a complete hack. Seems they keep handing them off to Manhola Dargis of late, though. She's not a hack, but she can't really tell me anything useful about these movies.

Then, there was this piece of crap. I don't know if they found themselves a column short and decided to go with fill, or if someone actually thought there was merit in these arguments. Apparently, Christian Moerk "discovered" that comic characters now have depth and "human baggage". Again, with the same regard for original sources as David MacKane, Christian informed me that "...the superheroes got more complicated. Tim Burton crossed a line..."

Wow. Thanks to Tim Burton for giving these characters depth. That Frank Miller character has nothing on you...plus, he's not even in the DGA!!!

As bad as it starts, it reaches its pinnacle of stupidity with this gem:

"It is probably no accident that Dr. Hank McCoy (Kelsey Grammer) is a shaggy blue mutant in the halls of the government, trying to mitigate the excesses of authority from within. (Think of an increasingly embattled Secretary of State Colin Powell holding the hawks at bay.)"

Yet another jackhole who thinks Colin Powell was in any way different from the rest of his cohorts. I get so very, very tired of that meme. Seems like only the densest, most deluded of liberals - the kind who wanted to vote for Kerry - buy into the Colin's-a-closet-liberal story. They're the political equivalent of girls who think they can turn a gay man. "If only Colin would give me a chance, I could show him how much better it would be with me!"

25 May 2006

Who's the Fearless Leader?

Must be Steve Nash. How else do we explain Boris Badenov going off for 34 and the game winner? I've been big on Boris from day one of the experiment in the desert (then again, I liked Yuta Tabuse over Barbosa, so I'm clearly a terrible judge.) I keep imagining the phone calls Boris must be having with his moms:

Boris, you must take your man strong to the hole. Why do you flip the ball? In my day, we play with our backs to the basket and throw down avec authorité. You must be the man. You must especially be the man against this homme allemande, Dirk le Diggler. You must be strong, like DeGaulle, not weak like Pétain.

Well, I have a vivid imagination.

24 May 2006

Unfocused, Wandering, Restless

It's been a hellacious week. Started on Sunday with a massive data/code migration and has just kept going, and going, and going. At least I've almost gotten out from under the deluge of bugs. This morning the undertow pulled me back in a couple of times, but I believe I've gotten through the worst of it. That means I need to dive into a complete overhaul of a huge chunk of my app.

Mmm...tasty prospect. Clearly, as I'm writing an even less-than-usual inconsequential, meaningless, meandering posting, I have no interest in getting started on this onerous task. It probably didn't help that I came in today expecting to tackle it first thing...and then had to fix two more of my bugs. What was going to be a morning prototype has now turned into an afternoon nightmare.

So, I blather and bloviate

18 May 2006

Vanilla is for Pudding!!!

It's one thing when your grandmother wants to dab a little of the old 4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzaldehyde behind her ears. It's a wholy different kettle of stinky fish when young girls think vanilla makes a good base note for perfume. Nothing turns my stomach faster than thinking "mmm! cookies!" only to turn around and see a 20-something waltz by. It's cloying, it's over-strong, and frankly, it reeks.

17 May 2006

Playoff Poetry

Eight seconds is long
If you are bucking a bull
Short for Sam I Am

Jam foot
His legs are steel springs
And his top's made out of rubber

15 May 2006

I hate Tomcat

Configuration of a lightweight container should be relatively easy. I mean, it's not like there's all that much "there" there. I used to be able to get a new distro of WebLogic or JBoss up and running (you know, usefully, with applications deployed) within a day or so. I spent the last three hours trying to get Tomcat correctly configured based on their VERY shoddy documentation (and without the configuration files from work which would have made life easy) and finally gave up in frustration. Well, I gave up 'cause I'm tired and wanted to play poker, but it was still pretty frustrating.

At this point in its product lifecycle, Tomcat should be easy enough for my moms to setup. That t'ain't the case.

Hell, I got MySQL up and running on my touchy 64-bit Redhat kernel and was using it productively inside of an hour and a half. The day a servlet container (and no, I won't call Tomcat an application server) takes longer than an RDBMS to get running is the day they need to consider hiring tech writers.

13 May 2006

Planetary: Ellis not being a tool

In the past year, I've gotten back into comics after a looong hiatus. Thought I'd never get sucked back into that world - fanboys and fangirls (sorry, fangrrlz), endless reboots, retcons, "universe-shaking storylines", etc. - but I had the misfortune to take a job with a "Reader". On the plus side, though he has an insane stubborn streak, he at least doesn't have shitty tastes.

I started out easy...can't go wrong with Moore and Miller (though I've been repeatedly warned off of The Dark Knight Strikes Again). I was in my local Den of Nerds (I choose not to mention the shop's name, because there are already too many jackholes there when I go) when out of the corner of my eye I caught a pleasantly familiar name and picked up Rising Stars. That was a revelation. JMS is a great craftsman, and the medium provides him a unique space and structure for story-telling. Granted, it's no Murder, She Wrote, but it's a close second.

Then, I heard about Warren Ellis. Heard he was a tool. Heard he was YACB (yet another cranky Brit). Heard a pilot had been made of his Global Frequency with the amazingly hot, amazingly talented Michelle Forbes playing Miranda Fucking Zero. Thank god for bittorrent. Downloaded a copy of the pilot and thought "it's a damn shame this was commissioned for the WB...it misses their key tweener girl demographic by a mile." Immediately went out and picked up the comic. It's good. Not great, but a fantastic idea, with two truly interesting characters - Zero and Aleph. The stories were well written and original and I decided I'd try to read some more of Ellis.

Well, turns out that Ellis is a bit of a tool and YACB. But...his stuff's pretty good. Plus, he's willing to make fun of himself and his employers, and Joss Whedon likes him. Those three things speak volumes for his character.

I slogged through Desolation Jones. It felt semi-autobiographical (though I suspect Ellis doesn't wear goggles in public). I wanted to like it, but I just couldn't connect. Though I avoid the mainline DC and Marvel titles because I don't want to be committed for the rest of my life (literally: tossed in the rubber room), I've been reading Ultimate Extinction. It's a short enough run that I wasn't afraid of the longterm effects on my psyche. Not fantastic (or Fantastic), but decent enough to keep me reading 'til we kick Galactus' shiny metal ass (and hopefully, somehow, Wolverine dies in the process).

Then I picked up Planetary. Holy crap. At first, Elijah just feels like another incarnation of Ellis. And maybe he is. But this one kicks ass. And the story is incredibly compelling, addictive, and sucked me in so far, so fast...I was floored. I'm in the middle of two novels right now, and I put both aside until I'd slammed through the three volumes plus the crossover collection. That took two evenings because I didn't have the foresight to buy all of it at once. Who knew?

Cranky Brit? Hell yah. Tool? Possibly. Damn fine comics writer? Definitely.

11 May 2006

Playin' with the Munchies

Watching the Suns play last night, I couldn't help but marvel over just how stoned Shawn Marion seemed. He was as quick and reactive as always, but anytime he had to make a decision or exhibit depth perception I just cringed. It started early, stepping into an open driving lane in front of Raja. It continued for the whole first half.

It felt like that episode of "The Brady Bunch" where Barry Williams was stoned. Just a wee bit off.

Someone needs to get Shawn a sammich.