Friday, February 29

Professional transition

No, I'm not leaving my job as Senior Software Engineer for Davis Vision.

Actually, this is about that job.

I've worked for my current employer for about a year and a half now; this is the only place I've stayed more than a year, other than the newspaper in Rochester where I was webmaster/tech lead for a little over three years.

I really like it here. I like the people, I generally like the pace, and I love the opportunities I'm getting to refresh and renew our styles, standards and practices, on a team- and company-wide level.

However, I find myself doing more and more administrative tasks. And finding myself in more and more meetings, in lieu of one of the directors going.

I fear I'm on the verge of the balance of my workload shifting away from predominantly writing code ... in some ways, maybe that's inevitable. In some ways, I kind of look forward to that sort of transition. In many other ways, I want to stay put, in the role I'm in now, without a heavy addition of responsibility and expectations.

Is that selfish of me?

Wednesday, February 27

Windows 2008 due to launch today

Windows 2008 - a look at Server Core

I've played with the 2008 betas -- pretty sweet -- but I hadn't bothered to play with Server Core specifically.

Until I can run ASP.NET on Server Core, I probably won't bother. And even then, I suspect it will never be much more than a VM on my fullblown 2008 machine.

Now if only I could get a copy of SP1 for my Vista machines that is guaranteed to NOT brick my notebooks.

Tuesday, February 26

Old employer finally redesigns site

Things are apparently moving rather quickly in the newspaper industry these days; the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle has redesigned their site for the first time since (months before) I left at the end of 2005.

I spent three years there as "webmaster"/technical lead. In that time, we added entirely new sections (Features, event calendars) to the site, and did a 100% redesign, which went live in early 2005.

And here we are, three years later, and they're finally redesigning again. With no obvious major additions to the site in the meantime. Wow.

Friday, February 22

First official sponsor of Tech Valley Code Camp


Schenectady-based ActiveHost has agreed, per CEO Alex Finn, via Client Relations Manager Mitch Messmore, to donate hosting services for the Tech Valley Code Camp site I hope to erect (using Lorin's CodeCamp Site) this weekend.

Thanks ActiveHost, Mitch and Alex!

Optimus Maximus OLED Keyboard shipping


Optimus Maximus

Expect to pay in the neighborhood of $1600 US for the fully customizable keyboard, once tax and shipping are considered.

The Optimus Mini Three was a hit with multimedia hackers ... I can only begin to imagine what talented people could do with the full 113 customizable keys.

Change Round-Up to the rescue?

The Albany business journal recently published an article entitled "Tech Valley nonprofits can learn from Austin's mistakes".

I think this article makes the perfect case for Change Round-Up. Change Round-Up is the Coxsackie, NY startup I've been involved with for nearly a year now -- our tagline is "Making Cents of Online Giving™".

We make it possible for retailers to, with no cost to participate in our service, offer their customers, at the point of purchase, the opportunity to donate their spare change to a charity of choice.

Tuesday, February 19

Microsoft To Give Students Dev Software For Free

Microsoft To Give Students Dev Software For Free

Why weren't they doing this when I was a poor 18YO freshman?

Sure, they had "academic" rates -- but $40 or $60, even for a piece of $300+ software, is still a big chunk of change for someone unemployed, or underemployed.

As a primarily Microsoft developer, I think this is great for students.

Is it Microsoft making further efforts at marketing to students? No doubt about it. I still think it's a good thing for students -- run Linux, run Windows, get to know Eclipse, get to know Visual Studio, get to know MySQL, get to know Oracle, get to know SQL Server, get to know whatever you get your hands on, because in software engineering, experience is your true education.

Wednesday, February 13

Product review update: Sportline Hydracoach

Someone representing Sportline contacted me in response to a complaint email I sent. They're sending me a revised version of the Hydracoach water bottle. Looking forward to it!

Monday, February 11

xkcd - Real Programmers - By Randall Munroe

xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language - By Randall Munroe

Rochester: 1 dead, 24 injured in I-390 pileup

Wind, blowing snow figure in 36-vehicle crash

Wow - massive pileup on 390 in Rochester. 1 dead, 1 in critical, 24 injured.

"The jumble of cars blocked all three lanes and was as long as a football field."

"Wheels were ripped off of cars. There were pieces of metal. It looked like a NASCAR accident."

I lived in Rochester for nine years. No matter what the weather, there were always a number of idiots driving 80 in 55s, bombing in and out of other cars. Maybe it's the high concentration of idiot college students who have yet to get over their adolescent sense of invincibility, and angry, unemployed people.

Friday, February 8

Product Review Update: Jawbone Bluetooth Headset

I've had my Jawbone for some time now, more than long enough to put it through its paces.

Jawbone Bluetooth Headset

Honestly, it's not worth the $119.99 retail price -- you can get solid Jabra and Motorola for half to three-quarters of that, with comparable overall performance, and better sound quality in your ear.

That said, while I wouldn't buy one again, I do find it to work reasonably well for most uses most of the time. In conjunction with Microsoft Voice Command, it offers decent voice activated calling, though far from perfect. It would be nice if there was an auditory indication that you or the other party picked up a ringing call however -- there have been a few times I've been caught off guard, having no idea someone had picked up, or I had picked up, because there was only silence, no feedback, from the headset.

Today, however, I suffered a bit of a setback -- the ear piece, the spindly alloy piece that inserts into the headset, and wraps around your ear, broke on me. While attempting to stick it behind my ear like I have hundreds of times previously, it snapped, leaving a piece embedded in the headset. I've removed that piece using a paperclip, so I have the option at least to switch ears and use the mirrored earpiece from the original packaging.

Thursday, February 7

Hydracoach or HydraCRAP?


I'm issuing an official Thumbs Down on this product.

Great idea, piss poor execution.

This item worked well for the first week I used it; then, for the first time, I let it completely air out and dry out, and it hasn't functioned properly since. I now have a $30+shipping water bottle with all the features of a $7 water bottle. Whattadeal!

It is now a struggle to get the water meter to actually recognize any, much less all, of the water I'm drinking. It works intermittently, with no obvious reasons why it does or doesn't work at any given time. I've tried turning it on and off, flipping modes, resetting it, sometimes these actions help, but for the most part, this $30 piece of junk just sits on my desk, starting at me with its baleful LED blocks, laughing at me as I consume vast quantities of water, with nothing registering on the Hydracoach.