Sunday, August 28, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Cometh

But lucky for us and unlucky for New Orleans, it looks like we will be spared some of the brunt of the hurricane. Once it hits shore it is forecasted to turn to the North East and head our way, so tomorrow morning we are forecasted to have 60-100mph winds. So we'll see how it goes. Shouldn't be any issues at work. We have natural gas generators and lots of built in redundancy, so hopefully won't be required to head down there in the storm and take care of anything.

Saw today that one of the local stations has weather blogs. WPMI NBC 15 has blogs for two of their forecasters, David Glenn and Scott Walker. Nice to see some of the local stations embracing blogging. Scoble would be proud.

Keep your thoughts and prayers with the people of New Orleans, unfortunately I have a feeling the Super Dome will be the only thing left intact there.

Friday, August 26, 2005

TechWave 2005 Recap

Bruce Armstrong of TeamSybase has created an excellent write up of the events of Sybase's big conference of the year TechWave 2005. TechWave 2005 was held in sunny (and steaming hot) Las Vegas, NV. You may recall that a coworker and myself spoke at TechWave 2004. It was a great experience and I would have liked to have attended this year, but it didn't work out. But at least I was able to get the recap from Bruce. Thanks Bruce.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Coding Certifications

As I read and learn various techniques to aid me in completing my assignment for the Sun Certified Java Developer exam, I am left wondering why Sun is the only company that I know of that has this type of exam for certification in their development language. Especially after the dot-bomb years where even my postman had an MCSE or MCSD you would think Microsoft would have implemented a test that actually requires one to create and submit a working program.

I'm not saying that written tests serve no purpose, but I think in addition to the written tests the requirement to complete a program using good development and design techniques is a very good way to rate an individual's ability. As I read somewhere on the JavaRanch forums, the written test certification tells an employer that they won't have to teach you the language, a certification involving writing a program tells the employer that you are fully capable of developing actual applications using the language. Now which candidate do you want in your shop for intermediate to high level positions?

If anyone knows of any other tests like Sun's Certified Developer exam, please post a comment and let me know.

On an unrelated note, I've been toying with the idea of setting up a Linux box at home and have been looking at various distros. The one I've been playing with today is the LiveCD version of Ubuntu. Really neat so far, I have a feeling this one might be the one to use. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Telemarketing Phone Calls from Politicians

So one of the nice loopholes in the National Do Not Call Registry (see Exceptions here) is the exemption provided to political organizations. Now as my loyal readers know I took the plunge and went all cellular a few months back. I ported my existing home phone number (which was actually a VOIP number through Packet8.Net) over to my cell phone. Now those of you with cell phones know that you typically pay for a finite package of minutes per month. Thus Telemarketing calls are definitely undesirable since not only are they using up your valuable time, but also your expensive cell phone minutes.

Since I had my phone number changed a couple of years ago and did not leave a forwarding number at the old phone number, I do not receive many undesirable calls. After switching to cellular I have started putting down bogus phone numbers anytime I'm required to fill out a form requiring this information (unless I can thing of a really good reason they need to contact me via telephone).

I thought I had all of my bases covered by using this technique along with being on the National Do Not Call list, but recently I started receiving phone calls (automated and real people) from anyone even contemplating running for mayor here in Mobile, AL. I wondered how they got my phone number and how I could get it removed from their list (I ask each of the real people to remove me, but the automated ones just don't listen), and after a couple of days it finally hit me.

They must have acquired my phone number from my voter registration card. I must have put down an actual real number on that stupid thing. Of course it does have a warning on it saying if I sign it after knowingly putting down false information I can be convicted and imprisoned for up to five years, but I'm willing to risk it. So I am submitting an updated voter registration card with a bogus phone number in the hopes that I can stop the hoard of phone calls from these political groups.

I'll let you know how it goes (and if I end up in the slammer because of this).

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

JavaOne 2005 - Day 2 - Keynote

OK, so better late than never. I'm finally getting around to writing up the rest of JavaOne 2005. I had really intended to write up the day's events every night before going to bed, but things were just too busy.

The keynote started with Sun Chairman and CEO Scott McNealy taking the stage. He is quite a charismatic speaker and seems to be a good person to have representing the company in the public space. He announces the aquisition of SeeBeyond Inc. by Sun. SeeBeyond is an Enterprise Application Integration company that has a suite of tools for working in the EAI space. This stuff is definitely going to be big. I will definitely have to focus more on the EAI world (which I am doing now through my work with the open source Business Integration Engine and as a Beta tester for BizTalk 2006).

Next Olivier Piou, CEO of Axalto, talked about the status and impact of the JavaCard technology. There are currently 1 billion JavaCard devices out there and Piou expects that in 3 years there will be another billion JavaCard devices (the ID cards for JavaOne have embedded JavaCard chips in them).

The keynote then kind of diverges into a socio-political slant in which Sun makes a strong statement regarding their desire to opensource the Education and Health Care industries in order to improve these two areas for everyone. They show an interesting video about the Brazilian health care system and how Java technology has improved the overall system.

Fabiani Nardon, CTO of Brazilian National Health Care System, comes up to talk about the progress they have made using Java. 2.5 Million lines of code developed in 4 months. Very integrated with using JavaCard technology to store medical information. She mentions that they have been talking with Africa about how to share what they have built and learned to improve their health care system.

Next the idea of opensource education is brought up. This is something I am all for. I am convinced there are plenty of poor teachers and poor educational systems out there. Someone knows how to get information into people's heads, so we should find them and use their methods and materials to teach our children. As part of this initiative they mention the JEDI (Java Education & Development Initiative) project from the Phillipines, the BlueJ project, the GELC (Global Education Learning Community) project, the MIT OpenCourseWare open source curriculum, and the Sun Student Developer Community.

Monday, August 01, 2005

No Experience, No Problem

So you are like most fresh, young college graduates. You have your degree in hand, you have a head full of skills, and you are ready to solve all of the world's problems using your ability to wrangle and line up lots of little bits....and of course you would like to be paid for it.

But, you can't seem to find a job anywhere. Reason most often given? You don't have any experience. Ah yes, the old chicken/egg problem.

Well you are in luck, today has a fantastic article about how you can get real world experience (and improve your skills in the process) while you are searching for that paying job.

Their article The Virtual Internship: Taking Control of Your Future by Becoming an Open Source Developer makes many good points about how you can get some street cred while you are still waiting to get hired on somewhere.

I highly recommend checking it out. And don't just sit there, get involved in some project somewhere. Some good places to start searching for ideas are SourceForge and the CodeHaus.