Friday, June 20, 2008

America is a freaking joke

Why? Remember how the govt has been exposed for spying on innocent (at least until proven) Amercians? Remember how they co-opted some telcos to spy for them? Well there's a new bill in Congress that'll effectively decriminalize what the telcos did i.e. retroactively make it legal for them to have helped the govt spy on innocent Americans. Yep this is 2008 American. Need I remember anyone that Nixon was forced to resign for spying on fellow policitians. But Bush gets a pass because he's so put the fear of terrorists into us we are willing to take anything.

F**king joke this country is. I am so pissed right now. BTW, this bill will update the current FISA law. This is the law that says the govt cannot wiretap without getting approval from a secret "rubber stamp" court. And if they can't, they are allowed to wiretap for 3 days before getting the warrant. Bush already trampled all over that. And now this new bill will give them 7 days. If I didn't live in this country, I'll laugh. It's like giving a bankcrupt person more money to spend.

I suppose one can't expect anything different from a country where torture is legal!

To immigrant Nigerians who went through Babangida and Abacha's rule, I bet you thought the days of backdating laws was over when you came here :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What to do: Practical Tips for a job interview

Like I said in a previous post Practical Resume Don'ts, I sometimes have to interview potential candidates for open positions are my job. Here are some tips for that elusive job interview:

  • Don't be afraid to say you don't know. It's better than cooking up wrong answers. Or saying "I can easily google that"
  • Talking about Google, don't use "I can easily google that" as your answer to every question or even to most questions. 
  • Please please don't disparage your current/previous job. It just doesn't look good. 
  • Don't make me an accomplice to you cheating on your timesheet at your current job. One candidate told me he "just left work" and will "go back whenever. Or maybe not even go back at all". 
  • Don't ask me how you did, whether you'll be hired or what your pay will be. For one, I don't control all that. And if I did, I wouldn't even tell you. So why even ask?
  • No begging!
  • Do ask questions about the company, what I work on. Doesn't matter if you don't care about the answer or if you've already done your research, it still helps to ask questions.
  • Do speak English. No offense. English is not my first language either but if I can't understand you I simply can't recommend that you be hired. Just can't do it. 
  • Know your stuff. Nothing, absolutely nothing, counts more than this.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Welcome to McDonald's. May I take your order?

So you pull up to the drive through, place your order, drive to the second window, pay & pick up your junk food. Unbeknownst to you, you've just participated in a inter-state commerce! Yep! McDonald's is testing a system that allows them to take drive through orders at remote locations. They claim it increases accuracy. Unless the local people are morons, how can taking my order remotely from thousand of miles away, putting it in a system that'll be then be accessed locally be faster and more accurate than just letting the high schooler behind the window take the order? Unless they are outsourcing the service to places with very very low minimum wage (can someone say India).

I think this is just another example of wrong use of technology. Seriously!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

InfoPath & SharePoint (Part 1)

A departure from sports and politics. This one is about technology.

InfoPath sucks and SharePoint is the most expensive piece of crap ever. InfoPath, as a development environment, has absolutely no redeeming value. It's worthless and if your boss ever thinks of using it, you have three options:

  • convince him not to (not easy once he's been brainwashed by the Microsoft marketing presentations)
  • use one of Al Gore's lockboxes to store away your sanity 'cos you'll lose it. Also, pad your estimates very generously. You'll need every bit of time you can get.
  • quit immediately while you still have your sanity
First, InfoPath:

To me InfoPath is like programming in assembly language. Sure it makes it easy (too easy in fact) to bind data to controls. But it doesn't provide you with easy access to your controls. Why is this important? Say you want to disable a button:

in most technology: buttonA.enabled = false (or something similar).

In InfoPath, you simply can't do this. You have to use something called "conditional formatting" to bind the button's enabled state to the a data field. While this is not so bad in theory it quickly breaks down in practice where you have multiple buttons. And where you sometimes have to set a button's enabled state to another button's state. In InfoPath, you'll have to "point & click" to set up conditional formatting for each and every button.

InfoPath doesn't have a label control. If you are developer, you'll know why this is glaring oversight. In fact, InfoPath has a very limited set of controls. Thinking about adding custom controls, good luck! You'll need to write ActiveX and convince your users to download your controls to their browser. Say goodbye to non-IE users.

InfoPath forms are saved in a proprietary binary format (really it's just a cab file). Why is this an important deal breaker for any sane developer? Because having ALL your source code in a binary format makes source control virtually impossible.

Now, InfoPath is not totally useless. You just have to use for what it is designed for (i.e. simple forms). And even then, trying to push the envelope will cause you untold amount of headache.

I'll write about SharePoint in my next post. Of course, it goes without saying that this is my personal opinion.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

So the NBA is indeed rigged. Ha like we didn't know...

If you watch NBA games and ever wondered why the officiating is what it is, you've gotta read this: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/basketball/nba/06/10/betting.probe.ap/index.html. It explains why some a game can attempt 27 free throws in a 12 minute quarter. That's a little over 2 free throws per minute. Factoring in a 24-second shot clock, that's a lot of free throws to occur "naturally".

Of course David Stern (NBA commissioner) is already out there discrediting the ex-ref that made the allegations. Sure he's under indictment for fixing NBA games but still where there's smoke, there's fire. Otherwise, how can LeBron consistently take 3-4 steps without a dribble? How do you explain the NBA suspending a key player 5-6 hours before a crucial playoff game? The NBA is rigged. Watch it like you would a reality show. Sure the minor plots are unscripted but the main outcome is carefully orchestrated.