1, 2, 3, 4, merry christmas

December 25, 2007 under Christmas, Ramones

Forget the ol’ stand-bys that pass for Christmas carols. Allow the Ramones to bring us some Christmas cheer.

http://www.youtube.com/v/FA-HMqBQpQs&rel=1

And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, but like not having to work and the other perks, then happy holidays to you!

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
comments: 0 »

fave albums of 2007

December 21, 2007 under Annual Fave Albums, Music

Another year, another smattering of good albums. There were plenty of shitty albums released this year, too, but you won’t find any of them here ๐Ÿ™‚

In years past, I’ve written a thing or two about each album and how it left an impression on me. Due to the sheer volume of good music released this year, I have a longer list than usual and devoting a few sentences to each album would be too long for even the most avid reader. So instead I present to you a much-longer list of albums from 2007 that thoroughly impressed me. Of particular note is this year’s winner of my “Album of the Year” award going to The National’s Boxer. Enjoy!

A Place To Bury StrangersA Place To Bury Strangers
Air
Pocket Symphony
AqueductOr Give Me Death
CanadianArcade FireNeon Bible
Band of HorsesCease To Begin
BattlesMirrored
CanadianThe Besnard Lakes…Are The Dark Horse
Black FrancisBluefinger
Black Rebel Motorcycle ClubBaby 81
Bloc PartyA Weekend In The City
CanadianBroken Social Scene Presents: Kevin DrewSpirit If
CanadianCaribouAndorra
Crippled Black PhoenixA Love of Shared Disasters
DeerhoofFriend Opportunity
Dinosaur Jr.Beyond
CanadianDo Make Say ThinkYou, You’re A History In Rust
Explosions In The SkyAll Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone
The FieldsEverything Last Winter
Film SchoolHideout
CanadianHoly FuckLP
IdlewildMake A New World
InterpolOur Love To Admire
JesuConqueror
LCD SoundsystemSound of Silver
MapsWe Can Create
MenomenaFriend And Foe
Modest MouseWe Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
Album Of The YearThe NationalBoxer
CanadianNeverending White LightsAct 2: The Blood and the Life Eternal
CanadianThe New PornographersChallengers
Nine Inch NailsYear Zero
Queens Of The Stone AgeEra Vulgaris
RadioheadIn Rainbows
Sigur RรณsHvarf/Heim
SpoonGa Ga Ga Ga Ga
The Twilight Sad14 Autumns and 15 Winters
Ulrich SchnaussGoodbye
CanadianThe WeakerthansReunion Tour
WeenLa Cucaracha
The White StripesIcky Thump
WilcoSky Blue Sky
YeasayerAll Hour Cymbals

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
comments: 1 »

quitting with class, or, how to walk in the snow

December 20, 2007 under employment, quitting

A couple of weeks ago I successfully passed the mandatory probationary period with McAfee, and I was reminded that a mere three months ago, I had to quit a previous job before joining McAfee. While the prospect of starting a new job is usually time filled with nervous excitement, it’s important to consider the job that you’re leaving behind. Here are a few things that worked for me when leaving my last position. These ideas may be biased to software development positions, but they surely can apply to other fields.

Documentation
When somebody leaves a company, not only is a body walking out the door, so too is corporate knowledge. You’d be surprised how much knowledge you acquire that’s valuable to the company that you’re about to leave. As such, if there isn’t a formal Knowledge Management system in place, it’s a good idea to document everything that you know that other employees wouldn’t. The obvious ones are your passwords and such. Maybe, though, you wrote a small undocumented utility for Human Resources. At some point, that utility may require new features or a bug fix. You can avoid email or phone calls six months down the road from your former employer asking how a certain routine works. Or perhaps you were responsible for getting an applications patches/hotfixes and storing them on a network share – document where you get the files and where you put them.

Also, the files on your computer that you used in your work are probably placed in a file structure that makes sense to you. Again, in the absence of a Knowledge Management or Source Control system, others may not know where to find various files on your computer. Document the location of the files on your computer and the project that they’re applicable to.

Don’t forget to note the names/positions/contact info of any consultants or contractors and the projects that you worked with them on. You’d rather your former colleagues ask consultants or contractors questions than you, once you’ve moved on.

When in doubt, if you know something that nobody else in the company knows, document it.

Keep in Touch
If you had a good working relationship with your manager, exchange contact information. Do the same with other colleagues. It can be something as complex as adding them to your LinkedIn or Facebook friends list, or as simple as swapping personal email addresses and phone numbers. These people likely have similar interests and skills sets as yours, which means that they can become valuable sources of information and perhaps even references for your future endeavours.

Tidy Up
IT will take your computer and rummage through it. Don’t believe me? When it was one of my (too) many duties several years ago, that’s what I would do to computers of employees that left the company, voluntarily or otherwise. It was a standard procedure. Employers often want to know what you worked on. They also want to know if you were doing something undesirable such as stealing company data or using their equipment for your consulting business. Finding the juxtaposition of religious bookmarks and hardcore porn on your computer is just icing on the cake, sure to make many of that company’s IT people laugh at for years to come.

Don’t Be A Dick
You’re moving on to greener pastures, but you don’t need to make your soon-to-be former co-workers feel like losers for sticking around the place that you’re leaving. It’s face-punchingly annoying to hear someone going on and on about how they “don’t give a shit” during their last two weeks on the job before they move on. Aggravating can’t even begin to describe the feeling when the exiting person declares that “it’s not my problem anymore” about a project that you’ve both been working. If your former company won’t eschew the next two weeks and send you off on your merry way early, work like you normally would; like there’s still other colleagues depending on you, because there are. Always remember that you never know who you’re going to work with or [gasp] for in future employment.

These tips are hardly a definitive guide for transitioning from one job to another, but they’ve worked for me, so hopefully others may find them useful.

*** The “walk in the snow” reference alludes to the tale of how former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau took a long walk during a snow storm the night before he resigned from his position of leader of the Liberal Party in 1984. I’ve come to use the phrase “walk in the snow” to describe the decision to quit something, like a job.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
comments: 0 »

bring a warm jacket if you're visiting hell today

December 19, 2007 under Duke Nukem Forever, Internet Explorer 8

First, we get a glimpse of life from 3D Realms. They finally released some new footage from Duke Nukem Forever; 10 years in development and going strong. Could the end be nigh?

http://www.youtube.com/v/cWuteFLUPSY&rel=1

Hot on the heels of that announcement, the Internet Explorer 8 development team have announced that IE8 will pass the Acid2 Browser Test. Apparently IE8, the browser that infuriorates my fellow developers to no end for being unable to conform to most accepted Web standards, will play nice:

Internet Explorer 8 and Acid 2: A Milestone

Could an environmentally-friendly renewable energy source or a cure for cancer be far behind?

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
comments: 0 »

amazon's simpledb might be toosimpledb

December 18, 2007 under Amazon, SimpleDB

Late last week, Amazon announced a new addition to their family of Web Services known as SimpleDB. Essentially, it’ll allow developers to use an Amazon-hosted database system without needing to worry about things like maintenance and scalability. Like all of Amazon’s Web Services, there’s no monthly fee – you only pay for what you use.

To me, this sounds ideal for startups who would prefer to manage as few systems as possible. Yet there’s something about how SimpleDB actually stores data that leaves me wondering. My primary concern is how SimpleDB doesn’t support something similar to the concept of tables in the RDBMS world and instead uses “domains”. According to Amazon’s SimpleDB Getting Started Guide:

Domains are similar to database tables, except that you cannot perform functions across multiple domains, such as querying multiple domains or using foreign keys. As a result, you should plan a Amazon SimpleDB data architecture that will meet the needs of your project.

Note:
Although the Amazon SimpleDB API cannot perform queries across multiple domains, you can design your applications to perform queries across multiple domains.

While I can appreciate this simplicity, I think it introduces a new set of things to worry about from an application architecture perspective. I’ve whipped up a quick RDBMS database schema for a simple e-commerce application:

Database Schema for a Simple E-Commerce Site

Just by looking at the schema diagram, it’s obvious how the application will work and where data will flow. Now let’s suppose that we are to use Amazon’s SimpleDB instead of an RDBMS like Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle or MySQL. How would we do it?

We could use a single domain and store everything in it, but that would be slightly messy, even in this simple example. We’d have a lot of columns such as email address, all of the address fields, product name, product price, quantity, order date and so on. Imagine if our application was more complex; we’d have a crazy number of columns in that domain.

Perhaps we can use separate domains much like how we do with our tables in an RDBMS. Still, we need to remember that we have no way to link SimpleDB domains at the database level. If we’re implementing an n-Tier architecture, then this would need to be done in another tier such as the data access or Web layer. In an MVC architecture, perhaps this would need to be done in the Controller layer.

The beauty of an RDBMS is that much of the interaction with the database can be done at the database level, so that none of that logic needs to mingle with the business logic or user interface; nice ‘n’ decoupled. I’ve signed up for a SimpleDB Beta account, and when I’ve received access to it, I’ll be sure to try a few things out.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
comments: 0 »

get more attractive, sweetheart

December 11, 2007 under contests, McAfee

Our Marketing team here at McAfee has put together a few entertaining videos on YouTube, promoting our new Triple Play Sweepstakes.

http://www.youtube.com/v/ycpG_F6eSKc&rel=1

You can watch the rest of the videos on YouTube. Enter the sweepstakes while you’re at it (US residents only). I would, but employees aren’t allowed to. Share your prize with me instead – ’tis the season for giving and sharing ๐Ÿ˜‰

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
comments: 0 »

on this day…

December 1, 2007 under Life

…in:

1640: Portugal regains independence after 60 years of Spanish rule.
1783: Charles and M.N. Roberts ascend 2,000′ in a hydrogen balloon.
1821: Santo Domingo (Dominican Rep) proclaims independence from Spain.
1822: Dom Pedro crowned emperor of Brazil.
1887: Sino-Portuguese treaty recognizes Portugal’s control of Macao.
1913: Continuous moving assembly line introduced by Ford (1 car every 2.5 minutes).
1918: Iceland becomes independent state under the Danish crown.
1919: Lady Astor sworn-in as 1st female member of British Parliament.
1929: BINGO invented by Edwin S Lowe.
1934: Sergei Kirov Josef Stalin’s collaborator, assassinated in Leningrad.
1935: Woody Allen was born.
1939: Lee Trevino was born.
1936: Bell Labs tests coaxial cable for TV use.
1940: Richard Pryor was born.
1945: Bette Midler was born.
1947: Aleister Crowley, occultist, died at 74.
1958: Central African Rep made autonomous member of French Commonwealth.
1959: 12 nations sign a treaty for scientific peaceful use of Antarctica.
1959: 1st color photograph of Earth from outer space.
1973: Australia grants self-government to Papua New Guinea.
1973: David Ben-Gurion founding father of Israel dies in Tel Aviv at 87.
1987: Digging begins to link England and France under the English Channel.
1988: Benazir Bhutto named 1st female PM of a Moslem country.
1989: East Germany drops the communist monopoly from its constitution.
1989: USSR Pres Mikhail S. Gorbachev meets Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
1990: British and French workers meet in English Channel’s tunnel.
1990: Iraq accepts Bush’s offer for talks.
1990: Lithauania, Estonia and Latvia hold their 1st joint session.
1991: Inaugural AIDS awareness day and the Ukranian people vote for independence.

Oh, and in 1976, I showed up on this planet. Happy Birthday to me ๐Ÿ™‚

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)
comments: 1 »