Hostel movie review

<full body shiver/>

That pretty much sums it up. I don’t want to ruin anything, so let’s just say that the movie stays with you for a bit.

It’s your typical horror movie, filled with blood, boobs, “what the
hell is he doing? Don’t go in there!” moments of you screaming at the
screen.

Despite of that, it’s still a better than average horror movie.
Very much in homage to the Argento Italian and Japanese horror films.

But remember, this is from the guy who not only watched, but owns Salo: 120 Days of Sodom

The bigger question is, how did I not notice?

So I flew back to Chicago from San Francisco this
thursday. I caught the 6:25 pm, which was delayed an hour, so our
12:30 am arrival was actually 1:00 am.

I got home around 2:00 am, just in time to get up at 6:00am to start a
day of non-stop appointments. So I get up and I am running on 4
hours of sleep, after being on a plane for 5 hours and working 7 hours
thursday.

When I am showering, I have one of those fog free mirrors, so I can
shave in the shower and save time. Well, since I had places to
be, that’s exactly what I did!

Only I was rushing, and I cut myself. Not on the chin, not on the upper lip, and not even on my neck.

No, I cut my nose. MY NOSE. And not only did I cut my nose,
i cut the under side of my nose. All I could think, as blood is
gushing out of my face, was how the hell I managed to accomplish this?

I’ll leave the sheer physics of how I managed to shave the underside of my nose to all the readers out there.

So are we going to see Meta-Meta-Policies?

The new ZapThink ZapFlash is out, and its title SOA Governance and the Butterfly Effect
speaks to how changes to an SOA that, while seemingly small, can cause
gigantic effects down the road. One especially chilling quote:

Now, let’s segue to the post-SOA scenario. In this situation, the
executive in the same situation has a policy management tool accessible
via a corporate portal. This tool leverages several Services that form
part of the SOA governance framework, but the executive is none the
wiser about these technical details; all managers need to know is that
they have the authority to change certain corporate policies via the
corporate portal. As such, the exec can go into the portal and adjust
the Service-level agreement (SLA) for corporate reporting that includes
the required report, changing the turnaround time for corporate data
from “up to one week” to “up to one day,” through the click of a button

The solution to this situation, as offered up by the article, is to
have Meta-Policies goverening your policies. But then who governs
those?

I seriously doubt any organization will get to this level when
executives are making these types of changes, but it still speaks to
the larger question of:


Should an SOA REALLY be modified by
business users who may not understand the effects their changes could
have? Is this what we really mean when we talk about ‘SOA
Governance’ ?

Todd Biske’s blog post raises some similar questions.

The man never met a movie he didn't like

As a small update to this post
made about Ebert doling out 3+ stars like….like…..well, like
something I can’t write here, his latest round of reviews are up:



Caché (R)



Glory Road (PG)



Last Holiday (PG-13)



Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World (PG-13)



Mrs. Henderson Presents (R)



The New World (PG-13)



The Real Dirt on Farmer John (Not rated)



Transamerica (R)



Tristan & Isolde (PG-13)

That’s 9, NINE, movies with three stars or more. Combine that
with the number in the previous post, and you have a total of 16 movies
getting 3 or more stars in less than 4 weeks time. And this is
just a sampling of that week and this week. There are still 2
weeks in there in which i didn’t bother to look.

Apparently, Hollywood is having it’s second golden age ALL THIS WEEK.

Unreal.

Legacy Architects or "It hasn't failed me yet!"

To follow up this blog post, Ben Huges emailed me this quote that he overheard in a meeting while discussing test strategy. This particular architect was defending manual people / paper based regression testing vs. automated testing:

“….I’ve been using this testing methodology for 20 years, and its not failed me yet….”.

Beautiful….

But everyone's not a programmer

I love the Pragmatic Programmers, and their first book “From Journeyman to Master” is a must read for anyone doing any sort of development.

But their latest book “Learn To Program” is going a little overboard. Their blurb:

Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to program computers, but couldn’t find a book that made sense. Maybe you’re already a programmer, and you’d like to help your spouse or partner see what you do. Or, perhaps you’d like to get your child started.

sings to the issues we deal with every day. You wouldn’t see these types of books in other professions like medical, engineering, or accounting because there are boards that prevent just any old person from practicing in those fields.

Not so in computing. But is this what we want to encourage? Anyone and everyone picking up software and just giving it a go?

And I understand everyone’s love of Ruby, but come on people. It’s just a language.

Can I see a show of hands from the people who believe that all of the problems in software development could be solved with the perfect language?

Software development is almost about anything but the actual software. Customers, QA, marketing, requirements, testing, end users, process, etc….

Do people really think this:

public static void main(String[] args) { System.out.println (“Hello World”); }

versus this:

puts “Hello World”

Will make everthing all better?

I understand the need to make our lives easier, but let’s temper the impact that we think some of these things will have.

I'm not anti-newbie

Robby on Rails responded to my blog post about the new book from Chris Pine, Learn To Program

To retort:

“It’s like telling a kid not to build a bird house until he gets a contractors license and a permit.

…or telling someone to not pick up a guitar until they had proper lessons.

…or maybe you shouldn’t be running a business without graduating from college.”

Not at all. I don’t think it’s the same. Maybe I should clarify where i was coming from. I was talking about the the field of software development and how we’re viewed by other business units within software. I wasn’t talking about teaching youngsters to think, problem solve or anything. I highly encourage that.

The problem is that our industry doesn’t know how to draw the line between the person dabbling in programming and someone who does it for a serious living. The kid who builds the bird house above would never be hired to build an actual house. Not true in Software Development.

The .com era was the perfect example of this. Anyone and everyone was a programmer once they knew HTML. This dillutes how our industry is viewed by the outside world. It keeps us in the ‘geeks w/ keyboard’ box.

OSS as measuring stick.

I started this blog post as a response to Robby’s response to my response ( whew…), but it started to morph into a whole seperate posting.

So, to start, Robby’s response:

I think this problem raises a completely different problem. Why are unqualified people being hired to do things that they aren’t qualified for? Do we blame the people learning to program or do we look at who hires these people in the first place? I’m still confused by his argument.

I think it’s both. The problem lies in the fact that ‘qualified’ and ‘unqualified’ are so ambiguous for the field, that it’s not really the fault of the person doing the hiring nor is it the fault of the person who wants the job. It’s an argument against the field itself, not really a specific side.

That kid may not get hired to build a house, but he may get interested in that as a career and continue to pursue it… if someone hires him to build the whole house, then the person hiring should be held accountable do some degree as well. Check references! 😉

That’s an interesting point, and I agree. I think one of the interesting parts of software development is the fact that if you don’t work for a product company, what we create can never be seen, and in some cases, talked about to other people outside of the team. Contrast that with other fields ( architects especially ) whose results are much more public, and provide a better measuring stick.

This fact ( and now we’re WAY away from the book 🙂 ) is the reason why I think OSS will become very important to our field in the future. It provides a common context, across the industry, by which to see peoples skills or past achievements. If someone walks into an technical interview, and says they were a part of project X, that gives the interviewer the chance to perhaps go see that persons work. It provides a common context talk establish compentency.

To me, listing OSS projects on one’s resume is a step closer to how architects create a portfolio of work. It’s not a huge step, nor should it be the final one, but it’s a start.

"On Intelligence" Book Review

Yeah, I know, I blogged about this many, many months ago. Well, I’ll keep this short and sweet:

Pros:

  • The book made so many things ‘click’
  • Short Chapters ( except Chapter 6 )
  • Approachable subject matter ( except Chapter 6 ), even people with little experience with AI, biology, or neuroscience.

Cons:

  • Chapter 6 could have been broken down into seperate chapters & is a BIT technical to absorb all at once.

And that’s pretty much it. It’s a GREAT book and, in time, could become a seminal book in the field of computation and AI.

My favorite part of the book was how Jeff breaks down how the neocortex works by:

  • Establishing patterns
  • Creating ‘Invarient Representations’ of things
  • Maintaining a hierarchy of sorts
  • Connecting two concepts in an auto-associative manner

Of these features, the ‘Invarient Representation’ theory is the most interesting. Think about how you can recognize a song, even when it’s played without words, without music, or even in a different pitch or speed than what you originally heard. Our brain can process things we see and hear, and create sort of abstract representations of the input.

Anyway, before I go on and on, stop now and pick up the book. You’ll be glad you did.

Legacy Architects

Jeff Schneider over at Service Oriented Enterprise has a great blurb about what he calls ‘legacy architects’:

I often find myself attending meetings with ‘legacy architects’. You know the kind – the guys that love to remind you that ‘nothing is new’ – hence, we shouldn’t expect any new results.

I have encountered these types again and again, and they are VERY tough to combat because they usually have a lofty positions and titles. What’s even worse is that the high ups LOVE these types of guys because they’re ‘straight shooters’ or ‘have been around the block’.

It amazes me that in ANY field, let alone computers, people think they can rely on experiences and concepts from 5,10, even 15 years ago to shape they day to day operations, when it’s clear that times change, concepts are updated, and progress is made.

Eh, i would love to hear from anyone who has tips for facing these kinds of people.