Friday, September 20, 2013

Return to Speaking

I have verbal, but not final, confirmation that I will be speaking at the STAREast testing conference early next year.  Part of my overall evil plot to take the lion out of the winter.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Emerging from the Den

I've been working on a project lately that involves some very sophisticated evaluation and extraction of data from JSON and XML web responses. Not that I wanted to; I'm a tester and my coding efforts have been mainly quality-oriented for several years.
Someone, though, had to write this code as it wasn't writing itself and I seem to have developed this inability to communicate abstract requirements to meet concrete needs to others. So I had to adopt a show-and-tell mentality and write the durn thing to prove it's worth.
It is (mostly) written using VS 2010 and C#. It's the sort of extensible utility that, if I were to show it, would garner a lot of oohs and aahs but I'm restrained from showing it as it's proprietary to my employer.
Hence the title of my post, "Emerging from the Den". Maybe I'm not the Lion in Winter any more. Maybe I can still eat lightning and crap thunder as a developer. Maybe...but I learned a few things:
  • Mentally and on a whiteboard I can architect a service or app with the best of them. This is probably because I have 30 years in this business and also because I don't have to think about implementation at that level.
  • My actual code likely sucks. I works but it's likely brittle. In my gut I know there are better ways to do a lot of what I have done. If I were focused as a developer it would be written better but as a tester forced to code I settle for "works within acceptability".
  • There are still things we could do in old VFP that aren't easily done in C#. For example, I need to read a value from a serialized file and ensure I can cast to a member with the right type. For the life of me, I can't figure out how to cast when the value type in the incoming file is not known until runtime.
To summarize I guess I'm relieved that I can still mix it up with hardcore developers on content without being pretty in code. My falldowns are due to not being a developer day to day and knowing where my syntax is weak; my upsides are knowing abstractly what should work and doggedly pursuing it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Long Time Away

Wow, it's been a weird several months.

The family and I are back in South Florida and I'm working for a fantastic employer and really enjoying my work for the first time in a while.

Now that things are settling down and as I get a better grasp on the extremely cool technologies I am working with I will try to post more.

Until then, have a great Holidays!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

XSD, WCF, and The XSD Tool

I'll make this short. If you are creating serialized data (XML) using DataContracts there are five things you need to be aware of upfront if creating XSD files using the XSD tool against the CLR DLL:

  • If your properties names are different than the DataMember names, the XSD will use the DataMember name while the XML will be using the property name. Solution: Keep the DataMember names the same as the property names.
  • Also for DataMembers, use the Order attribute AT ALL TIMES. This gives you the flexibility of populating and ordering property logic as you wish but ensures that the output is always in the same order - which is critical since MS XSD validation does not support the xs:all attribute allowing any ordering of elements.
  • If you are using private properties in the CLR class (I frequently use Count in my CollectionDataContracts for internal use) be aware that the XSD tool will think they will be serialized and dutifully put them into the XSD as expected elements.
  • If you are serializing from an inherited class the XSD types must list all base class elements first and then all derived class elements. I got burned trying to be cute by mix-and-matching properties from both in a mixed order.
  • Stay away from properties that are List(Of) base types, for example List(Of String). There appears to be no way to model this in an XSD. Create a class to store the string and convert the property to List(Of class).

If you haven't worked with XSD files this list will make little sense but read these tips right before going that route and it'll make a helluva lot of sense.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Secular Religion

I can't claim that this is an original thought, but the interactions I have had with folks at all ends of the political spectrum have led me to believe that progressive ideology is a religion.

You can't reason with these folks without tantrums and attempts to shut you down. They yammer to each other about how evil and misguided people who disagree with them are and they feel morally justified in doing whatever they damn well see fit because they are convinced they know better.

If you disagree with them there's no dialog - they just try to kick you to the curb. They operate on faith in their principles and are unwilling to discuss common sense and logic .... hallmarks of a religion.

How else to explain the approach to the scientific viability of climate change? There's far, far less conclusive evidence for climate change than there is for evolution, which we still call a Theory. Yes, a hardcore progressive equates those that question climate change with Holocaust deniers. No logic explains that reaction - it's a religion.

It all reminds me of discussions I used to have with "born-again" folks while stationed in Arkansas. Their absolute, unshaking belief that their way was the only right way was disturbing to my old pragmatic self. A Jew who has tended to the poor his whole life? Going to Hell. A Buddhist that runs an orphanage? Going to Hell!

Not to overstate it or look like a wingnut, but folks like that worry me. When a group of folks are so sure of their positions as a matter of faith, they justify themselves doing some pretty horrific things because they effectively dehumanize the opposition.

You see this time and time again throughout history. The Inquisition: The Catholic Church justified the burning of Jews, torture, and all sorts of depredations because they had faith that they followed the way of the Lord and that justified anything.

Nazi Germany: Jews were not people, so camp authorities who were good family men and loved their children routinely tortured and gassed Jews and Gypsys.

There are some, some right-wing religious nuts who potentially qualify under my theory but most of the progressives in pwer certainly do. And what to do? They're indoctrinated.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

And More...(Hahahaha)

Page 1432:

(4) CONTENTS OF ALTERNATIVE MEDICAL LIABILITY LAW.—The contents of an alternative liability law are in accordance with this paragraph if—
(A) the litigation alternatives contained in the law consist of certificate of merit, early
offer, or both; and
(B) the law does not limit attorneys’ fees or impose caps on damages.

You gotta be kidding me. We want tort reform, just don't limit fees or damages. Yeah. That'll work.

Friday, October 30, 2009

And Even More...

Page 326:

If you maintain a health savings account and had to withdraw from it due to non-medical reasons in the past, you were hit with a penalty tax of 10%. H.R. 3962 doubles that to 20%.

Page 337:

Never forget that the rich are evil bastards who should be soaked at every opportunity according to the Dems. Oh, and it's not a tax on $1,000,000 incomes as erroneously reported - it's a tax on incomes over $500,000 per individual.

(a) GENERAL RULE.—In the case of a taxpayer other than a corporation, there is hereby imposed (in addition to any other tax imposed by this subtitle) a tax equal
to 5.4 percent of so much of the modified adjusted gross income of the taxpayer as exceeds $1,000,000.
In the case of any taxpayer other than a taxpayer making a joint return under section 6013 or a surviving spouse (as defined in section 2(a)), subsection (a) shall be applied
by substituting ‘$500,000’ for ‘$1,000,000’.

Page 339:

(a) IN GENERAL.—There is hereby imposed on the first taxable sale of any medical device a tax equal to 2.5 percent of the price for which so sold.

I'm having another WTF!!!! moment. How does this reduce the cost of healthcare. C'mon, liberals, show some intellect and challenge me on this one! This is completely non-sensical tome insofar as it relates to the supposed goals of this bill. So, Joe gets hit by a car on his way home. Joe loses his legs. Sucks to be Joe - he or his insurer now pay a tax on Joe's artificial limbs.

Page 386:

Payments by Medicare to nursing homes are reduced by 2%. Hmmmm....

I'm on page 451 which is mainly Medicare terminology. They could tell me pigs fly in this section in bureaucratese and I wouldn't know the difference to be honest. So I think I'll give it a rest tonight.

More on H.R. 3962

Page 297:

OK, here we see the 2.5% tax on adjusted gross income for folks who don't get health coverage. It applies to the individual or family if there are dependents. Interestingly, the tax penalty is tied to the average premium amount for a "qualified" plan insofar as it can't exceed it.

Here's what I don't get. So far in my reading I don't see anything that reduces the premiums we see today - on the contrary, as I pointed out in my last post there are ample reasons to believe that premiums will rise and the CBO is of the opinion that the "public option" pricing will not be any cheaper than private plans and may indeed be up to 25% more.

Soooo....a Hobson's choice. You either pay for a qualified plan or get nailed by a tax penalty that may or may not be less than the premiums but will be several hundred bucks for a family with an AGI of 40K or so.

So this doesn't provide a mechanism to get affordable healthcare for the disadvantaged, it mandates that all must get insurance regardless of the affordability or face a penalty.

And this is how we get the uninsured insured - ripping their arms off by mandating that they pay for a plan without (to be fair, so far in my reading) actually helping them do so.

Oh, and BTW, as I continue reading, this apparently sets up a whole new area of IRS administration since the proof of insurance is filed with the tax returns.

Still reading.....

Would Help If I Posted The Link

Here's the link to the House healthcare bill. Thanks to Tim Greve for providing it.

Still reading between bouts of retching.