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.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dissecting the Healthcare Bill (H.R. 3962)

Having many years of consulting experience to the healthcare industry, I thought I'd study this bill and how it affects the healthcare market. Briefly:

Page 18,Line 23: Residency is a requirement for the high-risk pool but there is no exclusion of illegal residents.

Page 26 on lack of funds: the Secretary shall make such adjustments
as are necessary to eliminate such deficit, including
reducing benefits, increasing premiums, or estab
lishing waiting lists.
Nope, no healthcare rationing here (sarcasm).

Page 32,Line 24: Hey,lookie here! Insurers must allow you to insure your children to age 26! WTF?

Page 50, Line 5: No more lifetime benefit limits. So reinsurers will have to buy more catastrophic risk as part of their excess layer package. That'll cost...who pays?

Page 52, Line 22: Hmmm...apparently, no annual limits either.

Page 63, Wellness Grants. Oh cool, the Government will provide preventative care grants to eligible employers. Here's the verbiage for the amount:

(i) the product of $150 and the number of employees of the employer for any plan year; and
(ii) $50,000 for the entire period of the grant.

Wow. That sure would encourage me as that equals about 0.7% of my plan costs paid by me and my employer.

There's more to read but I have to take a break for now. I'll post more later. What a nightmare.

Anyone have doubts that this is a government takeover?

Page 94:
(1) IN GENERAL.—Individual health insurance coverage that is not grandfathered health insurance coverage under subsection (a) may only be offered on or after the first day of

Y1 as an Exchange-participating health benefits plan.

You weasel-worded lying sacks of shit. Guess Congress thinks we can't read.

Page 102:

(c) PREMIUMS.—Nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing a qualified health benefits plan from increasing the premiums otherwise required for coverage
provided under this section consistent with standards established by the Commissioner based upon family size under section 213(a)(3).

Yeah, trim those costs.

Page 109:


Holy crap, a shred of honesty!

Page 131:

(a) IN GENERAL.—There is hereby established, as an independent agency in the executive branch of the Government, a Health Choices Administration

Yes, folks, we get a whole new agency with a bullshit name. They are eliminating choices, so why not include Choice in the name? Orwellian.

Page 150:


What constitutes anti-trust?? Insurance pricing is based on statistical science and one company's premium is likely to be very similar to another's given the same benefits package since actuarial tables are pretty standard. This is just the Dems pissing on another "Big".

More later.

Page 272:

Employers contributions are.....

(A) in case of individual coverage, not less than 72.5 percent of the applicable premium
(as defined in section 4980B(f)(4) of such Code, subject to paragraph (2)) of the lowest
cost plan offered by the employer that is a qualified health benefits plan (or is such

current employment-based health plan); and (B) in the case of family coverage which
includes coverage of such spouse and children, not less 65 percent of such applicable premium
of such lowest cost plan.

This is NUTS. Emplyers are already providing a benefit via reducing premiums via group coverage. This is nakedly to discourage employer-sponsored insurance.

Page 276:

Here's one of the more heinous parts:

(a) IN GENERAL.—A contribution is made in accordance with this section with respect to an employee if such contribution is equal to an amount equal to 8 percent of
the average wages paid by the employer during the period of enrollment

(determined by taking into account all employees of the employer and in
such manner as the Commissioner provides, including rules providing for the
appropriate aggregation of related employers) but not to exceed the minimum
employer contribution described in section 412(b)(1)(A).
Any such contribution—
(1) shall be paid to the Health Choices Commissioner for deposit into the Health Insurance

Exchange Trust Fund; and
(2) shall not be applied against the premium of the employee under the Exchange-participating
health benefits plan in which the employee is enrolled.

Boil this down. You can opt out of your employee group plan which will become very expensive due to the provisions I detailed above by paying 8% of your employee wages. Right now, for an employee making $50,000 with a wife and 2 kids the premium is probably about $9,600 a year. Right now, it's a crapshoot who (employer or employee) is paying what but if you look at the previous provision the employer would be required to pay 65%, or $6,240. OTOH, the employer can forego an employer-sponsored healthcare plan and send 8%, or $4,000, to the Government. If you opt out you save $2000+ per employee per year and your employees are now in the Exchange and likely moving to the "public option". More lies about not taking over the healthcare market when the economics force otherwise.

Pause for reflection. I've read 1/6th of the bill so far and it's mainly a red herring for the crap the Dems claim that they wouldn't do, but they do it indirectly. Like killing private health plans.

Is it too much to ask for these fuckwads to come clean once in a while? Why lie, hide, and otherwise misdirect your intent if you're so sure it's right?

My liberal friends hate me because they claim I'm conservative. My conservative friends are upset because I'm libertarian. But what it all boils down to, for me, is the truth. Tell me the truth - I don't have to like it but it begins an honest debate. Lie to me, treat me dishonestly, and I'll never listen to you and I'll try to discredit you with the facts every chance I get. Today's absolute, no doubt liars are House Democrats. Somehow I doubt I'll get any factual rebuttals. Just your typical pod-people koolaid drinkers.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fun With Regular Expressions

I needed a regular expression to handle phone numbers in a variety of formats. Came up with the following:

([(]?\d{3}[)]?(- .)?\d{3}(- .)?\d{4})

It works with just about any U.S. number you can throw at it.

(800) 555-1212

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

When I'm 64

Was working on something interesting today - transfering images from a URL (technically a URI) via XML.

Wasn't all that hard once I got an idea of how it's done. Essentially, it involves creating a stream to consume the image via WebTransfer and then converting the stream to a Base64 object which can be serialized as one big blob of text.

Once I have all the error-trapping and kinks worked out, code samples will be posted.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A New Microsoft Technology!

New to VS 2010 and Framework 4.0 is a new protocol: WTF

WTF stands for Web Transport Feature and is a means of publishing and consuming REST-style data to the cloud.

I experimented with it today. I coded a simple WCF service with an OperationContract and pressed F5. Visual Studio then crashed and restarted. WTF?! Yes, it was WTF. WTF is synchronous - if a transaction is interrupted the entire operation is cancelled. WTF!

Yes, I exclaimed WTF! a lot today.

(Surely you didn't take this seriously?)

WCF Localhost Gotcha

.Net Framework 3.5 SP1

Beware the WCF Configuration tool in Visual Studio. Auto-magic gone awry. If you make any configuration changes and save them, it will place a certificate tag in your web.config that will blow away your ability to run your service through localhost.

The solution is: Nuke the tag.

This cost me 2 hours of research.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

So Now Visual Studio Insults Me?

' This code was generated by a tool.
' Runtime Version:2.0.50727.42


Thursday, August 20, 2009

VFP to .NET Developer Survival Guide

Reported from the Universalthread. I had a lot of positive response so I am reposting here:

Folks,I'm going to keep this simple. Early last year I went on haitus as a test engineer and moved back into the developer world. I was fortunate that I was hired by a company that I had already worked with years ago and they re-hired me by past reputation and were willing to overlook the fact that my last relevent programming experience was .Net 1,0 and sketchy with that and needed time to ramp-up.

I know a lot of you don't have that advantage and employers are looking for immediately usable skills. Especially in this economy. So I am going to suggest a series of steps to gain a foundation that you can use to get to where you need to be. I'm assuming that you're willing to bust butt on your own time while doing what you have to do to pay the bills.

Also, I don't want to take anything away from the EDS or Oak Leaf bootcamps and training. My only concern with those is that they go a mile wide but an inch deep. I'm not clear what marketable skills you gain with practical application.So here are the lessons I've learned and my suggestions. They are not all-inclusive. They are not expert. They are just what has helped me and the pitfalls I've run into and how you can mitigate them.

1. Language is irrelevent when at the ground-level. Walk away from the C# versus VB argument. From the VFP perspective, VB.NET is easier to understand and 99% as functional. What you'll find as you get more proficient is that it's just as easier to understand or code in either. So focus on VB.Net. Once you understand VB code without a reference manual, C# will make sense and you'll find yourself pretty much equally adept at either.

2. Get foundational literature. Anything by Charles Petzold works for me (the Programming Windows series, for example). I found myself using old functions like Str() because I could when I should have been thinking x.ToString. I had to make a mental effort to break that pattern and it really pays off as you get more into the complex Framework types.

3. Get a buddy. You are going to have, from a .NET developers perspective, stupid questions. It's inevitable. Have someone or someones who are willing to answer your seemingly dumb questions without issue.

4. Ignore the bleeding edge. If building a basic ASP.NET page befuddles you, you have no business looking at Silverlight or cloud computing. Get confident in the basics and it'll add tremendously to your understanding of the other stuff.

5. Set a functional goal. If an employer is not already paying you to do so, finf something simple worth doing and code your first project towards that. Or convert your simplest VFP app.

6. Apply Extreme Programming (XP) principles. Your first app may work but your code will suck. So what? One ot the tenets to XP is to refactor until good. Once something works, refactor towards best practices. If you break it,so what? Revert to working code.

7. Do not assume examples on the Web are canon, In the old Fox world, for the most part, people only posted code that they knew worked. Not so these days - there is a lot of crap out there. Take the ideas to heart as presented but be very leery of the code - especially if it's using Northwind or AdventureWorks since those dbs seem to be the refuges of the semi-competent.

8. Take pride of ownership, If you're a good VFP developer you will be a good .NET developer. Be proud of making things that work no matter how minor. You'll get better because if you've already mastered VFP then .NET is just a different syntax.

9. Give it time. Don't get frustrated, Think about how long it took you to master what you already know and expect another learning curve here as well. Not all skills are transportable to .NET from VFP but common sense is.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Generics Love

Wow ... been a long time since I posted here. I've been really busy learning a whole new set of technologies and paradigms; well, at least new to me.

I'm on a WCF project in VB.Net, Framework 3.5 SP1. The class model being used is beautiful as far as OOP goes (yes, I think .Net has finally surpassed VFP in OOP in almost all aspects).

It's a bit of a pickle with the model handed to me which I must adhere to. The output will be serialized based on the model and the consuming requires a certain structure.

Here's a simulation of the model, roughly, in psuedocode:

Class ClubMember
(a number of attributes like Name, MemberID, et al)
Public Property Talks as Presentations

Class ActiveMember
Inherits ClubMember
(a few more atomic properties+

Class ActiveMembers
Inherits List (of ActiveMember)

Class Presentation
(Buncha attributes for a presentation)

Class Presentations
Inherits List (of Presentation)

ActiveMembers are derived from a stored proc from a source table, Members
Presentations are derived from a Presentations table with a Many to One to Members

My question is, where is the focal point in this model to integrate the DAL when requiring ActiveMembers? Simply put, where does the code go to create the individual objects and the lists? I mean, I can make it work as it stands but it ain't pretty. What would be a best practice approach?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cat - Fox Detente

My zen-master cat has done it again. This time, he's made friends with a pair of foxes. When I went to let him in this morning he was sitting on the railing of my deck happily watching two foxes. One was rooting around on my deck and the other was nearby watching. It looked like they were a mated pair.

Beautiful animals. The larger one, I presume the male, wasn't really afraid of me and actually walked over towards me. I was late to work so had no time to explore this further but my guess would be that neighbors are feeding them and they are not scared of people too much.

I spoke with a co-worker who knows about these things and she said it's possible that they have a den nearby and that they're scoping out the area to see if it's safe to bring out the kits to play. That would be really cool. I wonder how I could make things more comfortable or protective for them.

If I was the mystical sort I'd wonder if it was karma - a fox family is comfortable with me and I was a comfortable member of the Fox Team. Hmmmm.....

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Apollo 11 @ 40

Looking back, I really can't explain what transfixed me about the space program.

I was a little boy held in awe watching the last of the Mercury flights and then the Gemini series, when I could, on our Zenith console TV. I cried real tears when the deaths of the Apollo 1 astronauts were broadcast on the PA of my elementary school while most of my schoolmates looked at me as if I was crazy. I was vaguely familar with whom White and Chaffee were at the time but Gus Grissom was a hero! Gus Grissom died! A hero died!

As all small children do I got over it pretty quickly.

I recall not being impressed with the Apollo 7 mission because they didn't go anywhere. I didn't understand the concept of a safe mission to try out new hardware at the time.

Apollo 8 filled me with a sense of wonder. They were orbitting the moon! The moon! Of course, I was distracted by Christmas and the anticipation of presents as I was all of 8 years old. Frank Borman was the media darling of that mission and he was added to my pantheon of heroes.

Apollo 9 is a cypher to me. I can't recall anything about that shot. A pop song, the Monkees; something else must have taken front seat that I can't remember now.

Apollo 10 I followed as closely as a 9 year old could. When the LM descended towards the lunar surface I was mentally begging them to continue on and land. I could not understand how they could get so close and not just go all the way. Oh, it was frustrating for a young and impatient space junkie.

Then came 11. THE moonshot. I followed every little interview on TV and article in the paper - the Miami Herald in my neck of the woods. It was summertime and I had no school and no other responsibilities so I watched every televised moment of the mission.

It's funny - every one talks about Walter Cronkite and Wally Schirra's telecasts of the mission as being the definitive broadcasts. I have to say that Cronkite's lack of technical savvy turned me off even at that young age even though I knew then, somehow, that he was a news icon.

My TV hero for Apollo 11 was ABC News' Jules Bergman. The man knew his stuff. He would pick up his little models of the CM and LM and show how they worked and what they would do and you just knew he knew exactly what he was talking about. I also remember bit pieces on NBC by a very enthusiastic Jay Barbree who's still following NASA to this day. I don't know whatever happened to Bergman but he deserves attention for his insights and reporting.

July 20 1969: I sat on the floor a few feet from the old Zenith console while my parents sat several feet behind on the couch when the Eagle landed, in the evening our time. It was Christmas and the Fourth of July all rolled into one for me. My parents, alas, were less than elated. The TV said that the astronauts would take a rest period before leaving the LM and that meant BEDTIME to the folks.

I whined and cajoled and...just before being forced to bed the TV announced that the astronauts would be coming out soon! I reclaimed my spot on the carpet and watched various news analysts debate whther the men would sink into lunar dust and what other calamities may befell them.

Finally, FINALLY, a bit after 10 PM they exited the LM. The static-laced images came through as well as Armstrongs famous first words: "One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind". He then moved around a bit and, belatedly, the TV image was overlaid with a "MAN ON MOON" caption. Or something like that; I'm sure I could look it up but it would steal from the memory.

After a while of watching my parent insisted I go to bed. It must have been around midnight and, frankly, I was so tired with anticipation and the excitement that I didn't complain.

The next morning the Herald headline was "MAN ON MOON" in the largest type I had ever seen. I sat at our dining room table until my Dad was finished with the paper and passed it over to me (I had been an avid reader for a while by that time). I read it quickly and without depth; I waited for my Dad's attention to move elsewhere. Then I took the front page and stashed it in my room to keep what I thought was forever (It was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992).

The later missions didn't impact me as much. I remember Shepard's golf drive and a few other things from the successful missions. The Apollo 13 crisis was surreal to me - I thought that NASA was infallible and that it was all going to be OK and it wasn't until years later that I understood how wrong I was and the depth of the crisis.

I'm 49 now and it's almost 37 years since the end of the moon missions. In 1974 I had to do a report for school on the Space Shuttle. I thought it was a great idea but when I saw it was limited to low earth orbit I knew, even at that age, that human spaceflight was going to be limited to a low ceiling for a long time to come. So when Viking landed on Mars shortly thereafter I wanted; no, I needed proof of life to be found to give us a reason to go out again.

Even if the most ambitious plans of NASA are funded to fruition, with typical teething delays, I'll be 70+ before a man walks on Mars. Buzz and Neil will no longer be with us. It doesn't seem fair.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


A smallish rant.

There are a lot of IT departments out there who have rigid standards on every aspect of application development. Coding standards, naming standards, etc etc.

Unfortunately, most shops have adopted standards as a means of control. Standards put in place for thus reason are often an actual impediment to the process of software design.

Standards should exist for one reason and one reason only - to ensure reproducible quality in work performed. A standard should not detract from the process but should enable a quality bar.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hungarian Notation Diatribe

Sometimes I think coding standards are like fashion standards. Often, styles and notation are fawned all over one year and then criticized and passe the next.

The current target of the code fashion moguls is Hungarian notation. That's the idea of prefacing a variable or object name with the type of variable or object.

According to what I've researched, this is no longer needed because of Intellisense and cute little popups when you hover over code telling you all about the source of the entity. So, if you still use code conventions like btnEdit for an button with an Edit caption, you're some sort of reprobate.

Interestingly, Microsoft stays away from this debate in code samples. To them, a Label is forevermore Label1 in sample code. I can kind of understand that since being an ex-Softie I remember the reluctance to embrace 3rd party"standards".

Personally, I still use a type of Hungarian and probably always will. I don't see why it's such a bad thing to name a variable boolActive when it's a boolean flag or intChildren when it's an integer variable. Who does it hurt? It makes hard-printed code easier to read and it's easier to "digest" a block of code with its intent. The name of the variable or object has no impact on the stack or heap so what does it matter?

Stupid code standard dweebs. Get a real job.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

VS 2008 Bug with Master Pages

This is really dumb.....

I created a template that uses a Master Page with the skmmenu control - a very common menu control. With the template I have a default.aspx file that has nothing but a reference to the master page. Simple enough?

When creating a web site based on the template, I get an "Error Creating Control" when I look at default.aspx. However, if I first click on MasterPage and leave it in Source view and then click on default page, the menu bitmap is shown and no error.

Obviously, there's a synch issue here but even more obvious to me is that there are a group of testers in DevDiv at MS doing a shit job.

It's becoming increasingly apparent to me that MS is pushing out code that isn't being vetted fully and UX (docs, examples) can't keep up either. C'mon guys....all the cool tools in the world won't help us out here in the real world if you don't testit or document it.

Monday, June 08, 2009

ASP Menu Control and XMLDataSource

Alright, who's the dumbass who decided to make it so that it's very, very counterintuitive to create a horizontal menu strip using the ASP.Net Menu control with an XMLDataSource?

Beat my head against this one all day. It's easy in code, easy in markup, but only ONE root node from XML? Gimme a break.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Friday, May 01, 2009

Tech Surfing, USA!

Sorry....thinking about the title got me to thinking of old 60's beach songs. Anyway...

Being jobless for the last month put me into a lot of interview cycles. And, as is the wont, I was asked a lot of leading questions about my experience. How much do I know about Team Foundation Server? SQL Server 2008? WCF?

One can always buffalo and claim experience when the truth is that very few have a great amount of experience in any of these things. I opted for the truth - "heard about 'em, read about 'em - and I'll learn 'em when it's needed".

IMHO, anyone who claims expertise in anything in the development world with a shelf life of less that 2 years or so is a liar. Let's be honest here - a serious development project takes months of planning and requirements gathering. Serious and/or experienced developers don't bet the farm on brand-new technologies. They just don't unless they have really gullible clients.

So...the project kicks off and is projected to last 6-9 months (an IT average - look it up - used to be 18 months). During that time the dev team is doing their best to implement functionality using what they already know, right? So where does the new stuff come in? That's shit they play with at home.

SQL Server 2008? Gimme a break. Good DBAs don't mess with infrastructure without a compelling need. Sure, they might standup a SQL 2005 or 2008 database for a limited project but the business will likely be run on SQL Server 2000 ... maybe 2005.

TFS is great. From a test perspective it's nirvana in that you can create and manage tests within a development project. And it supplants VSS - a longtime standard. So maybe it has more traction in newer projects.

WCF? Everyone wants it, no one seems to really know it. It has reinvigorated looks into SOA architecture but we've had that since Web Services and SOAP and WSDL and all that junk came around in 2000.

The botton-line point I am making is that a good skills assessment should be made on what was hot 3 years ago because those are the only technologies that anyone is going to have any real-world experience with.

I am proudly ignorant of F#, cloud computing,and other current and future paradigms. Ask me again 3 years from now.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Invaders!

Something possessed me to add the old series, The Invaders, to my Netflix queue a few months ago. I vaguely remembered liking it when I was a kid when it first came out n 1967. So far, I've seen several of the original episodes and, man!, what a great show that was!

It's done by Quinn Martin,the same guys who did The FBI and The Fugitive and it has the same hallmarks: Voiceover intro and ending, "Act I", "Act II", et al.

The premise is that some guy sees an alien spacecraft land and can't convince anyone of it. Meanwhile, while he's checking it out, his home is burned down, the police think he's nuts, and his business partner dies. So now he's on the run hunting them down each episode.

Great show and it's an obvious influence on later shows like the X-Files.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Cat - Raccoon Detente

If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I'd never have believed it.

My family owns a cat that is the most peace-loving, mellow cat ever born. This cat had never attacked another animal as far as I know. It loves to go out on our back deck and watch the squirrels carry on and the squirrels have accepted the fact that it's a passive observer and will parade right in front of it without fear.

Sometimes I leave unsalted peanuts out for the squirrels and, the other night, there were several that the squirrels had missed. As I was reading on the back porch I saw a raccoon come up to the deck and - timidly - start to grab and each the nuts. Meanwhile, my cat came to the back porch door and wanted out. With some trepidation I let him out.

The cat went about halfway across the deck before noticing the raccoon. The raccoon backed off and started making itself look bigger by extending it's forearms and trying to look menacing. My cat just stood there looking left and right and never directly at the raccoon.

The raccoon advanced on the cat and got face-to-face and started swishing it's forearms and snarling. The cat continued to act non-chalant. The raccoon then took a few steps back and reapproached the cat peacefully, nodding it's head up and down.

It walked right up to the cat and both animals sniffed each other nose to nose. Satisfied, the raccoon resumed eating nuts while the cat sat scant inches away without a care in the world.

I called the cat in that night but the next night I let the cat out and a few minutes later saw my cat *playing* with the raccoon. Every few minutes the animals would stop playing and do a "kissy, kissy" with the noses again. It was clear that they enjoyed each others company.

Is that normal or am I raising the Gandhi of cats?