Professional Geek. Decent Human Being.

Dispelling the Launch Myth

I’m just going to lay it down in small words: “If you build it, they will come,” is a crock of shit. To borrow a phrase, if I had a nickle for every time a website launch was delayed on account of the imperfections… As a web programmer, I see a lot of projects come and go. We depend on the project manager’s ability to say, “We could spend more time polishing and adding features, but let’s get this in front of some eyes,” which is a hard thing to say, I’ll admit, because there are 10,000 things that could be better.  If you happen to be the project manager, then that burden is on you. And what makes it even harder is this strange voice in your head that says, in no uncertain terms, that as soon as you upload those … Continue reading

PHP/MySQL Full Database Search and Replace

Downloadable script to perform a find and replace operation over all the tables and fields in a database. Continue reading

What Learning Actually Looks Like

My stance that the one reliable way to determine if your audience is learning is by eavesdropping. Continue reading

Accidents & Inspiration

…will lead you to your destination. — Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Long Way Home I went to school on an academic scholarship, and I wish I could say that I got to do that on account of my incredible foresight,  determination, and hard work.  But that’s not at all what happened.  Here’s how it went down: When I was fairly young (7), I realized it felt really good to do well on my homework.  When you’re seven, you don’t really think of things in terms of hard and not-hard.  You think of things in terms of in-trouble versus not-in-trouble.  I didn’t think about being smarter than everyone else, I just saw an easy way to not agitate the adults at home or at school, and that seemed just fine to me. Compliments about being smart were nice, but really, I was … Continue reading

Why do you want to be rich?

An honest to goodness examination of what one is supposed to do when money IS an option. Continue reading

Seeing the Build

Entreprenuerial programmers can see the end product in their heads before they get started writing the spec.   That vision of the end prodcut is the reason for starting to develop in the first place.  But seeing the end product is a long way from what it takes to make a good programmer.  Really all that means is that they are good dreamers, and has nothing at all to do with writing code. Good programmers follow specs (you do have a spec, don’t you?) and cover all the edge cases as they write code, test  and fix (write code test, and fix,  write code, test and…) But it’s the entreprenuerial programmers that muscle through that, from the very beginning, and do something mediocre programmers will never do: See the Build When a programmer begins to visualize how each module of … Continue reading

Is College Worth It?

There’s a healthy debate going on in which youngish people are wondering if going to college is worth the money, the time, the effort, the … hustle.  In fact, coverage of this very thing can be found on this website, Nettuts, which is known for it’s tutorials and not so much for its articles (you’ll see why).  If you ask me, the go-to-college-vs-get-a-job debate is tired.  Historically, college graduates make more than non-graduates, but that gap is closing.  I, for one, think there are better reasons to go to college than your salary, but I digress. Really, there are two things that I hear often enough to write about on account of their absurdity: “My friend so-and-so got her degree in [ something ] and hasn’t been able to find a job in [ a number of  ] years.” “My … Continue reading

Advice Teachers Should Give

The things we don’t say to students (but should!) in a neat little Top Ten list. Continue reading

The Thing About Teaching

…is that you’re aiming at a moving target. And it’s hard to say who you’re serving in the first place.  Is it the students?  Their parents? The board? The principal? Oh sure.  Take the easy way out and say it’s the students.  No Child Left Behind.  All children have a right to learn.  Blah blah blah.   There’s a very good argument out there that says that teachers are very much like prison wardens. “And as for the schools, they were just holding pens within this fake world. Officially the purpose of schools is to teach kids. In fact their primary purpose is to keep kids locked up in one place for a big chunk of the day so adults can get things done. And I have no problem with this: in a specialized industrial society, it would be a … Continue reading

My Living Will

  Last night my sister and I were sitting in the den and I said to her, ‘I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle to keep me alive. That would be no quality of life at all, If that ever happens, just pull the plug.’   So she got up, unplugged the computer, and threw out my wine.   She’s such a bitch.   My mom sent me this in an email.  Thank God we can make jokes in the face of confusion.