Archive for the ‘Personal Musings’ Category

I was doing some light reading via Slashdot on why guis suck revisited. Reading the endless debate about graphical interfaces versus command line is like a political debate. Authors often frame the article to one spectrum end or another to entice response.

The myriad of examples back up a specific view point I’m going to say something totally uncontroversial: “real programmers use the right tool for the job”. This post title itself being a reference to xkcd “Real Programmers”.

Yes we all know plenty of examples where a well placed sed saved the day. We also know when popping open an application and clicking a few buttons is much easier than writing individual commands.

Really, how many people do you know who use mail or mutt as a command line interface to their mail? How many people browse the internet using links? My approach to any problem is to find the right tool to accomplish the task. Sometimes this means going straight to the command line, other times it means interacting with a program via a graphical interface.

Real programmers have an arsenal of tools to get the job done and can identify the best way out of a problem.

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If there was any one thing that drove me nuts about Request Tracker (3.8.4), it was the date picker.

It’s 2011 and it still uses a new pop-up window to display a calendar for choosing dates.

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From my recent problem with a wireless phone compnay I found humor in the BBB complaints page.

I guess they have a lot of problems with vehicles (expected), “cell phone or wireless carrier” (unexpected), and then ‘everything else’.

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This has zero to do with programming, but my own story of how restocking fee is not a penalty when returning a device.

To be fair upfront, this was my own fault because I trusted a representative of Verizon over reading all the fine print.


I wanted a new phone, was too lazy to go to a store and try them so I bought one online. Before I did this I did a ‘chat online with a representative’ to get the warm and fuzzy.

They told me ‘no problem’ if you don’t like your phone you can return it. Long story short, I didn’t like the phone and went to return it but was told there was a $35 restocking fee.

I know, didn’t you read anything? It is posted many places that I didn’t look, that there is a $35 restocking fee.

So I railed against Verizon reps and got these two responses from two different reps:

Chat 1

Rep 1

vw chat

Rep 2

My phone conversations went no where.


I filled a complaint with the BBB and within 24 hours a Verizon Wireless corporate individual contacted me and assured me that it wasn’t misleading and that they would refund the restocking fee so I could get a new phone.

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Rubies for the holidays

Over the last two weeks I have been taking vacation and diving head first into my first major ruby language project.

Having never programed ruby before my gut reaction to the language is one word: awesome.

The only drawback to it is my own misunderstanding of the limits to the ‘magic’ of ruby. I definitely fell prey to some PHP-esque syntax that is no longer necessary.

My favorite so far: whatever is at the end of the action is returned.

# never mind that this is built it
def even (number)
  number % 2

@attr = even(2) {|r| r ? r : nil}

Biggest suprise: nil is an object and nil.id is 4

At any rate, programming a rake task in a ror application (Redmine) has been a fun and interesting challenge. I look forward to using ruby more in my problem solving and application building experiences.

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Just a huge pet peeve after switching phones over the weekend. Micro USB is supposed to be the new universal charge/data transfer male/female connector for phones.

Great so lots of devices use micro usb for charging, but LG and Motorola use different style encasements, making chargers incompatible even though its the same micro usb male/female connectors.

Argh! the frustration.

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Something new we’ve been using at the workplace is the project management/issue tracking system Redmine.

This isn’t so much a review as it is a go check it out, it’s cool.

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