Work with the 20 percent.

Amazingly insightful easy, as usual, on coding horror about The Two Types of Programmers.

The 20% folks are what many would call "alpha" programmers — the leaders, trailblazers, trendsetters, the kind of folks that places like Google and Fog Creek software are obsessed with hiring. These folks were the first ones to install Linux at home in the 90’s; the people who write lisp compilers and learn Haskell on weekends "just for fun"; they actively participate in open source projects; they’re always aware of the latest, coolest new trends in programming and tools.

That’s why I like working at Forum One so much.  Outside of work, I know my colleagues are off learning Erlang, writing their own MVC Framework just to learn what it takes, writing their own Wiki-like site, or building a search engine for restaurant menu igredients.  Outside of work, I’ve learned, and brought back, Jquery, SVN, Solar-PHP, and dabbled with CakePHP & Django.  It’s not just the programmers either, our sys-admins run their own websites/projects outside of work too.

Have I mentioned, we’re hiring?


One day, they’re just gonna tag me like a polar bear

I came back from a client meeting today to find 1 person looking for me, and then two people aiming me to let know the first person is also looking for me.  Sometimes I hate AIM.  Although one day I turned off IM thinking I’d get some work done, but then I got a call to find out where I was.

From Office Space:

Peter Gibbons:
You see Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.

Bob Porter:
Don’t… don’t care?

Peter Gibbons:
It’s a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and
Initech ships a few extra units, I don’t see another dime, so where’s
the motivation? And here’s another thing, I have eight different bosses
right now.
Bob Porter:

Peter Gibbons:
Eight, Bob. So that means when I make a mistake, I have eight different
people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only real motivation is
not to be hassled, that, and the fear of losing my job. But you know,
Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get


Debian Desktop Destruction and Recovery

Luckily the install is very painless and mostly automated (easier than the last windows install I did). Despite all the critiques of linux installs (and yes, it did cross my mind that a new Mac would be nice), I find myself hunting for drivers and driver CDs (especially for motherboard subsystems) than I have to compared to Windows.

That said, I have to do the following to get the PC back into a useful state – install nvidia binary drivers, setup twinview for the dual monitors, setup apache2 virtual hosts for my local development sites, install mysqll4.1, install php5, install subversion. The most painful one will be recompiling the kernel to include mppe support so I can vpn into the network at Forum One and be productive on Wednesday.

Not sure what it says about me, or my comfort with linux nowadays compared to 3 years ago, but none of the above sound all that challenging. I think its mostly because apt is such a handy packaging system, debian developers do a good job maintaing packages, so that something like subversion is just an apt-get install subversion away.

Update: at 3am, I started installing at 11:30pm, I had a working system with all of the above. MMPE support is now in them main linux kernel tree so no more patching and kernel recompiles for me!


Memorable quotes from after work beers.

Went out with Greg, Sandy, Nyk, and Corey to hang out and have a beer or more this evening. Some notable quotes from the evening:

Oh was I drunk? Sometimes I’m a virgin when I’m drunk
Greg, why do you have to be so f*cking belligerent
Five or six long island ice teas sounds pretty good right about now.
Schnippy aka Greg
Should I be watching Family Guy?
It’s not named after the ship. It’s named after the ship’s class.

A primer on Major League Soccer.

At the annual retreat for work, one of the sessions involved presenting about organizations we found interesting or good models. Finally, all my knowledge and time spent on BigSoccer and MLSNet paid off. Not all of us were tagged to present, and I felt really bad for eveyone else who actually spent some time researching and preparing for their presentations. I just came in ready to wing it, with some main points I’d thought of on the drive in, and somehow managed to impress the judges enoough to come in first. Here are some of the points I made, as best as I can remember.

I chose Major League Soccer (MLS) as the organization I presented on, not because they are doing very important work or working on some great cause. But they are trying to succeed at something – selling soccer to Americans – in the face of many challenges. First off, the team sports marketplace in the US is crowded with the NFL, MLB, NBA, and – until the lockout – the NHL commanding most sport’s fans attention. Second, they are trying to sell a sport which is seen as foreign, unexciting, unmanly by many sports fans and sports reporters. And finally, a number of sports leagues, some better backed and marketed have failed recently. The XFL, backed by Vince McMahon, failed after only one season. Even the WUSA, founded on the heels and hubris of the USA Women’s World Cup soccer team, was forced to fold after 3 seasons.



I’m living in Office Space

I actually got to say the following to one of our managers over lunch today:

“So, project managers would take the requirements from the client and bring them to the developer. Would you say that’s what they would do here?”

It pretty much made my day…


Crazy Servers at Work

I’m not sure what gods we angered at work but one of our production servers has been quite unruly this week which has left me with little time to post to my blog.