Sunday, February 11, 2007

For Dummies

I've always despised the "For Dummies" book series. It's not the idea... the few I've browsed in the bookstore (with suitable disguise in place) seem to be well-written and humorous. It's the damn title. If I buy the "Sewing for Dummies" book, and interpret language literally, the purchase has nothing to do with my novice status as a seamstress (seamster?) but conveys that I'm actually a dummy.

I must admit I bought one once - but it was appropriate: "Golf for Dummies". My golf game is worthy of the term (nothwithstanding my strict grammatical interpretation argument above).

Saw an interesting title on the shelf at the library today: "Beginning Java for Dummies". This begged the question: where is the "Advanced Java for Dummies" book? And does one exist? Can you get to the advanced tier of "Java developer" and be a dummy? Perhaps the library just doesn't carry it. It was, however, a college library (OK, not exactly a top-tier university).

I checked Amazon. No, there's no "Advanaced Java for Dummies". But there is a POJFD book (OK... take off on POJO.... plain old "Java for Dummies"). There's also "Java Programming for Dummies". Not sure what the difference is. If you're not programming with Java, what exactly are you doing with it? Hmmm.... Perhaps the "Java for Dummies" book describes how to order at Starbucks.

Aside=> My favorite Starbucks order: Alok's: "double tall, two splenda, breve cappacino".... I used to pick up coffee for him and the barista would always eye me and say... "Ah, for Alok?". As if to make sure that I wasn't actually ordering Alok's "usual" for myself. Fortunately, at the time, I had no clue what I was ordering.... it could have come with pork rinds as a garnish for all I knew.

A search for the terms java and dummies on Amazon yielded 412 results. There were only 14 results for ruby and dummies. Hmmm.... guess I figured out where the smart people are hangin' out. To be fair though, not all responses were relevant to the specific technology. The Ruby results included a few "dummies" books whose authors included someone with the name "Ruby". And I'm pretty sure "Ballet for Dummies" has nothing to do with Ruby. Not quite sure how that got into the mix. Didn't have the time to peruse the 412 Java results to weed out the chafe.

Found "Management for Dummies"... hmmm, maybe there is an argument for the validity of this series. (Thinking about managers from previous companies of course.... really.... wonder if any of them are still on my Christmas list?)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Shoemaker's shoemaker

Sometimes I feel like a shoemaker who walks around life in bare feet. I'm a software development professional... consultant even. I help companies create advanced software.

My colleagues are hot on IPods, Macs, PS2, XBox, fancy cell phones.

What's wrong with CD's? I've got a CD player... a bunch of CD's and I can cycle through them. I know, the IPod and other MP3 players allow you to consolidate. OK, good. I have sparse financial resources (4 kids!) and have to wisely allocate those resources. Do I need an IPod? Focus on the word "need". Do I really NEED it? Yes... I'd like one. (feel free to post a response and I'll give you my mailing address for your to send me a check.... or maybe I'll even figure out how to do PayPal, or whatever the cool version of it is now)

Macs.... I really don't understand this one. OK, it makes some cool things easier.... like creating movies, music, art, etc. I'm a left-brained guy. This is not as important to me. If you're a computer guy complaining to your management/IT department that you can't be effective with a PC.... but if they were to get you a MAC, boy, you'd be smokin'.... check your motivation. I mean, really... as an IT professional.... you can't figure out how to make your Windows experience efficient? Be honest with yourself.... you're after the cool factor. You couldn't get the chearleader in school, so now you're trying to be the "football player" of cool technology. Give it a rest. If you want a Mac, buy one yourself. And stop your bitchin.

Gaming machines.... really. Sounds cool. Why don't you try LIVING life instead of experiencing it vicariously through the imagination of some geeks who create virtual worlds? Reminds me of a guy ... good friend actually.... who claimed he couldn't make our volleyball match because he had to sit at home and watch a Giants game. What's with that. Do you live life, or are you a spectator?

Do you really need to check your email via the phone? Really? Are you that important? Ask yourself ... as you thumb through your emails in mid-conversation with a colleague or employee of yours.... is this more important than human contact? I had a manager once who thumbed through his blackberry as we had a "one-on-one" at a Taco Bell of all places. As I was conveying my career goals and such, he was thumbing through the blackberry and mumbling... "uh huh". Please.

Lastly... this "connectedness technology" does not exist for you ... it's for me. If you expect me to answer my cell phone when you call, you have severely mistaken my motivation for obtaining said cell phone. You see... I bought it to make it easier for ME to connect to others.... not for YOU to find me at all hours of the day and night.