Annie Weaver

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since Apr 17, 2001
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Recent posts by Annie Weaver

Thanks for all the good advice. Management is a possibility, I've been team leader and such. Maybe project management, when I'm ready for longer hours. As long as I can keep it intellectually challenging. I'm not tied to total programming, and the prospects seemed pretty dismal for a while there. But I do need intellectual stimulation at work, and there's not much in business meetings these days, (unless you start scheming, but doing that out of boredom is catty ). I think two years of programming is skimpy to head into tech management, but there are certainly managers with less...and there's room for all kinds.
[aside - I have the MBA. I went to night school in Las Vegas because it was a better place to meet guys than the bars. But they were all married! ]
And you are right. It's my own fault that I don't know struts or web services middleware other than in the vaguest generalities. I'm going to start by learning eclipse today. I have to write some snippets for class anyway.

Thanks again,
Annie
15 years ago
I guess I am one of the lucky ones ... or am I?
I had a fulltime java coding job, then moved to XML and some other nontech stuff, liaison to a committee of CIOs and some writng. Gradually the nontech stuff grew. I haven't written java since the end of 2000. I did a four month project with Zope and Python in 2002, but other than that, I've been sitting in meetings and doing odd non-tech jobs for the same company. Now I'm in this odd subsidiary start-up branch of the same company, supposedly helping to set up classes in Photoshop and such. So I'm still employed, and my three year anniversary was the other day, but my programming skills are evaporating. I have to go to a marketing seminar today in Customer Relations Management. What a bizarre world.
I'm taking a masters in Computer Science online at http://www.capitol-college.edu
because my Bachelors is actually in French Lit. It's the only Comp Sci degree I've seen that doesn't require C, and is approved for Veteran's financial aid.
I wouldn't call this job part of a career path. But the nice thing is that they include lunch hour inside the weekly forty, so if I went anywhere else, I'd work longer hours. It's a trap! but until I get the degree, another year or so, I guess I should be thankful.
what do you think?
15 years ago
Hats off to the moderators and the owner and all the powers that be at javaranch. It's a great site.
There are certainly many forums on the internet where anything goes, and they are so full of sex, aggression and uninspired profanity that they are not worth my time. Javaranch has not only attracted thousands of intelligent people, but also allows relatively free discussion without it degenerating into the former. True, you are relying on personal judgements of posts, rather than some codified rules, but it works really well, so don't fix it!! The worst that might happen is that something interesting might get deleted, but in the grand scheme of things, the earth will keep spinning.
Ride on, cowboys and cowgirls, let the water flow under the bridge, and go on to the next topic!
17 years ago
The flourescents are on and the air conditioning is working fine today.
17 years ago
Coffee is not the best solution- it helps for the moment but the more you use it the worse it works. Try drinking a large glass of water in between each cup of coffee- dehydration can make you sleepy, and going to the bathroom will at least get you moving.
Another trick is to use the stairs. Before a big meeting, go up enough stairs to make your breath huffy. That will get your circulation going and keep you alert for awhile.
In the late jurassic, when I was in school, I used to do pushups between chapters to keep awake. It works pretty well, and I won a few bets in bars by doing a quick fifty or so. There are a lot of benefits to this appoach, but it's best after lunch - you don't want to get sweaty too early in the day.
But if you are supposed to be contributing in a meeting and get to the point where your eyes won't focus, excuse yourself and go wash your face with cold water (after running up a flight of stairs!). It's more rude to waste everyone's time in a meeting than it is to leave for a minute. Don't think that people won't notice - show them that you know how to take care of a problem.
17 years ago
Of course there are good and bad programmers, serious CS thinkers and money hungry pretenders, and slightly inflated and totally fake skills on resumes, both among H1B and other foreigners and USA citizens. A lot of the fault lies with the hiring process. You have to get the right keywords onto your resume to get past the screening process, and the screening process doesn't differentiate between javascript, which a java programmer can pick up in a week, and unix, which can take years to master. And the actual job description can change between the advertisement and the start date, and change as time goes on, too. If we want ramp-up time for special skills for a project to be part of IT, we have to accept it ourselves first.
But I want to say that the difference between a good programmer and a bad programmer isn't as clearcut as you might think. One programming job might call for a fast and dirty start-up prototype approach while another might call for a thoroughly documented overtested last-year's proven technology approved by a committee following the standards approach. Sometimes writing as many lines of code as fast as you can is more important and sometimes it's really thinking out and coordinating the design that's necessary. Sometimes a programmer's style doesn't fit the job style, especially if there are communication hurdles. Also, unless there are code reviews, it's hard to judge somebody else's code. If you know some approach they don't, teach them. They might return the favor some day, or they might have some hazard unknown to you they were protecting against.
If they really don't know the technology, get them a book or a url. Not knowing a particular piece of technology doesn't make one a "bad" programmer. Communicate, and find out what the block is, rather than sit in silent judgement.
Which leads me to the next point. If part of the job is documenting code, writing help screens, explaining functionality, debating design, interpreting requirements, etc in English, then a person whose English is not good will not be as good at the job no matter how much code they can spew. Some people in my office cannot make a basic business phone call, and that means they are not as valuable - for example, days have been wasted coding the wrong thing. Of course some H1Bs have excellent English and some USA citizens are impossible to understand. But coding is no longer something you can do alone in your cube all day - it takes interaction and coordination, and as long as that happens in English, some managers will justifiably prefer hiring people whose spoken and written English is effortless.
17 years ago
"The Sky is falling" is a reference to a children's story about a chicken who was afraid the sky was falling. He preached doom but was obviously wrong. For example, you have a guy who says every meeting for three years that you have no documentation and the project is going to be screwed, somebody might answer, yes, and the sky is falling, meaning his fears are groundless.
This is subtly different from crying wolf. Say you have a guy who always calls for more testing of the software. The first couple times you might listen, but after that you won't anymore. The problem is that sooner or later he might be right, but he has lost his credibility.
It comes from a shepherd boy who cried "help me, here's a wolf!" The first couple of times he was wrong, and people got tired of running to help him. The last time, there really was a wolf, but nobody came to help and all the sheep got eaten, depending on the version of the story.
17 years ago
Here's one that may be local to the DC area, I don't know. I hear it a lot.
The HR guy said we would all get training this year, but his lips were moving.
This refers to an old line about how can you tell if a politician is lying? His lips are moving.
17 years ago
To let the cat out of the bag is to reveal a decision or plan or something so that everybody hears about it.
Treading water means the same as keeping your head above water. It means to be in danger of drowning soon unless you get rescued or circumstances change. But you aren't sinking yet.
A lemon is usually a piece of machinery, a car, or something that you bought that doesn't work at all. An albatross is worse than a lemon, because you can't get rid of it.
17 years ago
Here's a slang expression - "to buy the farm" means to die. The implication is that your family can pay off the farm mortgage with the life insurance money.
I'm trying to think of more business ones- an albatross is a bird, and there is a famous poem about a guy who killed one and couldn't get rid of the bad luck that followed, thus an albatross in business is something bad that you can't get rid of.
A dead horse comes from the proverb of it's no use beating a dead horse to make it go faster. In an office, beating a dead horse means trying to keep a project alive long after its usefulness or its backing is gone.
A chicken with its head cut off will sometimes run for a few minutes in crazy patterns that look like panic, but are actually just the nervous system dying out. Hence the expression to run around like a chicken with its head cut off means lots of panicky activity without any thought or productivity.
Pecking order refers to the hierarchy of who has more authority in a business or a chicken coop. Some companies have a lot of peers at each level, and some have a distinct ranking, even if unwritten, of who outranks whom, and the mannerisms with which rank is honored.
The goose that laid the golden egg, or a golden goose, is a great thing (read easy dependable profit). You must not kill the golden goose, because the meat is far less valuable than the eggs it produces alive. In business, it would be applied like this - whiner - John's department hasn't taken any cuts yet. He can afford some hits.
defender- That would be killing the golden goose. John's profits keep us all alive.
People talk about train wrecks a lot in some circles. The train is a project making normal progress along its track. A train wreck is a serious problem (serious enough to derail a project)that you could avoid if you just examine the train tracks all the way out. Many times we only look at the track right in front of the train, so we don't see the train wreck coming until it's too late.
17 years ago
Everybody has to start learning from where they are. I just had to ask how to turn on a phone.
I think people who need extra help are not the bane of the help desks, nor are the tough technical challenges. The worst are the bureaucratic snafus and rudeness.
17 years ago
great point - I know a guy whose English is okay, but his communication skills are so lousy. He cuts people off before they are done speaking, which I believe can be done in any language. But any misunderstanding that ensues is constantly blamed on "English."
17 years ago
Congratulations! Sounds like quite the opportunity. I love my little family dearly, but travel like that sounds so enticing! I will daydream about it.Take care of yourself on the road,
Annie
17 years ago
but I heard at least ten presidents really died from eating too much meat.
17 years ago
Cool. Guess there are a lot of stressors I don't have.
One thing that really keeps me sane even with merger madness going on - my secret unemployment fund, which would probably keep me going for at least a month. Now that's security!
17 years ago