Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

Carpe Beerum: Life's Lessons

May 29, 2011 GMT

 Today I met with a person who was one of my students in an evening class at Merrimack College in 1981. At that time he was programming for Compugraphics, and eventually became a manager of thirty people at a large hardware company. Our conversation was not about “bits and bytes”, but tended to be on management style and those things that freeze a project instead of moving it forward. The parts of the conversation that impressed me the most were not things that came straight from a text book on computer science, but were things picked up over time and honed through experience. Some people would call them “common sense”, but unfortunately the points he made are not that...
The King's English....or Spanish...or Portuguese....or......

May 29, 2011 GMT

 This blog is not aimed at those people who try to speak in languages other than their own native language. For those people I have the greatest respect. This blog is aimed at people who do not take the time and effort to communicate well in their own native language. My niece teaches high school English in the Pennsylvania school system, and tells me that some of her students do not seem to know or care that there the words that rhyme with the word “to” that are spelled “two” and “too” have completely different meanings. "I have to friends" is something they would write. Recently I gently corrected a man who was studying business in college when...
Campus Party - USA

May 13, 2011 GMT

 A couple of times I have written about attending an event called “Campus Party”. Started in Spain more than a decade ago, it is like a LAN party, but a LAN party on steroids. Thousands of college age (and “a little older than college age”) technologists bring their favorite systems to a large convention hall and spend a week showing each other what they are doing and exchanging ideas. Easily one-quarter of my Facebook contacts are people I have met at various Campus Parties, or their friends. In addition to this, various speakers from academia and industry come to address the “Campusarios” (as the attendees are called) and often meet on a less formal basis to see...
"May I help you?" - Conference Slides From POSSCON

May 08, 2011 GMT

 In March I attended POSSCON in Columbia, South Carolina for the second time. I wrote about their conference last year, and this year's conference was slightly bigger and even better than last year. This year they had four tracks, Leadership, Technical, Healthcare and Education. For those of you who have not been to Columbia, it is the place where people smile at you when they greet you, where people say “sir” and “m'am”, “please” and “thank you”, and (according to the Mayor) the weather is perfect every day. Add to that the comfortable conference hotel and the fact that good beer and southern cooking is right across the street from the convention center, and you...
Do not say "Closed Source" or "Proprietary Software"....instead say "Legacy Software"

May 05, 2011 GMT

I was at the Red Hat Summit in Boston yesterday and while I was sitting in a session about “Open Source” I started thinking about some of the terms the community uses.Words are very powerful, of course, and many marketing campaigns have been based on a catchy phrase, or a turn of words.I listened to the speakers in my session talking about “Free Software” and “Open Source”, but the worst that they could say about our real competitors is that they are “Closed Source” or “Proprietary Software”.In my view binary-only software is worse than what either of those phrases portray. For many years I have talked about the freedom that Free Software gives you. Unfortunately a lot...
Off Topic: A small issue with Facebook OR "Do people at Facebook really use Facebook?"

May 02, 2011 GMT

This is a little “off topic” for a Free Software blog, but since a lot of my Free Software friends use Facebook, I hope that others will suffer me writing about this today.I have a lot of Facebook “Friends” (at this time, approximately 3300). Maybe this is not as many as some people, but it is definitely more than most.Many of these people I “befriended” mostly because they sent me a request. For some reason they wanted to be a “friend” to a sixty year-old guy who works a bit with computers, and otherwise likes to repair clocks and automated musical instruments when he is not drinking beer or scotch. I have other hobbies too, but this is a family-oriented blog, so......(As...
Mea Culpa

May 01, 2011 GMT

 I believe that one of the measures of an adult is to have the ability to admit “I was wrong”. While I am not happy when I am wrong, I take pride in the fact that I often give people the benefit of the doubt, and when I am wrong I freely admit it. I believe that once you admit your mistake, and apologize if necessary to any offended people, you can then move on to the next task and try to do better the next time. One of my first managers was a very bright man who could not say the words “I was wrong”. It took the people under him a while to realize this, but one day we were sitting around the lunch table and it occurred to us that we had never heard him say that phrase,...
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