When you transition from a code monkey

by Codewiz51 17. July 2015 06:01

I pretend to develop software for a living.  As much as I would like to claim I develop software, I really only dabble in it as a hobby nowadays.  I'm older now, and my coworkers and supervisors depend on my experience for a number of functions other than entering code into an editor: estimating, advising on technology, working out project plans and most importantly, organizing people to get stuff done.  I'm afraid my usefulness as a code monkey has passed.  I worry now about transitioning applications developed with new technologies to our current production environment.  I have to ask questions like: "How do I support your software?"; "How do I determine the source of exceptions in your code?"  As developers hurry to adopt new technologies, I have to be concerned with how we support the application.  How does this technology fit with our ability to administer it: how do we secure data delivered by a node.js web server?  Have we really secured our JBOSS server properly?  How well does active directory integrate with Red Hat's OpenShift?  Linux, Apache and JBOSS may be old hat to many, but our administrators are having to make a difficult transition for our newer applications and environment.  Training is time consuming.  Working training in to a busy administrator's schedule is not an easy task.  Determining the most effective training hasn't turned out to be very much fun either.  Even our developers are learning of the difficulty of keeping Java updated and in sync with JBOSS releases, keeping SOLR updated and making code changes for breaking changes in the patches is not proving to be an easy process.

So, to sum up, there is no magic bullet.  Someone will always be looking for the next new thing to help software developers.  But I'm relegated to slogging along, making sure we can implement the technology in a production environment; that we don'y give away the keys to our kingdom because we didn't know how to secure a new technology.

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Java | JavaScript | JBoss | Programming

Mac Mini, USB 3.0, Bluetooth and WiFi

by Codewiz51 8. March 2015 08:27

I recently purchased a 7 port Ankar powered USB Hub.  All was fine with my original layout, but yesterday, I decide to layout my devices to reduce clutter.  Just after completing the rearrangement of devices on my desktop, I started having trouble with my WiFi dropping and then not being able to reconnect.  Shortly thereafter, my Apple Magic Mouse began disconnecting.

I dutifully shutdown my Mini, disconnected all the devices, ran hardware diagnostics, booted in single user mode, cleared the SMC, etc.  Could not find any problems.  Mac booted properly, mouse worked properly, WiFi connected.  What the heck was going on?  I changed out my Crucial memory with the original Apple memory.  The Mac with no devices was working properly.

I started reattaching devices, first connecting the Ankar hub, then external drives, Apple Superdrive, etc.  Boom!  WiFi went flakey.  While turning off the WiFi, my Magic Mouse disconnected.  Rebooting gave me a completely blank screen with only a mouse cursor.  Things appeared to be going down hill quickly and I was not happy, because I had planned to put 20 or 30 miles on my bike in the sunshine.

So I stripped down the Mini again.  Turned off the magic mouse.  Plugged in a USB mouse.  Plugged in a wired network cable.  Booted.  Managed to log in.  Turned off WiFi on the Mini.  Turned on the Magic Mouse.  It connected properly.  Unplugged the USB Mouse.  Started plugging in devices.  Everything continued to work.  Left the WiFi off.  Rebooted.  The Mini came up and I could log on just fine with the wired network cable.  Decided not to tempt fate and left the WiFi turned off.

My (incomplete and unsubstantiated) conclusion was that rearranging the Mini, with all the USB devices sitting close by on the Ankar hub was causing interference with all of the wireless devices I was using.  Since the Mini is not really portable, I decided to leave the network cable plugged in and turn off the WiFi.  However, I'm not super happy about this, because the Mac no longer syncs with my iPhone over WiFi.

I'll settle in with this setup for a while, until I can figure out what to do with all of my USB devices.


OS X | Mac Mini | iPhone

My Mac Mini

by Gene Harris 7. November 2014 10:29

I've been using a MacBook Pro at work for some time.  It's an 8 MB i7 with a 750 GB hard drive.  It's not one of the new Retina's, but it's definitely a nice laptop. I decided to purchase a Mac for my home.  I'm not in the mood to spend $2500 for a 15" MacBook Pro.  No doubt it's a great machine, but I just want something to dink around with.  I ended up deciding on a Mac mini.  I purchased a 3 Ghz i7.  I upgraded the RAM to 16 GB.  I've been really pleased with how well this little box works.  The software is very well thought out.  I purchased Parallels for OS X and installed Windows 8.  It's really nice to be able to work on Windows (specifically Visual Studio 2013) and X Code at the same time.  I didn't imagine loading up the Windows machine, but I am constantly adding new developer functionality, specifically SQL Server 2014 and IIS in a spiffy new VM with Windows Server 2012 R2.  It's very cool and with 16 GB, I have enough RAM to run both machines simultaneously.  It's not like having dedicated hardware, but it is good enough for my needs.

I'll continue to post as I discover new uses for my Mac.  I'm already hooked on iPhoto, but I understand that's probably going away.  However, the auto import and faces functionality is really nice.  


Infrastructure | Life | OS X

Whither My Home Network?

by Codewiz51 7. November 2014 07:39

I have a small home network that I use for hobbyist programming and R & D on new (to me) technologies.  I lost one of my servers (which also acted as a backup domain controller) a couple of days ago.  There was no real content on the server that I needed to save, and fortunately, the disk drive is OK, it's the motherboard that went out.

I'm debating about continuing to maintain this home network.  It's constantly an issue in terms of maintenance.  If the internal DNS server goes down, my wife gets mad.  If the print server starts acting up, my wife gets mad at me.  I'm working with really old hardware, which could go out at any moment.  You get the picture...

So, I'm debating about just shutting down the home network, removing the two workstations I have from the domain, and going back to being an average hobbyist.  I primarily need access to a SQL Server and an IIS Server.  I have a couple of options.  I can use the services on WinHost as my primary environment. I also have an MSDN account through my company that allows me to set up sophisticated environments for development.  In other words, I have the capability to continue developing, while simplifying my life.

I'll think on this a little more and hopefully get some things implemented over the weekend.



Infrastructure | Life

Twitter vs Blogging

by Gene.Harris 7. November 2014 07:33

I find I'm posting snarky little comments on Twitter as opposed to composing interesting content on my blog.  I'm allowing my bad habits on Twitter to interfere with the development of meaningful content, which users may utilize to solve their own problems or advance their knowledge.

I'm going to attempt to change this by foregoing most of my useless Twitter posts, and spending some time actually developing real content.  Hopefully, the search engines will do the rest.

As for Twitter, I'll try to limit myself to posting links to content I find around the internet, or content I develop.





This blog represents my personal hobby, observations and views. It does not represent the views of my employer, clients, especially my wife, children, in-laws, clergy, the dog, the cat or my daughter's horse. In fact, I am not even sure it represents my views when I take the time to reread postings.  So, take most of what I say with a grain of salt.

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