Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Quote of the day

"A political candidate who jumps to conclusions without knowing the facts is not the person you want as your Commander-in-Chief."

George W. Bush, 27 October, 2004

Need comments? Didn't think so.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Being (busy) and Nothingness

Sorry to leave you stranded, folks. Someone seems to have excised about two hours from the average day. I figure it's just a new tax -- I really should have paid more attention to the Speech from the Throne when Parliament opened.

The real time has gone into documenting weird forms. I'm not sure why the code got as weird as it did; maybe somebody out there can clue me in. Still, the app works now, and I have to make sure that nobody performs a weirdectomy to make the app look like a normal Domino app.

What I've done would only be considered a WTF in our little Domino world. I was putting a web app together, and several of the fields in this app are hidden computed fields that get their values via actions and dialogs. Taking that app to the web, I concocted a little under three thousand lines of selectively-loaded JavaScript. (The <script> tags are computed at run-time, the code itself is cacheable, and only a handful of "Gods of the database" will have to download more than a small subset of the JS. Did I mention that the app was non-trivial?) Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the Forum -- I couldn't get the hidden fields to work. It didn't matter whether I left them visible and used the HTML Attributes object or hid them and used "Generate HTML for all fields" the data would always come up truncated in the HTML source. I ended up having to hand-code the HTML fields in passthru with the Designer fields between quotes in the value attribute. I'm not talking about a couple of fields, either. This may be normal in ASP, PHP, JSP and so on, but dammit, this is Domino. I shouldn't have to wear out my typing fingers like that. (I have other fingers that are never used for typing, and they're still relaxed and comfortable. Thanks for asking.)

Anyway, I hope to be firmly into "what are they gonna do, fire me?" mode for the rest of the week, so I should be a bit more active here. See you tomorrow.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Upping the Heaval Factor

Sorry if I've been absent for a while. If you think this blog's been missing beats, you ought to see me in real life these days.

Those who have been following the story so far have no doubt picked up on the fact that there hasn't always been a great deal of stability in my life. I have had the same job for four years now, and it has been rather comforting to have a regular income and a roof over my head. The fact that my work environment was keeping me less than happy was immaterial, as was the fact that the roof currently over my head is the ceiling of a ten-foot-square room in a transient hotel (the bathroom's down the hall). Examining that objectively, you'd probably come to the conclusion that my lifestyle is, well, crap. And you'd be right. But to someone who knows what it's like to sleep in the park without calling it camping, it's a hell of a lot easier to hang on to a bad certainty than it is to take a chance trying to find something better.

Well, events have been conspiring against me lately. The company I work for as I type has made its long-term plan for Notes clear, and that future is a Notes-free environment with no plans to build an equivalent collaborative environment on any other platform. Those of us with half a clue have put the migration off as long as we could, even momentarily expanding the Notes footprint, but there's no stopping C-levels with tunnel vision. To tell the truth, the move to Exchange would be a huge step up from the previous corporate solution, but it ain't Notes by a long shot. In fact, the possibility that we might obtain the tools to create a collaboration and workflow environment using anything beyond what comes free in the box with Win2K3 and Exchange has been clearly eliminated from consideration recently. I have no desire to become an email administrator, and that's not just because I resent the move to Exchange. I'm a puzzler, a problem-solver, a developer, and being reduced to helping fat-fingered users find errant attachments and resetting passwords after every long weekend is not what I'm built for.

Next, after fourteen years of searching, I have finally been able to track down someone who was once the most important person in my life. When I knew her, she was just a kid who'd been forced to get by on her own at far too young an age. With all the troubles in her life, though, she was perhaps the brightest and most articulate person I've ever known (in person at least, dear Readers), and a beautiful soul to boot. All she was missing, really, was a good dose of self-worth, and I tried to help her find that. You know, I was a really nice guy back then -- it was after I'd been sober for long enough to become (and I hate to sound hokey here) spiritually centred, and before I was affected by the ravages of homelessness. I wish I had been able to be there for her for a longer time, but the military doesn't just let you live wherever you want. I may introduce her to you later (she's notable in her own right for the work she's done) but for now it's enough to tell you that I'm hoping that regaining that connection to the person I once was can bring some healing to my life.

She's living and working in Montréal now, and that brings us to Exceptional Event Number Three: an innocuous posting in each of the developerWorks Notes and Domino fora by Ben Dubuc announcing that there were a couple of dev positions available in Montréal. That was one too many coincidences for me to ignore. I enquired, and was more than satisfied with the enthusiasm in the shop. For my favourite platform, I mean. The fact that my name seems to have set off bells of recognition in the Notes group is a little less thrilling. I know I'm good, or, rather, I like to think that I know at some intellectual level that I'm better than bad, but something inside me keeps me from believing that I'm good enough. It's probably a hangover from the days when I was being treated like human refuse. I hope that the expectations aren't too high, 'cause I'm taking that job. And the laws and prices in Québec are such that I will be in a proper dwelling this go-round.

I tendered my resignation from CGI Group Inc. a few minutes ago, and I'm off to Montréal and Computer Horizons for November 8. In the interim, folks, any of you who have my cgi.com address in their addy books should change it to stan dot rogers at gmail dot com for now, particularly if you aren't interested in receiving NDRs. I'm running headlong into the unknown with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. My head and my heart tell me that this will be a fantastic voyage. My demons tell me that everyone will find out I've been faking all this "expertise" stuff and that I'm going to crash and burn. My stomach tells me I have to go throw up now.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Troubles Posting

Had a wee problem with Blogger this morning, which resulted in a whole hockey-sock full of duplicates of the previous entry. Management apologizes for any inconvenience, but will not accept any liability for mental distess.

The world will end at midnight....

... and I know this because I was watching "This is America with Dennis Wholey" on PBS, and there he was, Pat Buchanan in all his glory -- but he was making sense. To me. Pat Buchanan has never made any sense to me. I haven't changed my opinions, so this must mean that there's been a fundamental shift in the Universe somewhere, and that the end is nigh.