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Journal: Middle of my Career as a Contract Programmer 1

Journal by I8TheWorm
I've written software now for over twenty years. I've done it professionally for fourteen, and have been a contract for ten. In the last four years, I've had three (like how all the numbers are descending? we'll get back to that) full time offers, but they were far from perfect gigs. As a contractor, you can take the less than perfect ones, as they'll end sooner or later.

In the late 90's, there was quite a shortage (at least in the Houston area) of programmers, and it seemed a great many people took advantage of that by either stuffing unqualified programmers into positions, or demanding way too much money. I did nicely, but never chased the exorbitent rates that other people I knew did, and I think that has helped me a bit rolling forward.

In 2001, the market for IT in Houston crashed miserably (9/11, Enron, Dynegy, El Paso Gas) and salaries/rates bottomed out, if you could find work at all. I was only out of work for four months, aided by my lower than some rate requirements I think. However, in the last six months, demand for qualified IT people has risen, and in the last two months, it has turned into an employee's market again.

So why has my rate not been able to nudge back upward in the last four years? My fiance complains about her 3% raises she's been getting, but that certainly beats 0%.
User Journal

Journal: expanding GIF - I'm curious 9

Journal by I8TheWorm
I saw this post today here on Slashdot. I've been a programmer sometime, but have never had to deal with CGI, much less any graphics formatting and manipulation. So it got me curious, as usual. Is it really possible to create an image that, on your disk, takes up a few (thousand?) bytes, but in display takes up many thousands?

I found a couple of sites with some good file format information, here and here. I'm going to spend a little time perusing the documents, and see if I can mimic Mmm coffee's results.

If anyone has any experience with this, I'd love to hear about it.
User Journal

Journal: Poker Night 2

Journal by I8TheWorm
So tonight is poker night. It's where we and other parents who don't get a chance to get out much play really low dollar Texas Hold 'Em and just hang out. Other times we have gourmet dinner night where everyone is required to bring a dish that meets a particular theme.

Do any of the rest of you who don't have very many nights-away-from-the-kids have plans with friends like these?
User Journal

Journal: Nice timing

Journal by I8TheWorm
I'm now in month two of my first full time programming job in 9 years (contractor for that 9 years). We're due to move into the new building this coming December. Today we heard the announcement that the manager of the networking group has tendered his resignation. Add this to an already unstable network, and I wonder what the future of this group holds. I think I can get by as long as that little place across the street keeps making these unbelievable breakfast tacos :)
User Journal

Journal: CyberSquatter KenyaTech.com 2

Journal by I8TheWorm
I have a close friend that, after "retiring" as a touring musician out of Nashville, I played bass for about a year with. He's a great texas singer/songwriter, and a heck of a nice guy. His name is Leslie Doak, and if you're into Texas country, you might have heard of him.

He had a manager who had registered his DNS (www.lesliedoak.com) for him. After an arguement, and subsequent termination of the business relationship, the manager refused to sell the leased DNS to him. He eventually registered www.lesliedoakband.com and decided not to pursue a complaint through ICANN, as the fees for doing so usually live in the $2000 USD range.

As the registration ran out, we were surprised to see that within an hour, we were beat to the punch by registrar www.kenyatech.com. In good faith, I went ahead and followed their procedure for bidding on the DNS, but only offered the rate of $16/year which is what the original cost of the DNS lease was. I'm sure, however, that kenyatech paid less, as they were sure to register several expired DNS's at the same time.

Of course, my offer was rejected, so I asked them what amount they were looking for, but they wouldn't answer. So I mentioned that "Lesie Doak" is trademarked, and they were in violation of ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, as they had "no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name" and the name was trademarked. They still wouldn't budge on the DNS. So now I'm writing a script that will offer a bid $0.01 higher than the previous bid constantly until it reaches a maximum of $30.

The problem with the ICANN disupute policy is the cost associated with it. They use third party companies to handle the disputes, and the usual amount I've seen so far is $2000 USD. Personally, I would rather pay them that amount then $50 to a shady company like kenyatech, and am still considering doing so.

If anyone else has any experience with ICANN DNS disputes, I would love to hear about them. Otherwise, I'll post more as I hear more about the dispute.
User Journal

Journal: Politics on Slashdot 1

Journal by I8TheWorm
Anytime I have something to think about subjectively, I play devil's advocate, and politics is no exception. It's no surprise that most slashdotters seem to dislike G.W. Bush and his policies... frankly, I'm no fan of his either.

To that extent, I'm no fan of Kerry's either. He was a coward during his military service, more of a coward when he got out, married rich, has an enormous (88%) track record of simply not voting on issues, and changes his mind when the wind changes direction.

So when people say something to the effect of "I'll vote for Kerry because Bush is an idiot" all I can think of them is yet another uninformed voter who will waste their's on another bad candidate.

When I bring that up as a reply to someone's comment, I'm labeled a Bushie. So for all of those people, let me say here, I'm no fan of Bush or Kerry, and I have no idea who I'll vote for. Neither is a good candidate for President, and we should all back these folks so that in the future, we might be able to do something about it.

In case of injury notify your superior immediately. He'll kiss it and make it better.

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