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Comment Here's what I think should happen. (Score 3, Insightful) 627

I think the President should go on a few more golf outings, you know, fly in his big old 747 to somewhere far away and play a round or two, and then fly back to DC. Then, we need to have a UN Climate Summit somewhere tropical, and figure out how to solve the logistics problems inherent in having a meeting in a remote location, like how to make sure adequate supplies of caviar are flown in fresh daily and where to park all the jets ferrying individuals to their destination.

I'll believe it's a problem when the people who are telling me it's a problem start acting like it's a problem. When the logistics problems go from caviar to videoconferencing bandwidth. When the President decides that golfing locally is a better idea than flying somewhere.

"Oh, you just don't understand international diplomacy and the need for face-to-face communications to achieve consensus!"

You're asking me to change my life and not accepting any changes in the way you live yours. Hypocrisy at its finest.

Comment Re:Yes they did. (Score 1) 572

Yup, and I left a company over this exact problem. They couldn't show me that they weren't recording sensitive information (i.e. logging in to manage my health insurance benefits) so I decided I could better offer my services to another employer.

Badly architected, badly designed, badly implemented, badly documented, poorly tested, and no security or audit controls. Yeah, gonna take a pass on that, thanks though.

Comment Re:I just went through this... (Score 1) 263

Yeh, if you do the math on my post above, you'll see I'm making about 25% more and working 50% more. My income is up, income/hour is down and my free time is way down. Is that really an income increase? Nope.

Was this a bad move? Not really. I've learned a lot and filled out a huge blank spot in my resume. I've now managed a very large database, managed a very busy database, managed replication and mirroring, done a data center move, done 2 hardware refreshes and a DBMS version upgrade. Long term it's going to pay off. Short term it's kinda hell.

Comment I just went through this... (Score 5, Informative) 263

You'll find about a dozen people in this thread that are gonna say "follow your heart".

Those people are wrong. That's the last thing you should do.

I went through this, and it's got upsides and downsides. You need to weigh those against your work-life balance and make a well thought out decision about your priorities.

The company I left 2 years ago had a rich culture, a workout room, showers (nice to go with the workout room), weekly social things, great work-life balance with a 45 hour or so work week and alternating Friday early out, a great career ladder, and great coffee. The job was mildly interesting, not very challenging, but I had a lot of fun and free time, so I could do contract side work to fill out those needs. Work life balance was awesome, I worked about 40-45 hours a week, and got a lot of time at work to do career development (teach myself new stuff) and learned on the job. Manager was a bit of a git, but hey, nothing's perfect.

The company I'm at now has no amenities to speak of (ok, coffee, that's it though). No gym, no weekly social things, nothing really. I took a pay cut to come here, but since them I'm making about 35% more, because I'm a good performer and fixed a lot of key infrastructure problems and took a management position. I'm working with more up-to-date technology and doing some cutting-edge things because there wasn't a massive technical legacy to support that prevented it. However, I also work a huge number of insane hours, I'm basically always on call, and I'm getting a lot of great physical job stress effects, which is just great.

So there's the question. Can you do the stress and the extra work to re-earn the extra (and probably more) money? How important is work-life balance to you? Do you have a family? Do you want to learn a lot of really neat things and do work you can look back on and think "that was really awesome, I can't believe I pulled that off"? Is there a likelihood that the new place will grow to the point where you'll come out ahead in 5 years?

Those are the questions you need to ask yourself, and you need to be brutally honest about.

Comment Kind of right... (Score 5, Interesting) 312

People go into engineering to engineer. Not to tell other people how to do it. Let me explain my day:

Meetings: 2 hours, minimum, per day. Every meeting starts 2-10 minutes late, depending on the most senior person in the meeting. The more senior, the more they impress by being late to the meeting to demonstrate their importance. "Sorry I'm late, had to stop in the bathroom, fill up my coffee, and blah blah blah don't care". Anything discussed in the meeting could have been done in a 5 minute conversation or 10 minute email composition, but nobody "has time" to read email and comment, because they're in meetings all the time.

HR Crap: Wanna hire someone? That's at least 40 hours of solid work to pile through the paperwork, which by the way changed completely since the last time you did it, WHY ARE YOU DOING IT THE OLD WAY YOU MORON! Doing annual objectives. Doing semi-annual reviews. Approving timesheets. Approving expense reports. Sitting in on interviews for other teams so they have enough feedback to fill out their paperwork, so they return the favor when you need it. Touchy-feely manager training. Sexual harassment training. Diversity training. Interviewing training. Training training (not kidding).

Stupid Management Stuff: Talking to every single person on the team, asking about their kids, their favorite sports team, whatever. Every day. 1 hour/day or so. No, I don't care, but *I* get reviewed on that stuff as well. Dealing with making sure people are happy so you don't have to spend the 40 hours of interviewing and HR crap to hire someone else.

Bureaucratic Crap: Buying things (Budget approval, another approval to actually buy the thing, approval to install it, and security team approval to actually get access to it). Borrowing things. Getting office space, computers, and computer upgrades for the team. Putting in tickets when phones don't work, when people need security access to new systems. Acquiring software is the WORST, I work for a multi-million dollar corporation that has sales people expense accounts for a week over $20k, and it's taken me 8 weeks to get a $10k software acquisition approved.

Building things: fill out forms to make something. Spend a lot of time reviewing forms and approving them. Don't spend any time actually doing things, that might be fun, you have to delegate that onto your team. You might get some design work in, but you should leave that to your Architect, aren't you late for a meeting?

Mentoring: The only fun part of my job that's left. 2 hours per day. Max.

All of this and what do you get? Better pay? Nope, I got a guy working for me making the same money. An office. Well, yeah, sure...untilNO. YOU HAVE TO BE SENIOR MANAGER TO GET AN OFFICE. Until then, a cube like everyone else. Respect of peers? LOL.

Honestly, being a manager is a shitty, shitty, shitty job. It simultaneously doesn't pay enough and can't pay enough, so it doesn't even try. You don't get to do fun stuff anymore, and you get yelled at if you try. I got roped into it because everyone else took a step back faster when they were looking for volunteers.

Why yes, I am sending out resumes. Why do you ask?

Honestly, the best thing to do in IT once you hit a certain level is ask yourself "Do I want to be a manager". If the answer is no, you essentially have to quit and go be a consultant.

Comment Re:A little misleading (Score 2) 430

As someone who lives in the area, let me be really clear what's going on here.

The Kansas City, Kansas (KCK)/Wyandotte County area is largely working class, a lot of immigrants or first generation citizens. Basically, Democrats. Yes, they do exist in Kansas. This is also the area that has had the most growth in "cool stuff" over the last few years: The national champion soccer team's stadium is there (Sporting KC), the NASCAR track is there, and they just finished building a HUGE 2-building office space there for Cerner (a big medical software company). All of that is in a very nice shopping/entertainment district, so it's self-sustaining (they gave tax breaks on property taxes, now they get income taxes from an additional several thousand employees, which is a pretty good trade). Their local government is doing an exceptional job, their roads are great, they are building good infrastructure, and people are pretty proud of their town, which would *NOT* have been the case 15 20 years ago.

As someone who has lived in Kansas City for about 20 years, I can say in the last year I've spent more time and money in KCK for entertainment than I've spent in KC, MO or the more affluent suburbs on the Kansas side.

So these evil Democrats are out being successful, let's put a stop to that and make sure it can't happen anywhere else, and try and put a stopper back on the bottle in KCK.

Comment Another victim of the Microsoft Tax (Score 4, Interesting) 246

Apparently some reports say that Microsoft is charging $90 per tablet to license RT. Consider that most retail "stuff" has a 100% markup to MSRP, and that means in order to compete with the cheaper offerings from Google ($200) and even Apple ($249) they'd have to be able to build the tablet for $10 to $60. You're not gonna get build quality for $60. That's the real reason the Surface tablet exists: nobody else really can make one and be profitable, so Microsoft wanted to show how to make one profitable (go high-end and put everything in it, despite that it cost a bit more than a nice iPad with less features, and rely on the Microsoft name).

If Asus wanted to make Microsoft look bad, they could ship the same tablet, one with Android and one with RT, and just have one be half the price of the other, and see how they flew off shelves.

Comment User groups for SQL Server (Score 1) 293

I'd suggest finding your local SQL Server user's group or a virtual chapter on administration. Start by looking at, the Professional Association for SQL Server. It's a nonprofit that runs a bunch of user groups and chapters and various free training events nationwide (SQL Saturday for example).

For specifics on SQL Server admin, the true path to mastery starts with understanding transaction logs, backups, and restores. Paul Randal ( is the foremost expert on teaching such things, since he wrote a lot of it when he worked for Microsoft. He covers backups, recovery, transaction logs, troubleshooting, and general storage-end stuff. I've been doing SQL Server DBA work for almost 19 years, and his blog still teaches me things regularly.

As for Exchange, learn the basics of how Active Directory authentication works, how SMTP and IMAP work, and most importantly for any mail administration, how spam filters work and which ones are good and which aren't. Exchange is a complex system and I'm not as familiar with it as I used to be.

People (especially here) will tell you that Exchange is crap, which totally explains why millions of companies that are profitable use it, because it's crap. Oh wait. That's right, they use it because it works and provides value to their businesses. Perhaps they have logging requirements imposed on them by various regulations (SOX, for example) and they'd like to share the liability if something doesn't go right, have off-the-shelf commercially supported and legally recognized tools for discovery, and having that security blanket provides them with value for their business. If you go into an interview situation and they ask you about your Exchange experience and you start with "Exchange is crap, use Sendmail instead!" they'll thank you politely and walk you out.

As for anyone starting out in the tech field, especially on the admin side, I'll offer a few little bits of advice:
Keep things as simple as possible. It's usually cheaper in the short and long run to throw hardware at a problem than it is to build something elegant and hard to manage.

"Robust" doesn't mean it works all the time. Robust means it fails in predictable ways.

Centralized Logging + Morning Coffee means never having to tell your boss you don't know what broke overnight.

Checklists. Build them, use them, every time. Server builds. Software deployments. Backup procedures. Restore procedures.

Don't plan backups. Plan restores. Figure out how you want to recover from a backup, and then figure out how to do backups to support that.

Comment A poor workman blames his tools (Score 4, Interesting) 737

I've been thinking about the saying "A poor workman blames his tools" a lot lately.

My conclusion after a lot of thinking is that it isn't that the workman who doesn't like his tools isn't skilled, or doesn't take care of his tools Maybe his set of tools is just worn out and it's the workman's duty to acquire a new tool set. The tools change over time.

I'm a SQL Server DBA. SQL Server as a product is great. The tools, however, suck. Random crashes. Random issues. Inconsistent UI. Example 1: Mouse wheel doesn't work in a combo box. Why? Who decided that was "OK"? Lots of other piddly issues that just tick me off all day long. I hate my tools. It's probably time to try something else. This really came to roost when we put Windows Server 2012 on a box so we could do cross-subnet clustering. Love the cross-subnet clustering. The UI, however, is Metro. "Go hover over an invisible spot on the upper-right-hand corner of the UI to get to something sorta-like a start menu so you can run SQL Server Configuration Manager". Why? Why?

The user interfaces, now "improved" through the use of Visual Studio integration, are absolute crap.

I'm getting tired of being stressed on poor tools when I'm stressed on a ton of other things that actually I should be stressed on, like data integrity, performance, and efficiency. Instead I get to spend a ton of time figuring out how to start applications? Every single day I start working and I find something new that makes me go "Why do these guys think they can make good user interfaces that work consistently? Who allows them to do this?"

Comment Google? Really? (Score -1, Troll) 37

I mean, if you want to have an ad agency host your databases, you've got lots of other options:

R&R Partners
Mccan Ericson
J Walter Thompson
Omnicom Group
Young & Rubicam
Olgivy and Mather
Saatchi & Saatchi
Leo Burnett

Personally, I think I'll try to find a company where cloud computing is their core business, so they don't just write off the service a few months down the road as not-profitable and leave me hanging.

Why the hell would want to have your mission critical systems hosted by an ad agency?

Comment Generally, interruptions (Score 4, Informative) 457

Interruptions and a poorly designed work environment that encourages them. Right outside my cubicle is a BIG OPEN AIR MEETING ROOM with included MEDIA CENTER.

OK, so BIG OPEN AIR MEETING ROOMS are bad. Very bad.

Other bad things:
Speakerphones. Damn things should be destroyed on sight. There is no reason for anyone not in an office to have a speakerphone on their desk. Any "manager" who says developers in cubicle farms need speakerphones should be fired. Don't allow speakerphones on the same *floor* as the development team, except inside of small, well-sound-isolated offices.

Not enough meeting rooms. Encourages people to do what I'm hearing right now, which is stand around between cubes and have loud conversations.

Phones in general. The only people who call me are recruiters or customers who got lost in our phone system and got me by mistake. Which of those 2 groups do you want me to talk to?

Bad climate control. Too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter.

Requirements to be on email or messenger at all times are counterproductive. They let managers feel important, but that's the only benefit they have.

Cell phones with obnoxiously loud ringers left on desks. I tell my team "in your pocket or on silent" is the rule for all cell phones. Anyone in violation of this rule that receives a call returns to their desk to find their phone turned off and the battery removed if possible. If they find their phone at all. I've hidden them in the ceiling before.

Here's a list of the seating assignments I've been given in buildings:
Share a conference room with other developers.

Comment FTL: Faster Than Light (Score 4, Informative) 97

FTL is an incredibly fun game that they mention shipped pretty close to their timeline. All software timelines are somewhat fungible, and game producer provided timelines even more so. But they got pretty close. And the shipping product is *great* and was on steam sale last weekend. Rounds don't take a stupidly long time, the game's pretty replayable, etc.

Good times.

Comment Re:GA- not allowed to vote due to id problems (Score 2) 821

Missouri requires ID, but the types of ID they take are legion. Driver's license (even expired), water, electric, or phone bills (with your name and address), state-issued non-driver ID, CCW ID, property tax receipt. We don't require a photo ID, just some kind of ID, mostly to prove you're voting in the right place. It's pretty fair as far as I know, a good balance between preventing voter fraud and turning people away unjustly.

State-issued non-drivers photo ID's here are like $8 by the way. Probably about what they cost to produce.

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