1777 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
Many years ago, my father flew out to southern Arizona for an interview with a mining company. There had recently been a case in the national news of a boy bitten by a brown recluse spider: I think the Air Force may have flown the antivenom from wherever it was to the kid's city. Anyway, poisonous spiders were on my father's mind, and he asked whether this town had problems with brown recluses or black widows. Nah, said the company guy, the scorpions eat them all.
There has been an abandoned car parked on my street, no tags, no inspection stickers, nothing but a sticker from what I take to be a New York parking garage. I was interested to find that for $1 one can get the history of a car, given only its vehicle identification number (VIN). I didn't invest, but I did ascertain that the car was not stolen.
I assume that "Excel" == "CSV". (Not that I haven't fiddled with Excel through Python--but not on BSD.) Most of this sounds quite doable in Perl, though I haven't written much Perl since JSON became a thing. Certainly Perl easily handles web-scraping, XML parsing, and database stuff.
"This inherent resistance to decomposition of logic into bite-sized pieces is what leads into the contrived, lengthy queries, the copy-pasted chunks of code and, eventually, unmaintainable, unstructured (note the irony) SQL codebases"
I should have said what leads into contrived, lengthy queries is the real-world complexity that one has to model. If you can stick to C.J. Date's parts-suppliers or parts-suppliers-warehouses tables in Introduction to Database Systems, the queries will be only so long.
Many years ago, in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, we had an old beater--it might have been the ten-year old Chevy sedan, with a piece of steel plate on the floor to keep passengers' feet off the road. One of our neighbors was an engineer for GM, and of course drove a spiffy new car. Then there came an unusually cold day, and the spiffy new car would not start, but the old beater did. My father gave the engineer a ride to work. The engineer explained that an engine with higher compress is harder to start in cold weather. My father listened politely, and may even have held off smirking until he dropped the guy off.
In the late nineties, I was on the other side of the US from the office, when the phone rang at quite an early hour PST. The expensive technical consultant (ETC) needed to push some data from the HR/Payroll side of Peoplesoft to the AP side, and it was not working. It has escaped the ETC's notice that one field of PS_PERSONAL_DATA was four characters on the HR side and two characters on the AP side. I plugged in the PC, dialed in to work, and got the data pushed. (Substr is your friend.) I doubt I got back to sleep.
When I returned to the office, one of the managers state proudly that the call was his doing. They knew at which hotel I was staying, but the desk knew of nobody by my name. The manager then looked up my wife's name in the files and called back.
A college friend had attended the Ohio School for Girls, in Columbus, Ohio. I would never known, never heard of the school, but it was across the street from Larry Flint's house (q.v.). The public prints always included "posh" in mentioning the school, and they always mentioned the school if they mentioned his house. This made my friend, who attended OSG on scholarship, roll her eyes.
My own high school (all boys) went in for strict regulation of hair: off the collar in back, not long enough to pull past the bridge of the nose in front. Many years, I happened to see the senior class pictures from the same years at my son's high school (also all boys): the operative principal seemed to be "whatever". My son's was a far better school.
I am not a historian of compiler theory, but I should say that they summarized and synthesized a lot of what was out there. The bibliography in my copy of the Dragon Book runs to 28 pages. From the bibliography and notes, I see that Hopper and COBOL do not get a mention, though Backus and Fortran do. I suppose this may have been a matter of perceived influence on compiler development, but I leave it for the qualified to say.
A caption in this morning's Washington Post says that "The vessel, at more than 1,300 feet long, is one of the largest in the world and more than twice the height of the Washington Monument." This seems to mean "twice as long as the Washington Monument is high". So perhaps we could use either Washington Monument as a measure either of angle or strictly of rotation: "the sum of the angles in a triangle is two Washington Monuments." or "My car idles at about 6000 Washington Posts per minute."
When I worked for a government contractor (US civil agency), on a couple of occasions we had to write up the people we proposed to put on the contract. I followed the job descriptions, and wrote up people who were pretty good at clearing paper jams as if they were the greatest thing since Donald Knuth. (Well, OK, implied that they possessed technical skills they had never manifested.) In at least one case, the contracting office knew exactly who we were offering and made no objection.
14 million wasted is a lot, but on scale of a 15 billion project it looks smaller.
As for the consultants, I think that the firm that set up our Peoplesoft system ca. 1998 billed at least $125/hour for the project manager. Now, I doubt he billed many 8-hour days, but any such day would have been $1000 or more then. The question ought to be whether one gets value for the money. I did have my doubts about one or two of the expensive consultants from that firm.
Back in the day (30+ years ago), I heard someone's quip that any programming language would let you hang yourself, given enough rope, but C would go down to the hardware store and buy the rope for you. Perl is sort of that way. I have seen really good, very well documented Perl. I have seen (and committed) the other kind.
Over the last years, I have written more in Python, largely because that is what the young coders know. But I still like Perl, even if these days it takes me a few minutes to remember to use semicolons, etc.
If memory serves, whitehouse.gov was the official domain, and some smarties bought up the .com. A friend who then worked in an elementary school library was showing her charges how to use the internet (this would have been 1999 or so) when she discovered the TLD confusion.
The Office of Labor-Management Standards of the the US Department of Labor has reports on the payments made to every employee or officer of every union in the United States. These are searchable on-line and freely downloadable as zipped, pipe-delimited files going back quite a few years. I have just done a quick search on a couple of union officers: Robert Martinez, president of the IAMAW (Machinists), made $371 thousand in 2019; Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO (for Brits, this is an umbrella group of most of the larger unions in the US), made $292 thousand. (For those who wish to fool with this sort of thing, https://olmsapps.dol.gov/olpdr/?_ga=2.237567109.481222231.1611665233-1694302402.1610122379#Union%20Reports/Yearly%20Data%20Download/ has the pipe-delimited files.)
Now, I wouldn't mind either salary, and to be fair one must add that their benefits are very good. But in comparison to CEO or senior executive salary, they are pretty small potatoes.
Rich, whining idiots? The ones who pick up their franchises and move them across the country when a city won't build them a new stadium?
The average length of an NFL career is quite short, exceptions such as Tom Brady's notwithstanding. The injuries inflicted in the course of that career stick with a man for good. Over the last few years, I have been reading the obituaries of men who played on the undefeated Miami Dolphins team of 1972. Generally I found "had struggled with dementia for several years", though I'm not sure that this was the case for Jake Scott.
Do they whine? I don't think so. If they complain, they have matters to complain of.
Indeed, glass break detectors can be quite sensitive. I discovered this our first winter with one when a pot fell off the drying rack, and landed on the kitchen floor about three feet down. I noticed also the next or a later summer when I forgot to turn off the security system before I tapped down the lid on a paint can, and woke the household.
I checked yesterday, and it takes about 30 seconds to find Hillary Clinton's concession speech of November 9, 2016. YouTube has it in full.
In about the same length of time, one can find a full recording, also on YouTube, of the telephone call of January 2, 2021, in which President Trump, attempted to bully the Georgia Secretary of State, into reversing Biden's victory there.
Nobody that I remember tried to impeach the incumbent because of the 2016 election. The Democrats did not have a majority in the House of Representatives until 2018. The House did impeach the president because of his attempt to barter with the Ukrainian government--dirt on Biden in return for (approved and appropriated) aid.
So, no, we (at least for "we" defined as codejunky and disgrunted yank) cannot agree.
Whiskey should be and is widely used. But as a staple of one's diet, it has its drawbacks.
Yes, absolutely, invade the Capitol in a Camp Auschwitz sweatshirt, "Nazi" is precisely the term, unless you want to tack a "neo-" on in front. The kid at GitHub deserves a thumbs-up, not disciplinary action. But if we're going to bring the 1960s and 1970s back, and use the term indiscriminately, well, that will not be an improvement.
In 1992, I was working for a government contractor, and it astonished me to hear co-workers speak enthusiastically about Perot. Our own employer had recently cut our benefits, after getting us to sign on to win a renewal of the contract. And I think our tech writer had learned the hard way about EDS.
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