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Archive September | Sysrc’s tech blog

Archive for September, 2008

Bill Gates and Seinfeld again…

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 | News | No Comments

It seems they’ve made more than one commercial…maybe they will do a show :) 

Bill Gates seems to like acting…

Upgrading HP server (the strong arm approach)

Friday, September 12th, 2008 | General | No Comments

OK, how can you fit four drive cages if your server chasiss can only fit three and one small floppy?

We wanted to upgrade an old HP Proliant server with four new SATA harddisk … we originally thought that if we remove the floppy all four will fit.

That didn’t happen because the floppy was much smaller. The chasiss designer had made it very clear that he only allowed three drive bays because the server had three metal dividers that ensured that the user would only fit three drives.

We were determined not to give in and armed with a tool we tweaked the server… As we all know, in a conflict the one who is smarter always gives in… the three metal dividers gave in to brute force…

Before & after:

 

 

Google, accounting and adwords payments

Friday, September 12th, 2008 | General | No Comments

I’m one of the millions of Google advertisers who make monthly payments to the search giant for our ads to appear under searches or the adsense system in partner Google sites…

 When I first discovered the adwords system, the simple interface, the easiness you could start to advertise, amazed me…

I was extremely happy that they gave me the possibility in paying in my currency of choice…After the first payment they generated an Invoice for me, it was written in my native language and it had all the elements legally required in a country 10.000 miles away from Google headquarters.

But, although the adword software was impeccable, human bureaucracy intervened…

As I was saying my adwords account was in my country’s currency - RON. So when I wanted to make a payment I would get into my account and ordered that my credit card be charged with let’s say 1000 RON (about 400 USD) … they were taking the money and the software would generate an Invoice for 1000 RON. But in the background google POS terminals were charging my credit card with 400 USD not 1000 RON…so my bank would transform the 400 USD in RON using the BUY exchange rate…that means the 400 USD would no longer be 1000 RON but 1020 or 1050 … depending on the bank’s exchange rate…

So with each payment I made I would  have less money on the invoice that I was actually paying…Because programmers don’t really know accounting they didn’t care what currency they were displaying in the invoice generating software as long as they had a parity between currencies it seemed ok to display RON but charge USD…WRONG! You should display only what you charge. If you don’t have an account in a specific currency you should NEVER EVER generate invoices in that currency because you’ll only confuse the hell out of the poor bastards in accounting…

google accounting

Bill Gates and Seinfeld?!?!

Friday, September 5th, 2008 | News | No Comments

I saw the most weird commercial featuring Gates and Seinfeld

They meet in a discount shoe store and talk about nothing…The most funny thing is the frame where Gates shows a Platinum member card with his teen face..

The commercial promotes Windows Vista with the tag line “Delicious.”

True randomness

Friday, September 5th, 2008 | Code | No Comments

Ok…how random is randomize() ?

What’s to make a computer generate a random number? Well we’ve got the physical way and the math way.

1. Physical (True random).  Implement a hash function on to an unpredictable video frame… have a camera pointed at the sky, a lava lamp , listening to atmospheric noise

2. Mathematical. (Pseudeo random). Recurrencial http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_congruential_generator or variations…using the bios time clock as seed.

Anyway if you’re looking for true randomness take a look at www.random.org 

I agree

Friday, September 5th, 2008 | General | No Comments

Since I earn a living developing and selling software I had to attach license agreements to all of the applications…

Of course, when you’re conceiving a software license/user agreement you, as a software producer have to take every precaution that you are as protected by the law as “legally” possible. This is much more important when you deliver a free service, the user has pretty much one right: to use your software on your terms…this doesn’t sound really nice but if the user gets a free service you don’t want to risk anything.

So, in knowing what software companies think in general about license agreements I always try to read the whole 25 screens of legal terms in every software I install. If I don’t like something I don’t install the software.

I was installing Google Chrome and reading the user license and there were two things that caught my attention and if I wasn’t dying to see what the browser looks like I wouldn’t have gone through with the installation.

1.Automatic updates:

“The software which you use may automatically download and install updates from time to time from Google. These updates are designed to improve, enhance and further develop the services and may take the form of bug fixes, enhanced functions, new software modules and completely new versions. You agree to receive such updates (and permit Google to deliver these to you) as part of your use of the services.”

2. Some bizarre copyright release from me the user to Google Inc.

“By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any content which you submit, post or display on or through, the services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the services and may be revoked for certain services as defined in the additional terms of those services.”

I think that was a paragraph left from other online apps because if I use the browser to say connect to a private app and upload things it I hope Google doesn’t have the perpetual, worldwide blah blah right to do whatever it wants with my private files…

Middle management and small companies

Thursday, September 4th, 2008 | Software PM | No Comments

Most of the smaller programming studios have a “Two guys who write software INC” sort of look… The atmosphere is similar to a college dorm. I always argued that it is better to work in an organization where you can express yourself, where you don’t have to talk to supervisor 1 through 10 to get an idea to the big boss, where although you may be brilliant, because the company employs 5000 people and you’re part of department 26 division 12 - that is responsible for feature X of project 29, you will find it incredibly hard to even see the big picture of the product you’re working on and harder yet to contribute significantly in changing it.

I always hated the “I’m a little cog in a big machine” feeling … So are small companies better? In the personal relationship, the involvement, the personal contribution you bring to a project - yes.

But small companies lack the organization, the departments, the whole “I’m part of something bigger” feel.

That brings me to middle management - most small IT companies don’t have middle management - the boss bellow THE BOSS… This may be a part of the solution in keeping the plusses that a small company has and also giving the organizational look and feel and hierarchy one may desire.

The truth about programmers

Thursday, September 4th, 2008 | Funny coding | No Comments

Finally our secret is out…”the implementator” the most guarded secret in IT has been exposed…

Compiling…

Thursday, September 4th, 2008 | Funny coding | No Comments

Compiling is a tough job but someone has to do it…

So … having IT-challenged manangement do helps sometimes as drawn here.

Compiling

Compiling

Top ten things that annoy programmers

Thursday, September 4th, 2008 | Funny coding | No Comments

I was reading Kevin Pang’s blog and found a funny top ten things that annoy programmers.

#1  ”Their own code 6 months later” is really true … we want nothing to do with our own code after 1-2 months after some final realease was launched… It’s like cleaning a single’s man closet, if you remove one sock the whole thing collapses on you…