A New Adventure

It’s official, we’re moving!  After eight and a half years in our house on the NE side of San Antonio we’ve sold it and moving into a new one.   Our new house is more central to town and inside loop 1604 which is a Godsend in of itself.

Here are a few pictures of the new house, I’ll post some more once we get moved in

It’s The Process

At work we have a process that must be followed for you get changes into production.  It’s not a foreign concept, just about any respectable company has a process, some are just more strict than others.  If measuring processes was done on a scale ranging from none to overboard I’d think we’re somewhere between middle of the road and overboard.

 

Well today I found that some of our application server logs were not making it to our Splunk servers from a sub environment.  After troubleshooting the problem I found that the Splunk agent didn’t have permissions and would have to be bounced.  Bouncing a Splunk agent isn’t a problem in of itself except we have some  processes running that have to be stopped before hand.  Long story short, it’s a pain to do it but thankfully I have a fix to make life good for all parties involved!  It’s past the commit for next week’s release but we have a way of getting these changes in.  This is a low risk change, comment out a section in an XML file.  Enter overboard process:

  1. Test the fix in the testing environment
  2. Create RFC (Request for Change)
  3. Wait for approval…
  4. Create outage ticket linking it to the approved RFC even though the problem has been there for 9+ months and nobody noticed…
  5. Create BCR (Baseline Change Request) for approved RFC and outage ticket
  6. Speak to an approval board to move forward
  7. Check in change
  8. Submit build request (configuration has to be built)
  9. Wait for approval…
  10. Deploy

Ten steps!  That’s 10 steps and about 4 hours of paper work, phone calls, putting cover sheets on TPS reports for something that could have been done in literally 20 minutes.  I don’t mind submitting build requests or a single change request form, some paperwork can be a good thing.  But I will never understand why I have to create an outage for fixing a problem that I’m already going to have to speak to.

Chill’n with my kids

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Yeah, we’re like that.

James Thomas Kerr

James entered the world at 7:51PM on Friday 5/18 weighing in at 8lb 5oz and 20.75″ long!James Thomas Kerr

To JavaOne I Go Again

I’m going back to JavaOne again this year!  I enjoyed the conference last September and I’m looking forward to this year’s conference.  A little bummed it’s not in the Mascone Center (again) this year but  overall I thought Oracle did a good job with the Hilton, Niko, and Parc 55.  Sessions are booked, flight reserved, and hotel ready.  San Francisco here I come again!

Father’s Day Joys

This is what makes Father’s Day memorable.

The Nothing Box

This video was shown to me just the other day and I couldn’t stop laughing.  Let’s just say, there’s truth in humor.

This week I’ve been able to utilize my nothing box to it’s upmost potential, probably more than I ever had.  To be honest, I find it hard for me to just do nothing on a regular basis but I managed to do it this week.  I turned off the work phone, didn’t check my work email, and just enjoyed some family time.  Sometimes, that’s all you need to have a great vacation, do nothing.

Picking a language

Every year at work we review our development and performance objectives.  How did we do on them, what are the objectives for this year, etc.  Since I pick my development objectives I’ve decided that one of them will be to learn three new languages/frameworks.  There are plenty of languages and frameworks to choose from, so much in fact that I have had a hard time nailing down which ones I want to try and tackle.  Of the many options to choose from I’ve narrowed down the list to the following six:

  • Grails
  • Python
  • Objective C – really get into it this time especially now that I have my new MacBook Pro :)
  • Scala
  • Ruby On Rails
  • GWT

I actually jump started my goal in the beginning of the year by attending one of the SATJUG meetings which was over Grails.  The presentation at the JUG was enough to grab my attention and bump it up in my list.  Groovy is an interesting language and I’m really liking how the Grails framework makes use of it’s dynamic nature.  There’s also some entertaining value of having a class called GString in the core language.  Scaffolding is nothing new but Grails does it with flair.  Throw GORM into the mix and you have yourself a pretty slick web framework.  Despite all that I don’t see it having a home at work other than for prototyping due to our ‘culture’ which saddens me.  Regardless, this framework has a lot going for it.

I still haven’t picked my next language/framework, I’m open to suggestions, but I hope the next one I pick is as unique and versatile as Groovy/Grails :)

Pro, MacBook Pro

After much deliberation amongst myself I finally broke down and bought a new 15″ MacBook Pro.  Thank God for the USAA employee discount because it saved me a lot of money.  I decided to not get the SSD at this time going for more hard drive space over the speed.  The 128GB SSD just doesn’t seem like much when you have 80GB of music and 10GB+ of videos and pictures….

Tech Specs:

  • Processor – 2.2GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7
  • Memory – 4GB DDR3 (who actually pays for the upgrade?)
  • Hard Drive – 500GB SATA 7200
  • Upgraded display and a few other small upgrades

My existing MacBook, that’s MacBook not MacBook Pro, is a good 4 years old and has served it’s purpose of watching movies and surfing the web well.  I’m looking forward to actually being able to code and run services without waiting 10+minutes for anything to load.

Being Pragmatic

The Pragmatic Programmer

The Pragmatic Programmer

One of my colleges and I were discussing the dynamics of our team and what changes we would like to see.  It was one of those fun conversations where you know something needs to change but you’re not quite sure so you’re left to pure brainstorming.  During our conversation we started talking about “required reading” for our team with the hopes of getting more out of our team.  The Pragmatic Programmer was one of the books that came up that I had not heard of.  If you’re a programmer/developer and do not own this book stop now, click the link, and order it.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.  Don’t let the © 2000 fool you, buy the book!

The Pragmatic Programmer won’t teach you how to program in a specific language or tell you the answers to all of a developer’s life questions.  What it does do, very well I might add, is give you a advice from their experiences that can help you become a better programmer.  If you’ve been programming for a while like myself or just getting into it this book will help guide you along the way.