Void warranties

New ‘House’ episode out and it’s really freakish. The details aren’t really important but it’s full of twists as usual. But the thing that it got me thinking about is how much these people are fucked up. Then it got me thinking how damaged I was and still am in more ways than one. But then I wonder who else might be damaged? The people on the streets, the ones living in cardboard boxes? The people out night after night in the same damn bar with the same damn drinks or possibly even the person collecting Facebook friends like pokemon. So by that definition we’re all fucked.

But that somehow imposes a problem, you see. For if I were to say that I am fucked (not as much as I’d like to be mind you and not nearly the same way) then I’d be a lunatic. But if there are two of us rocking the boat then we have a click, add a few more and we have a merry little short bus heading for a class of damaged people. What next? A school? The city of the disturbed? Does it ever actually end?

Here’s my theory. We aren’t as much fucked (or at least the word somehow stops applying) as we are alienated from our own cultural background. I mean, just think about it, what do we actually describe as “fucked up”? A subject or situation with which we adversely identify. So what is it that dishes out such animosity in the first place? Are we trying to be the social norm? Hardly. If anything we all follow the same pattern as anyone else, we just get different colors of the rainbow. I think we’re just trying to discover what it actually means to live in the 21st century while our brain is still trying to grasp at straws to things that our parents, grandparents and everything that history has set in our heads from a very early age.

We don’t really see the specifics of a problem as much as we see a bunch of pieces to something that our brains identify as “damaged”. So in all fairness I really don’t see how we could pretend that anyone else is f’d till we’ve considered that we’re held in the same light by others. This in no way means that we should all join hands and dance around the statue of the all mighty turd creature in brotherly (or sisterly depending on what’s dangling on your end) harmony. By all means, hate each other as much as you can. No need to kill the other guy but hate is good. It inspires power and a deep rooted feeling of what you DON’T WANNA BE. But that’s another story.

In closing I guess the skinny is really that looking outward doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see in your own “room” and mutually the fact that you feel that you’re one short step away from falling off the deep end doesn’t mean that you’re the only one and in no way does it mean that the only thing left to do is take one last hop and skip down a short peer.

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Your mom’s web hosting

So…it’s that time again. The end of another project just a bit over deadline (ah..yeah. ūüôā ) and it’s time to go¬†ballistic. It’s time to take out the axes, the¬†chainmail and the scolding hot oil. Web development is like sex in a lot of ways. In the beginning you get naked, everything’s clean, you create atmosphere or in this case set up privileges, create a basic folder structure. And for a while it’s good. The “sheets” (get it? cause you have scripts in….umm…nevermind) are still clean. But then it goes on….and on….and on and some times you’re asked to do things you really really don’t wanna do but have to because you’re obligated or the other party’s gonna get pissed…..*couch*

And after a while you either get bored of it or things just get crazy and out of hand and the whole thing becomes one huge mess.

But when it’s all over you stand back, take a deep breath and either get a huge smile on your face just thinking about it or go “Ah…damn. Ok, that never happened.”. Thankfully this time it ended up being the former but looking back I can’t help but think about how much I’ve evolved and how much I’ve learned along this project as probably is the case for my¬†colleagues as well and how much I’ll be taking with me to the next and how I could make it work better, In the end I guess there aren’t any bad projects just a right time for each one. We live, we learn and in the very end it’s what separates a professional programmer from a good one.

Digitalized || How to view the internet

In my last post I talked about the internet, social media, new media, everything-media. But what exactly does all of this actually have to do with everything? The answer: I honestly don’t know. Why in the world would anyone be interested about someone else’s baby pictures or the fact that they’ve just come out of a horrible relationship with a guy that beat her to a pulp every weekend? Why would you want to share a video of yourself getting hurt and post it on Youtube and then posting it on Digg? So many questions that honestly have no clear answer. Man is by nature a social creature and feels he has a constant need to be sought, watched and praised for his actions. I don’t know if it’s in our genes or if it’s just a childhood phase that somehow never got out of our system but by god it’s there. But then again I’m rambling. The point here I guess is that for the children of the 21st century (yes, myself included) don’t so much use the internet as they themselves fuel it.

This is how I see the internet: Imagine having a puppy. Now this puppy can’t clean, change or feed itself without your help, much like the internet doesn’t function if it doesn’t have so many people who would actually use it, update their content or add new photos of themselves in front of the bathroom mirror. But you keep the puppy around because you need the attention and affection it gives you in the cold nights on the streets (yes Timmy, you’re homeless!). Every time you give Spot cookies he gets just a bit fatter and a lot more cavities and why? Because while the internet feels so right it can hate you. It can hate you so much at times. Much like when the police tell you “anything you say can and will be held against you in the court of law” the internet (here we speak of the community of trolls out there) get another way to play with your private stuff because let’s face it, they have no life and live in their mom’s basement.

Now don’t get me wrong. Spot’s not a bad puppy, he’s just not very well-bred. But that’s exactly what makes him so special. And at the same time Spot can also teach us so much, like drinking sewer water is poisonous, or that your socks smell. The same way the internet has blogs, video tutorials, sites like Lynda.com and eHow, websites of your favorite bands tour dates…….Chat Roulette. Just putting it out there…

So at the end of the day I guess we really don’t have a choice in the matter. The internet as dangerous and filthy and perverted as it might be we’re all in it. And if we’re not we should be cause all our friends are in it. We have so much to offer it and it has even more to offer back. It’s our own personal frenemy. That….and it has TONES of porn.

So you wanna be web savvy

Now as we go further each day into the XXI century it seems that the internet is becoming the most active place in the world. More people go through a website every given day than anywhere else. More people visit their national railway companies website for information about incoming and outgoing trips a day than the actual station itself. It’s cheap, efficient and let’s face facts, you don’t have to spend 10 minutes in a line and another 5 just to find out you’ve missed the last train to your destination just because your operator types slower than your grandma.

Yes sir…..or ma’am ( depending on your preferences ). The internet sure is a swell place. I honestly can’t say myself that I’m all that. After all I’ve only been a programmer for about a year and I still have much to learn. But one thing I was quick to learn is that people have expectations. A few years back if a website could update content without having to recode a portion of the website they were happy. Nowadays it’s all about social media networks, ¬†APIs and real-time updates. We have this strange notion that if we spend 2 more seconds waiting for a site to reload we’ve lost 2 more seconds of our lives. And let’s face it….that’s two less seconds I spend crying in the bathroom crying in shame.

So what turns this…..

into something a bit more comprehensible? Why is it there? What does it mean and more importantly do we need it?

The answer: Of course we do. As society slowly creeps into the technological era we find ourselves in need of constant information flow. From the earliest times a message¬†arriving¬†early or late would mean either victory or defeat to the kings army. Not thankfully we no longer have to wage so many wars but the industrial era brought with it a new kind of war. One that doesn’t use guns. The weapons are bylaws. The soldiers are lawyers, accountants. It’s generals corporate executives. Much smaller wars are waged the same way no matter if it’s in an office building, your local pub or high school. But let’s forget about that for a moment.

Why do we feel the need to constantly be in control. To constantly be informed about our lives as well as the people around us. Is it the sense of control it gives us? Could be…could be. But there is so much more. Evolution creeps up on us in manners we wouldn’t have even imagined even so much as a hundred years ago. As time progresses we become so much more than reliant on technology. We form a symbiosis with it. Our cellphones become an¬†extension¬†of hands, ears and mouths. Computers become an add-on to our brains. The ’90s brought us MTv, video games, the internet. The world was in chaos. From weird hairstyles to new ways of structuring information.

With the web slowly growing it becomes more structured. Today we no longer have to write our information down 50 times a day. Most websites allow you to sign in using your Facebook account, Google account or an OpenID used by many websites including WordPress, Microsoft sites, Digg and many others. We can go faster than ever before, farther than ever before from the comfort of our own homes or that cafe you like so much. But……!

If evolution has¬†thought¬†us anything it’s that when you’re in the water you swim with the sharks. And you either swim fast, fight the sharks or drown and get eaten. The internet holds its own shark pits in many forms. Forum posts about life changing experiences, pop-ups with get rich quick schemes, chat partners asking for your name, birthday and social security number because friends just tell friends these things. Identity theft, fraud, child abduction. There’s no way around it. There’s no way of escaping it. It’s inevitable. Not because there are so many but because in the XXI century you can not ignore the internet. You can’t bypass the internet. You can’t say you don’t use the internet. Everyone uses it in some way or another. So the only thing left to do is to know the internet. To understand how it all works. Why some websites are better than others. Why social media networks are so similar and why some things are best left alone no matter how enticing they may appear to be. But that’s a story left for another time.

Why some technology is better than others

Now, if you haven’t already heard of it there’s this saying “I’m too poor to buy cheap things” you’d better learn it and fast. I’m a good friend of technology and I love all things flashy but there are just some things that I hate. Like I would never buy an iPod or any Apple brand device. Why? Cause it’s like the ultimate electronic version of racism. An iPhone won’t connect to a Windows computer, only to a Mac over bluetooth, an iPad won’t use normal Flash so it gets left out of the loop, an iPod will sometimes crash if connected to Windows and won’t boot at all under Linux.

This is also one of the main reasons why I have specific tastes in IT hardware and RARELY if ever deviate from them and even then it’s usually in favor of a newer yet unknown brand. Today I’m mostly pissed about one of our laptops that went on the fritz after 2 years with some weird keyboard+mouse+usb crippling bug. Fine one moment, gone the next. Figured I’d do all the routines before anything else so I tried everything from the usual Ctrl+Alt+Del to booting it to BIOS to opening it up, taking it apart and putting it back together again with no hope. So after a few hours of googleing it I found out that the specific model (Acer Aspire 5100) breaks after a while. And I don’t mean a few of them but like an epidemic. No hope, no solution, just change the motherboard and it’ll work for a while but I don’t see any cost-effective way of fixing it.

So the point is really this: 1. it’s never worth skimming a couple of hundreds off the top when it comes to electronics and 2. someone should beat the living shit out of the people that thought this would be categorized as a minor design flaw. Not all of us work for Acer so most people don’t get a discount on laptops. Never ever ever buy the brand.

Cheers.

Long time no see

I know, I know. It’s been a very long time since I last wrote something. But with good reason. I really really really needed to get a life. So I browsed for a new one. Going back for a few weeks…probably a month…or two. So basically I’ve recently started working at another company called Webfoo. Great people. We actually had a team building weekend recently and to tell the truth I was reluctant at first (that and severe food poisoning) but they dragged me out of the house, tied me to the bumper and took me along for the ride. Ok….it was more like the back seat, but still…

As it were I’ve been so busy these past few weeks that I hardly had time to go to the bathroom much less write. Today’s a special case cause I’m still waiting on work to do itself. :p It’s gonna be a long hard winter in hell till I’ll actually start having time to myself again but to the most part I like my job enough to actually be happy with that idea. And as the economy crumbles, stocks plummet….people race to the streets….men, women and children live in parks….an entire nation homeless….wait…the Stock Market crash is over isn’t it? Anyway, I’m just glad I have a job and even happier that I’m part of the few people that get to profess in what they like even in my….special circumstances.

In another headline I’ll recently be starting another category here that’ll focus more on my own learning curve than my personal life. So basically it’s going to be me sharing what I’ve learned in the past two years or so with anyone that wants to learn and it’s mostly going to include a bit of HTML, a bit of programming, maybe some DTP (that’s Desktop publishing for some of you out there) and some design¬†etiquette¬†for those of you that feel way too artsy cause let’s face it…..we work well when we all work on the same thing.

In closing I’d like to ask everyone to share their ideas on some good TV shows out there. Papa’s been feeling a bit lonely since all his favorites went on summer break. Burn Notice is slow, there’s this show called Warehouse 13 that’s awesome but sadly Wednesdays are a long wayz away, Psych takes too long to shoot and House doesn’t start till September. So if anyone has any good shows they’d like to share (first to suggest Weeds or Lost gets a free bullet through their anus) please share.

Cheers everyone.

Overkill on ABCs

It’s SPRING ladies and¬†gentlemen. Butterflies, birds, cats, dogs, fish and maybe even¬†gerbils. It’s a conspiracy but I’ll take it. I’m in way too good of a mood not to.

So the topic of the day is simple. Yesterday I was out with someone and it was a fun night even if a bit time consuming. So we got to talking about the current school system. Actually it all started out with one of said someone’s¬†professors¬†saying that video is not really an art. Now this isn’t actually the first time I’ve come to this discussion. A couple of weeks back I actually had a similar discussion with another friend who shall remain anonymous for the¬†purpose¬†of this discussion where we got into an argument about what art really is. Is it just painting, music, sculpture? Or is it more than that? I mean¬†technically speaking the fact that I can copy and mime someone else’s work to the letter doesn’t make me an artist but it does make me a hell of a good professional. But then what do we have to say about Antonio Stradivari or all the craftsman that made the furniture for the french royal palace? Willie Wonka!

Can you really define art as being a solid structure of supposed free flowing thoughts put on paper, stone or textile? Wasn’t art supposed to be the imprint of one man’s soul into his work? Something done with so much thought, care and passion that it strikes a feeling of awe into anyone that looks at it? Sorry to all the people in the art community but I have to say that art has become a shallow social club where people simply try to consider themselves better than others through the fact that they can draw a straight line without a ruler and add a shadow to a drawing. And more over what does this say about the school teachers or college professors that were supposed to inspire us to be better people and to love what they’re doing? Have we really gotten to such a low that we actually not only fail to ¬†inspire the next generation to do wonderful things and carry on what we’ve¬†thought¬†them but also¬†bludgeon¬†our own carrier choice for no apparent reason other than our own¬†misery?

I for one honestly think that teachers like this should be put to a wall and shot for their incompetence. In some measure the stupidity of this generation can be linked directly back to them. To over- or under protective parents, teachers that fail to inspire us and seek to make our life hell in everything we do even when it’s something they themselves try to teach us all leading up to a job where too much is expected of you and too little proves the fact that you might be worth something. In retrospect my life would hardly qualify as a measuring stick to what others might think. So I’ll simply leave it to you folks and see what you think about it. Am I imagining it all or is school really going to hell?