Monday, December 10, 2012

Don't be a dick

Let's not be dicks, okay? You don't know what someone else is dealing with, what pressures they endure. Then comes you, out of nowhere, being a huge dick.

Being A Dick \ˈbē(-i)ŋ ˈā ˈdik\: Pursuing your own personal joy or pleasure or enjoyment, knowing you're hurting someone.

You're being a dick the moment you're aware that what you're doing is hurtful. Hurt doesn't have to be your initial intent (that's for assholes). But once hurting someone else becomes a consequence of your actions, and you don't let up, you're being a dick.

When you call the royal hospital you're just being goofy. There's no way you'll get through. Someone will answer the call and they'll know you're screwing around and they'll either be playful about it or hang up on you. But you fool the operator, and she patches you through, and you don't stop her.

That's the line, dick.

When she says she'll patch you through, you're supposed to stop her. You're supposed to laugh and say you were just kidding, isn't my accent terrible, are you having a laugh, ha ha ha. But you don't, and you humiliate her to death. Kids lose a mom. Husband loses a wife. Because of you. Dick.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Blog Fix

It's #Meme15 time again. Jason Strate (B | T) started #Meme15 as a way to encourage SQL Server professionals to blog about something other than SQL. I'm definitely more of a SQL enthusiast than professional, but #Meme15 has attracted some great SQL pro's, and I like the opportunity to participate in a community blog theme with them.

April's assignment:
What are ten blogs that you think other SQL Server professionals should be following but might not be?
This ought to be fun. In no particular order:
  • OCDQ Blog:  Jim Harris is indeed obsessively-compulsively concerned about data quality. Check out his podcast too.
  • Harvard Business Review's Management Tip of the Day:  I try to be prepared every day for what may be next in my career. Reading the HBR management tip helps me better empathize with my supervisor, and helps me expand my leadership skills in bite-size chunks. For me, following HBR is immersing myself in a culture of success.
  • Harmless Drudgery:  There's no one more delightful in the word nerd world than Kory Stamper. Kory's relatively new blog, Harmless Drudgery, is the most delicious, interesting, charming thing out there. Someday it will be our favorite HBO series.
  • xkcd: If you're not following XKCD, then I don't even understand you.
  • Practically Efficient:  Eddie Smith (@eddie_smith) is a Mac guy, so some of his posts don't resonate with me. But he often lobs a nugget of wisdom, a link, or a universal truth that changes my course.
  • Ask E.T.:  Edward Tufte is the master of data visualization. He doesn't blog, per se, but he does provide an RSS feed of his online bulletin board activity. Doesn't sound too thrilling, subscribing to bulletin board posts, but I've discovered some really interesting discussions on data visualization and user interface design. New posts are relatively rare, like 1-2 a week.
  • Better Explained:  I loved math as a kid, hated it as a teen, then came to love it again as an adult. The problem with math in my teens, I now see, was that I was too curious. That is, I always asked "why" Algebra worked the way it did, and was always told to stop asking questions and "just learn it." So Kalid Azad's slogan Learn Right, Not Rote was instantly appealing to me. Anyone in IT could take away some pointers from Kalid on how to explain complicated concepts in easy-to-understand language.
  • Understanding Uncertainty:  David Spiegelhalter takes on some common statistical misconceptions. Content is UK-based, posting is sporadic, but he's usually quick to jump on a popular discussion that's misinterpreting some sort of statistic.
  • Datachix Blog:  As a father of three daughters, I like to keep up with what smart women have to say about technology. Julie (@JulieChix) and Audrey (@DataAudrey) are active on Twitter, so some SQL geeks probably already know of them. But if you don't, check them out.
  • Austin Kleon:  I think Austin Kleon (@AustinKleon) is the most exciting creative force out there right now. He just published a fabulous little book called "Steal Like An Artist" that can inspire anyone to get more creative in their work.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Your mom's on Facebook

I'm taking a stab at #Meme15, which I found out about from following various SQL geeks on Twitter. This month's topic comes from Jason Strate (Blog | Twitter), who asks:
How do you balance mixing family, friends, peers, and co-workers on Facebook?
Facebook has one exasperating problem that all the other social networks do not have: My mom is on Facebook. And she comments on everything I post  either delight at something about her grandkids, or bewilderment at anything not about her grandkids. If your mom is on Facebook maybe you know what I'm talking about. That said, Facebook has become the best way to share family news and photos with other family members. Neither my wife nor I have any immediate family here in Tulsa    mine are in Texas, hers in Texas and Kansas. So I like being able to post pics and news of my girls for the rest of the family.

I have 2 Facebook co-worker friends in a company of over 800. I used to have 3. My good work friend Tim added me as a Facebook friend, then dropped me as a Facebook friend. The bastard. No, I totally understand. It was just too much, I get it. The Facebook me isn't the real me. I post something and never know what kind of comments I'll get from someone who only knew me during a particular phase of my life. It can get awkward. That probably wasn't the real Tim on Facebook either. Now he doesn't have to know that 90% of my FB posts are commented on solely by mom. I don't miss that shame.

So if I'm the family-me on Facebook, the professional-me on LinkedIn, then I guess the closest social media equivalent to the real-me is on Twitter. Tweets have a shorter lifespan, they have a certain timely context. There's less risk to tweeting something off the cuff into the digital ether, because I don't know who's listening. I can just express myself and move on. I don't get the sense of freedom on Facebook as I do on Twitter.

I've been on Facebook for 5 years, and this is the first time I've bothered to articulate how I feel about it. And after thinking about it, I believe you're supposed to lose touch with some people. I'm Facebook Friends with people who went to elementary school with me. I didn't really know them then, and I certainly don't now. But there they are, my "Friend." These people are going through monumental life events. Having kids, getting jobs, losing jobs, losing parents – how am I supposed to feel? I shouldn't know you lost a parent just because we were in Mrs. Gobin's 2nd grade class. I should only know because we're close enough that you told me. Or because the news found its way to me from a friend who heard the news and knew I would care.

And another thing – if we're all Facebook friends, what the hell are we going to talk about at the 20th high school reunion this fall? Guess I could pose that question on Facebook. I'm sure my mom has some good advice.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On Intent

This one's simple -- read Andy Leonard's blog post Discerning Between Noisy and Important. Caution to SQL Server nerds like me: the T-SQL sample is liable to break your heart.

Follow Andy on Twitter: @AndyLeonard

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Google is not your friend

I found my way to this essay by MG Siegler, Why I Hate Android, and I can't help think he's being naive about what corporations are.

Google is not your friend. "Don't be evil" is not Google corporate policy. "Don't be evil" is the dream slogan every company would love to have people believe about it. But it's not company policy, it's not a commandment. "Don't be evil" is what a couple of guys who worked for Google in its early days wished the company would be about. It was a hope, a dream. That's it.

Steve Jobs had some choice words on Google's unofficial slogan himself. And Jobs certainly understood the challenges of avoiding evil. Just check out Foxconn, where the iPhone is built. That's right, those are nets on the lower perimeter of the manufacturing plant. Nets to catch the Chinese factory workers who couldn't stop killing themselves.

Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, your ISP, your wireless provider--they're all big business, and big business is cutthroat, two-faced, and every other characteristic that would make a human unlikable. But corporations aren't human. They all want to win, which means someone has to lose, and they don't care if it's me. That's the game that's being played.