In Hobby Lobby, the facts didn’t matter?

TTomorrow

Thankfully, I’m no longer subject to the whims of co-worker bullies as described in a post a couple of weeks ago. That means no more paychecks, at least until another likely job opens up later this month. If anyone can drop a few coins in my Paypal account at DarkSydOTheMoon at A.O.L. dot-com, that would hugely appreciated. Sorry to bother everyone, but it’s just a fact that we all need money to survive.

And speaking of facts, when did it become OK to start with the premise that facts don’t matter in a legal case? Because in the Hobby-Lobby ruling, the fact-impaired gave way to fact-dismissal by the highest court in the land before the case was even argued, and it was just accepted, with little or no debate. A brief recap via The Nation: [Read more...]

Separating wheat and chaff

Several interesting political discussions ensued with friends over the last few days. There were a few more around because two people some of us knew passed away. One in a plane wreck, the other from cancer. Some friends like to talk politics with a real live blogger, and some of them are informed enough and intellectually honest enough to be worth talking about it with. But not all.

There’s a somewhat simple, almost elegant algorithm for separating the novices and part-timers and hard-core partisan warriors from the more experienced and frank. The latter might lean or reside entirely on one side of the great left-right divide that has come to define modern US politics like North vs South did decades ago. But they’re able to exert some objectivism; there’s a lot of fancy ways we could say this, they live in a reality-based world, they resist cognitive dissonance. But what it boils down to is they know a fact when they see one, plus they value facts as building blocks in effective policy solutions.

It’s not infallible, but below is a fast-food approach to separate the more purely ideological from the more purely rational. [Read more...]

Fun times

Well, I may have made a mistake in taking this new job that’s been keeping me from blogging. It’s not the work, the work is the fun part. Getting inside servers and figuring out what might be going wrong is kinda cool. Like a math problem or a puzzle, one that you’re being paid to solve. No, it’s the people. Some of my coworkers are bullies. [Read more...]

The spice must flow

Watching Grumpy Grandpa McCain this morning making the rounds, trying to explain how we won the war in Iraq, but somehow failed in Iraq at the same time and now have to go back in and, what, re-win it? Well, it was interesting to watch him try and navigate through that tortured reasoning, even a little bit comical in a dark, cynical way, sort of a crazy neo-con blast from the bloody past. But here’s what sets civil war in Iraq apart from Syria or Libya: [Read more...]

Oh for those heady days, before the right went completely crazy

Seems like only yesterday … It’s amazing to witness the contortions, the descent into madness, and possibly alcoholism or dementia, going down over the POW release over there to the right among the craziest theocons and the slickest maniacs. The dishonesty is so, so well documented that it’s gone beyond nauseating and turned into hilarious.

Below is another blast from the past, pure political comedy gold, from back in those ancient days lo these many weeks ago, wherein the social machinery was being pre-placed to attack anyone who stands in the way of Gilded Age 2.0: [Read more...]

It’s not just that everything you do is being recorded …

 

If you haven’t seen the Snowden interview yet, it’s worth watching in its entirety. Or as much as you can find on the it00bz. But this post isn’t about whether Snowden is a hero or a dick. I have no idea, there are signs of both What’s interesting to a lot of us is what he has to say about the digital-network national security apparatus that has come of age in the last decade and now invades almost every aspect of our private and professional lives. The former security industry analyst’s insights are fascinating, he speaks about the nature of state security technology and speculates on how it may be in the early stages of taking a dark turn. His comments in that regard come off, at least to me, as earnest in intent and plausible in execution; history will be the judge, we may have to wait many years for that verdict to be read.

One of the things he could do better next time, if there is a next time, is talk a little bit more about the databases. From what Snowden said and the reporting done on his behalf, it sounds like it’s not just that you’re being recorded whenever you go online by land or by air, [Read more...]

Notepad++ install

So Notepad++ downloaded without a hitch, other than my super special gaming AV twigged a little until I let it through by name. Version is v6.6.3. I put the first screen that popped up below the fold for you veterans to look over. Looks like a routine recap of prior fixes. This is the one the Python page said to use and was supposedly preconfigged/defaulted correctly for those modules. BTW, project down the road: my new job has some perks. One being that getting MSFT cert is encouraged, they have labs to study, practice tests, and people who’ve taken lots of them willing to help. Is there a best cert to start with? I work mostly with the two latest EX server versions at work. I’m not sure if saying the exact names would be a DA violation or not — I’m so new at this!

But so far I like it, all that formal math seems to be helping some; at least the syntax for queries seems totally logical to me, but its definitely intimidating to some of my classmates. I actually solved a Sev A today, waited for the PTL’s to figure it out since I’m so new, but it turned out to be what I suspected. I also memorized the more useful cmdlets already and kicking around inside the servers seems to be coming to me fairly naturally … for an old guy. Thanks again for all your prior great pointers and enthusiasm! [Read more...]

Need some dev/tech advice

It just hit me this weekend: I am going to survive. My new job pays a, barely, livable wage. And for all those firms who chose younger folks over me, I gloat! In the training for my new job, there were plenty of younger people. They were sharp, they caught on fast, some had experience already and all were educated. But it turns out having a stable lifestyle and just showing up on time, alert and ready to work everyday, is still a valuable commodity. That reliability and my past experience vaulted me from confused and frightened on day one to natural class leader who devoured the material faster than it could be delivered by day ten. By the time it was over I was practically the substitute instructor. Remember this: there is great value in maturity and experience. That gives you a natural advantage, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!

The labor market is also improving. One recruiter and an HR lady from jobs I was turned down for earlier this year have called me in the past few weeks asking me to re-interview. I politely told them, hell no, it’s too bad the young people you hired instead of me burned out, disappeared, quit, got sick, or partied too hard and missed too many days in the first few months, but you had your chance. I was standing right in your office, I-9 documents and resume in hand, desperate for a job, willing to work for peanuts and crumbs — I would have showed up an hour early and stayed an hour late on my own dime just to get up to speed — and you guys all fucking blew it.

But my ultimate goal is to make at least a measly ~60k, preferably more, and have an actual semblance of middle class life. A goal so low I might have laughed at it a decade or two ago. But anyway, the recession … another story. To succeed in the local tech market here in Austin, I know mastering network level stuff is important. Powershell and Active Directory are a decent start, besides, that’s part of my new job. I get paid to do learn and use them. The other thing people have told me, if the goal is to be well rounded, is to pick up the basics of at least one, modern programming language. The language I’m considering is Python. Is that as good a choice as any? The first step in the online Python course is to download Notepad++, located here. Any downsides to this?

I’m no longer lost in the forest

I should be able to get back to a more reasonable and predictable schedule in the next week or two. I’m telling you, it took real effort, no social life combined with the benefit of lots of hard math classes long ago, to be able hit the ground running and get up to speed when starting with zero network experience. But training is done, I have passed and can now, somewhat at least, manage a series of domains or directories, AKA, My Forest.

It’s just amazing how these networks have to be nursed and coddled as they often barely limp along. For the past few weeks, when I got home from what is basically a 24/7 urgent care facility for broken domains and servers that won’t sync, it was like being an off-duty, lowly resident trauma doc. The last thing I wanted to see was a working keyboard, because keyboards lead to dying hardware and broken software.