SQL: “Sequel” or “S-Q-L”

SQL is officially pronounced “S-Q-L” but I still prefer “Sequel”.  The reason?  2 syllables versus 3 syllables.  It is just quicker and easier to say “Sequel” than it is to verbally spell out “S-Q-L”.  Plus, I think it makes conversations about SQL flow a little better.

Support Local Today Or It May Not Be Here Tomorrow!

Last Friday, I went to my favorite Chinese restaurant (Sesame Chinese) for lunch and was surprised to find the place empty when it’s usually busy (especially on Fridays).  A few more people did eventually show up, but it hit me that this was just another example of the tough economic times we live in.  This thought lead to another realization:  there has never been a more important time than now to support local businesses.

We’ve seen so many big companies announce massive layoffs lately that it won’t be long before that pain trickles down to small businesses (I’m sure it already has).  Of course, most of these big companies will survive this economic crisis but there is a good chance that many of these small businesses won’t, which is why they need our support now more than ever.

Next time you plan to go out to eat or do some shopping, try to remember to support your local businesses first.  Instead of eating at a chain restaurant, eat at your favorite local restaurant, even if it means having to go a little bit out of your way.  Otherwise, that local business may not be here after this crisis has subsided.

If we don’t support our local businesses today, they may not be here tomorrow.  Let’s start today!

Ticketmaster Sucks!

Ticketmaster sucks!  I know this opinion is well documented all over the internet, but I wanted to add my own complaint.

Today, I was planning to purchase my ticket to see Cynic play at the House of Blues in Chicago.  As I went through the checkout process, their ridiculous charges that nearly doubled the ticket price were more than I could take.  Now, I know Ticketmaster has always been bad about these additional charges, but I didn’t realize they had gotten this bad:

Ticket: $20.00
Building Facility Charge: $2.00
Convienence Charge: $8.70
Taxes: $0.35
Order Processing Charge: $4.60
TicketFast Delivery: $2.50
Total: $38.15

How in the world can a $20 ticket end up costing $38?  It’s ridiculous!  Now, I could have avoided the $2.50 TicketFast Delivery fee by choosing the Will-Call option, but that is more trouble than I wanted to deal with.  What makes me angry about this charge though, is that they are charging me $2.50 to print the ticket off on my own printer!

Anyway, due to Tickemaster’s exessive greed, they will be getting $0 from me today and probably in the future as well.  The only possible exception may be for shows in town when we can purchase the tickets at the box office.  That seems to be the only way to not get completely ripped-off by Ticketmaster.

Does “normal” still exist?

One of the things I love about the internet is how there’s a place for nearly any interest a person could possibly have.  More importantly, there are other people with the same interests building communities around these obscure and niche ideas.  There is also a sense of belonging and validation for the people involved.

I have to wonder then…does “normal” still exist?  Is it only a concept that exists in the “real world” now or are the communities being built online carry over to the “real world”?

The idea of what is “normal” and what isn’t will probably always exist, but it seems as though the internet is beginning to break down that concept.  In fact, maybe the internet is making stronger individualism “normal”.

Information Consumer

I’m a huge consumer of information.  I love to learn as much as I can about nearly any topic and I’m good at it.  My old boss used to ask me to research various issues outside of my normal area of expertise because he knew I could find an answer and usually find that answer quickly.  At various social gatherings, friends often ask me questions when they are stuck for an answer because I usually know the answer or can find it fast.  It’s something I’m good at and something I enjoy.

However, one thing I struggle with is sharing what I learn with others online.  Offline, I’m OK but I know I consume massive amounts of information online and rarely give back any insights I may have gained from it.

So, one of my goals for 2009 is to start giving back.  Getting back into this blog is a step in that direction.  Got any questions?

Bye Bye 2008

Yet another year has gone by so here are the highlights:

  • Having a baby (baby to come in 2009).
  • Had a great time vacationing in San Diego.
  • Harakiri is still moving towards that next album (a little slower than I’d like, but we’re still moving).

Hmmm…I’m sure there was more but that’s all that is standing out in my head right now.  I’m looking forward to 2009.  Some big changes are coming (the baby) and I know I’ll sleep less but it’s still exciting!

Bye Bye 2007

Another year has gone by. As with any year, a lot happened so here is my wrap-up of the highlights of 2007…

  • First full year of being married.
  • Finally got a dog that has been almost the perfect dog for us.
  • Playing the first Harakiri shows back after a very long hiatus.
  • Having 8 songs for the next Harakiri album. More songs to come.
  • Going to User Experience 2007 conference in Vegas and learning so much good stuff.
  • Lost some weight.

Overall, 2007 was a good year. I’m looking forward to see what 2008 has in store!

Spam And The BCC Solution

Far too often people send emails to full lists of their friends and families.  The problem with this is that eventually, someone with not so good intentions ends up with lists just full of email addresses that they use to start spamming.

I had one main email address that I never used for any accounts and only gave it to close friends and my parents and another address that I always used when setting up accounts.  This main address went at least two or three years without ever getting spam while the other constantly received spam.  This was until one day when an extended family member somehow got a hold of that email address and sent an email to other people in the family as well as that address with all the email addresses listed in the TO field.  I don’t remember what it was but I think it was something that was shown to be false by Snopes.  Anyway, within a week I started getting a lot of spam to that email, after having gone years without ever getting any.

My guess is that some of the people that got the email forwarded it on until it reached a mailing list that shows the email and all the addresses it had been sent to on a web page where a spammer grabbed all those addresses.  Or, it could’ve been forwarded directly to a spammer’s address.

This could’ve been easily avoided had that extended family member put all the email addresses in a little known field call the BCC field.  BCC stands for Blind Carbon Copy and it essentially means that it sends the email to whomever you want but it doesn’t display the email addresses.  That way anyone down the line cannot grab those addresses to spam them.  Virtually every email program offers the BCC field but not all display it as an option by default.  You often have to enable it from an option menu.

So while the BCC Solution may not bring a total end to spam, it can be helpful to keep your friends and family from be spammed because of a message you sent them.  Use it whenever sending an email to a list of friends and/or family; they’ll appreciate it!

Font Rendering Differences Between Apple And Microsoft

With the launch of Apple’s Safari browser for Windows (in Beta) yesterday, besides all the bug issues, Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror (a blog that I read often via RSS) has pointed out some issues with how Microsoft and Apple render fonts differently.  Microsoft (via ClearType) renders fonts smooth but crisp.  Apple renders fonts smooth but not so crisp.  Some say it’s blurry, but within OSX, it seems to fit well.

Anyway, the reason why these two render the fonts the way they do has already been discussed to death so I won’t go into that.  Ultimately though, it helped me to understand something about myself when it comes to Web Design that I always thought was kind of odd…

For some reason, I’ve always had an easier time doing graphic design on my Mac but writing code has always been easier on a PC.  Even though Photoshop is almost exactly the same on Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s OSX operating systems, I’m more inspired and can knock out graphics quicker on the Mac.  Even though Dreamweaver is pretty much the same on both, I can knock out code quicker on the PC.  I’ve always suspected it was the way the fonts displayed on the different operating systems, but after reading up on why they two render fonts the way they do, now I’m certain that is definitely the reason.

Now that Macs can run Windows as well as OSX, I’m planning to go back to just using Macs, although my G4 won’t do it since it has to be an Intel-based Mac so I have to buy a new one.  This is mostly because I’m just tired of having to reinstall Windows on my computers every couple of years and all the other problems I’ve had with Windows and PC hardware.  I’ve never felt like I needed to reinstall OSX on my Macs ever and I’ve hardly had any hardware issues.

Anyway, does anyone know if Boot Camp or Parallels render screen fonts the Mac way when you’re running Windows or does it keep it the Windows way?  I’m going to have to find that out before I go back to the Macs.  I use Visual Studio 2005 these days but I guess if Boot Camp or Parallels render the fonts in Windows apps the Apple way, then I may have to rethink that plan.

Stuffing My Brain With SharePoint

What a long week! I spent this whole week taking some SharePoint training classes and my brain is tired. It was kind of nice to be a way from work but I know I have a lot of work to get caught back up on next week. Especially since I’ll be on vacation the week after.

Anyway, back to SharePoint…my company is interested in implementing at least some of SharePoint internally so after playing with it for a while, I decided I probably should take some classes before going any further with it. It’s flexible (almost too flexible) and can be very confusing.

After a week of classes, I have a better understanding of it but I still find pieces of it confusing. There are just a lot screens that look similar and often have similar functionality but you can only get to them in very specific ways. It can be difficult to find the specific screen you need to find. Even the instructor got lost in the interface a few times, so I don’t feel too bad when that happens now.

Overall, I see some great potential in SharePoint but I also see the potential for a lot of work maintaining it. Luckily for now, we’re only going to be using WSS 3.0 and not the full SharePoint 2007 software and we’re only going to roll it out to one department at a time. More than likely, we’ll eventually start using the full version but for now, the basic version will make a big difference…better document management, document versioning, better and easier to use interface than our current Intranet, etc.

I’m excited!