Monday 30 April 2007

Tick Tocking @ the Clock

The Clock is a pub on Crown St in Surry Hills. Go south, past Billy Kwongs (Kylie's restaurant) and bills, hold your breath as you journey by Indian Chilli (if you don't like damp dog smell) and cross the road to the big building with a clock on it.

Inside you will find a wall with clocks set to the time of different cities above booths that are inhabited by those small cochroaches that never seem to get too big. I have always wondered if it's a species of dwarf cockroach or if the bigger ones eat them before they get big, like crocodiles do to other crocs young. I am sure we all wonder that. What are baby crocodiles called? Crocettes or crocobabies are my suggestions, if some crazed taxonomic-categorising-freak hasn't already come up with it. If you are feeling like you can not sleep but want to, ask me why I dislike taxa trees.

Whatever! The Clock has good food and a relaxing atmosphere. The wine was ok too and at a good price. Of course there is the obligatory LCD TV playing sport and the remake of Planet of the Apes. "What is the difference?" I hear you ask. Not the point though. There is a cocktail bar upstairs and a restaurant serving decent pub food.

The picture is of the bar and it's giant Absolute Vodka bottle.

Should you try it? Yes, but don't sit in a booth. The bar stools at tables are the best bet for avoiding roaches. At least it smelt better than the wet dog place. Will I go back? Probably for a quick drink at the bar on the way to Pizza e Birra, which I am dying to try soon.

Sunday 29 April 2007

Eternal Interview Questions

Having spent most of my life as an IT contractor, I have been through a lot of technical interviews. There are several questions that I am asked in pretty much every single interview I have been to that I am sure will be asked again.

The interviewers must be noticing how perfect interviewees answers are getting to these repeated queries. My hint is to stop asking them. They are boring and beyond simple. I like interviews that make me think of the best way to solve a problem. You can not list the perfect interview questions because they are not ones that you can learn and recite. Good interview questions make you use your brain, your experience and your skill to demonstrate you can. Asking questions that a first year would know is pretty insulting.

As for the interviewee, don't be verbose and try to impress them with your answers. Just answer the question and wait for the next. Always remember that if they ask you stupid questions, it could be because they do not know the answers to the hard ones.

.NET Questions

What is the difference between an abstract class and an interface?
I'd rather answer why a raven is like a writing desk at the Mad Hatter's tea party. It is the eternal question, across languages, dimensions and time. There are a couple of things they could want you to say at this point - an abstract class can be partially implemented but not instantiated; an interface has no implementation and outlines the public methods and constants that a class is contracted to implement when inheriting from it. I have found that they sometimes want you to say that you can inherit from multiple interfaces and one base class. Whatever! Really, this question has to go!

What are the different types of uses for the keyword 'using'?
They want you to know that there is a using directive and a using statement. They want you to know about the using statement so that you properly handle objects whose classes inherit from IDisposable, to ensure their Dispose method is called. The example I give every time is the way to handle an ADOConnection within a using block. It gets smiles and claps and happiness throughout the room. Unfortunately, I feel empty for having to answer that same question for the thousandth time.

What is the difference between a Server.Transfer and a Response.Redirect?
This is meant to show that you understand the difference between the browser sending you to a page and the server sending you to a page. Client-Server and the difference between where decisions are made. They love it when you tell them the back button doesn't know where to go if you Server.Transfer. That gets the mexican wave going.

Does .NET have multiple inheritance?
They want the perfect succinct answer at this point - .NET allows multiple inheritance of interfaces but only one base class.

SQL Questions

What is the difference between a primary key and an index?
Again, a question that is asked over and over again and is just not that hard to guess even if you only know Access. One is the physical order and the other is a logical order of the data.

Dumb First Year Uni Questions

I flat out refuse to answer these but here they are...

What is polymorphism?
What is inheritance?

Things you can look up if you care to

We live in a time of storage devices - iPods for my music so I don't sing out loud on the bus; TB drives to store all the photos my friends, family and I have take over the years so that I can print them at any time; and Google for all those difeekult words to spell. If something can be looked up or derived from first principles then there is no reason to remember it. OK, that is going a little far but it is in the right direction. Why would you ask the following questions, especially when it is something a developer would go look up in a book or on the 'blag when they need it?

HTTP error codes?
All the methods on a StringBuilder?
Syntax error meanings?
The difference between a datetime and smalldatetime?

DISCLAIMER: I am very glad that I am so happy with my current job, so that I will not be out there having to answer these questions for a while.

Got a Billion

D-Link was a disaster. It wouldn't connect at ADSL2+ and TPG were not able to help at all.

We now have a Billion modem which works just perfectly! Yay!

Friday 27 April 2007

Photographer Kaz

Karen, one of my most talented photographer friends, got a great review from an author whose book she did a photo-essay on...

the authors blog

Wednesday 25 April 2007

Worst Episode Ever!

Death visited our Dynalink ADSL2 modem router. That modem was terminal from the day we were wrongly given it by TPG, when we said we wanted some sort of Netcomm. They actually said "we'll sell you a Netcomm" but unfortunately, they never said they'd send it to us. Instead we were gifted with a waif of a comm-device Dynalink that died within 3 months - on Monday night.

Being without Internet access was a little daunting. Half a book was read and I had no idea what was going to be on TV. There were actually emails waiting in my inbox when I gmailed - shock of shocks! It was like sensory deprivation - BB white room type stuff.

Today in Chinatown, we bought a brand spanking new DLink modem router. Yay! There was little chance of us waiting over a week to get a replacement once we sent in the device to TPG and they checked it and then sent a new one out - jerks. Forget that! TPG is also history. Am looking at Optus or Internode now.

Thankfully, I am back online.

A friend asked me what on earth would happen if I had a thought and couldn't blog it, luckily we will never have to find out :o)

The new ADSL modem

The new modem on the router/firewall/wireless access point thingemy

As for this part of my life, it truly was the worst episode ever.

Tuesday 24 April 2007

Update on polar dilemma

Update on the cold situation at work. It's slightly warmer. It was a team effort but we have managed to restrict the flow of freezing air from the crazy vent in our office. Jose has still moved to another seat. We lived up to our division motto...

EAD - Simple solutions to complex problems

A3 paper and stick tape

Look at the air flow making the paper balloon

When it rains, it pours

It is raining in Sydney so everyone I know who lives here is blogging.

I'm noticing lots of embedded content - v. good, guys.

Hedonism is understated.

My ADSL modem died. I miss the Internet.

PS Chewy ANZAC biscuits and not crunchy.

Friday 20 April 2007

Proof of the xkcd theory of cat proximity

ok, this proves that xkcd was right about the way being close to cats makes ya a little looney...

Midlife Crisis

Just like all the hip and happenin' kids are doing, I am like totally up on the things to do on the interblag. I've got a totally sic blog, a youtube channel and "my myspace sux". It is Jen-I'm not an emo-'s fault since she made her myspace private so future employers can't see all the photos of her breaking her phone. I had to join to be her friend to see the photos.

Even though I am a web monkey, it would be a full time job to get one of those myspaces to look half decent and even then the ads would still be blinking. Why is it that we killed the HTML ability to blink and the disease spread to the animated gif world? Who ever thought animated gifs would be a good idea ever?! I blame NASA. They are always putting out animated gifs of Mars landings and dust clouds around lobster nebula.

So what is my point? Oh, I remember. No matter how hard I try, I am still getting older and that's NASA's fault.

Thursday 19 April 2007

Brrrrrr it's cold in here!

My work is located in a brand new funky building on the water, in Sydney. The current staff in the building only consume the space on the second floor. The rest of the building is empty but the aircon system is working at full strength. This means that on a perfect Sydney 25 degree celcius day, it can be less than 20 C in our office.

I have to wear a jacket every day and Jose the Java coding, Google friendly, skateboarding tennis playing office mate is currently fighting off an ear infection which he is sure is due to the arctic conditions.

After leaving the coldest capital city in this country, I am working in the south pole of offices.

Jose under his protective denim shield points at the offending aircon vent

Wednesday 18 April 2007

Cuteness Is A Bear

Everyone is talking about Knut but I have something important to say.

Who is a cute bearsy wearsy? Go on, you're cute. Yes you are!

Saturday 14 April 2007

The City of Roundabouts & Leaves

Saturdays are for sleeping in and late breakfasts.

Last Saturday was spent driving to Canberra to visit the fam.

I had time to take a solitary walk through the tree lined suburban streets of the national capital. There were not many people around. An irresponsible biker jumped the curb and nearly ran me down. His daddy stopped him before his tricycle could de-foot me. Damn 3 year olds! I also witnessed a drug deal "going down". That expression is also used by elevators [queue voice="elevator woman"] Going down [/queue]. There really were not many people around apart from bikers and drug dealers.

These pics best sum up my adventures...

Tree lined streets (note: no people)

Water tank from 1788 settlers (note: no people but drug deal was going down across the road)

Rare Canberra roundabout (note: no people in cars)

The Alexander Boyz (note: people standing like boy band)

Pweety Flower (note: gave up looking for alleged people)

Wednesday 11 April 2007

Do you need a cuddle?

OK, someone has to explain the whole permanent employee deal to me. I have been contracting, beaten, crucified and spat on for so long that I just do not get the need for a cuddle from my manager.

Managers to me are like boxing refs. They stand between those of us who care and the others. They blow the whistle and reprimand you when you head butt the other dude and they tell you when to go back to your corner - "Damana, he's bleeding so just let it go now". Boxing refs DO NOT take you in to a side room and tell you that your employer loves you and that you are a worthwhile human being. Of course you are or they fire you.

I know when I am going ok at work because my pass still works.

It is a geeks world at the moment but in all honesty, the state of the market doesn't matter if you are an anti-social, weird nutter. Just do your job, speak up when you know you should, don't take the whole thing personally and remember that you do the work to afford the play.

As for cuddles, I'll take a direct deposit... and darling, I do not get out of bed for less than 4 peanuts a day.

Intel Stole My Favourite Song

This is currently my fave song...

"Ice Cream" by New Young Pony Club

Damn Intel! It's like Maccas setting up a fake bedroom in my lounge room after walking down my street and liking my house. Wait! That happened to someone I know.

Sunday 8 April 2007

Happy Easter 2007!

Easter means many things to different people. As a kid it meant easter eggs and stuffed toy bunnies that my sister and I would spend a good week prior searching for. It is probably time I told my Mum about the time that Trina and I found the eggs and toy bunnies in the boot of her car on Easter Saturday. Good hiding place. That was the first time we looked there and last time I remember searching - maybe finding them ruined the surprise of Easter for me.

This year, Giles and I tried to get in to the spirit of things. In our JIT-shopping style, we went to the David Jones store in Pitt Street on Easter Saturday and crawled the raided shelves for one of the last few egg sets left. After picking up an attractive hat box packed tastefully with gold eggs (obviously from the golden goose), I almost let it go again. There were two desperate housewives hovering by waiting for me to relinquish my ownership but I was too quick and noticed. The box was back down on the counter but with my hand resting on it while I decided what my next move would be. A quick scan of the shop made the decision easy. There was nothing left. The hordes had been, bought and pillaged and gone. These were my eggs. They would have to settle for the reusable baby blue foam handbag with the ugly striped kiddie eggs.

The hat box with the golden eggs

How the catholics do it

Our Easter walk passed the train bridge near the Domain

This temporary cross is lit up at night in Hyde Park to freak out drunk people, I'm guessing

Wednesday 4 April 2007

Career Advice

Be appreciated or be paid well and whatever happens, do not sacrifice both.