Quick Post

Firstly, this will be my last post at thepeon.wordpress.com, but don’t fret, it’s only because I am moving.  My new home will be at thepeon.homelinux.net.  If you follow my blog by RSS, please update your records.  This is a big step for me, as it is a self hosted server.

The next bit of news, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested today by the FBI on Federal Corruption charges.  What charge you ask?  Selling Obama’s Senate seat. Impressive Rod. You know you and your staff are under an active investigation, but you decide to sell a Senate seat over the phone. My applause on your stupidity.

Obama CTO allows you to vote

Even though I didn’t vote for Obama, I think he is making the right move by appointing a CTO cabinet position.  A website has popped up (I can’t find anything on the site whether it is official or not) that is asking for your input.  You can submit your own ideas or just vote on other peoples ideas on what issues the CTO should try to tackle in the next four years.

 

obamacto.org

Really hating my systems analysis class. Decided that is not an IT career in my future.

Community readiness

First of all, I apologize to all my readers for the lack of posts.  Since I have gone back to school, life has been crazy.

One of the many things I have been busy with was the flooding that took place in Northern Illinois a week ago.  I work part time for a county Office of Emergency Management, and I think most of the towns in our county handled the disaster as best as they could.  Others, however, I think did a dis-service to the people who live in their towns.  My mother’s basement was taking on water through a window well on the side of her house.  She contacted multiple departments in her village and was not able to get a simple resource as sand bags.  Other municipalities near her were coming to the county to get more sand bags for their residents, and my mom’s town simply said “Not our problem.”  She would have been fine with as few as ten sand bags, but instead, now has thousands of dollars in damages.

I would just like to remind everyone that September is National Prepardness Month, and you should check with your municiplaity to se what they will help you with and what they won’t.  My mother didn’t, and could have helped herself had she kept 10 sandbags in her garage.  Also, even though your not by a body of water, doesn’t mean you won’t be affected by flooding.

Programers, Learn your industry

Wow it’s been a long time since I have posted.  Been keeping busy at school and work.

So, being a CIS student while working outside of the computer industry, I came across something that I will take to hart later in my programing life: Programmers, learn the industry you are developing for!  I currently work as a Site Manager for a security company for a client that is in the shipping industry.  My site is a test site for this client for a security round system that my be rolled out to many of their sites nation wide.

Some back ground:  Most security officers have to make rounds or tours during their shift.  There have been many systems over the years to record this process to verify that the officer was where he said he was.  The system we are using is using new technology to bring this process into the 21st century.

The system we are testing uses RFID technology to record where the officer is, then transmits this data via cell phone network to the companies server, where it is then able to be viewed real time on the web by myself or my client.  With this system, you can use other RFID tags for different incidents that may happen while you are working (medical emergency, suspicious person, etc.).  This information can then be emailed by the host companies server to any number of recipients I choose.  This is where the problem comes in and the programmers didn’t know the security industry well.

1) The email is not sent out until the officer completes his round

2) If the officer isn’t currently on a round (sitting at a desk), these incidents are not recorded.

Now, the reason these are problems are that many of the incidents should be forwarded by email ASAP.  My client and myself both carry Blackberry’s and will receive the email within a minute, but because the system holds it until the officer completes the round, it could take a long time for the email to be sent.  If the officer takes 30 minutes to handle the email, and then 5 minuets to complete his round, the email won’t be sent out for 35 minutes.  If the situation is a true emergency, my officer could call me, then I could call every one that needs to know, like what happens now, but the technology is supposed to make my life easier.  Second, my officers spend 3/4 of their time at a desk, not on a round.  If they are not assigned to a round on this system, they can’t input incidents.  Because of this, I know have to program in a “dummy” round, so they can log into the dummy round, log the incident, and the log off the dummy round.  This is two extra steps that should not have to happen.  If the programmers who developed this system would have done some research on the security industry, they would have seen these needs ahead of time.  Now, I could only guess at how they have codded this program, but I think both solutions could have been avoided with less then 100 lines of code.  100 lines of code for two added features that MANY of your customers would use makes a lot of sense.  On the up side, I spoke to one of the VP’s of the company, and both features are being added to their feature want list for the next update.

The moral of the story, if you are working with another industry, do some research on the other industry so you can help them before they ask you to.

“If a door is closed, karate chop it open”

So, using StumbleUpon, I came across this site which does a great job in explaining all of the Homeland Security warning pictures. My favorite, “If your intended destination is suddenly vaporized, consider pulling over and watching the cool light show.”

Been a long time…

Well, between school, work, family and church, I have been way too busy to even think about logging on to do an update lately.  I have just my final left in my C++ Object Oriented class which has been pulling a lot of my time.  Next week I will be starting Computer Architecture and Operating Systems which sounds right up my ally.  I am putting together a proposal for work which is new to me.  My client is looking at two different security software packages and I will be the test site.  After reviewing what features both products had, I am pushing for the more expensive one, which will be hard to validate, but I’m trying.  If we like the system after my test period, it will be rolled out across the country, so I’ve got a big responsibility in front of me.  The weather here has also finally changed.  The Chicago area set a record for the most days between 70 degree days at 170 something (can’t find the article I read that in now).  Hopefully my time will start to clear up a little so I have some more time to sit and write, but it doesn’t look that way right now.

ARRRR…. Windows is a pain!!!

OK, to anyone that says a windows install is easier than a Linux install, explain to me why I need a second computer to go download drivers, then .Net framework so I can get the NIC to work on the computer. Still don’t have it…

UPDATE:  OK, NIC drivers and most of the other missing drivers are installed, but I still can’t find the PCI driver, which is preventing me from installing the Sound Card drivers, which I have, but refuse to load.  The only problem I had with a simmialr model Dell when I loaded Linux was no driver for the installed NIC, so I just went out and bought one for $12.

Note to self, if asked by anyone in my family or group of friends to help with a computer problem, it will only happen if I can install whatever operating system I find fit…

Sever Weather Preparedness Week

This week is Sever Weather Preparedness Week in Illinois and Indiana. I know many Ham radio operators use this week to get their radios working for when the first storm hits. Many weather spotters get out to training classes (mine is actually in two weeks). I hope that most families will do something, even if it’s going out a buying a NOAA Weather Radio or buying some extra batteries and flash lights for when the power gets knocked out. You never know when the weather might effect you. Last year, in my county, we got hit by both a micro burst and a tornado. Many of them effected some of the same people, as they hit only a few towns away from each other. Near my work (the next county over) another micro burst hit during yet another storm. That one knocked down power lines for nearly an mile and a half down a major road. The worst part is, I’m hearing from many weather experts that this year has the potential to be even worse than last. The norther Illinois/souther Wisconsin area has already seen their first sever weather of the year (early January). Emergencies always remind my of my Boy Scout days, “Always be prepared.”

Props to Trent

I’m a little late in getting this out, but I want to give props to Nine Inch Nails and headman Trent Reznor on releasing their new CD, Ghosts I, under the Creative Commons – Non-Commercial licensing. This lets anyone copy, alter, and distribute their work as long as it’s not for commercial gain. Reznor himself uploaded the CD to the popular bit-torrent site Pirate Bay. I hope more artists realize that their music will reach more people if they share it under a CC license. NIN is still selling their album on CD and on BluRay disk for the collection of new work (Ghosts I-IV). This is a big step in the music industry and the opposite of what Metallica‘s drummer, Lars Ulrich, is trying to do with the music industry.

I will be downloading from The Pirate Bay tonight. Can’t wait.

Free our music!!