Yiddish for IT Leaders

I have come to the conclusion that I need to know more yiddish.  Can I use it as a code to hide what I am really thinking?  Help bypass any email filters?  Just make me feel better.  Here is my arsenal.

bupkis – As in – you don’t know bupkis.

chutzpah – There is always one team member with too much of this.

glitch – Things are late again?  It must be another glitch.

kibitz – What we should call reviews.

klutz – You don’t want this and a programming to go together.

kvetch – What I do when I get home from work.

nudnik – In management speak these are the team members you manage out.

schmuck – What you call someone who changes something directly in production – first.

schtik – A little off topic, but I think of Benji Bronk on the radio on my way into work.

shpiel – My weekly team briefings have at least one of these.

yutz – Yiddish has lots of fun words for describing people that bum you out.

My phone is a fishing lure

Through a series of natural causes/events my phone was in the kayak, the kayak filled with water, the phone is dead and probably is better for catching fish or throwing at large game and rendering them unconscious.


This, of course, means that I have to buy another phone. Note that I did not say a new phone. It seems to me that the cell phone market sucks for anyone who, like me, is hard on a cell phone. There is no way for me to afford paying full retail because I am only months into my new contract.

This model is why I see so many screens with the spider cracked glass. Heck, someone at work actually had a piece of clear box tape over his screen to keep his phone usable to the end of the contract.

I cannot believe that the hardware for a phone actually costs that much. My hunch is that cell phone manufacturers are trying to recoup R&D costs for the phone and all the customizations that they put on top of the base OS. Apparently the competition is so tough that they feel they need to customize in order to distinguish themselves.

Wish someone would figure out a way to make a fast (obviously not going to be cutting edge) phone with base (aka free) version of Android. Rather than going after the performance or feature rich environment they go after the cost. I have seen some base Android phones and the OS is very usable. Negotiate with carriers to not put those annoying apps that kill the battery life. Figure out a different model, maybe even a Kindle with ads-like model.

Thinking about prevention…in this case it would have just taken a ziplock bag. Wish the kayak dude had a box of them for his clients. Otherwise, I guess the only case that may work for me is one of those industrial-double the size of your phone cases. I had an Otter case in the past and they were just too big to put in my pocket. Reminds me of the cucumber scene in Spinal Tap.

In the meantime, I am trying the following…

  • Scouring the used phone sites for a replacement.
  • Using article’s like this to try and save the old phone.

Dry Spell

I took a long break from blogging. Looking Back it has been 7 months! I felt like I was on a role at the beginning of the year. No resolution, just had the time to put down what I was thinking.

I also can’t help but notice it has been raining here in New England off and on for over a week. I believe I heard some weather man announce that the drought is officially over. So what better reason to end my blogging drought. They lasted almost the same length of time.

Then everything changed. On the personal side I proposed to a great woman and her two girls. Blink – instant family. Trying to sell a house. Get someone off to college. Plan a wedding. Buy a house. Oh yeah, then the other half of my life changed – work.

At work I suddenly found myself taking on the roles of at least three people. I had my old responsibilities as the Lead Application Architect. Then suddenly I owned every server in the organization. More on that later. Lastly we let the person go who as going to build out our SharePoint environment and move the organization to better collaboration (whatever that means). Yes you guessed it…I inherited that as well. At least SharePoint is not a far cry from the application space. But I not only owned the implementation but also the infrastructure. I don’t know if anyone has peeked under the covers at SharePoint 2007, but it’s huge.

As near as I can tell this product is made up of at least 3 other products that were glued together to make a single product. Which means they loosely fit together; they are unified but not really. Wow, what a pain to keep this thing running. I am sure that part of the complexity of our configuration is that they guy who put it together knew SharePoint really well and I don’t. So he build out something that will fully support the organization for many years and growth; but only if he was here to keep in running. This is not a job for someone who does this part time!

Today it was announced that the CTO/CIO of our organization “is leaving to pursue other interests”. This always sounds to me like it was clear that he was not longer welcome at the party. Whatever the reason, it won’t mean more blogging. Guess that means that the one or two of you that actually read this will have to continue to live with disappointment.


This made me laugh

A friend I have not heard from in a couple months sent me an email yesterday with this as the subject. Yeah the subject! After I stopped laughing, I opened the email. Thought I would share this one…

  1. Ninjas are mammals.
  2. Ninjas fight ALL the time.
  3. The purpose of the ninja is to flip out and kill people.

What I am currently reading

Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware

I am only 50% through. No code samples or object diagrams in this book. It’s more about how to approach what I do as opposed to specifically how to do it. I like have been thinking more about this myself and am finding this book very interesting.

I liked the book by the same author (with others) called Pragmatic Programmer. Bernie turned me onto that book when it first came out and I recommend it highly. It’s still as pertinent as the day it was written.

Pondering M&M’s

I was poking around the ‘Net and found several lesson plans posted by teachers/professors for other teachers/professors. And a bunch of them involved using M&Ms as a way to demonstrate/illustrate the concepts being taught. I read a couple of these and actually learned a couple of things. One article in particular got me thinking about something I am observing here at work. The article was on demonstrating the radioactive decay of an isotope. And I am wondering if this is somehow related to the two colors (either red or green) in Holiday M&M’s in the following observations…

1) the ratio of red to green as they are pored out of the bag – there seem to be more green
2) the ratio of red to green as they appear to be consumed – people appear to prefer green

Yes, these are deep thoughts indeed.

With regard to the ratio out of the bag there are a few possibilities that come to mind. First is the conspiracy theory; where some bean counter (or m&m counter) figured out that red food dye is more expensive (0r some other reason red cost more) and to save money made less red M&Ms. I like this solution better than they common ploy food manufactures use – where they keep the packaging the same size, put less in it, put some adverb on the packing to make you believe it’s a better value and change you the same (or more)!

The second possibility that occurred to me is what if (as my observations above show) people just like green M&M’s better so they make more of them. Is it as simple that red M&M’s just like black licorice jelly beans – they have their fans – but they are a minority. My mind starts wondering on prejudices and stereotypes from here; I think I will say more on this later…

A third possibility is the chaos/random theory – that my measly sample of 5lbs of M&M’s just not large enough to draw any conclusions. This is just not as much fun as some of the other reasons.

Every hear the one about why there are so many socks out there without a mate; it’s because socks are actually the larvae form of coat hangers. Which is why you always have so many of those. Could something like that be true for M&M’s that the all the red one’s have “hatched” and become green ones. I guess the opposite could also be true depending upon the larvae time length.

Lastly, could this all be related to the fact that some time ago there was a red M&M scare back in the 1970’s; where (if my recollection is correct) they were pulled from circulation. So now they are back. But have people really forgotten? So are people consciously or subconsciously avoiding the red ones and the manufacturer knows it – so they make fewer of them?

Hmm. Just needed to share some of the scary thoughts that roll around in my mind. I think this is one of those times when sometimes words don’t mean anything.

Happy New Year!!


Just a thought it would be prudent to give credit for the name of my blog; this phrase was uttered by my good friend Bernie Odoy.

We were feeling pretty punchy one day and were just amazed that how sometimes what we say does not seem to have any impact on those it was said to. Does this happen to anyone else or is it just us? So in a moment of extreme sarcasm Bernie uttered this quote – Sometimes words mean something. I realized its brilliance immediately and wrote it down on a post-it and stuck it to my monitor. That was two employers and 4 years ago.

Here are some of my other favorite quotes on my board of fame. No one famous; just a bunch of people I have worked with over the years and maybe one or two of my own (I have no idea where this is going).

“If you say something and no one hears you. Did you really say anything?” This too was uttered by Bernie. I am not sure that it was said on the same day as the previous quote, but certainly has the same sentiment.

“It’s either Wrox or it’s Box”. This is a quote by yours truly. I used to teach a lot of classes and this one was uttered in response to a question an attendee asked me. They asked me what the difference is between the two books – a book published by Wrox (a technical publisher) or another book (I don’t remember the titles and that’s probably a good thing to protect the guilty). At the time I was not a big fan of books published by Wrox; nothing personal, but they just seemed to be a book factory and the quality suffered because of that. So I was comparing a book published by Wrox to a book written by someone else who was all about quality – Don Box. Don is this really cool down to earth dude who also happens to be really smart and articulate – leathal combination. Don had a way of presenting information with layers; so no matter your “level” you would walk away with something. That takes skill and time; two things that you don’t get when you are rushing a book to market. So I was trying to say that either you get something quick or you get quality. Hmmm, I seem to recall telling some project managers I have worked with in the past the same thing…

“…It’s still a collection; it’s just that it’s a collection of one”. My good friend Greg Manto gets credit for this one. At the time we were working at Microsoft (as consultants) and Greg, Bernie and I were all on the same engagement together. We were building this object model for our client written entirely in VB4. Yikes! We were in a design meeting discussing how to implment this one class and Greg uttered this quote. He did not mean to imply that everything is a collection, but rather that just because you only have one does not mean that it is NOT a collection. He went on to say that if there is a good chance that there will be more than one in the future make it a collection today; so that the object model does not need to be changed to accomodate this in the future. You can use defaults and shortcut properties to make getting to the most common element in a collection easy. It is something that has stuck with me ever since and I get a chuckle every time pull it out of the archives.

I realize these are never going to make to the quote hall of fame; but they were uttered by some code warriors in the heat of battle. In my book, that makes them pretty good.

By the way, I still have the original post-it.