Category Archives: Uncategorized

$2 per week can feed a nation

$2 is a dollar less than a single Starbucks grande late.
$2 is a dollar less than a single McDonald’s Big Mac.
$2 is less than a single RedBull energy drink.

What is the cost of hunger?
$2 can buy a can of soup that will provide a family diner.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are over 300 million people in the United States. According to WorldHunger.org, in 2010 there were over 17.2 million households that were not getting enough food. If you figure that a household size is 3.14 people, that is 54 million people who need food. That means that there are over 245 million people who are doing just fine in the fridge department.

So what does that mean to you and me? It means that we have it within our power to help out our fellow man and woman. Don’t just stand by the sidelines and say “this is terrible, someone should do something about this”. We are “someone”. It means that if we donate just 1 non-perishable food item a week per person in your house, we can provide almost 5 meals per person in need of food each week. I know that does not sound like much, but to those that need the food, it is a lot.

If you want, you can buy your mocha-caramel-frapa-upsidedown late with whip-cream. Nobody is stopping you. I just ask that you also buy a $2 food item and donate it. I can guarantee that no matter where you are, there is some sort of organization near you that will gladly accept your food donation. It may be a church (it doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in religion, believe in your fellow man) or a food bank. Whatever it is, donate. Wouldn’t it be nice if all the areas near you had the problem of overflowing food donation carts?

I also noticed that I had 1 follower who is in Australia. So here are some statistics for you.

The population of Australia is just over 23.2 million people. According to FoodBank.org.au, about 2 million people rely on food donations. If each Australian donated one non-perishable food item per week, that can provide 10 meals per person in need of food each week.

A website that covers donations for Australia, UK, Canada and U.S. is http://www.foodtodonate.org/

Hurray! We can now feed ourselves! Now what about the world you say? Who cares, what’s in it for you? … Oh, right, helping our fellow man. Check out http://www.wfp.org/

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Did you vote for the shutdown?

For me, politics is a closed subject. I don’t want to talk about it and I don’t want to hear your opinion about it. It is often such a touchy subject with everyone, that it is best to keep opinions strictly private.

The events starting October 2013 in Washington D.C. have drawn a lot of attention. It has gotten to the point that I have had my fill of the lack of action and the lack of proper representation of the people of the United States by those elected to represent them.

You may ask “How does this affect you personally?” That question is irrelevant. If you thought that question then I want you to execute the following steps:

  1. Choose an arm (preferably a strong arm)
  2. Stretch your arm out to your side at a right angle
  3. Bend your elbow at a 45-degree angle with your hand at an even height with your head
  4. Open your hand so that the palm is facing toward your body. Fingers should be strait and joined.
  5. In a very quick motion, move your hand across your body to the exact opposite side.
  6. If you have done this correctly, you just slapped yourself.
  7. If you still think that this only matters to those who it affects directly, execute steps 1-5 repeatedly until you realize that you are wrong.

All joking aside, it does not matter how the government shutdown affects a single individual, but how it affects the people as a whole. People who have planned for months on getting married in federal parks had their dreams crushed. Federal employees who have had their pay rate frozen for 3 years due to budget, are being told that they are furloughed without back-pay. Some of those same employees were told to go back to work with no guarantee that they will get paid until the government approves a budget. Military service members have died and a charity organization is paying the death benefits because the government has not released funding. Are we seriously at a point where the government is relying on charitable organizations to pay its bills? How many people can say that their Representative is truly representing them?

Notice how I have not mentioned Republican or Democrat. I am not laying blame on any individual or a group. I am laying blame where it belongs, in Congress as a whole. When neither side will budge because they think they are right. When a Representative can be so naive that they think speaking for 21 hours is what their constituents want. When our elected officials forget that they are not supposed to vote according to their party, but according to their constituents. It leads me to believe that the government has lost track of itself.

Have you contacted your elected officials to tell them what you want? Have you told your Representative that they need to pull their heads out of the clouds and look around at what is happening? If you have not, then you have no right to complain. Immediately after I am done with this, I will be submitting my own feedback to my Representative. If you do not know who your Representative is in Congress, then you can go to http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ and input your zip code.

Disney’s Ratatouille applied to programming

There is a great quote in the movie “Ratatouille” from Disney. It is made at the end of the movie when the food critic, Anton Ego, has an epiphany.

In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto, “Anyone can cook.” But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist *can* come from *anywhere*.

I would like to apply that to writing software code. “Anyone can code”. I do not mean that everyone can write great code, but that a great coder can come from anywhere.

We have all met him/her. The person that decided to become a computer programmer because they want to make a lot of money, or they want to write apps, or they want to program games (‘cuz hey, if I can play games, why can’t I program them?)

Then they come to your project and throw all standards to the wind: readability; maintainability; thoroughly tested; formatted. They turn your work of art into a soup sandwich. You spend half your time trying to figure out what the heck they did that blew up the home page.

My real life example:

I recently am having the “joy” of going through some existing code on a Grails project that was written by an independent contractor. I will not mention who that individual is, but needless to say, I would not request a connection on LinkedIn.

This individual has been an independent contractor for over 10 years, according to his website, and has done work for some rather large and big name companies. I briefly met him about 11 months ago and was at first impressed that he managed to get a contract with this famous company and thought that he must be pretty good. In the couple weeks that I worked near him, my opinion of him was that he was a little unprofessional and a little too chatty. By “chatty”, I mean someone who has way too many ideas floating around in his head that are based on opinion and not fact so he fills the space around him with random subjects. When I was introduced as someone who primarily works on Java Enterprise applications, he seemed offended somehow and asked what made me an enterprise developer and him not (even though nobody said he wasn’t).

So here I am, almost a year later and I was brought in to do some maintenance. As my profile states, I am primarily a Java guy so I have a slight learning curve for Grails. This doesn’t mean that have no idea what good Grails code should look like. The first thing I noticed was a lack of standard formatting. It seems like his coding style was like his talking style… it just flows any which way

As I delved deeper into the code, I noticed a lack of organization. Single blocks of code that were in excess of 1000 lines and did several different things. Other places a single line would actually be a combined if/else statement separated by semicolons. I groaned inside when I saw that one.

So clearly, anyone can write code, but not everyone can become a good programmer. If anybody actually reads this blog post. Feel free to post your “favorite” piece of horrible code you have run across.