Anyway, I represent _exactly_ the kind of person that good programming techniques has been trying to eliminate for 25+ years

 IT ppl didn’t like me when I had corporate work but the biz analysts loved me. I’m an oddball: They put me as a “Systems Analyst II” because I created this thing in Excel and VBA to pull from the web, ibm mainframes, cd roms, email extracts, performing business logic on it, interacting with whatever databases they had, into several massive excel spreadsheets that I made that, with the push of a button (I made a big silver button: “CLICK HERE”] – that could pull that all in live, do the data transforms and business metrics on it, spit out granular data customized for 10s of thousands of districts with thousands of sales reps, send them all file attachments, and not ONLY was the production interactive, but the final spreadsheets they got were interactive for them.

Anyway, they needed me.

This is like 15 years ago tho’. When I left in 2002, I had very little documentation but I had to train a dozen people on it, which I did. THEY got to document the processes and procedures, learn how to customize for new drugs when they came in, learned my coding style [seemed like spaghetti but they ‘got it’] and off I went.

They used it ’til just a few years ago ’til they got eaten up by Merck and I don’t know what happened after that.

Anyway, I represent _exactly_ the kind of person that good programming techniques has been trying to eliminate for 25+ years tongue emoticon


I love taking advantage of APIs. I’ve also done with in OOP as well, but just as a hobby. Actually, all of it I do as a hobby tongue emoticon

I’m a troublemaker, but I _try_ to use social engineering whenever possible.

A month ago, for a weekend project, decided I wanted to upload 10,000 of my vines (6 second video service) to the Internet Archive. Generating XML can be done anywhere with anything, ,so with my workhorse, Excel, batch files, text editors, whatever i had at hand, I grabbed all the vines from the vine server that I could, transformed the hashtags into subjects acceptable to internet archive’s xml format, stuck it all up on their ftp server and began processing.

Well, after getting my acct shut for excessive activity (and some complaining on the forums about “all this crap” being uploaded to the IA, I found the email address of the dude who handles SEO and organization of the moving images part of the IA, apologized, explained my grand plan for the weekend, and my love of the mission of Internet Archive (which I do believe in).

Anyway, he reinstates my account, gives me my own section of the library to do my work in.

So yeah, ppl like me who do stuff like this challenge the assumptions of systems engineers… but I think it’s a good thing. The challenges forces the engineers to make the systems robust and scalable, hidden assumptions on their part can be exposed and revised.


Interesting thing about closures, from my limited comprehension of them (’cause I don’t deal with this stuff right now), is that it’s not merely a data object and not merely a function but the whole little environment in an easy to use bundle.

It doesn’t get in the way as it’s not global and yet you dont’ have to use wonky tricks to try to carry local variables into a global environment because they’re tucked neatly away in their own little mini ecosystem, just waiting to be utilized if needed.

Anyway, my analogy is probably way off but it’s how my brain works tongue emoticon


Cool. Then I got the concept alright. That’s the first time I saw the phrase “lexically scoped name binding” [I don’t travel in your circles] but upon reading it, it makes sense. I can read IT and comprehend it, I just don’t speak it tongue emoticon


About a year back, I decided to play around with Erlang. It’s old-school in so many ways but it used to be used in some pretty big projects. It’s a functional language but moreso than that, I heart emoticon the robust concurrency ability. Its fault tolerance is bar none… it just passes messages, it’s actor based so you can have as many actors running as you like, and they never bump into each other.

One of your processes dies, everything else just keeps working.

I don’t have a practical need for it at present, but it just “feels” powerful.

Sometimes I get on a ‘language kick’ and I go dive into a computer language I don’t know anything much about. Erlang had been tickling my radar for a while but when I dove in, I could see why the users are so passionate about it.


Ah here we are: I took a little slideshow a guy made for an Erlang conference, introducing them to DRAKON, stole the slides, and made a little video for youtube [’cause those ‘slideshare’ pages are annoying and it needed some music].

It’s actually what got me to look into Drakon. There’s not many tools available for Drakon; it’s more of a “nice idea” than something that’s been productionized outside of some special uses (apparently) in Russia…

Anyway yeah – so it’s July 29, 2015. So, I guess 9 months ago I was obsessed with Erlang. I had a similar thing with Haskell. I have ancient ones too – APL, had a bunch of stuff for Fourth, and some stuff that makes special use of the unique properties of FPGA’s.

Systems – I just love understanding systems, at least at a basic level.

Russell Ackoff, who was right there at the start of systems thinking back in the 50s/60s, and gave talks all through the mid 1990s, was the master of this stuff. Lived and breathed it for 40 years.

If you can comprehend entire systems and their functions “at once”, you’re never lost when you have to work within the details because you see how the piece “fits” in the greater picture.

For example: What’s a car? It’s not an engine. Engine doesn’t make a car. It’s not wheels. It’s not even the driver.

It’s the system. Gets you from a-b. A person isn’t a brain: a person is a system and is within a greater system called society which influences the system of the person.

Stuff like that. Eh, I’m babbling tongue emoticon



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