Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Book spam

On pages 57-56 of Tapestry in Action:

Tapestry’s HTML template parser … can handle the kind of HTML you’ll find in the wild: unquoted attribute values, mixed uppercase and lowercase, single or double quotes, unquoted attribute values, and lots of additional whitespace. [Emphasis mine.]

My, oh my. I’ve always cynically suspected that popular software programming books are written to be intentionally bulky and, as if that were justification for it, expensive. This one is over five hundred pages and costs $44.95. How do you overlook a mistake like the one above? Intentionally.

I love Tapestry by the way. And I’m happy to see its creator make some money off a book. But please – hold the pulp! (And those ridiculous cover illustrations too, Manning.)

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Barbados photos up

It's taken two weeks to pick out the best photos and clean them up with the latest iPhoto. I hardly need Photoshop anymore, which I'm thinking of renaming “remove unwanted objects with the amazing patch tool… shop.”

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Rotten apple

We’ve been pretty distracted by our iMac troubles over here, even though the computer is working ok now. (The burnt plastic smell diminishes a little each day). To calm ourselves down and bring an end to this unfortunate chapter of our mac-lives, we’ve issued the following complaint to the Better Business Bureau: On March 26, 2005 my 5-month-old computer began to smell of burnt plastic and eventually emitted smoke. I unplugged it, called Apple and eventually spoke with Brandon who acknowledged the gravity of the problem and, after running through a legal questionnaire, referred me to local repair centers. I dropped off the computer the following Monday. A week later, I learned that they were waiting on a power supply from Apple with “no estimated ship date.” During this time, I was without a computer that I depend on greatly. I called AppleCare on April 6th for more information on the power supply. I waited on hold numerous times, ranging from 5 to 20 minutes each time, speaking to several employees. Each one said that there was "no ship date" for the part. By the time I spoke with Andrew Creswell, I was frustrated. Mr. Creswell made it all worse. He was argumentative and did not sympathize with me at all, as though the problem were perfectly normal. He compared my broken computer to a broken automobile. After 10 minutes with Mr. Creswell, I asked to speak with his manager. He replied that call center managers handle “day-to-day” affairs and do not speak with customers. This must be the company's policy, since he was clearly reading from a script. I asked to file a complaint about him, and he claimed to do so, giving me the reference number 47153395. I continued to request some kind of compensation. A defective computer that overheats and smokes, less than half way through its one year warranty, merits a warranty extension to cover other potentially scorched parts. He offered to sell me this extension at the normal rate, and nothing else. April 11th, my computer was finally ready for pickup. I'm sure that the hour I endured on the phone with Apple shortened this time, but I am not at all satisfied with the treatment I received, nor the outcome. My attempts to complain further with the company have been thwarted: the company has no complaint or customer service form on their Web site.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Charred, but back in action

We’re back from dee island, and our iMac is back from dee shop. I’m sunburned, and I’m likewise concerned about any lasting burn damage that Dr. Barnett may have sustained. Digital Society, where she was repaired, says everything besides the power supply checked out all right. Apple Computer, for its part, doesn't give a shit. I love to be dramatic, so I will: I’ve had it with that company. As a business, they’re awful. (Their products, unfortunately, are pretty damn cool when they aren't belching smoke.) If you ever have a problem with one of their computers, God help you, because Apple computer sure won’t. I think I'm entitled to a free AppleCare warranty extension, seeing as my 5-month old computer started smoking and possibly sustained damage that will manifest itself on the dreaded 13th month. They disagree. I'm not done fighting (and it seems there are a lot of us), but if the outcome doesn’t go my way, I’m done with their products. There are some OK-looking Sony computers, right?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Dee Islands, dee gaaaiiis

Three days at the new job, and tomorrow we’re off to Barbados. Leland and I are stocking up on snorkeling gear, beach towels, and sunscreen, all at the last minute of course. Our friend Jesse has been staying with us here for the past few days and will be here beyond our departure. I feel bad because he had to deal with our queeny friends last night. By “deal with,” I mean hear about one’s lengthy (and megalomaniacal) description a night in the back room The Cock on Ave. A, and be fawned over by the other two. One of them even made a clumsy attempt at seduction. Come on faggots, get your act together!

Friday, April 01, 2005

Job to job…

My new job that I was so happy about in my first post went up in flames (similar to a certain iMac) this week. What surprises me most is how quickly things deteriorated. I could tell that my boss was not happy with how long it had taken me to complete some of my first projects. Not a programmer himself, he couldn't have known how long they should have taken, but that didn't stop him from blaming me. I explained to him by email, after a grating Tuesday of IM conversations while he worked from home, that it simply wasn't possible for me or anyone to make structural changes to an unfamiliar system in just a few hours. To give him an idea, I recounted that I had had to digest a particularly troublesome 1,700 line undocumented script before I even began. To this email he responded with the non-sequitur that he couldn’t afford to pay my agreed salary if it took me so long because I was learning PHP. The horror! I’ve never been so insulted, and certainly not by someone so unqualified to make such a claim. Seeing who I was dealing with, I immediately called the company whose offer I had foolishly rejected for this one. In a stroke of luck I'm not sure I deserved, they agreed to talk to me again. This morning, after deciding that I am not a crazed job-switcher — at least not normally — they reinstated the offer. Thank heavens! This is a good company, and a job I’m sure will suit me better than the other, had I even been able to keep it. The work is in Java but the programmers there are smart, so I assume they haven’t been seduced by siren song of the “abstract factory pattern.” (Ugly name, dumb code!) Accepting the offer, I took the N train up to Chelsea and gave the bad boss the boot. His parting words: “Well, at least you got to learn a little PHP here.” :|