July 31st, 2003

First time on the swing. Should learn how light works.

Wanted: mouse-free Eclipse

July 31st, 2003

Kasia triggers me to complain about Eclipse's greatest shortcoming: why can't I switch editors without touching my mouse? Is it that hard to implement CTRL-TAB? I code, hence I type. When I'm using Gimp, I want to point and click, since I have the mouse in my hand. When I'm typing, I want to do everything with the keyboard, since my hands are there.

New product idea: a keyboard that is also a mouse. Keep your hands on the keyboard, and just drag it around. Mouse buttons should be right below the spacebar. Alternative: add 102 keys to the mouse. But I guess that results in the same...

Update: I knew I should've googled before writing this. Still love the idea of the keyboard though.

You are Neo, from "The Matrix." You display a perfect fusion of heroism and compassion. Whoa!

Via Vincent

Java interview questions

July 30th, 2003

My referers log shows that a lot of people are looking for interview questions about Java (and they end up here).

I think this is pretty weird. It almost sounds like cheating to me. "I will probably not know the answers, so I'll study a list of prechewed questions on beforehand." Is it not better to know your trade (or "craft" as the Guild of Pragmatic Programmers call it) instead of trying to hide your ignorance from your future boss?

On the other hand, it is only the bosses that believe in this "trick question interview method" that will be fooled. And if you really know your trade, you won't want to work for these guys. You'll want to work for cluefull bosses, that acknowledge that it is not what you know, but what you are able to learn, that determine your value. Read that last sentence again. It is not the length of your skills listing that counts, but the ability to extend that list. You'll never have all the skills that are listed, but if you can master them, a cluefull boss will hire you.

Let me share a memory with you: for my first Java job, the interviewer (I won't tell you who it was -- but he is on my blog roll) drew 2 balloons on a whiteboard. "This is your pc, and this is You enter in your browser. What happens?" And I was off for 45 minutes of staggering and explaining TCP/IP and DNS and whatnot. However, the real interview was not whether I had everything right, but how I went into dialogue with the interviewer, and how we reasoned together to an explanation. This dialogue was the main reason I signed for his company (we write 1999, a "young potential" just had to pick a job), and I've never regretted that. No better environment than a bunch of intelligent people to enhance your intelligence. But I digress...

The point I want to make is that it makes no sense to go surf the net for interview questions. If the interviewer wants to rely on these mind tricks, you won't be happy working for him. And on the other hand, if you can't answer these mind tricks adequately (not: correctly! but: adequately) without looking them up first, you'll probably fall through in the first month at your new job.

I'll end with a warning note: don't read in the above that your current skill set isn't important. Heck, I'm pretty proud of my own list. Don't think "OK, I'll learn new stuff when I get a new job then." You chose for IT. The main part of the rest of your career is going to be to learn. Live with it, or find another craft you're good at.

Update: if you really want to succeed in your Java career, you might want to get started with this book.

I strongly and sincerely believe this will help you more than searching the Internet for interview questions.

Image reader

July 29th, 2003

Into my toolkit: Imagero: an image reading library for Java.


July 28th, 2003

A link you probably better don't know: Pretty funny. Addictive, once you start on the archives.


July 25th, 2003

<Gasp>. Just installed a nightly build of Mozilla Firebird. It soars. I've never seen a web page load this fast. Me happy.

Cool optical illusions

July 25th, 2003

Want to create a headache while having fun? Have a look at these cool optical illusions.

Ego googling

July 23rd, 2003

I never thought of this before: instead of ego googling on "Tom Klaasen", do the same on the nick I usually use: tomK. First impression: I'm on top once again :-) Secondly: I'm not the only one that uses that nick. Darn.

We'll bomb you

July 22nd, 2003

... unless you stop that copying!

Want to get a license to do whatever you like in the US? Link it to terrorism. It's the same as in the big companies these days: want to do something, say it is "Six Sigma". People will approve what you do, because they know "terrorism: bad" and "six sigma: good", and even better, they know their bosses think that too, so they're safe approving your actions.

On a totally unrelated side note, I'm digesting my national holiday very badly. Totally out of energy at the moment. Can anybody give me a good reason to start working?

For the archeologists

July 15th, 2003

Nice read: Once Upon an Oak .... Enjoy.

New career

July 9th, 2003

Vincent is offering me a sales job. Hmm, would that give me the right to tighten your guestimates? Accepted, then! ;-)


July 7th, 2003

Wow. Software IG for Corporate IT. Can you think of a better way to demotivate people? "Yep, you're just a code whore, and I'm going to make you feel it." Or: "I connected this webapp with this DB2-backed Cobol system, and it didn't fail on us once." "Yup, but your curly brackets are on the wrong places".

Come on. Thinking like the military is not going to cause progression.

Warm feeling

July 7th, 2003

I remember bringing him and him together. Well, I just forwarded Andy's cry for aesthetics to Vincent. Warm feelings as I read the outcome. Especially since it involves Cocoon too. Matchmaking is a great passtime :-)


July 6th, 2003

...or how growing up on a farm is different from growing up in a province town: Badlands. Nice story. Sad ending though.

The Sun JCD Exam

July 3rd, 2003

Zulfikar Dharmawan gives a short overview of how the SJCD looks like. I know this. I have received the assignment some time ago (looks like several lifetimes...), but I never got myself motivated to do it. A big part of the assignment goes on byte[] handling (in functions, in network streams), on parts you aren't allowed to modify. I almost never use arrays, because they're too cumbersome to work with. I almost never need them either (can you say "List"?).

Another part of the exam is implementing your own network protocol (how often do you do that during web development?) using either these byte streams or RMI. And yet another part is about Swing (as does the Sun Certified Java Programmer's exam): if you don't know Swing, you don't know Java. Yeah, sure.

All in all, I think it's a pretty weird way to investigate whether you know Java. "Yeah, we have all this nifty API's in Java, but for now, you're not allowed to use them. Except for this one, that you don't really need, you have to use that one. Now prove that you understand the language." I believe that, to understand Java, you're better of finding your way around the API(s) than knowing how the >>> operator works (or was it <<< ? I did know it once when taking (and amply passing!) my SCJP exam), or knowing what the default LayoutManager for Panel is.

Oliver: under-sell to over-deliver. Agreed. How many times weren't you asked to make a guestimate, and then have a discussion "If this is right, we will be way over the deadline sales has imposed on us. Can't we bring this and this down?". In this prospect, I am very pleased with the client I'm currently working for. Having had such experiences in the past, I recently made a guestimate that was pretty tight. The answer: "Hmm, this is pretty short, let's double that. This is very fast, lets add a day or 2." Of course, my contact was the final responsible for the planning, and she apparently already knows this "under-sell to over-deliver" principle. Very nice environment to work in.

The Pragmatic Programmer

July 1st, 2003

Another approving review of "The Pragmatic Programmer". If Bertrand can learn something of it, so would I probably. Ordered.

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