Saturday, May 29, 2004

I've found the Cicadas!

I've found the Cicadas! And they're at the Columbus area metro parks.

I was quite sceptical. Everyone said they were coming, and I waited, and waited, and heard....nothing. You see, I live in a newer community, which was once farmland until about 6 years ago. But, we are very close to a quarry, which has clearly been around for years. We have lots of wildlife near our home. Every nice day you can go out and see large predator birds soaring over homes, sweeping back in circles towards the quarry to hunt their prey. So, I theorized that the quarry might have cicadas. I'm guessing I was wrong because I haven't heard jack or shit of any kind of cicada.

But today Lori and I found them! Of course forgetting all about Cicadas we went to the Battelle Darby-Creek Metro Park, which is a short 10-15 minute drive from our home. It offers lots of hiking, canoeing, and all kinds of activities, not to mention some really pretty creeks. Anyway, we get there, and we begin to hear them.

It was odd, as outside the park is nothing but farm land. Farms as far as the eye can see. But when you turn into the park, you enter thick woods, and you just heard this eerie pitched signing of the cicadas. It's similar to what you hear from the annual cicadas, except you multiply it by 100,000. I'd liken it to crowd noise at a ballgame. Two people whoop and holler, and it sounds like a couple of drunks. Get 100 people, and you can't really tell what people are saying, but you can make one or two things out. Get 10,000 together and you can't understand a thing anyone is saying, but it sounds the same...a roar of sound.

That's what this was like, except it was bugs. We got out of the car, and you could see them flying around in the trees, and could make out their wings. They're pretty slow and dumb, but that's why they figured out that they need to burrow in the ground for 17 years before they come back out...that keeps the predators away.

We didn't stay long, and I didn't really want to go hiking with these bugs batting into we went to the heritage trail and walked it instead. But I'm happy I ran into them, because I would have been upset to have missed really is a sight to see.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Fry's Food

Fry's Food

Well, I know nothing about these guys, other than they're owned by Kroger, and they're helping to save Mill Run. You see when Big Bear went under we lost the closest grocery to us. It sucked, but it was easy to get to.

Now I have hope...maybe this place will be decent. It's supposed to be a Fry's Marketplace, which sounds a lot like a Meijer or a SuperWalmart. Because it will have "other stuff" there besides food.

I don't care, just so long as I can have a new place to shop...because the local Kroger sucks, and yeah I can drive all the way to Meijer or Giant Eagle or the new Super Walmart when it opens...but I want someplace on the way home from work, and this would be it.

Here's hoping it doesn't suck....

Saturday, May 22, 2004


Yesterday I got JRoller up and running at work. I've been working on getting a spare Linux system up and running with Productivity tools, and the like. The first thing I rolled out was Bugzilla, which was followed several months later by JSPWiki. Now JRoller is installed, which links into JSPWiki to create a dynamic website that allows our group to document history and provide a place to get the latest news, etc.

Now this experiment of implementing the new wave of collaboration tools will really begin to take off after Memorial Day. I figure that will be a great time to formally launch the new tools. It will be interesting to see how many people go in and start to document how things work. Right now, the basic idea is to send out emails, that announce how something happened. IN that case, it is the job of the email reader to comprehend, and catalog that email someplace. If anything changes, you need to do the same thing over and over. If you dare miss an email, you'll need to access that information by asking someone for info.

The idea of the Wiki and Weblog is that by combining these two mediums, we can start to have a living document, that people are free to modify when it comes time to do so. There's a lot of inherant trust in using a Wiki, since anyone can update anything with BS info. However, I've got to be able to trust my employees.

What will be interesting is to see if the Wiki and the JRoller begin to take off. I'm not going to tell anyone they can't have a Roller account. What will be interesting is to see if people begin to just start using our Wiki for their own purposes. That would be amazing. I'm not holding my breath, but I am going to plant the seeds of Roller with some external people that interact with our group.

This all makes me start to wonder why I'm using Blogger to handle this site. I got to thinking about it, and I'm going to stay with Blogger for now..mostly because I like hosting the page at "my website". When I get around to deciphering RSS/Atom feeds and importing into this site, I might lauch a roller site for Java/Programming type rants.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

College Fair

So today at work, they had a college fair. A bunch of the local university type places were there, with full recruiting style presentation boards. It felt like I was back in college at a job fair!

Anyway, besides the absurdity of how it was presented, I was happy to see the company make an effort in this arena. What was disappointing was the number of schools that represented fully accredited graduate programs. There were some colleges that did have accredited undergraduate programs, which is good. But places like Franklin, Phoenix, DeVry, they just don't have AASCB accreditation for their business programs. I think that's where the students miss out. Even though the majority of people don't know a thing about SMSU's program it is accredited, and that gets you noticed that when you start applying to jobs that are outside of Central Ohio. Should any of these people get a degree and move to one of the other company sites, their degree becomes worth much less.

Now DeVry and Phoenix have a national reputation, but I don't know if it's the best, but at least people know what it is. Franklin University, they have no idea what that is in Atlanta or Raleigh.

Anyway, the point is, it's a shame that these schools pander that they are MBAs on the path to greatness. Only one school in this town can attempt to make that claim, and it's Ohio State....which was conspicuously absent today.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Open-source development models fall flat - Computerworld

An interesting article was posted yesterday on Computerworld dealing with the open source development model being applied to corporate settings.

The title itself is quite misleading, IMHO, as although it suggests that open source is not for business, it contradicts itself later on in the article. The difference is if the product is highly techinical in nature, not if project managers determine requirements. Something like Apache works because it is extremely techinical, not because project managers are not involved. Even if you look at something like Apache, NetBeans or Eclipse, there is someone, or some group that plays a project manager role. However, their role is more to set vision and push the developers in that direction, rather than develop requirements.

Can the open source model work in a commercial environment with specific customers. No, with one exception. That customer has an extemely open mind....such customers are very rare.

I also look at this a different way, as applies to my current work situation. I recently developed a set of JUnit extensions to use for testing the product we develop for our customers. I declared that this product was open source. In that sence, I expect people to determine what types of things they would like, and feel like they have the freedom to take and play with extending the toolset, without politics getting involved.

Too often, I've worked in groups where people are afraid to have someone take their work and make it work better. Too often I've worked in groups where people won't touch someone else's work because they don't want to piss them off. And they'll start bitching about how the product sucks, and eventually, no one will use the tool. We'll see if this little experiment works. As stated in the article, the users of this tool are the it should have some hope.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


Batman is our new kitten. He's just inching up on being 6 months old come the 25th of May. The thing is, I can't stop expecting him to be as mature as our first cat...or should I say Lori's cat, since she only raised Tigger for 11 years.

Oh the name, Batman? You like it? I always thought that it would be cool to name a pet Batman. Much cooler for a cat than a dog I think. Mostly because cats generally think they are superheros. They climb and jump all over everything and anything. They tend to have no fear, until it really hurts. Batman will continually jump for a feather, and will make the same mistake of overshooting his hind legs. This will have him promptly do an ass flop on the ground. Yet, he still jumps...maybe after 100 misses, he'll figure it out...he is a kitten afterall.

Anyway, today I hear the story about how Batman. Batman somehow got up on the five foot high dresser, onto the television on top of the dresser, and then onto the valance, which is a good seven feet off of the ground. Now, there's nothing to sit on, except for about an inch of mini blinds. Yet he was perched up there when Lori found him and tried to get him down.

He is a hell spawn. I hear children can be like that too. ;)

World Elite Soccer's Cape Town

So one of the things I do in an effort to amuse and distract myself from the everyday annoying crud that you deal with on a daily basis is run a soccer team. Cape Town is the team that I have on World Elite Soccer. WES, is by far the best simulation out there in terms of these games. There's a bit more strategy involved than something like Hattrick, where I also run a team (or two...shhh, don't tell).

Honestly, on WES, they try to make it fun an competitive for everyone by implementing the salary cap. On Hattrick, you really have to be up all night and day scouring the player transfer markets to earn loads of cash. There's no real strategy no matter what anyone might tell you. I've pretty much given up winning games at this point, instead focusing on selling players to eventually stockpile about $200 million. By then, I'll be able to buy my way to the top and earn enough interest to buy the salaries of the stud players. Then again, inflation might make that strategy fail.

Well, back to setting my team for Thursday's I said, WES is more fun.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004


Well, it's been a long time since I've done anything like this.

In the way back machine, I used to post "pre" blogs on the old CrewFan message boards. You remember CrewSchmack don't you. Boy wasn't that fun. I still use that's just one of those handles you don't give up. What is really funny, is I started spelling Schmack like that ages ago, without thinking that anyone spelled it that way. Now I see it spelled that way now and then. Purposeful or not, I'd love to think I had something to do with that.

I've been slacking for the past 4 years. I should have been blogging ages ago. Call me lazy, call me busy, call me married.

It's not like I have tons of space or anything. I just wanted to host this on my own. That way I can move it whereever I like.

I've got a ton of stuff to get off of my chest. Eventually I'll get to all of it. Lots of stuff has gone down in my life recently, and some is cool, and some not cool. This is just a place to let it out.

I'll be revamping the website shortly, update the resume and such. Eventually, it'll all be good ;)