Print Story Summertime and the livin' is easy.
By wiredog (Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 08:46:23 AM EST) (all tags)
Time to gear up and get some stuff changed around here!

Change is difficult. I'm comfortable. In this field if you don't work at keeping up you'll eventually be bypassed. And don't get on the wrong track. I know several people who are really good Sharepoint developers, none under 40. Asp.Net is hot right now, but specializing in a Microsoft technology could look like a really bad decision a decade down the road. When I took this job it was to get back into developing Real (non web) Apps, and because the managers promised that I'd get into mobile (iOS and Android) development. They keep promising.

I'm still writing c# apps for Oracle management.

Time to update the resume and get it out there. Well, eventually. Later.

The way I learn a new technology is by using it. Classroom instruction is good for picking up the basics and the toolset, and self-study likewise, but after 3 days of that I need an actual project. "We need this software that frobs the db backend with the High End Data Munger ported to this platform in a month. Get working!" I've taught myself Objective C a couple of times, but since I don't use it, I don't retain it.

When I bought the condo I said that I absolutely wouldn't move for 5 years. 3 years later the houses around here that are smal enough for me have appreciated enough that they aren't affordable. A builder pays $450k for a house and tears it down to put up a house half again as large that sells for $650k. If I want to get a place that's a little larger, and affordable, and reasonable commuting distance, I need to go now.

A friend is a realtor. The kind that won't let me make really stupid decisions. A house I looked at three years ago he said he wouldn't help me buy. It was later torn down. So that guy is helping me with this. I'm mainly paying him for good advice, and keeping the paperwork straight. A stack about 4 cm thick that has to be reviewed by someone who knows what they are doing. Worth the money.

Looking out in Reston. About a 30 minute commute to work, and close enough to other places I might find work to make those commutes tolerable as well. A decent small townhouse lists for less than my condo is likely to sell for so I should be able to get a slightly larger place, in a quieter neighborhood, without increasing the mortgage payment. Current place is extremely convenient, but noisy. Right across the street from a subway station, so the busses are going by until 1 AM. No sleeping with the windows open. It's a condo so there's a danger of noisy upstairs neighbors in the future, and you can't grill here. A small house fixes those problems. Not sure if it will fix the problem of no over the air tv reception, as I'd be trading the ground floor condo for a place that's 10 miles further out.

Back to work fun. Blizzard of Acronymity follows.

The current project is the "Theater Medical Information Program - Joint" (TMIP-J) Utilities for DHIMS. Various bits help system administration and communications between systems. Mainly working with AHLTA-T and a little bit of AHTLA-Mobile systems. AHTLA is the military medical records system (so now I can put "Worked with medical records software" on the resume.) T is Theater. Runs on PC's. Mobile is, well, mobile. Handheld. An HP iPaq.

The stupid, it hurts... AHLTA is used for entering and tracking patient data. So an Army medic has an iPaq running AHLTA mobiel, he's in the desert, it's raining artillery, and he has to pull out the device, and the stylus, and enter the data on the patient he's working on. Apparently iPaqs don't work all that well when covered in blood. Naturally the medics have better things to do than fsck around with ipaqs, so there's a slight record-keeping problem. It's worse for medics and higher level units running -T. That one requires an Oracle database. So, yeah, a medic may have a toughbook and while it's raining artillery, or a sniper is lighting up the area, he's got to open it, fire up the laptop, wait for Oracle (!) to start, start the AHLTA software, and do data entry. It's not much better at any level below Field Hospital. No one (other than developers) seems to think it's idiotic to run a full Oracle 11g (and were upgrading to 12c!) database on a laptop in the field.

So how does PFC Snuffy do system administration, given that he's not, actually, an Oracle DBA? That's where I come in. I'm writing software to automate various Oracle DBA tasks (applying updates, encrypting the database, changing passwords) that are normally done by Oracle DBAs. Tasks that are easy to automate as long as the system is very vanilla, and configured exactly as you expect.

The project management is awful. The part of DoD that handles the contract is used to buying physical things that take time to build. Like, years. Not software that gets built in months. So software that was ready for testing in June won't be shipped until next spring. I've run out of unit tests to write. Went to a meeting a month or so ago where we had 5 developers, 35 other non-developers from various contractors, and 5 government types who had actual authority to approve stuff.

One thing about the Classified World, stuff gets done. You don't have 35 supernumary types cleared TS who can do nothing but throw sand in the gears to justify their existence. In the TS world you can go from "We need this capability" to delivered product in under a year. Here it takes 2 years to do a 6 month upgrade cycle.

But $Corporate has promised that they'll get me into iOS and Android development.

Once I get a new place, and get moved, I'm going to get a new cv out there.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are promising their True Believers that they can shut down the government or blow up the country's credit rating in order to destroy Obamacare. Good thing I've got almost 6 months expenses saved up.

< There was a hair in my buffalo mozzarella | w00t >
Summertime and the livin' is easy. | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Let me get this straight... by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 10:23:33 AM EST
You're complaining because you have too much time to test the software!?
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
#firstworldproblems by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #2 Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 11:39:34 AM EST
Yeah. What do you do when testing is done and you can't ship early?

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
WIPO by Herring (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 06:20:55 AM EST
Shropshire Blue.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
Dont depend on corporate benovolence by jump the ladder (4.00 / 2) #4 Tue Aug 27, 2013 at 08:29:41 AM EST
Just go and build an app in your spare time if that what you want to do.

Doesn't matter if you don't make money from it (but nice if you can), you need to have something half decent on one of the app stores before anyone will hire you as an IOS/Android developer.

That's what I did and now I'm contracting full time as IOS dev.

Summertime and the livin' is easy. | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback