High Level vs. Implementation Details

Am I the only one that has problems seperating the 2 in conversations? I reckon older(insert your own definition) developers would have no problems with this, but to me, it’s tough. Hypothetical example being:

“Let’s talk about solving this server architecture problem. What is the best way to keep a service that we can talk to client side without having to worry about the service being clustered?”

Now, the second someone says, “We’ll in Web Logic, you can write this Java class, blah blah blah…”, that’s considered an implementation detail. It’s like, if you veer off the path of audiotorial UML diagram in your speech, and actually talk about how those things work, game over, go to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200 dollars. Know what I mean?

I had to submit a paper at work today and discuss it’s findings in terms of defining facts and opinions, clearly seperated, and how they apply to finding a technical solution to a problem. I still, however, think I failed. I mean, in the facts, I tried not to reference technology solving THE problem, but rather solving THEIR or “a problem related to this was solved this way”. I don’t know if that violates the programmer ettiquete…

Like, if I asked you I need an animation on the web, most of you (I would hope) would immedately blurt “use Flash, yo”. I’d counter with, “that’s an implementation detail”. That feeling is what I’m talking about. It seems the correct answer is, assuming you know all of the details behind what the web animation needs to do, you’d simply respond by stating the facts of how the animation needs to run, look, and the target platform that the user needs to view it on. At that point, once there is no fuzziness in terms of what really needs to happen, you can then pick the technology that will solve the problem, vs. having technology drive the problem. Make sense?

It sounds simple, elegant, and a great process, but to me, it’s hard. It feels the same way research projects go. You don’t actually solve the problem… you merely research possible solutions and “sound” objective in your conclusions.

Is this something developers are taught in college or something?

Contract Rollercoaster

Dude, for real, contract work is just crazy. I’m starting to feel business is only stable when your not in sales or strategy. I don’t know how my dad does his own thing. In my case, I spend about 95% of time perfecting my craft, and re-learning it based on new technologies and R&D. The rest is marketing and followup… which still accounts for a lot of time, but spread really thin.

Anyway, jacked. Will I ever learn it enough to know wtf I’m doing?

Now, BellSouth’s contract, but that’s friggin’ easy. I go through a recruiter, and I’m technically working there, so that doesn’t really count.

Company X who f-d me out of $4k out the blue calls me back, negotiates release of source code, and pays me, and the check clears. Rock!

I then get another check today (2 of 3) for another job I did months ago. Rock!!

Then, another job I started back in… I think December of last year, I just got a call from the client. He wants some additions to the prototypes to get it near a working version, which so far is miniscule work so the project is no longer on ice. Considering this weekend is no school, timing couldn’t be better. Schweet!

I dig freedom of chioce, but damn… this stuff is more volatile than mutagen.

Customer Satisfaction Solutions: Car Repair & Tux Rental

I’ve been told that a child coming from a family where they are the only offspring are all about themselves since they tend to have lavished attention upon them.

The same reason I love sociology is the same reason I hate it. I dig the groupings to help understand where people are coming from, but I don’t dig the stereotypes.

At any rate, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. I just spent part of my morning running errands, all of which are complicated by the slow motion of business satisfying me, their potential customer.

I figure if these companies do x, then this will help them gain customer satisfaction, and thus improve their business. If that is not something they need to improve their margin, well fugg’em.

Kaufman Tire & Other Car Repair Shops (non-body work)

Take my cell# as well as my IM/ICQ/MSN screen name, and page me when my car:
– is being serviced
– is done being serviced
– if you have a question
– your closing, and where the keys are

I understand you can’t drop everything and serve me. The last you can do, however, is give a time estimate, otherwise, keep me informed. I plan my day around you.

After Hours Tux Rental

Either give me the tracking # so I can utilize the existing plethora of web services from FedEx/UPS out there to track it myself, or do the above informing me:

– when the truck has left the warehouse
– when the tux has arrived and at what store location
– when store hours are changing
– when there is a problem, inform me with contact information to resolve


Please note none of the above solutions require anything beyond a human pressing a button for each event; even a monkey could operate the solutions. If either of you companies need help implementing such technology solutions, let me know; here’s a royal coupon for free consulting. I don’t have time for this bs, I and I know your other customers don’t either.

Flash Geek Diversity

Ok, so I?ve only had one class, and read one chapter (4 as far as my teacher is concerned as I?m still working on my homework?), but I?m really attempting to get as much as I can out of this class. That may sound like I?m straining and I am? I feel that I?m not racist, and try my damndest not to be stereotypical unless where applicable (most Flash apps are MVP, hehe), and generally try to meet and understand new people who are different than me.

The book I?ve read so far talks about managing diversity. They talk about hard evidence supporting monetary gains to upper management to show that adding & managing diversity is worthwhile to a company’s success. They clearly explain that a mis-managed, diverse group costs more than a mis-managed, similar one. However, the gains are much more both monetarily as well as increased problem solving abilities. Because of diverse views from skill sets, age, gender, race and different ethnic groups, many more perspectives are brought into play, and those ideas that are brought up affect the other ideas, as well as ideas being more thoroughly examined.

I can see the benefits, and difficulties in ?my reality? as my bosses? boss likes to say at work.

John Robinson and I are very similar; artists who love Flash, have no formal programming education (at least I don?t think he does, never told me), and we both want skinnable components. When working together, it?s pretty easy to identify and communicate our goals to each other.

Darron Schall and I are somewhat similar, too. Like John, he and I are about the same age (1 year difference), we?re both getting married soon, both like Flash, and like helping others through explanation. However, he has had formal education in computer science, whilst I am formerly trained in multimedia and art. He approaches projects, in my limited experience with him, from a planning perspective, is very organized, and his code is clean. I like to dive right in, and plan as I go, and as long as my code is blatant in bad practices, is readable, and runs well, then I?m happy, even if I have to use one compiler hack or 50. Communicating ideas are somewhat more challenged, because as we reexamine them, I get a better understanding of his motives, and he mine. The communication, although more drawn out, is a lot more rewarding sometimes because I learn from him most of the time, and one day back years ago, I think he learned from me. In the case of John, it?s rewarding because things go smoothly, project based communication wise, and we can generally be a step ahead of each other in our emails. However, I recognize the benefit of a skill set difference.

Melvyn Song Kian Guan is from Singapore, I believe, and English is like his 15th language. He?s up when I?m asleep, and asleep while I?m awake. He can communicate fine, but he is not exactly on the Flashcom list, where I originally met him, when I am. However, the nature of an email list allows us to have conversations nonetheless. He?s more than willing to help, and assisted in testing a Flashcom app I was messing with early last year?or was it 2002?it?s all a blur. Anyway, his perspective at being at a university has helped me understand some of the market reasons behind Flashcom in the scholastic realm. I think it was his app, or something he might have been directly related to during the SARS scare, where Singapore (I think) schools were attended by kids at home via Flashcom instead of venturing out. He was also the first person to implement the ?web sharing? component, where via a Flashcom sharedobject, he?d change the url he was looking at, and a getURL was triggered on everyone else?s end, and their browser would navigate there. It was a fantastic, and creative implementation of Flashcom. Had I not had the chance to communicate with someone like him, many of us wouldn?t have had the good discourse as well as ideas proposed back in the early days of Flashcom (not business early days, technology early days). He also showed me that peeps from Singapore (if I get the country right) are just like me, only not as loud mouthed & emotional as I tend to be.

They hired a chick for Statcom, the sister company that used to be next to my cube, but now most of it is on the 5th floor with Erik Bianchi, my Flash co-worker of sorts since he technically works for them. A long time ago, I used to joke in college about how chicks were better at HTML because they had that caring touch to make things work together, where as guys were better at lower-level languages because they could aggressively bang the crud together to work. It got less funny as I got real-world experience, learned that a female Navy Admiral invented COBOL, that a femme from Seattle created one of the most popular web destinations for Flashers, the one of my favorite Central apps, Blog Reader, was created by a woman, and my recent contract employer (who didn?t laugh at the joke, btw, vehemently scoffing that females are very good at coding, and those that are in engineering areas are extremely good at it)? and finally my mom learned Flash while I was learning it. This challenged a lot, easily dropped mind you, suppositions I had about women in technology. I wasn?t really thinking sexist, I just didn?t know any females that actually coded. I knew tons of female designers, but none that were like, ?Dude, I mutagated my threads last night? oh my god??. So, reading blogs like GalaxyGoo, and Bizznatch-who-kizz?er, Bitch Who Codes, some of the postings of Jessica from were-here, her majesty obviously, Vera?s, the Macromedia.com/into, the book I learned HTML from written by a woman, and bantering with some of the females on the Flashn00bz list, I can definitely see the benefits of females in Flash. We even questioned why not more awhile back. She who must be obeyed and I argued a few years back about why at DAX, my old design studio job, we didn?t even consider hiring a woman. I felt, back then, that a girl would not fit into our culture, nor did we as employees want to fit one into it? at least, that was what I felt was the general consensus. Now, though, I wish we had. Not that anything could have been done to save that poor, doomed ship, but even towards the end, my manager and I went to the woman from the sister company for mediation in disputes. The secretaries always brightened my day, and it was nice to talk about the ?hot VB chick? next door? she had cool friends at the company party, too. So, I?m glad they hired a woman Flash coder. Although I am not part of their dynamic nor company, I do help from time to time, and ask for help as well. I think that a female is a good, and valued addition to their dynamic? which was already somewhat dynamic to start with.

Finally age and maturity. I know they are not mutually exclusive, but people like Phillip Kerman, who aren?t that much older (before he beats my arse), yet still have a more mature, and experienced perspective. There are many others too on the Flashcom lists as well as people I?ve met, like Leif and Don, two professionals here in Atlanta as well as some of the people I work with. I?ve always felt that older people are always valuable, regardless of gender, race, etc. as I?ve always learned something from all of them. However, from people like Jonas Galvez who are what I would consider somewhat young, even though he?s an adult, his exuberance is a reminder of what I was like at that age are definite reality checks as well as perspective modifiers that help keep me realistic, but not arrogant (well, I try? seriously). I?m not that old, but from the young people I meet, they do help in ways that, at least now, are hard to articulate. Like, next week, I?m going to speak at that middle-school up in northern Georgia for Career day like I did last year. Last year, I learned they are learning a Director like program? IN FRIKIN? 6th GRADE! OMFG dude? could you imagine if you started Flash or Director in 6th grade? I think Jonas helps me see that potential, see that applied talent, and in talking to these kids, and getting those phat thank you cards, I realize not only how much harder I have to work, but how much more educated the world is becoming. By learning from the younger, I can better focus on my future.

My trip to Australia last year was pretty much all of those together; I met so many different people from so many different backgrounds, genders (plural because the hookers were cross-dressers), and countries. I think out of all life experiences where learning about diversity has enhanced my character, my trip to Australia had to be it.

Ok, I think I covered them all; age, gender, ethnic background (for now, I group this with race), and skill set. With the above, I can see why the Flash Community (plus with the influx of Web Designers and Cold Fusion ?esque peeps) is such a dynamic and thriving area with such diversity. I think some of the leaders that have emerged have managed it quite well. Jessica is pretty smart in her initiatives and preemptive actions over at were-here, Brandon Hall has remained pretty mature and calm through the many list dramas, Mike Chambers & JD have responded quite intelligently, and self-controlled to all the issues that arise from such diversity. All in all, I can see how these concepts are applicable to applying them to a business through a group of people that are diverse, and as long as those different behaviors and cultural behaviors are understood by all, and communication is continually massaged less and less, wonderful innovation and dynamics help the company succeed.

At least, that?s what I got out of Chapter 3.