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by Steve Syfuhs / February 09, 2010 04:00 PM

Holy crap this is cool:

> > >

Putting the I Back into Infrastructure

by Steve Syfuhs / February 07, 2010 04:00 PM

Tonight at the IT Pro Toronto we did a pre-launch of the Infrastructure 2010 project.  Have you ever been in a position where you just don’t have a clear grasp of a concept or design?  It’s not fun.  As a result, CIPS Toronto, IT Pro Toronto, and TorontoSQL banded together to create a massive event to help make things a little more clear.  To give you a clearer understanding of how corporate networks work.  Perhaps to explain why some decisions are made, and why in retrospect, some are bad decisions.

Infrastructure 2010 is about teaching you everything there is to know about a state-of-the-art, best practices compliant, corporate intranet.  We will build, from the ground up, an entire infrastructure.  We will teach you how to build, from the ground up, an entire infrastructure.

Sessions are minimum 300 level, and content-rich.  Therefore:

i2010Proud[1]

Well, maybe.  (P.S. if you work for Microsoft, pretend you didn’t see that picture)

Make it Right: Revisited

by Steve Syfuhs / July 01, 2009 04:00 PM

In the previous post Make it Right I asked the question

Why aren’t more people making it right?

I was curious why people don’t take the time to write software properly.  There are lots of jokes about bad software development:

If houses were built the same way programmers build programs, we’d all be living on the street.

Unfortunately it’s a fair statement.  Most programs out there suck*.  I used to come back with the argument that people have been building houses for thousands of years, but software for only a few decades.  There are bound to be issues.  But then it occurred to me.

Mike Holmes is all about making it right, as I said in the previous post.  His TV show was about fixing the problems that professionals made.  Professionals who have been building the same thing people have built for thousands of years.  Wait a minute.  I just flawed my own argument.

Houses are built the same way programmers build programs.

Why?

I see three very apparent reasons.

  1. Cheapness – People want software built quickly, as cheap as possible.
  2. Laziness – Why strain your mental processing or follow best practices when you can just do whatever first comes to mind?
  3. Uneducated – Sometimes (a lot of times) the person doing the building/development just doesn’t know what they are doing.

There are numerous other reasons why, but these three are by far the biggest across all aspects of building stuff.  I think they answer the basic question asked earlier, but now I have another question.

Why do we let people who are lazy or uneducated build applications for us, just so we can save a few bucks?  We will end up paying loads more in support after the fact…

*I said programs, not programmers.

Resources for Students who Hate School

by Steve Syfuhs / June 28, 2009 04:00 PM

I hated school.  Technically, I’m still enrolled in college.  Bachelors of Business Management.  Blech.  I figured at least with business, I would learn something useful later in life.  I chose against Comp. Sci. for a few reasons.  One being that I know a couple PhD’s that know nothing about building applications in the real world.

In Comp. Sci., you learn how to build data structures, and how to make Mandelbrot Set’s process faster.  In business, you learn why people buy stuff.  Or more appropriately, you learn how to get people to buy your stuff.

Seeing as I learned (taught myself?) about things like linked-lists and pointers while in grade 10-ish, and wrote/re-wrote/re-re-wrote Mandelbrot Set builders as a final project in grade 11, I think I can safely say I would be bored as all hell in University.  Not to mention all the theory.  Comp. Sci. is all about theory.  Maybe 10% is actually coding.  F-that.

Business is inherently hands-on.

I like hands-on.  It’s tangible.

The only problem I had was finding resources.  My programming teachers were pretty cool, and were always willing to help me on algorithms that confused me, as well as extra-curricular programs when something just wasn’t jiving.  But I had cool teachers.  Not everyone is as lucky as I was.  And with the teachers, they weren’t thinking in C# or ASP.NET everyday like I tended to do.  Trying to ask them why something trivial like

<asp:TextBox ID="txtUsername">

didn’t compile was kinda painful.  I usually got a response along the lines of “what’s the colon for?”.  I always felt funny trying to explain the quasi-xml structure of ASP.NET to teachers.  This left me in a lame position of needing to find help.  Forums are great, but separating the wheat from the chaff is a waste of time.  Enter stackoverflow.com (4 years late, mind you) and you get answers quickly.  I like it.  I use it all the time.  I’d like to think that those who are willing to look for resources will find the site fairly easily.  However, there is another site out there that not too many people know about.  It’s the Microsoft Student Experience site.  Yeah yeah, brain wash them early.  I drank the kool-aid early.

Part of the website is dedicated to the DreamSpark program.  Free, fully-licensed Microsoft products.  Nuff said.

image

The other half of the site is dedicated to students.  Good thing, given the name.  Not just students studying software development either.  All students.  It provides tangible resources for students.  Stories, tutorials, and templates look to be the main content.  It’s all surprisingly good stuff too.  It ranges from school studies to general life, to post-school life.

image 

These resources may help those students who are struggling with school – at any level.  There are students out there with lots of potential.  Let’s not see it go to waste.

What Makes us Want to Program? Part 1

by Steve Syfuhs / January 02, 2009 04:00 PM

When I saw this comic a couple weeks ago, it hit a chord just right with me.

Except of course it was PHP, and grade 9.  The funny thing was, I started writing programs way back when I was in grade 5.  I tried to start learning development when I was in grade 3.  Let me tell you, there are certain subtleties to programming that don’t quite become apparent to a 9 year old.

10 PRINT “Steve is Awesome!”
20 GOTO 10

While QBasic was fun to play with, I gave up on that when I found a book on Visual Basic in Grade 5.  I vaguely remember it being Visual Basic 5 too.  I could be wrong.  It was a little more than 10 years ago – you do the math.  The problem I found with VB was that it didn’t feel all that intuitive from a language perspective to me.  I could never find it to flow properly.  But at the time, that’s all I had to go on.  So I gave up on development for a while and tried my hand at HTML.  Once again, certain things just aren’t apparent at certain ages.  When I first tried HTML, I started in notepad.  Shortly thereafter I ended in notepad.  Maybe sports would be more fun?  Nah… Enter FrontPage a few months later.

After finally getting the hang of FrontPage, I built some amazing (read: ugly) sites.  All-in-all they weren’t bad for an 11 year old.

Once middle school rolled around, I tried my hand at the other sciences and found out I really enjoyed biology.  Being the semi-OCD-like person I am, I put all my attention into biology and medicine, with a curiosity for chemistry.  I knew way too much for my own good.

Now I have to mention that all of this is taking place in beautiful Southern California.  I was born and raised there for 14 years.  At the end of Grade 8, my parents decided to move to Canada.  Don’t ask - long story.  And at that time, I was still into the life sciences.  In my next post, I’ll continue on with my story.

// About

Steve is a renaissance kid when it comes to technology. He spends his time in the security stack.