“Rothko on beauty and friendship, from his wonderful little-known writings on art [@brainpicker]” and other Twinks…

Maria Popova [brainpicker] Rothko on beauty and friendship, from his wonderful little-known writings on art [brainpickings.org] [twitter.com]

Disgruntled Haradrim [pdjeliclark] nice | WATCH: drone footage of Sudan’s (Nubian) pyramids [sciencealert.com] [twitter.com]

Bryan D. Wilhite [BryanWilhite] Pyramids of Sudan [youtube.com]

Rebecca Enonchong [africatechie] The opportunities for tech in Africa have never been bigger [memeburn.com]

the kinte space [KinteSpace] Egypt authorities admit mistakes but aim for 20 million visitors by 2020 [telegraph.co.uk]

the kinte space [KinteSpace] We Did It, They Hid It: How Memorial Day Was Stripped Of It’s African American Roots [blackthen.com] via @@4blackthen

the kinte space [KinteSpace] The Struggles of Being a Black Millennial in a Conservative White Workplace [forharriet.com]

the kinte space [KinteSpace] Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Wants Young Girls and Women to Forget About Being Liked [blavity.com]

the kinte space [KinteSpace] Why public opinion on climate change doesn’t matter [latimes.com]

Marketplace [Marketplace] In Los Angeles, homeless camps are suddenly everywhere [marketplace.org] [twitter.com]

Mikki Kendall [Karnythia] This sign is posted outside the gym at my son’s school. Just imagine what the 25 million spent on SUPES could do. [twitter.com]

NTV Kenya [ntvkenya] Find out why Kenyans ‘would rather die’ in Saudi Arabia than to stay unemployed back at home [nairobinews.co.ke] [twitter.com]

the kinte space [KinteSpace] The female mathematician who changed the course of physics—but couldn’t get a job [arstechnica.com]

the kinte space [KinteSpace] Dark Olive Green Skin… [channel9.msdn.com]

the kinte space [KinteSpace] ‘The True Cost’ documentary tallies global effect of cheap clothes [latimes.com]

the kinte space [KinteSpace] HajarRead on Toni Morrison [youtube.com]

Nichole [tnwhiskeywoman] I kind of resent that every time I have a health issue, someone (not a doctor) tries to figure out if I’m pregnant.

8 ? ? zaji ? ? 8 [zajizee] Love fiercely, as though anything less would doom you to death.

African Proverbs [AF_Proverbs] Being a small chief is better than being second in command. ~Ugandan Proverb

the kinte space [KinteSpace] These 4 Must-See Black Broadway Stars Are Everything [blavity.com]

Mari Matsuo [Mari_Matsuo] mood [twitter.com]

“Black Pioneer of Today’s Gaming Industry—( Jerry Lawson)” and other Twinks…

Bryan D. Wilhite [BryanWilhite] Cringely never mentioned him: Black Pioneer of Today’s Gaming Industry – ( Jerry Lawson) – YouTube https://t.co/YQV37KVDZP

Bryan D. Wilhite [BryanWilhite] Jerry Lawson (engineer) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://t.co/7JITS9rAR8

Kim Moore [SoulRevision] Files from the 1970’s revealed that the FBI had every Black student at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania under sruvelliance

Kim Moore [SoulRevision] FBI files revealed every agent had to have at least 1 informer who reported to him regularly on the activities of Black people

the kinte space [KinteSpace] Tim Huckaby uses Microsoft Kinect to determine “race” for millennial marketers http://t.co/trHpaOuAAo @carlfranklin

the kinte space [KinteSpace] Silicon Valley’s diversity problem followed it to SXSW http://t.co/uZNdjFIOC8

Anil Dash [anildash] (Yep, Prince has a new song out; It’s not great, but I wrote up some quick notes on why it’s worth a listen: https://t.co/Xd6qJCPxTn )

the kinte space [KinteSpace] MaxAxe: War – YouTube https://t.co/aMA2LQ5hCE

True Black [trueblackpower] Zip Codes with Highest Percentage of Blacks (African Americans) in U.S. http://t.co/8eRjZXJWeA So Were Do We Start? #Blackpriorities

the kinte space [KinteSpace] New York’s Central Park was Black Village http://t.co/ruZ9OhdAZw

the kinte space [KinteSpace] Desolate Sierra Leonean Living Rough In Uk Spurs Fund Drive http://t.co/xqCoOEo9Ui

the kinte space [KinteSpace] Debt Skyrockets Off The Charts In Ghana, Angering Critics http://t.co/HOIjDu5UoA

DarkSkintDostoyevsky [daniecal] Best follow up to that Marc clip http://t.co/GkYfoC19df

the kinte space [KinteSpace] HajarRead book reviews in French http://t.co/Mr01SDJsG2

the kinte space [KinteSpace] Mes humeurs littéraires…: Top Ten Tuesday – Ma PAL pour cet automne http://t.co/XnvECyELF2

manii? [brownskindevil] I don’t like people who poke holes in my fantasies. especially bc they do come true but like damn I don’t wanna think about real things

Sis [WalmartAmerie] That’s shit was hilarious. I don’t think American men on here knew that to be a polygamist you have to take care of all your women.

IT workplace: W2 labor-camping with the boss of my project manager

After over 18 years in the IT world of Southern Californian corporate America, I have learned that it’s “good business” to never complain. So here’s my chief complaint: I almost always dislike interacting with the boss of my project manager and what I dislike is easily discovered.

The boss of my project manager appears to me too far removed from actually solving the problem that I am in his presence to solve. It follows that the relationship I have with the boss of my project manager is largely political, cultural, ceremonial, psychological and—through no fault of my own—physical (with this one word, physical, I just made a suggestion that recognizes the existence of racism—just in case it was missed).

After over 18 years in the IT world of Southern Californian corporate America, I have learned that, in order for me to be recognized as a “successful” corporate resource, the boss of my project manager must be pleasured because of me. I have learned long ago and see time and time again that simply solving technical problems for the greater benefit of the business and, of late, excelling technically is “not good enough” for the boss of my project manager. There are other ‘intangibles’ that I’ve become aware of over the years that “must” be addressed in order for my success as a professional individual can be recognized as a collective corporate asset. I have written public notes like these over the years to symbolize my abjection away from the childishness of this sophisticated adult behavior and to memorialize my survival (to date) in the IT world of Southern Californian corporate America—and to suggest that some thriving is taking place… raging in the darkness.

Here are some of these ‘intangibles’ expressed as “vicious,” “bitter,” terse statements of negation:

I do not admire who you are and what you do. I do not think you are a “bad” person. I do not think you deserve rudeness. I do not think you deserve disrespect. I simply do not admire the fact that anyone—including myself—working at will for another person, regardless of the salary, possesses a social status symbol greater than its dollar value. This lack of admiration does not come from ignorance or jealousy. It comes from decades of experience and study of history.

When it becomes clear to me that you are a “company man” (which often takes seconds), I know it will be just a matter of time before you start to construct a (racial) profile (of “moral” bankruptcy) that will justify you taking some kind of preemptive action against me (even when it means undermining the productivity of your own company). What I am supposed to do, to delay the inevitable, is pretend how much I admire you—because, after all, this stuff which has nothing to do with what I need to solve your problem is your life’s work. I refuse to indulge you not because I think I am better than you, on the contrary, I have no childhood-survival instinct to pleasure people in such a way. Being such a liar would have laid out way, way more girlfriends for me over the years. I find it quite difficult to be highly technically trained ongoing and an effective political charmer at the same time.

I am not ‘grateful’ to be working for you. Michael Palin of Monty Python fame wrote a line in a script that’s memorable to me, “Isn’t nice to free a chap?” He was making fun of the middle-class, white-liberal sentiment of providing freedom for the “underlings.” And of course, as the ridiculing joke continues, we make fun of the expectations of gratitude oozing out of our white-liberal savior (of any skin color). Every sane Black person knows who is first to be fired and the last to be hired. It has been no illusion to me that I have been working for the last 18 years in the IT world because the company could find no one else remotely qualified to the do the job. Most of my career has been spent working for companies as a Microsoft developer that Microsoft itself would be reluctant to recognize as a model for a case study.

I am very, very aware (usually within my first week) of what the company has been doing wrong before I was brought on board (and it usually was on the boss of my project manager’s watch). In the first decade of my IT career, I allowed myself to succumb to the very strong suggestions that I was living in a technical fantasy world. Over the last eight years it has been crystal clear to me that these fools should be grateful that I have been working with them for so damn long. After what has happened to Sony Pictures and Target, it should be clear to any fool that there are serious company cultural problems around IT—making me quite a proud, poor “cultural fit” for the “team.”

I am not your friend and I am not glad to see you. When I am working for other people, these three things happen: (i) I am gathering and building economic resources that can be used to take care of my children; (ii) I am separated from my children who have never been allowed to see me work; (iii) I am placed in an uncomfortable working environment, often a food desert, polluted with noise, airborne infections, traffic jams, low temperatures (from office air conditioning) and the very subtle daily suggestions that I am not welcome (yet another unwelcome reference to racism—‘traditional’ American social rituals of the collective unconscious).

Any self-respecting person that values their true freedom has the same ‘intangible’ problems I’ve just outlined here (with or without the accelerant of racism). Many of these people would become angry that I bring these issues up like I think they are something new. No, —this is 19th century shit—these are old issues:

  • I do not admire who you are and what you do.
  • I am not ‘grateful’ to be working for you.
  • I am not your friend and I am not glad to see you.

Besides plotting for my eventual demise, is there anything else you can do for me?

Yes. You can address the bullet points listed above directly by enriching your life outside of corporate America such that the core of your identity is not dependent on your employment. When you do that, you will authentically not really care whether I admire you or not. You will also be taking care of yourself on a holistic level which definitely deserves my admiration and gratitude. You are actually helping to change the world by taking care of your true self—not your fake-ass corporate self. I would genuinely be glad to see you (even when you are still a little racist).

Yes, here it is in “company man” talk: when you hire me as a contractor treat me like one. Do not speak to me (apart from the first-day meet and greet) unless you are there to terminate my contract, provide some information for solving your technical/business problem or congratulate me for making your business successful. Let your project manager serve as a buffer between me and you. Your project manager works with me, boots on the ground in the shit every day—and she knows how valuable I am. Trust her trust in me. It will not hurt my feelings should you find yourself not wanting to be around me (even when you know I am helping significantly to solve your business problems), on the contrary: I only need people around me that will make me a better person holistically, provide me with technical information or teach me business skills relevant to the “ubiquitous language” of the clearly-defined problem domain. I don’t need little emotional parasites around me that are curious about me for ‘historical reasons’ (racism again) or those possessing small talk about their fucked-up little consumerist lives and the HBO (or AMC) serials that frame them. Don’t force yourself to invite me out for drinks in a summer-camp counselor’s effort to be fair and inclusive. I don’t drink and I probably don’t like you. Consider that possibility and move the fuck on: let’s keep it strictly business. Distance and formality does not always mean hostility. The absence of a smile does not always mean sadness. Have patience and introspective respect—stop being so morbidly nosey. Have courage before the void of the unknown—unless of course you are a cowardly little man-bitch using your job as the sole driver of your social life.

“Why don’t you start your own business?”

Every person who has suggested to me that I should start my own IT business are not running their own IT business. Often making suggestions around this is similar to suggesting to an obese person they should lose weight: we’ve thought about it and many of us do the research. You see, kids, I’m not one of those bitches that can forget about fundamental challenges. I’m continually listening for signals to plot a course forward.

What I hear from listening to years upon years of tech-podcast episodes, watching international-conference videos (and meeting actual people in person) are these points for consideration:

  • You can start your own business and do W2 labor at the same time (at the beginning).
  • Get at least a DBA and a business checking account for consulting jobs that need it for tax purposes. Advance to incorporation when you are confident you can maintain it (even as a vanity expense).
  • When you run your own consulting business you run the risk of doing very little coding/design and more “relationship management,” often with crappy people.
  • Don’t start a business without dedicated customers lined up, customers that recognize your social-media “brand” and its compelling story.
  • Have an escape plan for economic downturns. Don’t let a payroll burn down your personal savings just because you are too much of a cowardly fake to tell your employees it’s over.

The racist side of the American need to be liked

When I was a young Black teenager of the 1980s, I remember reading about clever Japanese business men gaining an advantage over North-American dealmakers because the ‘weakness’ Americans have around the need to be liked. “Hey, buddy!” “Hey, pal!” I remember snickering to myself ignorantly assuming that this ‘weakness’ would have no effect on me. I was profoundly wrong.

An American “company man” at the very least needs to be feared let alone being liked. Couple these base needs with “old,” traditional American rituals around instilling terror in slaves, and it becomes elementary how the neutrality of a Black person insisting on being an outsider can be interpreted as the hostility of a ‘traditional servant’ supposed to be an insider. “You are either for me or against me.” When a self-described “white man” calls me his “buddy” or his “pal” in a business situation, he is speaking volumes to me (some of these volumes, written by Mark Twain)—and, of course, he would claim nothing is going on and may ask, “What’s my problem?” On the fake-ass, glossy, corporate-polished surface, he would be absolutely correct. Surely, he’s called “everybody” buddy.

After 18 years working with corporate America, I still insist that I am a neutral outsider (when it comes to interacting with the individual persons of the organization). Most of my career, I have been given the title “business analyst,” “contractor” or “consultant”—these all seem like ‘outsider’ titles to me. Most of my career I have not been a permanent employee. Most of my career, the “family” corporate culture of America here in Southern California has effectively insisted socially that I am insider (superficially), while systematically taking the advantage of me as an outsider (no health insurance coverage… no paid sick days… no paid holidays). So from the outset, we have a fundamental disagreement. What I found is that I have not been ‘allowed’ to be respected as a neutral outsider by the boss of my project manager. What I found are a prescribed set of social roles ‘allowed’ for me (very similar to the dramatic roles ‘allowed’ for Black actors in Hollywood). When I am not playing these parts—then surely I am playing the villain (which, again, is yet another insult from the corporate narcissist).

Morgan Freeman

The situation I am describing above is very similar to what happens to young women in corporate America. There has been much talk of late about women in tech and their woes are almost always identical to mine. Almost…

But it must be said that my youth in corporate America—my 20s and my 30s—were the worst of my years when it came to these ‘intangibles.’ What I have been finding of late in my 40s (for those not savvy enough to find my writings yet on the Internet) is that I am more and more treated like Morgan Freeman’s character in the Batman movies (this is actually another Mark Twain reference which would require a whole new Blog post).

I am sure that Morgan Freeman himself would disagree with me (publically) but I assert that his career is like my career in this one aspect: when Morgan was young Black actor he was out of work most of the time and obscure but when he got his gray hair he suddenly “fit in” with “the team” and became “successful.” Morgan would be very socially adept to let “the world” assume that when he was a young man he was a complete idiot and it’s just a coincidence that his career took off when he is seen as physically past his prime (and when the world would like to see itself as less racist).

I’m not as “smart” as Morgan Freeman. Using the Internet, I think I need to explain to my children and other young Black folk what has happened to me from my point of view. Silly. I was not “of service” to you.

  • I do not admire who you are and what you do.
  • I am not ‘grateful’ to be working for you.
  • I am not your friend and I am not glad to see you.

Related Links

Telecommuting Experiment Concluded

Grid 960: Zapisi 5

Three months ago, folks, I began “The Telecommuting Experiment” with what I now know as a small “start-up” based in the Pacific Northwest. This little ditty has come to a conclusion and I have learned loads of new things about building Web sites. My job now is to ramble though all of these things as best I can, using a few Delicious.com links along the way:

CSS Stuff

My biggest of the spoils taken from this intense Web-building experience is revisiting grid-system theory and frameworking—in short, I was exposed to the 960 grid system. This system is far more mature, modern and elegant than my Biggest Box stuff.

A little less embarrassing than my previous ignorance of the 960 grid system is not knowing about Flash of Unstyled Content (FOUC)—very hip jargon. I got FOUC for free with jQuery UI widgets. In “How to prevent a FOUC but still gracefully degrade the jQuery UI tabs,” Timothée Carry-Caignon writes, “They are pretty useful actually, but I always hated that FOUC they produce. For one split second, you’ll see all your tabs content, then they’ll be neatly re-arranged in tabs.”

In “Styling select, optgroup and options with CSS,” Chris Hope says, “As per my conclusion at the end of the post, it’s probably better to leave styling of select boxes, optgroup and options alone and just leave them as the defaults because cross browser styling is so inconsistent it’s not worth the bother.” I agree with this but I often forget about this—so writing this down (finally) might help me.

Eric A. and Kathryn S. Meyer have CSS Reset. I can appreciate this but do not find it necessary. But remember this coming from the guy that had no idea about the 960 grid system.

“Pure” JavaScript Stuff

The number one “pure” JavaScript takeaway for my 2011 is Underscore.js—whenever there is the desire to some LINQ-like things in JavaScript this is the place to be. The _.sortBy method described in the docs had me at hello.

I do risk being perceived as “negative” instead of accurate when I must mention that there is thing I’m calling JavaScript bloat. My use of the term comes not from seeing file payloads over the wire. What gets me is the sense that the web browser is working very, very hard to crunch though the script code in memory. Because I know what I can do in Silverlight (and Flash/Flex) I am not biased toward trying to get HTML/JavaScript to do “everything” such that the bloat gets out of control—these bloated stacks may be working just fine on a developer’s gaming PC but taking the client-side code to more economical devices (in terms of cost, power consumption and thermal waste) shows how things fall apart.

jQuery Plugins

This article, “Looking for a JQuery plug-in similar to [Accordion], but that allows multiple sections open at once,” underscores the

The jQuery Time Entry plugin seems to work without any surprises.

Eric Hynds has this jQuery UI Multiple Select Widget that impressed me in the field. I’m feeling like it can be alternative to tree views—speaking of which jsTree worked without unexpected inconveniences.

jQuery Plugins: Hiding/Showing Certain Super “Rich” Widgets, an Unexpected Inconvenience

Super rich widgets/plugins like SlickGrid and CKEditor have super-inconvenient unexpected behaviors when attempts are made to wrap them in containers that hide and show (like sticking a grid inside of an accordion panel). It was difficult to accept that I had to call some kind of refresh method (in the case of SlickGrid) or destroy these visuals and rebuild them (in the case of CKEditor—it has a “destroy” method). But I had to accept this for last three months.

Visual Studio 2010, an Early 2010 Version of CodeRush and VS Extensions

Visual Studio 2010 Weirdness

I have this picture that I showed to Seth Juarez of DevExpress. He’d never seen anything like it. I was getting this annoyance every few minutes followed by the error message, “Visual Studio has encountered an exception…” This was really getting in the way over the last few months. I have uninstalled CodeRush and have not seen the error since. I am still not convinced that CodeRush is culprit… it could be other Visual Extensions (as the error message denotes) but the extensions one would suspect are all written by Microsoft and are quite popular (like PowerCommands for Visual Studio 2010 and Productivity Power Tools).

Visual Studio 2010 Weirdness

Mercurial and Bugs

In “The IT Workplace: Doing it Basil Style,” I wrote about the excruciating experience of having my code overwritten—especially when working by the hour with a bunch of miserly cretins. What I have experienced with Mercurial over the last three months effectively takes that pain away… I was using Mercurial with Kiln from the Joel Spolsky camp. Mercurial allows developers to have local repositories—so this whole overwriting thing can happen on the communal server but, locally, there should be a changeset to run hg merge (see “How to fix multiple heads?”).

Yes, speaking of Joel on Software, I did use FogBugz over the last quarter but I can’t really say much more about it—apart from having no complaints about user experience. With FogBugz and Team Foundation Server (before), I am already used to writing comments about resolving a bug—but what’s new for me now is writing down the analysis process—describing what I call the bug situation. I find these advantages:

  • These writings about the bug situation can turn into email messages for another programmer better positioned to resolve the bug and can use your writing as instructions to get the job done, very, very fast (and look very impressive to penny pinchers wearing rose-colored glasses). This happened to me twice just over the last few days—and I’m willing to do this again (I don’t care about making other programmer’s look “good” in the eyes of unobservant managerial types in a healthy job market).
  • It helps me to actually learn about someone else’s code instead of looking like I have learned about the code—I don’t look like that.
  • It helps me to actually manage the complexity of an application instead of being intimidated by the complexity of an application.
  • It helps me to remember the particular viewing angle into the tiers. I often rebel against a design that I assume is too complex and I have difficulty remembering what I’m looking at…
  • In most “fast paced” environments you have no idea which bug will take five minutes and which will take three days (this is actually a sign of managerial/architectural problems or a sign of “rock star” programmers hiding their faults from managers that trust them—or both). By journaling through the bugs you can get a better idea about which ones will be “easy” and then the others…
  • It helps me deal with what I consider one of the worst kinds of bugs: bugs that are actually requests for missing features. What can be quite evil is when these “bugs” are “sincerely” regarded as trivial issues when these are actually serious, full-blown development tasks. What this can mean is that the “rock star” programmer of the IT shop is not really doing their job and is marking tasks as complete when they are not. This makes the “rock star” appear timely, on schedule when they are really passing the buck among penny pinchers.

Formally writing down the bug analysis should be considered a part of the analyst part of the job title Programmer/Analyst, which I have held for many, many years. I have no guilt, hate or deformed respect for any penny-pinching barbarians out there that are quick to assume that you are trying to overcharge them for spending an hour (or more) analyzing a bug. These cheap folks can’t have it both ways: a bug quickly marked resolved and a resolution carefully done that does not cause regression (or a new bug).

One interesting thing about FogBugz is the concept of Evidence-Based Scheduling (EBS): “EBS doesn’t give you a single ship date. Instead, it produces a probability distribution curve. That means that for any given date, it tells you what the probability is that you will ship by that date.” EBS is quite different from GBS—Greed-Based Scheduling.

The Telecommuting Experience

I can find another job. But I am not likely to find another telecommuting job. This job allowed me to take my seven-year-old daughter to school personally every day. In spite of the huge technical benefits, this time spent with my daughter was the greatest reward of the experiment.

It is very likely that I will return to fossil-fuel commuting.

Related Links

What’s most busy about the IT consulting business…

The highest demand skill in the IT consulting business is never asked for explicitly by clients and has nothing to with technology. The highest demand skill in the IT consulting business is the ability to undo the mess your client got himself into—and I deliberately use him because this is really a guy thing. We have all heard tales about guys that refuse to ask directions when driving completely lost. Now imagine trying to be a “team player” with a guy that is in your opinion lost—and you know that your opinion has little effect on the situation even though you have been hired as a “consultant.” This has been the running theme for most of my career—only in recent years has my work with clients made a turn for the better.

An excellent mental health exercise for an IT consultant is to examine the word professional—instead of just blurting it out. Inside this word is profess—what this means to me is that a professional has the ability to “claim openly” or publically. The ideal engine driving one to make such “open” claims is fueled by accurate, researched information. In the IT business, accurate information comes from the tool makers like Microsoft, Oracle (Sun), or the auspices of an Open Source project—maybe a University. When your client fails to recognize the existence of this third-party research while at the same time using said third party’s tools then in my opinion you are up shit creek—a creek probably polluted by the company that hired you…

Here are some things that can happen while you are up shit creek:

  • The definition of “professional” changes into the ability to put lipstick on a pig in an elegant, quiet, polite manner. Pay that mortgage and shut the f’ up.
  • Your client is effectively in conflict with their tool makers. This means you are fighting on about three fronts: battling the actual business “challenge”; battling the tool maker; and battling legacy issues associated with the new “challenge.”
  • Your client may wonder why you are unable to perform “professionally” under these circumstances instead of actually looking at the real problem. It’s a childish, fascist impulse that is almost impossible to resist.

FOWA 08 - Password Anti Pattern

In the same manner Warren Buffet would refuse to invest in company he does not “understand,” you have the human right to invest your energy in other companies, organizations and other parties that appear to actually have a professional technology plan. In the same manner that business planners are expected to summarize their strategy with a single coherent sentence, your clients should have provided you with enough information to profess their technology plan with a single coherent sentence. Sometimes we may confess instead of profess (listen to “this developers life 1.1.1: scars”)…

From my experience, the leading reason why clients get themselves into a mess (they have tacitly asked you to get them out of) is because they have ignored/defied their tool maker. Your client and you are swimming a soup that the tool maker never told you to cook. It has taken me way, way too long along the timeline of my career to actually get proactive and begin to look for patterns (actually anti-patterns perhaps) of such ignorance and defiance. I confess that I tend to concentrate on researching my tool maker (Microsoft) instead of researching “bad” (but cash rich) clients. I am unable to even recall a book about this subject—especially in the Microsoft world. I have no pipeline in place to collect such information. My attitude has been one of aggressive divestment a la Warren Buffet—which should strongly suggest that I have no mortgage to pay. Oh, when will I grow up?

Here are some Microsoft-centric 30,000-foot anti-patterns I can barely recall:

  • Using Microsoft Access (*.MDB) as a LAN-based DBMS for dozens of users, when it was designed for one user on one desktop (c. 1996).
  • Using Microsoft Access as a database for a web site (early 2000s).
  • Running ASP sites with global DLLs that get locked by the Web server process (early 2000s).
  • Using Microsoft Office effectively as a frontend (without SharePoint) while using Java-based server technology as a backend (UCLA MCCS, early 2000s to present).
  • Using Microsoft FrontPage for anything (all eternity).
  • Using Windows Forms 1.0 for anything (all eternity).
  • Using ASP.NET Web Forms and Server Controls with a view to being standards-compliant and cross-browser compatible (early 2000s to 2010, yes 2010).
  • Using JavaScript according to the Microsoft-tooled vision of Jscript (early 2000s to 2009, with jQuery).
  • Using more than a handful of ASMX Web Services per ASP.NET project (for all time: use WCF).
  • Attempting to customize SharePoint (for the lifetime of the product to the present …perhaps).

One of the mature things I have accomplished recently is consciously accepting that my tool vendor, Microsoft, was not exactly fostering a culture of tool-maker compliance for many years. Microsoft has profited to the tune of billions with the rollicking banjo music of wild-west mentality… The earliest technology evangelists from Microsoft that I can recall are: Alison Balter (1994), Paul D. Sherriff (1991), and Don Box (turn of the century)—none of these folks left me with professional theories that I can recall (apart from Relational Theory and this little thing called “OOP”). Now we have the Scott Guthrie generation at Microsoft, trying to introduce a cornucopia of publically-accessible theories to customers with acronyms like MVC and MVVM in the face of massive legacy—Wild-West, COM-based legacy written in HTML (using all caps for tag names) and this weird thing called “HTC”…

Microsoft has two massive product spaces: Dynamics CRM and SharePoint. As of this writing, deep into the 21st century, none of these products reflect the new Scott-Guthrie-style professionalism that should make serious investors happy. Microsoft itself has a Wild-West legacy load that it is digging itself out of… because old cash cows can’t be abandoned for greener pastures…

Related Links