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  • What do you do with coder's block?

    - by Garet Claborn
    Lately it has been a bit rough. I basically know all the things I need and all the avenues to get there for work. There's been no real issue of a problem with too high complexity, and performance is good. Still, after three major projects this year, my mind is behaving a little strange. It's like I'm used to working in O(1+log(N-neatTricks)) but for some reason it processes in O(N^2)! I've experienced a sort of burnout after long deadlines and drudging projects before, but when it turns into a longer experience, I haven't found the usual suspects to be helpful. Take more walks Work on other code Overdesign everything until I feel intensely driven to just make it (sorta works) How can a programmer recoup from the specific hole in your head programming leaves after being mentally ransacked by these bloody corporations and their fancy money? Hopefully some of you have some better ideas, because I could really use another round of being looted and pillaged.I've often wondered if there are special puzzles or some kind of activity that would de-stress the tangled balance of left and right braininess programmers often deal with. Do any special techniques, activities, anything seem to help with the developer's mindset especially?

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  • Express your personality and potential @ Oracle

    - by jessica.ebbelaar(at)oracle.com
    Ciao, my name is Michel and I am a 24 year old guy from Forlì, Italy, working as a Business Intelligence Business Development Consultant in Rome. After I completed the Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration at Bologna University, I took a Multiple Master of Science in International Management organized by three European Universities: Bologna University (IT), ICN Business School of Nancy (FR) and Uppsala University (SE).I therefore had the chance to travel a lot and, most important, to study and meet hundreds of people from all over the world. This experience enhanced the passion I foster for international environments, different cultures and countries; not to mention the learning of foreign languages. Working for such a structured multinational as Oracle totally reflects my desire to be surrounded by a multicultural and international atmosphere, having the opportunity to grow from the personal point of view and to endlessly boost my career path. Demand Generation My department is responsible for demand generation activities. That implies, for instance, the implementation of various strategies aimed to feed the pipeline for Business Intelligence products in the Italian market. Organization of marketing campaigns, events, providing ideas or contacts to the sales force is just a few examples of our work. I like to define the role of the business development as something that translates the marketing insights into tools to increase the sales, accounting the differences amongst countries, companies and industries. Furthermore, it is an important feature to collaborate with the EMEA team to share knowledge and best practices. My initial lack of an IT background has been constantly covered by the managers and my personal mentor. The thing I appreciated most is indeed the fact I always feel to be a growing potential, becoming essential day after day. I am surprised by the trust and confidence people have on me and how they proudly encourage my personal initiative and always spur me to contribute. Career Ambitions If your ambitions are to work within an international but extremely people focused environment, to contribute to the growth of one of the most successful companies in the world, to deal with a fast-paced industry and highly competitive market, to have the chance to fully express your personality and potential and to satisfy your career ambitions over the years, then Oracle is right for YOU. Looking forward to having YOU aboard! Do you want to find out more about the open roles within Oracle? Follow us on http://campus.oracle.com.

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  • T-SQL Tuesday: Personality Clashes, Style Collisions, and Differences of Opinion

    - by andyleonard
    This post is the twenty-sixth part of a ramble-rant about the software business. The current posts in this series are: Goodwill, Negative and Positive Visions, Quests, Missions Right, Wrong, and Style Follow Me Balance, Part 1 Balance, Part 2 Definition of a Great Team The 15-Minute Meeting Metaproblems: Drama The Right Question Software is Organic, Part 1 Metaproblem: Terror I Don't Work On My Car A Turning Point Human Doings Everything Changes Getting It Right The First Time One-Time Boosts Institutionalized!...(read more)

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  • personality problem while learning web development [closed]

    - by Lazeera
    I work a lecturer and when I go home I find a lot of free time. The problem is that I spend most of my time in learning about web development. I don't go outside and don't meet people, I'm only in front of the screen drinking 4 cups of coffee (per day) and trying to learn many technologies related to web development. In the last, I don't learn things very well because I'm in a hurry. I know this place is for asking about programming but I want to learn from your experience regarding learning. How do you learn? How many hours do you spend in leaning a day? How can I organize my time so I can learn well and easily?

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  • indentation preference and personality

    - by dreftymac
    This question is similar in spirit to : http://stackoverflow.com/questions/492178/links-between-personality-types-and-language-technology-preferences But it is based specifically on indentation (spaces vs tabs and the number of spaces). The reason I am asking here instead of searching is because I remember seeing a specific document writing about this. If I remember correctly, it also talked about why Linus prefers eight spaces.

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  • How to handle coworker with "obsessive refactoring disorder"

    - by ThuneGrill
    My coworker (who is very clever, but with severly limited inter-personal skills), keeps refactoring my code even when it is work in progress and assigned to me as a task. Whereas I fully subscribed to the idea of collective ownership of code, I find this extremely irritating, but attempts to have him stop seem to have no effect. My analysis of his personality is that he considers himself the best, and if it had not been for him, the codebase would have been in a mess. I should add that I am not a novice, I know my skills and I produce quality work. Some of the refactorings are indeed to the better, most are basically just introduction of a style that he likes better than mine. In addition, he has a almost child-like need to have the last word in any discussion and has never any word of praise for work done by co-workers. There is always something that he, the master, would have done differently. I feel this is strongly affecting the quality of my work-life. What should I do ?

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  • Files under Program Files have a split personality

    - by regularfry
    I have a Ruby application I'm installing (along with a packaged ruby interpreter) under Program Files on Windows 7 with an NSIS-built installer. In order to debug it, I edited one of the files to add some debugging statements. After that, I uninstalled the package and ran a new version of the installer which includes a new copy of the edited file, without debugging statements. Now, I can't get the new copy to load into ruby. If I run type <filename> in cmd.exe, or open the file in Notepad.exe or Firefox, I see the new version. If I run ruby -e "puts File.read('<filename>')", or open the file in emacs, I see the old version. If, in Windows Explorer, I copy the file to a new filename, everything can see the new contents at that filename. If I delete the original file and rename the copy to replace the original, the split personality returns. This situation survives a reboot, so it's not a simple matter of a file being accidentally held open. What on earth is going on here? Is there some aspect of the install process that might be checkpointing the file in a way I can revert, or at least switch off while I'm debugging the installer?

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  • MYSQL select query where multiple conditions in same column must exist

    - by David
    I'm putting together a dating site and I'm having a mysql query issue. This works: SELECT * FROM `user` , `desired_partner` , `user_personality` WHERE dob BETWEEN '1957-05-18' AND '1988-05-18' AND country_id = '190' AND user.gender_id = '1' AND user.user_id = desired_partner.user_id AND desired_partner.gender_id = '2' AND user.user_id = user_personality.user_id AND user_personality.personality_id = '2' The sql finds any male (gender_id=1) with ATLEAST personality trait 2 (and possibly other personality traits) between certain age range in the USA (country_id=190) looking for a female (gender_id=2). Question 1) How do I make it so it returns those with personality type 2 ONLY and no other personality traits? Find any man in the USA that is between 22 and 53 that is of personality type 2 (only) that is looking for a woman. Question 2) Supposing I want to find someone that matches personality type 1, personality type 2, and personality type 5 ONLY. There are 14 personality traits in the database and a user can be associated with any of them. Find any man in the USA that is between 22 and 53 that is of personality type 1, 2, and 5 (ONLY) that is looking for a woman.

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  • Is it bad to have an "Obsessive Refactoring Disorder"?

    - by Rachel
    I was reading this question and realized that could almost be me. I am fairly OCD about refactoring someone else's code when I see that I can improve it. For example, if the code contains duplicate methods to do the same thing with nothing more than a single parameter changing, I feel I have to remove all the copy/paste methods and replace it with one generic one. Is this bad? Should I try and stop? I try not to refactor unless I can actually make improvements to the code performance or readability, or if the person who did the code isn't following our standard naming conventions (I hate expecting a variable to be local because of the naming standard, only to discover it is a global variable which has been incorrectly named)

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  • How to deal with a boss who is extremely competitive [closed]

    - by user72101
    Okay, so I recently joined this group. My boss who I reported to, left a while ago and my colleague was made the team lead. We both now report to the same head, but she heads the team I work in. I am not sure on how to deal with various situations. I would imagine a team lead who motivates the rest of the team, and not someone who would take credit for what others do. I am the only one who works at the same geographic location. She is very smart, no doubt about it. Things get to me, for example I work on an issue and email a dev team, she would respond on top of my emails and as she is the lead, people respond to her rather than to me. If there is an email addressed with the head on it, she would get it to faster than I do, even when she knew I am looking into it. The rest of the team keeps asking me questions or help. I find it hard to say no, and I try to help them as i feel I might need their help someday as well. I slack in my own work or I could have used the time to learn things. I feel that she should be the go to person and not me. If one gets the benefits of being a lead, why not the work that goes with it? I feel I am stuck in a very unfortunate situation and am totally helpless about it. Everyday it is something or the other. I work on a project for months and finally when it is about to go live and there was a minor issue and the head started asking questions, she completely stole my thunder on a call. She would not let me speak and I have to actually cut her off to speak up. The ideal would be not to give it a thought and just do the best I can,but I feel I am capable of much more and not able to give my best because of this constant war at work. Neetu

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  • Is it bad to have an "Obsessive Refactoring Disorder"?

    - by Rachel
    I was reading this question and realized that could almost be me. I am fairly OCD about refactoring someone else's code when I see that I can improve it. For example, if the code contains duplicate methods to do the same thing with nothing more than a single parameter changing, I feel I have to remove all the copy/paste methods and replace it with one generic one. Is this bad? Should I try and stop? I try not to refactor unless I can actually make improvements to the code performance or readability, or if the person who did the code isn't following our standard naming conventions (I hate expecting a variable to be local because of the naming standard, only to discover it is a global variable which has been incorrectly named)

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  • How do you avoid being a "blowhard"?

    - by Conrad Frix
    When I'm passionate about something (particularly programming) I find it really easy come off like the guy Peter G. was talking about in Dealing with the “programming blowhard”. So what techniques do you use to 1) Identify when you are indeed a blowhard? 2) Communicate something "important" without seeming self important? Specific example help like When giving criticism ask "have you considered what happens when XXX changes" instead of "never take dependencies on implementation details" When giving advice "showing with code is better than talking" or use a reference.

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  • Are there non-programming related activities akin to solving programming problems ?

    - by julien
    I'm talking about particular activities, for which you can draw parallels with the specific kind of reasonning needed when solving programming problems. Counter examples are activities that would help in almost any situation, like : take a shower or any other, somewhat passive activities, which are only helpful in triggering this sort of asynchronous problem solving our brain does exercise, because you brain simply works better when you're fit EDIT : It seems this question was quite misunderstood. I wasn't asking about what you can do when stuck on a problem but rather, what kind of activities you have in you spare time that you think help you, more or less directly, solving programing problems.

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  • How do you describe your profession in a public place or conference?

    - by Jenko
    I've often been in situations where non-technical people ask me, "So, what do you do?" ... and I've found it somewhat hard to describe that I spend the entirely of my days pouring over colored text. Of course, its quite reasonable to say "I design software" or "I develop computer applications", but that still feels somewhat "lame" and generic. So how do you describe your profession in public situations? are there any insights for those of us less gifted in public speaking?

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  • Help me learn to program with humility?

    - by Darknight
    I wanted to ask this question, so that I can come back to it and it serve as a constant reminder for me. Through out my life, I've had milestones where I've sat down and really self evaluate myself. Every-time I've found something negative I've strived to put it right. One of those negatives is pride or arrogance. Sadly the nature of programming has plenty of fuel to endlessly fills ones own ego. Please can you give me words of wisdom that can serve as a reminder for me to "eat humble pie" I want to keep my arrogance in check even if that arrogance is a sand grains weight.

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  • What is the most professional way to deal with another programmer who has checked out mentally?

    - by hal10001
    Lead... same project I'm on... shows decreasing interest in project work, especially lead activities. This has been going on for awhile now, and some animosity is starting to grow between us based upon decisions made and overall attitude toward client interactions and tasks. This person is not necessarily a bad programmer, but I can tell is mentally checking out and shutting down. Generally speaking, how do you deal with this behavior?

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  • Career change: from programming into more human-oriented area [closed]

    - by Art
    I have been a software developer for approximately 9 years, starting with part-time work during my graduation year at uni. During these years I worked for number of companies, sometimes changing places twice or three times a year. They say it takes 10 years to reach 'expert' level, and while I don't think I am an expert by any measure and I have certainly met lots of people who are more knowledgeable, smarter and more focused than I am, I think I can safely say that I had my fair share of the whole programming trade and would like to move on to something else. Psychology and behaviour was always something I was interested in, especially the practical, applicable bits of it. Recently I've been to some communication skills training and I realised that I have been missing out on the great deal of fun stuff - how people work and communicate, especially in subconscious, non-verbal area. Currently I am thinking of making a career change - ideally to move somewhere my technical skill would still be beneficial in some shape or form, or at least could serve as a bridge while I am transitioning there, you know, the whole gradual, bit-by-bit approach versus swim-or-drown one. I would like to hear your thoughts on this matter and to learn from you what are the possible transitions I can take.

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  • mdadm starts resync on every boot

    - by Anteru
    Since a few days (and I'm positive it started shortly before I updated my server from 13.04-13.10) my mdadm is resyncing on every boot. In the syslog, I get the following output [ 0.809256] md: linear personality registered for level -1 [ 0.811412] md: multipath personality registered for level -4 [ 0.813153] md: raid0 personality registered for level 0 [ 0.815201] md: raid1 personality registered for level 1 [ 1.101517] md: raid6 personality registered for level 6 [ 1.101520] md: raid5 personality registered for level 5 [ 1.101522] md: raid4 personality registered for level 4 [ 1.106825] md: raid10 personality registered for level 10 [ 1.935882] md: bind<sdc1> [ 1.943367] md: bind<sdb1> [ 1.945199] md/raid1:md0: not clean -- starting background reconstruction [ 1.945204] md/raid1:md0: active with 2 out of 2 mirrors [ 1.945225] md0: detected capacity change from 0 to 2000396680192 [ 1.945351] md: resync of RAID array md0 [ 1.945357] md: minimum _guaranteed_ speed: 1000 KB/sec/disk. [ 1.945359] md: using maximum available idle IO bandwidth (but not more than 200000 KB/sec) for resync. [ 1.945362] md: using 128k window, over a total of 1953512383k. [ 2.220468] md0: unknown partition table I'm not sure what's up with that detected capacity change, looking at some old logs, this does have appeared earlier as well without a resync right afterwards. In fact, I let it run yesterday until completion and rebooted, and then it wouldn't resync, but today it does resync again. For instance, yesterday I got: [ 1.872123] md: bind<sdc1> [ 1.950946] md: bind<sdb1> [ 1.952782] md/raid1:md0: active with 2 out of 2 mirrors [ 1.952807] md0: detected capacity change from 0 to 2000396680192 [ 1.954598] md0: unknown partition table So it seems to be a problem that the RAID array does not get marked as clean after every shutdown? How can I troubleshoot this? The disks themselves are both fine, SMART tells me no errors, everything ok.

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  • Xen kernel can't see 2 disks of 6 of 1TB, does it have a limitation?

    - by PartySoft
    Linux gentoo-xen 2.6.18-xen-r12 #3 SMP Tue Oct 5 09:28:53 PDT 2010 x86_64 Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5506 @ 2.13GHz GenuineIntel GNU/Linux I have 6 disks of 1 TB and i can't see all of them only 4, can anyone give me an ideea what can i do ? Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on rootfs 886G 4.4G 836G 1% / /dev/sda3 886G 4.4G 836G 1% / rc-svcdir 1.0M 44K 980K 5% /lib64/rc/init.d shm 7.9G 0 7.9G 0% /dev/shm /dev/sdb1 917G 200M 871G 1% /home2 /dev/sdc1 917G 200M 871G 1% /home3 /dev/sdd1 917G 200M 871G 1% /home4 The hardware is Dual xeon E5506 processors on a supermicro X8DTL mobo 4.346585] ata3.00: ATA-8, max UDMA/133, 1953525168 sectors: LBA48 NCQ (depth 0/32) [ 4.346588] ata3.00: ata3: dev 0 multi count 16 [ 4.352861] ata3.00: configured for UDMA/133 [ 4.352867] scsi3 : ata_piix [ 4.352875] PM: Adding info for No Bus:host3 [ 4.510584] ata4.00: ATA-8, max UDMA/133, 1953525168 sectors: LBA48 NCQ (depth 0/32) [ 4.510587] ata4.00: ata4: dev 0 multi count 16 [ 4.516848] ata4.00: configured for UDMA/133 [ 4.516861] PM: Adding info for No Bus:target2:0:0 [ 4.516905] Vendor: ATA Model: SAMSUNG HD103SJ Rev: 1AJ1 [ 4.516910] Type: Direct-Access ANSI SCSI revision: 05 [ 4.516920] PM: Adding info for scsi:2:0:0:0 [ 4.517452] SCSI device sde: 1953525168 512-byte hdwr sectors (1000205 MB) [ 4.517460] sde: Write Protect is off [ 4.517461] sde: Mode Sense: 00 3a 00 00 [ 4.517478] SCSI device sde: drive cache: write back [ 4.517514] SCSI device sde: 1953525168 512-byte hdwr sectors (1000205 MB) [ 4.517521] sde: Write Protect is off [ 4.517522] sde: Mode Sense: 00 3a 00 00 [ 4.517532] SCSI device sde: drive cache: write back [ 4.517534] sde: sde1 [ 4.524551] sd 2:0:0:0: Attached scsi disk sde [ 4.524855] sd 2:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg4 type 0 [ 4.524874] PM: Adding info for No Bus:target3:0:0 [ 4.524928] Vendor: ATA Model: SAMSUNG HD103SJ Rev: 1AJ1 [ 4.524933] Type: Direct-Access ANSI SCSI revision: 05 [ 4.524946] PM: Adding info for scsi:3:0:0:0 [ 4.525216] SCSI device sdf: 1953525168 512-byte hdwr sectors (1000205 MB) [ 4.525227] sdf: Write Protect is off [ 4.525228] sdf: Mode Sense: 00 3a 00 00 [ 4.525242] SCSI device sdf: drive cache: write back [ 4.525280] SCSI device sdf: 1953525168 512-byte hdwr sectors (1000205 MB) [ 4.525286] sdf: Write Protect is off [ 4.525289] sdf: Mode Sense: 00 3a 00 00 [ 4.525301] SCSI device sdf: drive cache: write back [ 4.525302] sdf: sdf1 [ 4.532691] sd 3:0:0:0: Attached scsi disk sdf [ 4.533010] sd 3:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg5 type 0 [ 4.977669] scsi: <fdomain> Detection failed (no card) [ 5.030479] GDT-HA: Storage RAID Controller Driver. Version: 3.05 [ 5.030635] GDT-HA: Found 0 PCI Storage RAID Controllers [ 5.372350] Fusion MPT base driver 3.04.01 [ 5.372358] Copyright (c) 1999-2005 LSI Logic Corporation [ 5.579176] Fusion MPT SPI Host driver 3.04.01 [ 5.881777] ieee1394: Initialized config rom entry `ip1394' [ 6.166745] ieee1394: sbp2: Driver forced to serialize I/O (serialize_io=1) [ 6.166748] ieee1394: sbp2: Try serialize_io=0 for better performance [ 6.428866] md: md driver 0.90.3 MAX_MD_DEVS=256, MD_SB_DISKS=27 [ 6.428872] md: bitmap version 4.39 [ 6.431518] md: raid0 personality registered for level 0 [ 6.495979] md: raid1 personality registered for level 1 [ 6.570270] raid5: automatically using best checksumming function: generic_sse [ 6.575523] generic_sse: 6608.000 MB/sec [ 6.575526] raid5: using function: generic_sse (6608.000 MB/sec) [ 6.596226] raid6: int64x1 1835 MB/s [ 6.613231] raid6: int64x2 1773 MB/s [ 6.630256] raid6: int64x4 1675 MB/s [ 6.647296] raid6: int64x8 1027 MB/s [ 6.664267] raid6: sse2x1 3578 MB/s [ 6.681268] raid6: sse2x2 4207 MB/s [ 6.698280] raid6: sse2x4 4625 MB/s [ 6.698281] raid6: using algorithm sse2x4 (4625 MB/s) [ 6.698285] md: raid6 personality registered for level 6 [ 6.698286] md: raid5 personality registered for level 5 [ 6.698288] md: raid4 personality registered for level 4 [ 6.781090] md: raid10 personality registered for level 10 [ 7.007043] Intel(R) PRO/1000 Network Driver - version 7.1.9-k4 [ 7.007046] Copyright (c) 1999-2006 Intel Corporation. [ 9.229465] kjournald starting. Commit interval 5 seconds [ 9.229476] EXT3-fs: mounted filesystem with ordered data mode.

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  • How To Deal With Terrible Design Decisions

    - by splatto
    I'm a consultant at one company. There is another consultant who is a year older than me and has been here 3 months longer than I have, and a full time developer. The full-time developer is great. My concern is that I see the consultant making absolutely terrible design decisions. For example, M:M relationships are being stored in the database as a comma-delimited string rather than using a conjunction table to hold the relationships. For example, consider two tables, Car and Property: Car records: Camry Volvo Mercedes Property records: Spare Tire Satellite Radio Ipod Support Standard Rather than making a table CarProperties to represent this, he has made a "Property" attribute on the Car table whose data looks like "1,3,7,13,19,25," I hate how this decision and others are affecting the quality of my code. We have butted heads over this design three times in the past two months since I've been here. He asked me why my suggestion was better, and I responded that our database would be eliminating redundant data by converting to a higher normal form. I explained that this design flaw in particular is discussed and discouraged in entry level college programs, and he responded with a shot at me saying that these comma-separated-value database properties are taught when you do your masters (which neither of us have). Needless to say, he became very upset and demanded I apologize for criticizing his work, which I did in the interest of not wanting to be the consultant to create office drama. Our project manager is focused on delivering a product ASAP and is a very strong personality - Suggesting to him at this point that we spend some time to do this right will set him off. There is a strong likelihood that both of our contracts will be extended to work on a second project coming up. How will I be able to exert dominant influence over the design of the system and the data model to ensure that such terrible mistakes are not repeated in the next project? A glimpse at the dynamics: I can be a strong personality if I don't measure myself. The other consultant is not a strong personality, is a poor communicator, is quite stubborn and thinks he is better than everyone else. The project manager is an extremely strong personality who is focused on releasing tomorrow's product yesterday. The full-time developer is very laid back and easy going, a very effective communicator, but is someone who will accept bad design if it means not rocking the boat. Code reviews or anything else that takes "time" will be out of the question - there is no way our PM will be sold on such a thing by anybody.

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  • How to modify/replace option set file when building from command line?

    - by Heinrich Ulbricht
    I build packages from a batch file using commands like: msbuild ..\lib\Package.dproj /target:Build /p:config=%1 The packages' settings are dependent on an option set: <Import Project="..\optionsets\COND_Defined.optset" Condition="'$(Base)'!='' And Exists('..\optionsets\COND_Defined.optset')"/> This option set defines a conditional symbol many of my packages depend on. The file looks like this: <Project xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/developer/msbuild/2003"> <PropertyGroup> <DCC_Define>CONDITION;$(DCC_Define)</DCC_Define> </PropertyGroup> <ProjectExtensions> <Borland.Personality>Delphi.Personality.12</Borland.Personality> <Borland.ProjectType>OptionSet</Borland.ProjectType> <BorlandProject> <Delphi.Personality/> </BorlandProject> <ProjectFileVersion>12</ProjectFileVersion> </ProjectExtensions> </Project> Now I need two builds: one with the condition defined and one without. My attack vector would be the option set file. I have some ideas on what to do: write a program which modifies the option set file, run this before batch build fiddle with the project files and modify the option set path to contain an environment variable, then have different option sets in different locations But before starting to reinvent the wheel I'd like to ask how you would tackle this task? Maybe there are already means meant to support such a case (like certain command line switches, things I could configure in Delphi or batch file magic).

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  • SQLAuthority News – Job Interviewing the Right Way (and for the Right Reasons) – Guest Post by Feodor Georgiev

    - by pinaldave
    Feodor Georgiev is a SQL Server database specialist with extensive experience of thinking both within and outside the box. He has wide experience of different systems and solutions in the fields of architecture, scalability, performance, etc. Feodor has experience with SQL Server 2000 and later versions, and is certified in SQL Server 2008. Feodor has written excellent article on Job Interviewing the Right Way. Here is his article in his own language. A while back I was thinking to start a blog post series on interviewing and employing IT personnel. At that time I had just read the ‘Smart and gets things done’ book (http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2007/06/05.html) and I was hyped up on some debatable topics regarding finding and employing the best people in the branch. I have no problem with hiring the best of the best; it’s just the definition of ‘the best of the best’ that makes things a bit more complicated. One of the fundamental books one can read on the topic of interviewing is the one mentioned above. If you have not read it, then you must do so; not because it contains the ultimate truth, and not because it gives the answers to most questions on the subject, but because the book contains an extensive set of questions about interviewing and employing people. Of course, a big part of these questions have different answers, depending on location, culture, available funds and so on. (What works in the US may not necessarily work in the Nordic countries or India, or it may work in a different way). The only thing that is valid regardless of any external factor is this: curiosity. In my belief there are two kinds of people – curious and not-so-curious; regardless of profession. Think about it – professional success is directly proportional to the individual’s curiosity + time of active experience in the field. (I say ‘active experience’ because vacations and any distractions do not count as experience :)  ) So, curiosity is the factor which will distinguish a good employee from the not-so-good one. But let’s shift our attention to something else for now: a few tips and tricks for successful interviews. Tip and trick #1: get your priorities straight. Your status usually dictates your priorities; for example, if the person looking for a job has just relocated to a new country, they might tend to ignore some of their priorities and overload others. In other words, setting priorities straight means to define the personal criteria by which the interview process is lead. For example, similar to the following questions can help define the criteria for someone looking for a job: How badly do I need a (any) job? Is it more important to work in a clean and quiet environment or is it important to get paid well (or both, if possible)? And so on… Furthermore, before going to the interview, the candidate should have a list of priorities, sorted by the most importance: e.g. I want a quiet environment, x amount of money, great helping boss, a desk next to a window and so on. Also it is a good idea to be prepared and know which factors can be compromised and to what extent. Tip and trick #2: the interview is a two-way street. A job candidate should not forget that the interview process is not a one-way street. What I mean by this is that while the employer is interviewing the potential candidate, the job seeker should not miss the chance to interview the employer. Usually, the employer and the candidate will meet for an interview and talk about a variety of topics. In a quality interview the candidate will be presented to key members of the team and will have the opportunity to ask them questions. By asking the right questions both parties will define their opinion about each other. For example, if the candidate talks to one of the potential bosses during the interview process and they notice that the potential manager has a hard time formulating a question, then it is up to the candidate to decide whether working with such person is a red flag for them. There are as many interview processes out there as there are companies and each one is different. Some bigger companies and corporates can afford pre-selection processes, 3 or even 4 stages of interviews, small companies usually settle with one interview. Some companies even give cognitive tests on the interview. Why not? In his book Joel suggests that a good candidate should be pampered and spoiled beyond belief with a week-long vacation in New York, fancy hotels, food and who knows what. For all I can imagine, an interview might even take place at the top of the Eifel tower (right, Mr. Joel, right?) I doubt, however, that this is the optimal way to capture the attention of a good employee. The ‘curiosity’ topic What I have learned so far in my professional experience is that opinions can be subjective. Plus, opinions on technology subjects can also be subjective. According to Joel, only hiring the best of the best is worth it. If you ask me, there is no such thing as best of the best, simply because human nature (well, aside from some physical limitations, like putting your pants on through your head :) ) has no boundaries. And why would it have boundaries? I have seen many curious and interesting people, naturally good at technology, though uninterested in it as one  can possibly be; I have also seen plenty of people interested in technology, who (in an ideal world) should have stayed far from it. At any rate, all of this sums up at the end to the ‘supply and demand’ factor. The interview process big-bang boils down to this: If there is a mutual benefit for both the employer and the potential employee to work together, then it all sorts out nicely. If there is no benefit, then it is much harder to get to a common place. Tip and trick #3: word-of-mouth is worth a thousand words Here I would just mention that the best thing a job candidate can get during the interview process is access to future team members or other employees of the new company. Nowadays the world has become quite small and everyone knows everyone. Look at LinkedIn, look at other professional networks and you will realize how small the world really is. Knowing people is a good way to become more approachable and to approach them. Tip and trick #4: Be confident. It is true that for some people confidence is as natural as breathing and others have to work hard to express it. Confidence is, however, a key factor in convincing the other side (potential employer or employee) that there is a great chance for success by working together. But it cannot get you very far if it’s not backed up by talent, curiosity and knowledge. Tip and trick #5: The right reasons What really bothers me in Sweden (and I am sure that there are similar situations in other countries) is that there is a tendency to fill quotas and to filter out candidates by criteria different from their skill and knowledge. In job ads I see quite often the phrases ‘positive thinker’, ‘team player’ and many similar hints about personality features. So my guess here is that discrimination has evolved to a new level. Let me clear up the definition of discrimination: ‘unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice’. And prejudice is the ‘partiality that prevents objective consideration of an issue or situation’. In other words, there is not much difference whether a job candidate is filtered out by race, gender or by personality features – it is all a bad habit. And in reality, there is no proven correlation between the technology knowledge paired with skills and the personal features (gender, race, age, optimism). It is true that a significantly greater number of Darwin awards were given to men than to women, but I am sure that somewhere there is a paper or theory explaining the genetics behind this. J This topic actually brings to mind one of my favorite work related stories. A while back I was working for a big company with many teams involved in their processes. One of the teams was occupying 2 rooms – one had the team members and was full of light, colorful posters, chit-chats and giggles, whereas the other room was dark, lighted only by a single monitor with a quiet person in front of it. Later on I realized that the ‘dark room’ person was the guru and the ultimate problem-solving-brain who did not like the chats and giggles and hence was in a separate room. In reality, all severe problems which the chatty and cheerful team members could not solve and all emergencies were directed to ‘the dark room’. And thus all worked out well. The moral of the story: Personality has nothing to do with technology knowledge and skills. End of story. Summary: I’d like to stress the fact that there is no ultimately perfect candidate for a job, and there is no such thing as ‘best-of-the-best’. From my personal experience, the main criteria by which I measure people (co-workers and bosses) is the curiosity factor; I know from experience that the more curious and inventive a person is, the better chances there are for great achievements in their field. Related stories: (for extra credit) 1) Get your priorities straight. A while back as a consultant I was working for a few days at a time at different offices and for different clients, and so I was able to compare and analyze the work environments. There were two different places which I compared and recently I asked a friend of mine the following question: “Which one would you prefer as a work environment: a noisy office full of people, or a quiet office full of faulty smells because the office is rarely cleaned?” My friend was puzzled for a while, thought about it and said: “Hmm, you are talking about two different kinds of pollution… I will probably choose the second, since I can clean the workplace myself a bit…” 2) The interview is a two-way street. One time, during a job interview, I met a potential boss that had a hard time phrasing a question. At that particular time it was clear to me that I would not have liked to work under this person. According to my work religion, the properly asked question contains at least half of the answer. And if I work with someone who cannot ask a question… then I’d be doing double or triple work. At another interview, after the technical part with the team leader of the department, I was introduced to one of the team members and we were left alone for 5 minutes. I immediately jumped on the occasion and asked the blunt question: ‘What have you learned here for the past year and how do you like your job?’ The team member looked at me and said ‘Nothing really. I like playing with my cats at home, so I am out of here at 5pm and I don’t have time for much.’ I was disappointed at the time and I did not take the job offer. I wasn’t that shocked a few months later when the company went bankrupt. 3) The right reasons to take a job: personality check. A while back I was asked to serve as a job reference for a coworker. I agreed, and after some weeks I got a phone call from the company where my colleague was applying for a job. The conversation started with the manager’s question about my colleague’s personality and about their social skills. (You can probably guess what my internal reaction was… J ) So, after 30 minutes of pouring common sense into the interviewer’s head, we finally agreed on the fact that a shy or quiet personality has nothing to do with work skills and knowledge. Some years down the road my former colleague is taking the manager’s position as the manager is demoted to a different department. Reference: Feodor Georgiev, Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com) Filed under: PostADay, Readers Contribution, SQL, SQL Authority, SQL Query, SQL Server, SQL Tips and Tricks, T SQL, Technology

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  • PHP Casting as Object type in foreach Loop

    - by Coulton
    Within the following code, $quiz_object->personalities contains an array of Personality() objects. // Loop through each personality that exists for the quiz foreach($quiz_object->personalities AS $existing_personality) { // Show all of the existing personalities echo $existing_personality->GetQuizMakerPersonalityHTML(); } How do I "cast" (I think that's the right word) my variable $existing_personality within the foreach loop as the object type? I wish to do this so that when I type $existing_personality->, I get the list of public functions available for that object type. At the moment, Zend doesn't know that it refers to a Personality object within the loop.

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  • SQL Contests – Solution – Identify the Database Celebrity

    - by Pinal Dave
    Last week we were running contest Identify the Database Celebrity and we had received a fantastic response to the contest. Thank you to the kind folks at NuoDB as they had offered two USD 100 Amazon Gift Cards to the winners of the contest. We had also additional contest that users have to download and install NuoDB and identified the sample database. You can read about the contest over here. Here is the answer to the questions which we had asked earlier in the contest. Part 1: Identify Database Celebrity Personality 1 – Edgar Frank “Ted” Codd (August 19, 1923 – April 18, 2003) was an English computer scientist who, while working for IBM, invented the relational model for database management, the theoretical basis for relational databases. He made other valuable contributions to computer science, but the relational model, a very influential general theory of data management, remains his most mentioned achievement. (Wki) Personality 2 – James Nicholas “Jim” Gray (born January 12, 1944; lost at sea January 28, 2007; declared deceased May 16, 2012) was an American computer scientist who received the Turing Award in 1998 “for seminal contributions to database and transaction processing research and technical leadership in system implementation.” (Wiki) Personality 3 – Jim Starkey (born January 6, 1949 in Illinois) is a database architect responsible for developing InterBase, the first relational database to support multi-versioning, the blob column type, type event alerts, arrays and triggers. Starkey is the founder of several companies, including the web application development and database tool company Netfrastructure and NuoDB. (Wiki) Part 2: Identify NuoDB Samples Database Names In this part of the contest one has to Download NuoDB and install the sample database Hockey. Hockey is sample database and contains few tables. Users have to install sample database and inform the name of the sample databases. Here is the valid answer. HOCKEY PLAYERS SCORING TEAM Once again, it was indeed fun to run this contest. I have received great feedback about it and lots of people wants me to run similar contest in future. I promise to run similar interesting contests in the near future. Winners Within next two days, we will let winners send emails. Winners will have to confirm their email address and NuoDB team will send them directly Amazon Cards. Once again it was indeed fun to run this contest. Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com) Filed under: PostADay, SQL, SQL Authority, SQL Query, SQL Server, SQL Tips and Tricks, T SQL

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