25 September 2008

Back in the Saddle: Java 101

Interesting to be back in the Training Game. It is a Java 101 (Introduction to Java Programming for Programmers) course. With some differences.

Its all for one corporate client. My God, its been a long time since I had to deal with Corporate IT Thinking. There's some of it that exists for good reason. And then there's a whole lot of crap. Stuff that's more to do with politics, staking out of turf, ass-covering... The real downside for a Java 101 course is not so huge, but still... everybody is from the same organisation, though they might well be from different planets, considering the departments they're drawn from... But, there's still not a lot of cross-pollination of ideas. The whiff of groupthink.

I've taken the format of the "usual" 5-day course and adapted it somewhat to a 6-day format split over two 3-day sessions a couple of weeks apart, so there's a lot more breathing room, but, for any "Intro to X" course there is a certain body of knowledge that has to be covered, and there's a certain Logic to the order in which material has to be presented, so there's no escaping... There's just a bunch of stuff that has to get taught before people can realistically handle a tutorial (a.k.a. "homework".) All resulting in a pretty heavy First Three Days. I've just finished Day 3 ("Subscriber Trunk Dialing".) I'm exhausted.

Differences: In the usual "5-day" format I'd have to be really winding up my energy to stay the pace for Day 4. This time around I get a week-long break, and get to start fresh. Mmmmm... Gooooood!

Happily I have a fairly bright bunch. Quite a mix of backgrounds, all the way from a university graduates to "just-a-programmer-can-I-google-a-solution-and-cut-n-paste-the-code". The usual chirpy heckler who borders, at times, on irritating, but helps keep things alive. The usual "deeply tech" who catches all my mistakes and omissions, and keeps me on my toes.

I'll confess that I'm having a ball!

11 September 2008

Infrastructure Fix

Finally!  Took a day off from preparing for the (Advanced Architecture and Design) course I'm hosting next week, and spent the time getting my local infrastructure back on its feet after a breakdown some weeks ago.  Basically the LAN server died... motherboard or CPU. Suddenly we realised just how much we've come to depend on that little machine!  DNS caching, plus names for all the machine on our farm-LAN1, HTTP proxy, local Subversion server, file-share, music streaming, and not to mention supplying the base-infrastructure for some Jini services that come and go as we play around with Jini and JavaSpaces.

So now that we've beefed-up the CPU and disk a bit, it was "just" a case of getting all the bits of server software installed and cleanly configured. Nothing difficult, but it all takes time! Especially when you're a bit.... fastidious?... about getting the config "right", as opposed to "just poking things until they work". I truly despise "voodoo config" where people don't really make the effort to understand the impact and effects of what they're doing, and fuck it up royally as a result.  "Oh, well, I'll install mod_disk_cache and mod_mem_cache... after all, two caches must be better than one, mustn't they?"  Ding!  You Do Not Win The Lounge Suite!

Well, its been fun! And finally I can forget all about it again until the next hardware failure. The only thing I really would like to achieve is to get the server quiet2, and get its power-consumption way, way down!  And maybe have a few more tiny-little servers...

[1] The term "server farm" takes on a whole new significance ;-)

[2] Yeah, I'm a complete arsehole about noise. I really, really, really hate noise...
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