Archives / 2004 / January
  • Going from a client-server to mainframe environment...

    Been in a training session all morning.  Getting trained on how to use Endevor (source control / release control application) on OS/390.  Main reason is to get me familiar with Endevor because they've purchased a group of programs from Chicago Interface Group to bring Endevor to client server environment (through the use of a web-browser).  The application I work on is going to be used as a pilot for CIG/Endevor before it goes into full production.

    Mainframe is so different from client-server.  Used to annoy me when my coworkers that came from mainframe to client-server couldn't grasp certain concepts... but man, some of the stuff was confusing.  Weird names for everything... telling me to hit PF3 (which is really just F3).  Calling the asterick (*) a “splat“.  All kinds of job codes and JCL.  Oh my!  Interesting through.  I was catching on pretty good, unfortunately I have to leave early to go to class.

    Other good news, working on getting my boss to approve a new project for me to rewrite our current application in J2EE instead of classic ASP.  The ASP version has served well for the last 2 years, but when it was originally developed, they were on a tight schedule and things got rushed, plus after 2 years of patching, it has left its original design.  Rewriting it in an OO approach and all would make it a lot cleaner and functional.  Right now, I have no J2EE experience, so I get to dive in and learn something new!  Shouldn't take long.  Told him I'd want to get the IDE and everything now so I could learn it and start actual development during summer, since then I'd be out of school for a while and all my stuff with senior project would be done.  Kind of excited!


  • Content blocking in the workplace.

    I'm sure 99.9% of the computer professionals out there are guilty of this, as well as me: surfing the internet while at work.

    Where I work (underneath Gov. Arnold “Terminator” Schwarzenegger), they have a strict “only for work purposes” attitude for internet usage.  They have a firewall setup that only allows outbound traffic to ports 80 and 443 (HTTP and HTTPS).  Additionally, they run usage reports that periodically track where users are going.  Periodically, they add sites onto the list of blocked content, blocking traffic there and notifying the network admins whenever sometimes tries to access it.

    This policy seems a little strict... I am not working 100% of the time.  I often eat lunch at my desk and like to roam a message board or check my personal email during my lunch break.  And if I'm roaming the internet at other times, its because I have no work!  I can see the point of the policy, but what is wrong with trusting your employees and only stressing things that would fall under the NDA?  The problem... or hypocracy... I see with this policy is that managers push on it, yet all my managers don't practice it themselves.  There have been countless occassions when I've walked into my boss's office to find him on Yahoo Games (at which time, he quickly closes it).  If they are so afraid of employees wasting time while on the job, then there are much more serious things than internet usage.  One of my coworkers is on the phone probably 7 of the 8 hours she is here.  And it is not work related (I overhear it all).  Another reads the newspaper front to back every day.  Additionally, he goes on 30 minute walks twice daily (he goes with his manager too!).  State employees are so lazy!  And it is all politics... they have to put on this tough face when they really slack off themselves.

    My annoyance with their policies has peaked lately because they've blocked a couple of sites that I frequent when I have a few spare moments at work.  First,  I'm a long time user and occassionally like to catch up on what's going on with the people I've met through it.  After 3 years of working here, its been blocked.  It is probably from another employee over using it, since I know there are other LJ users here.  Second, HardOCP.  I used to frequent their forums for computer stuff... mostly to kill time when I was really bored.  The third one, and the one that really irks me, they've blocked the ASP.NET Forums.  This I actually used for work purposes.  What is the point of blocking it?  It isn't really general discussion... its on the topic of technology.  I do web development, is it a horrible sin to go to a web development forum?  If they block Ebay, then I am gone.  I'd lose my santiy without Ebay.

    Is private industry as serious about this sort of business as the government?  Things like this make me seriously re-think whether or not I want to work for the state when I graduate.  I'm jealous of my friends and roommates who can get on IM at work, or roam without a content firewall.  What to do...


  • Fun building computers...

    Had some fun last week building up my latest desktop.  I've had the really bad habit the last 2 years of building a new PC every 6 months.  Not like a really need a new PC that often, just I get the upgrade bug can never squash it.  This latest round it has hit me pretty good, but I've been fairly smart and got everything at damn good prices.

    So what am I working with now?  Dual 2.66ghz Xeons with a Asus PC-DL Deluxe motherboard, 1gb Crucial PC2700 RAM, and still have my GeForce4 Ti4600 and my 36gb Western Digital 10krpm Raptor.  The new stuff is just the Xeons and the motherboard.  Still need to get a new power supply (borrowing a spare I was saving for my server).  Got my new equipment for quite the steal.  The Asus PC-DL normally sells for ~$215 and the 2.66ghz Xeons are normally $280 a pop.  I got the motherboard for $150 ( refurbished), one of the CPUs for $180 ( refurbished), and the other CPU for $150 (Ebay).

    The motherboard came bare board, no manual, CDs, I/O panel, or cables.  That's ok though.  Printed the manual off of the website at work, downloaded the drivers online, and only had to buy a Serial ATA cable ($6).  I can live without the I/O shield.  The CPUs came bare too, but easily bought the stock heatsinks for $10 from  The heatsinks are a little loud, so will probably get some ultra quiet ones soon (silence is golden).  Overall, $500 for dual Xeons is not a bad upgrade. :)

    Though this time, the bug was bad.  I've been working on upgrading my home server as well.  This is being more complicated, since I've been buying/trading stuff here and there.  My server is currently a 1.3ghz AMD Athlon (Thunderbird) with 640mb SDRAM and an old motherboard.  The server has been hurting a little lately, since it does quite a bit.  Windows SBS 2003, SQL Server, IIS6, Exchange, filesharing, NAT, domain controller, etc.  Sometimes when I'm on it, I can feel it choking a little, and since I plan on having it do even more, I've been wanting to upgrade it.  I original got a dual AMD Athlon 2400+ system and was planning to upgrade to SCSI, gigabit ethernet, and eventually a Serial ATA RAID5 array for mass storage.

    The problem?  The AMD MPX platform is pagued by crappy write performance on the PCI bus.  Its also limited to 64-bit/66mhz (no PCI-X).  In order for it to work, I'd need 3 64-bit ports for it to perform well, but almost all the motherboard only have 2.  So... selling those CPUs and motherboard and putting together dual 2.0ghz Xeons (400mhz FSB), Intel motherboard with built in U160 SCSU and gigabit ethernet, and 2gb PC1600 DDR.  With this setup, the SCSI is on a 64-bit/66mhz bus and the gigabit ethernet is at 64-bit/100mhz and I have an open 64-bit/66 or 100mhz slot for the eventual addition of the RAID card.  Still working on putting together this system... only have to get the motherboard, new PSU and new heatsinks for my main system... then it'll be ready to go.

    Hopefully this time, I can fend off the upgrade bug for a while.  I hadn't upgraded my server in nearly 3 years, so hopefully this one will last another 3 years.  As for my desktop... I think I'll be satisfied for a while.