January 2010 Archives

I'm very excited right now

I have been working on <a href="http://www.frozen-perl.org/mpw2010/">Frozen Perl </a> for seven months now, and we are very much on track for what we need to do to pull off a successful workshop. 

That however has nothing to do with why I am excited. On Monday this week I met with our caterer for Feb 6th in our venue I noticed they were adding a wing onto the building (Yes, we will have Lunch!). So last night I was looking at the website for our venue, and I found that our venue is adding two other conference rooms capable of seating an additional 130 people.

This makes the venue now big enough for a YAPC audience.

I'll say it again just because it makes me smile:
The venue we like is big enough to host a YAPC. :)

:):) 

If we can pull the bid together, we won't lose. Another city might still win the bid, but not because our bid was too weak, but because theirs was actually better.


Frozen Perl Progress

If anyone is still interested, there are still seats available in both brian d foy's class "Effective Perl Programming" and Dave Rolsky's "Introduction to Moose".

Also, You may still register to attend the workshop, but you may not get a T-shirt at this point. only time will tell.

We are looking at 73 people who have either paid, organized, or confirmed a talk. This year's Frozen Perl will be a lot of fun for those attending, and I hope you consider joining us either this year or next.


Perl Classes taught by Dave Rolsky and brian d foy

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This weekend is Chris Prather's Perl Oasis, just as we in Minnesota are getting ready for Frozen Perl on February 5-7.

If you are interested, there is still room in both of our classes. Both of our instructors are top rate, and if you are interested than learning from the best, but want to save on the budget, check out Dave Rolsky's Intro to Moose , or brian d foy's Effective Perl Programming.

If you are in Florida this weekend, I wish you well, and I hope that you still consider Minnesota in three weeks. (I mean, how *bad* can the weather be in Minnesota in February?)


Workshops/conferences

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If you were attending a workshop, would you rather have bagels and coffee in the morning, or a T-Shirt? I know that there are several varying answers, but during the weekend just give me a message here and let me know what you would rather have

Are your users stupid?

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Are the users of your software stupid? Ignorant? "Know just enough to be dangerous?"

I know we have all had them. People who just simply don't understand what you are trying to do, and just get in the way by their sheer incompetence. They can be angry, pushy, and even sometimes go around established channels to get around you and do things their own way.

Well I am currently sitting on both sides of this table at the moment ... In on aspect of my job I am the "stupid user" and another I am working with users who clearly think they know more than they do. Now firstly, I am not saying me or my co-workers are calling our customers stupid, or anything else I mentioned above. I just wanted to point out that taken to an extreme users can seem this way.

In the case where I am the (stupid) user, our security department wants to take away any administrative privileges we have on our own windows boxes. This makes me really angry, because I don't like being told that I cannot upgrade my copy of eclipse without an appointment, and If I want to try/update opera, I will need to call tech support into my office to do the work for me. The fact of the matter is that I can do these things myself and use less employee time than I would take in making the phone call to setup the appointment.

HOWEVER, the security department sees users like me as dangerous, ingnorant half-wits, ready to install the next rootkit just to get a pretty screensaver. They already have us running on non-admin accounts, so most threats are nearly completely mitigated. Along with the automated windows update pushes and the required virus software, I haven't had any problems for more than 3 years. They do a nice job keeping the viruses and worms off campus, and the machines run much more smoothly for it. I feel rather insulted that they feel that employees who all have college level degrees and get paid $60K or more per year, cannot be taught what not to install, and instead they must install baby gates. I just want to do my work, and if they leave a hole open where I will be able to install/update software without them I will probably just do it. If you have a degree in computer science then you should be intelligent enough to keep your own software up to date. In the end I just want to do my work with as little hassle as possible.

Now, lets look at my own users:

I have some users who like me, just want to get work done. They have an expectation on how my programs/applications should run, and one of them even started learning Perl so that she could be part of the team I am on and do development. Because of this, our customers know just enough about the flow of the programs that they only know that certian things can be done, and not necessarily how they should be done.

As a result, we get a lot of 'suggestions' that are really design decisions. They tell us how our software should work on the inside, instead of letting us decide what is really the best design for their needs.

I really have nothing against my customers, but I am writing this to show others that it is real easy to think your customers are pushy, or even stupid when they simply want to get work done.

I suggest that the next time you feel your customers are stupid, pushy, angry, or just about anything else, consider that they probably just want to use the technology so that they can get their work done, so they can go to the pub. Try to find out in a nice(er) manner, what they are trying to do, and how you can help them achieve this goal, and still meet your needs weather you are part of the security department, a developer, HR, whatever.

Your users are seldomly stupid, they just might not know the things you know.

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