Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Revival

Alrighty, long hiatus. I lost interest, and life got very, very busy.

Things that have happened as time elapsed:
  1. Spent the entire summer puttering around at work, running tests, doing tests, writing documents, working hard. I learned a lot about Q/A testing, web frameworks, and how Java based software should definitely be avoided unless you have a terabyte of RAM, and God's brain as a processor.
  2. Spent all that free time after work NOT learning C++ as planned, but rather, puttering around with friends. Definitely had some fun times. Ate at great restaurants, but alas, there is very little fun to be had in the city of Toronto (in comparison to the great city of Montreal!;))
  3. Finished my work term, had the option of coming back on my next work term. I had to think hard about it, and I was really scared of saying no. I liked working there, but I thought it was time to challenge myself and try out for software developer positions. So after long debate, I declined their offer, and set out on a different path. While back at school, I had about 10-14 personal/group/phone interviews with many companies. I totally, completely embarrassed myself in one of them. This particular one was with a great, huge, well-known employer, offering about 20-30$/hr USD. I didn't know it was a technical interview, so I hadn't prepared, and I completely forgot...EVERYTHING. "In Java, how do you implement a linked list?" UMMM... shit. Having done nothing but testing that summer, I completely forgot the most basic syntactical rules and basic data structures. Then I was asked to implement something with recursion. Oh, it was all fine and dandy till i realized that, OOPS, I didn't end up making a recursive method at all, but just a regular stupid o(n^2) method. Oyyyy. Anyway, I learned from that and the next interviews were much better. I landed a job as a Python programmer. Now, if only I knew Python...
  4. The study term ended with complete shit marks. Totally my fault. I took a much too heavy course load, mixed in with a lot of nothing, emotional distress and fooling around. Now, learning Python (which, by the way, is AMAZING and everyone should learn it. Especially beginners; it's quick, intuitive, clean, and beautiful) and other stuff.
Now, I'm busying myself with preparations for the new work term! Hopefully, I won't be useless. That's my major fear. Being a n00b and getting this kind of a position kind of REALLY scares me, but you know... my employers seem really cool. I hope I don't let them down!

NB: I can't dual boot Linux and Windows for the life of me. After defragmenting, there's some weird system error that refuses to let me partition. Now, I have to settle for VMware until I can resolve this. But god, my computer is seemingly too slow for VMware...

Sunday, July 29, 2007


So I've obviously gotten better at my job by this point. I know what application servers are, how to use databases and create them (sort of; I have a tendency to destroy them in the midst of creating them. Talented, aren't I?), what metadata is, how to test stuff and... stuff. Yeah, but work is beside the issue. Right now, I've been slacking off too much. I haven't learned the things I said I would learn. I feel lethargic, and I feel unaccomplished. I was going to spend time writing, but nothing is coming to me anymore. I have no drive, and I feel like I'm lacking creativity in the writing department. It's probably because I don't have time to myself, and when I do, I feel so stressed about it. About what I should spend this precious time on, and I eventually spend it doing nothing. Which isn't a bad thing; I just wish I didn't FEEL stressed. I need better control over my emotions. I lost a lot of control since I moved here, since I started to feel so distant. I'm lucky to have friends here in Toronto, but I miss my family so much. I miss my home and my friends in Montreal. I feel like I'm losing precious time with my family, like I'm wasting it here. What's the point of life when you're so damn far away from everything that gives it meaning? I miss those I love. I do ge tto see them often, but I feel like I'm missing out on much of their lives. Bah.

I should put more focus on myself too, I suppose.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

n00bster's First Day at a Software Company

Thrown into MADNESS:

Day 1:
I was being briefed by a departing co-op student about the work I'll be doing with Adobe Tomcat v5.5, Oracle 9i (later, switch to 10g), and my company's order management software. And...*shudders* Microsoft Excel.

First Thoughts:
What the hell is Tomcat?
What is metadata?
Databases? Oh god, unknown territory.
Hey, this Excel stuff looks easy...

What I Learned
What an Excel Macro is
How to navigate the Company's Software

Day 2:
Took me 4 hours+ to compile a list of all work done on the software, and arrange it in Excel. Should take me a little over 30 minutes. 'Nuff said.

Afterwards, I attempted to run the Company's Software (now called ComSoft, with parts called C, D, E, and M), but realized it wasn't installed. Lovely. I couldn't figure out why my computer was exploding in my face anytime I tried anything until the last moment, when we finally realized that... wait, what?

Library files are missing from Tomcat? Whoa, what? How does that even happen?!
Fair enough, problem solved.

Second Thoughts:
Yeah... second thoughts.... hahaha;)

What I Learned
Navigating and compiling data from databases can take some time...
I learned that I didn't learn enough about any kind of testing from my training.

Day 3:
I felt a lot more confident with the work, solely because I thought I knew what I was doing. Turns out my Excel work was crap. Lovely, so I restarted from scratch. Took me the same amount of time, but I believe that I will be faster tomorrow.

I tried to do some automatic testing. That worked out. But I need to do more.

I started doing exercises the company's training manual. Simple enough until there were some problems with mapped data, and I could not create an SQL file. I had to bother the real Software Testers to help me fix the problem. Thank god that they're all so nice at work.

Later on, more problems with data being called from wrong metadata occurred. Magically, with my thought and cunning, I was actually able to properly diagnose the problem (w00t!), except it still wasn't working right! Turns out that I just had to close and restart the ComSoft D.

Whoops. Something is still wrong. Oh well, its 5:20pm, and no supervisors are here to help me. Off to dinner!

Third Thoughts
ComSoft is actually...really cool. Not like Ubisoft cool, duh, but the work they do, and the abilities of this software is amazing.
Excel is really annoying when you're being stupid with it.
Testing is still baffling me...

What I Learned

Excel doesn't like you merging and then Paste Special-ing values into them. It gets angry.

I know what metadata is.
I know a little of what Oracle can do.
SQL is readable (somewhat).

Let's see what tomorrow brings!