Corporate Coders

I can’t remember the last time I went to a software development conference. It must have been well over 10 years ago. Maybe that shows my age. However I plan to change that this year. My company let’s you attend a training class once a year. This year I am going to propose that I go to a software development conference instead. The only good thing so far this year is that I watched an online video from a presentation at a development conference. The video bombed about half way through it. But I picked up some interesting thoughts from the part I did see.

A theme of the talk was that corporate goals are evil. You will most likely need to achieve some of these goals in your day job if you need to pay bills. But that does not make them any less evil. Some of these corporate motives include ignoring whether users like your software. Other motives are plain greed of corporations. The development work itself in the corporate world is usually boring.

For interesting problems at work, companies will most likely want to purchase solutions. It is difficult to get approval to roll your own solutions even if yours are superior. The decisions are usually made by clueless individuals at the top of the food chain. One way to prevent this is to become a top dog at your company. However you can also try to make the best darn presentation to convince the management that it would benefit the company to let you solve problems yourself.

Part of the problem to gain credibility is that management thinks that you are lazy. They liken you to a factory worker. You are supposed to do what you are told. They essentially want you to be a corporate coder. Such individuals are distinguished by working with only one programming language, not writing code outside of work, and only working on things you are supposed to do. One way to combat this trap is to write software outside you daily job.

Some of the work I do for a living is fun. Most of it consists of normal corporate boring tasks. I have been trying to branch out and roll some projects of my own. However it gets harder and harder to find the time. It is hard when the evil corporate machine wants you to work lots of hours to achieve their goals. I have not given up the fight yet though.

TV Converter Box Coupon Program

I hope you have heard. In about a month, the broadcast of analog TV signals is going to end. Instead only digital signals shall be broadcast. Therefore old TVs which only process analog signals will no longer work.

The government has come out with a TV Converter Box Coupon Program. This allows you to buy a device that can convert the new digital signals to the analog signals required by old TVs. The coupon is a discount on the price of these devices.

As soon as I heard about this, I signed up to get my coupons. It was a good thing that I did. They have run out of coupons for now. I did delay in actually going out to buy my converter boxes. However the coupons expire 3 months after they are issued. so today I bought two devices. The coupons take $40 off the price of the converters. Unfortunately they cost $60 each at my local Radio Shack. But hey, I saved some money.

I have no immediate need for these boxes. My cable company transmits the TV signals I need to work with all my TVs. However you never know when you might need to view TV over the air. So I bought a couple converter boxes. I might have been able to save some money by shopping at Walmart instead of Radio Shack.

The real question in my mind is why are they discontinuing the transmission of analog TV signals. On the surface it seems like a scam to force me to buy a new TV, pay for cable TV service, or purchase a converter. I would be more up in arms if they did not provide the coupon program. Time to investigate this whole move to digital signals a bit further.

Dictionary List

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I am planning on writing a program that cracks some encrypted code. This is a challenge posed by the FBI. To do this, I need to compare possible decrypted data with English words to see if the result is jibberish or not. My problem was that I could not find a simple file full of dicionary words.

Many free words lists come in some strange format that gives you a whole lot more information than just the words. Other words lists are divided up into many files. I just wanted a simple word list. So I wrote a program which processes a complex dictionary down to a single work list.

Now that I have done the work for this preprocessing program, I am ready to share the results with you. I am sure people can make good use of a English word list file. Here is my Dictionary for your use. It has been zipped up with WinZip. This file has over 53,000 words in it. Enjoy.