210 hours in 3 weeks…. i’m afraid so.

My past 3 weeks… I’ve worked ~210 hours… that averages to 70 hours per week… but really I worked almost 100 hours in one 7 day period.   One day, i worked from 6am – 2am, and one day I worked from 9am – 2am.  Always getting up and working the next day by 9am at the latest and working more than a full day… every day.

Why would I do such horrendous work?

Well, we did an upgrade from Livelink 9.2 to Livelink 9.5 and included was a change from proprietary Livelink authentication to AD authentication.  This didn’t work well for us because we have many other companies w/ access to our systems.  Domain trusts were established ahead of times, but their AD usernames were formatted differently than our Livelink username format.  We have been renaming accounts like mad (in fact, I setup a cool authentication failure logger and some tools to easily change the usernames directly in the KUAF table)… but it’s still a bear.   On top of this, we use Livelink authentication as the basis for a few downstream systems and those are slow to update (and I can’t change or control them).  And in addition, we have flaky windows servers which are complaining about the increased load (more users, more use, more work-per-page in LL9.5).

All in all – it’s an improvement, but the company should have listened to me when I warned it would be aweful.  Too bad that’s the type of thing I know better than to say on a conference call… true as it may be.  If we had known what to rename all users to and did it ahead of time… we could have been in much better shape.  Also I suspect we would have been in better shape if we rebuilt our web servers from scratch instead of doing an upgrade of Livelink on Win 2000.

Bleh!

(yep, you should feel sorry for me.)

I’m only getting to write this, because the VPN connection to work is down…  aside from that, I avoid this computer as much as possible.

AutoHotKey – like robotype on steroids

AutoHotkey – Free Mouse and Keyboard Macro Program with Hotkeys and AutoText:

AutoHotkey is a free, open-source utility for Windows. With it, you can:

  • Automate almost anything by sending keystrokes and mouse clicks. You can write a mouse or keyboard macro by hand or use the macro recorder.
  • Create hotkeys for keyboard, joystick, and mouse. Virtually any key, button, or combination can become a hotkey.
  • Expand abbreviations as you type them. For example, typing “btw” can automatically produce “by the way”.
  • Create custom data entry forms, user interfaces, and menu bars. See GUI for details. * Remap keys and buttons on your keyboard, joystick, and mouse.
  • Respond to signals from hand-held remote controls via the WinLIRC client script.
  • Run existing AutoIt v2 scripts and enhance them with new capabilities.
  • Convert any script into an EXE file that can be run on computers that don’t have AutoHotkey installed.

Super useful!  It’s very easy to add new strings with the helper at the bottom of the hotstrings page.

Very useful for coders and support staff… anyone who types similar text over and over again.

Police brutality – an email from Jason E. (spoon)

A great but disturbing email sent by my friend Jason E. (spoon):

November 14th, 2006: A student is tasered five times while in police custody while in the library at UCLA. The cops tase him, not because he’s fighting them, but because he is (non-violently) refusing to walk out of the library with them.  Note that the cop says, “Stand up or you’ll get tased again.” 

Of anything on this video that comment really sickens me the most.  If the student refuses to walk, the cops should have just carried him out, calling in back up if that’s what it takes to remove him.  Repeatedly administering electric shocks to a person laying on the ground until he or she agrees to walk with you is torture.  Straight up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev1VKZNKnBc

And here’s an article in the UCLA student paper about the same:
http://dailybruin.ucla.edu/news/articles.asp?id=38958

October 13th, 2006: On a similar note, one of my favorite bands, the Two Gallants, a two piece from San Francisco, were playing a show in Houston last month.  In the middle of their set, a lone cop walks onto the venue’s stage and grabs Adam’s guitar while he’s playing.  The drummer, Tyson, approaches them to see what’s going on and the cop tackles both him and Adam simultaneously to the stage.  Yeah, well, you’ll see; the cop is a huge guy and they’re skinny, little indie rockers. 

The cop gets off of them and calls for back up, then starts storming around the venue tasering people.  He tasered at least four people (some of them multiple times) including Adam the guitarist, their stage manager, a fourteen year-old boy and the boy’s father.  Several people were eventually arrested.

Because the band is growing in popularity and because of the YouTube videos, the story has been reported on in several places including Rolling Stone and Pitchfork media.  This site has everything about the incident including still photos and links to the videos:
http://blog.myspace.com/dsharber

Once you follow the link above, scroll down and check out the three YouTube videos.  They tell the story very well.

Tasers are not toys.  The Guardian (UK) reports that Tasers were originally marketed as “non-lethal” devices, but based on the judgements of the SEC, this had to be amended to “less-lethal” devices:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/crime/article/0,2763,1583867,00.html  
Accordingly they should be used with extreme discretion, much like a gun. 

But beyond these concerns over the real physical harm that tasers can inflict, I’m deeply disturbed by the unique psychological disfunction that is in play when this weapon is used.  A good cop is trained to talk to people and to de-escalate thorny situations.  But seeing the taser in use here reminds me of the way I’ve seen animal farmers use electric prods to herd pigs. 

Some cops obviously see the taser as an all too ready way to manipulate people without any vagaries like good communication or, heaven forbid, finesse.  With the taser at hand, they see no need for explanations or restraint.  And after reading over law enforcement officials responses to the above events, I realized that this is because the taser’s indiscriminate use, in evidence in the above two examples, is defended, even sanctioned. 

Without any question of the circumstances, officials fall back on the pat: tasers save lives.  But some cops obviously see the taser as a license to sidestep simple human respect.  There are limits, there are boundaries, there are rules – in place so that we are all safer – and the cops should be expected to respect them too.

Here’s some suggestions about how to help fight police brutality from Human Rights Watch:
http://www.hrw.org/reports98/police/what.htm – though I think these suggestions are disappointing in that they focus on writing to someone else who is “in power” for help.  That’s pretty weak. 

For that reason, I’ve attached the ACLU’s more practical “Know your rights” sheet.  For more ACLU stuff check out: http://aclu.org and http://action.aclu.org/site/PageServer?pagename=AS_downloads

And the National Lawyers Guild’s resources: http://www.nlg.org/resources/resources.htm

jamglue – tightness!

Jamglue – Glue it to the man:

This is a fantastic tool – to multi-track audio from a collaboartive environment with slick controls and a great/simple user interface.

I just wonder who has time to make such a cool site… ther interface required would not be simple to whip together.  I’m impressed.

Get it while it’s beta/hot/free…

ultimate in singapore as reported in the wall street journal

The Ultimate Sport – WSJ.com:

Besides being relatively inexpensive to play, part of Ultimate’s appeal lies in the fact that stature isn’t as critical as speed and dexterity: catching, throwing, jumping and pivoting. One of the star players for the Filipino team Pula, Panoy de los Santos, for instance, is just 1.57-meters tall (but the fastest member of the team).

Another attraction is that Ultimate is a noncontact game, so women like it as much as men do — 35% of the 500 players in the Philippines are female. As a result, Asian teams typically compete in the mixed divisions.

Ultimate calls for players — seven to a side — to pass a plastic disc to each other within a 110-meter-long pitch and to score points by catching the disc in an end zone. The game has no referees; players resolve their own disputes and those who commit fouls are honor bound to admit them. At higher levels of play, there may be “observers,” but they make calls only when a team appeals. (Some Americans refer to the disc as a Frisbee, after a trademark brand.)

In Singapore, the dominant Ultimate country in Asia after Japan, the game became popular in the late 1990s when some expatriates vowed to play once a week “rain or shine,” says Mr. DuBos. Then, students at the National University of Singapore and Singapore Management University took up the sport. Today, the city-state boasts eight club-level teams, which train together and compete in local and international competitions.