Sunday, December 23, 2018

My new Dell XPS 15

I’m really enjoying my new laptop. About a month ago I splurged and upgraded to the Dell XPS 15 9570.  It has the 8th Gen 6 core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD and Nvidia GTX 1050 TI. So far I’ve only been running Windows but I might make it dual boot later.

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I’m running on the latest preview builds of Windows and its been pretty fun.  This Dell has everything I would need to code almost just about everything.

With the GTX, I decided to add some games and the Unity developer tools on it.  It’s doing quite well.  It a really good gamer compared to other laptops that I’ve owned.

One thing that I downgraded was the monitor.  I didn’t appreciate the glossy high res touch display on my XPS 13.  I actually prefer to code on this matte finish, non-touch, HD display.  1080 is fine and I don’t need the 4k.  It has been said that I’ll get better battery life with this set up also.

When I’m presenting, 4k doesn’t help all that much either.  Most conferences barely have HD projectors.  So at a lower resolution, maybe I’ll be using ZoomIt less.

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I recently let my XPS 13 from 2015 go to my son.  He loves the form factor of the XPS 13 and it’s still plenty fast.  The battery doesn’t last as many hours as it used to but it’s good for him. 

The XPS 13 is much lighter than the 15 but the 15 is much lighter than a Latitude.  For you Apple Fans, think of the 13 as a MacBook Air and the 15 as a MacBook Pro.

Note to Pros:

Some developers use their work issued laptop for personal computing.  I don’t do that.  If company policy states that it is to be used for business purposes only, I don’t mess with it.  Owning my own computer, I also get to experiment and run preview builds of operating systems or other tools.  I won’t be risking downtime and my career because of running too close to the bleeding edge.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Web Development Rockstar Unicorn with Ninja coding skills who moonlights as a Wizard of Data

Are you a developer?  Maybe you are a recruiter? Hiring manager?  If you are then you probably know what I'm about to write.

IT and development job descriptions can have pretty demanding skill requirements.  In order to take short cuts or make things sound 'cooler', hiring managers create job descriptions looking for Ninjas, Rock Stars, Wizards, Unicorns and other things other than programmer.

  • Ninja - a developer who codes quietly in the dark and kills any task required by his master.
  • Rock Star - a developer who stands out in a crowd and loudly codes better than everyone around them
  • Wizard - a developer who magically creates software that everyone loves without any guidance and utilizing less hardware or maybe no hardware at all
  • Unicorn - a developer who is an expert at all forms of programming.  A Unicorn (Full-stack Developer) can code the UI, API, database, virtual reality, business intelligence and everything else and do so all by themselves as equally well as any other more specialized developer
Of course, if you are actually in need of a real Ninja or Rock Star than perhaps you hate that these job descriptions.  They are in the search results of your best Ninja/Rock Star/Wizard candidates.  I'm sure the hiring managers and recruiters would apologize to you.  My guess is that the majority of the Ninja ads are for developers available to moonlight at night for little money or no credit.

Are you a developer?  The cool thing is that you can filter out these ads for Ninjas and find real work. 

The hiring managers looking for real Ninjas will appreciate you not applying accidentally.  You might be very good with a sword and can quietly assassinate heads of state, and that's nice and all.  If you want to stop killing people and just code, filters will help. 

Are you a hiring manager?

There are better words to use rather than all these listed here. "Experienced", "professional", "adaptable" are 3 better words for sure.  Tell us about the company not about something you want from us that we can not give.

Are you flexible?  Care about results instead of time cards? Do you want us to keep learning and attend conferences?  Do you want us to be professional and not get into trouble and speak technically and organize our thoughts?

We can work weird hours from anywhere with an internet connection.  We love creating working software that's ships.  We love learning.  We love preparing for demos and being ready to get in front of clients instead of embarrassing ourselves with cheap jargon.


I really dislike the uses of Ninja, Rock star, Wizard and Unicorn in the tech industry.  It is just a bunch of crap and not very technical.  You are speaking to a bunch of the most technical people in the world.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Grudge Match: XML vs JSON

SQL Saturday Indy - August 11, 2018

Starting in SQL 2016, two rivals entered the ring in a professional fight for format supremacy. XML seems too fat to compete with the newcomer JSON but a fight has begun. JSON doesn't seem experienced enough to have real punching power but does it have the speed to win? Who is the pound for pound format champion? Come watch this action-packed bout between two titans of SQL.

Alan Dykes and Aaron King will be presenting together.

You can find the session schedule at

You can download the code at

Friday, September 23, 2016

5 Alternative Places to Post Developer Openings

You are looking for a developer like me? Great. I'm glad that I haven't been put out of work by AI or code generating robots yet. But I'm not interested. I get 20 requests a day for my resume and it's posted on the web for all the public to see.

What if I was looking at other opportunities? What if I was up at 2 am and just tired of the daily grind? What if the client just got bought by a big Fortune 500 and I was suddenly out of a job? Where would I go looking for that next bit of code to work on?

I wouldn't go to the big job boards and search thru all the system analyst gigs. I wouldn't go into my spam folder and hit back all those recruiters. I might call up a few that I have had beers with but no cold callers. But it's 2 am in the morning.

I would want a gig that I could really grab on to. Where would I go at 2 am when I'm disgruntled and disappointed? So I would go where I go for code. Here is a list:

Yep! I listed Craigslist. I haven't ever taken a job from there but it still seems like I look at the postings. If Amazon had a job board, I'd probably look there also. Are you looking to get in front of me at 2 am in the morning when I'm tired and willing to hear about a new gig? These are the places you need to post.

Or you can just text me at 3 pm and we'll go have a beer after work and talk. Or we can have some coffee before work and look at the code you want me to work on? That's even better.

I'm not looking! I have plenty of work right now. I'm posting this to help you and not have you contact me on LinkedIn 20 times a day.