Office Sculpture

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Cliff wrote a very amusing article on me about a year ago which I think some may find good for a laugh.

Office life can be dull and boring, but office artist Jon Emmons has discovered a creative outlet between meetings, business luncheons, and process mapping reports by creating sculptures out of every day objects.

Check out the full article about the products of my random fidgeting on spiralbound.net.

art, office art, office culture, funny, humor

Definition: Metawork

Urban Dictionary offers the following definition for the word ‘metawork’:

Trivial or unnecessary work done to avoid having to perform the real task at hand while simultaneously taking the credit for it.

In the business world, metawork often manifests itself in the form of meetings, mission statements, project planning, or anything else that lets a person become part of the team without actually doing something productive.

I use metawork in a similar sense to refer to work which, though necessary, does not directly result in progress toward project goals. Meetings, project charters, evaluations and timecards all fall into the category of metawork.

Most middle management spends the bulk of their time doing metawork. Ideally this minimizes the amount of metawork their employees must do maximizing the amount of time employees can spend on actual work.

work, office humor, buzzwords, office lingo, definitions

Unpublished Source Code

Recently while stumbling my way through Solaris I came across a command I’m not familiar with. /usr/bin/true is a shell script which when run will return true (execute successfully.)

Now, this code clearly goes back a bit into UNIX history and I was amused to see exactly how the developers coded it. With that in mind, and against all copyrights and rights reservations I now present the complete and unabridged code for /usr/bin/true:

bash-2.03$ more /usr/bin/true
#!/usr/bin/sh
# Copyright (c) 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 AT&T
# All Rights Reserved

# THIS IS UNPUBLISHED PROPRIETARY SOURCE CODE OF AT&T
# The copyright notice above does not evidence any
# actual or intended publication of such source code.

#ident "@(#)true.sh 1.6 93/01/11 SMI" /* SVr4.0 1.4 */

Why on earth would you copyright this? Perhaps even more impressive is the point that this is version 1.6! What did previous versions of this look like? And why such a big deal about this being unpublished source code? Hell, it’s not even source code, let alone published.

Well, if you’re curious, this script is all comments, therefore when it is run it does nothing… Of course it does nothing quite successfully, therefore returning ‘true’ for the purposes of evaluating conditions.

I do have to give the developers of this credit for simplicity. I’m sure if it weren’t for the lawyers this could have been a one line file.

unix, solaris, source code, programming, development, opensource

Oracle 9iR2 Data Warehousing

Oracle 9iR2 Data WarehousingAbout a year an a half ago I was right in the middle of researching data warehouse technologies and starting to get quite discouraged on the lack of good technical books on the topic. Then I came across the book “Oracle9iR2 Data Warehousing” by Hobbs, Hillson and Lawande. Here’s the review I put on Amazon on this deep technical book.

In this book, the authors take you swiftly and thoroughly through the entire process of creating a data warehouse. Several other books (I purchased 4 others before this) over-generalize the topic, teaching the vocabulary and business reasons for data warehousing. This book teaches how to implement a warehouse in Oracle 9i Revision 2, while teaching the major concepts through practical application.

It would be easy to get bogged down in the technical details of this book if one were not familiar with the Oracle environment. Those who are familiar with Oracle will find it is much like the courses offered by Oracle. The book consistently, clearly presents the concepts (dimensions, fact tables, summaries, ETL) then delves into such depth it leaves the reader with a complete understanding of not only how to implement each concept, but when, and why to implement them.

The major concepts covered include dimensional modeling, data partitioning, query optimization, materialized views, dimensions, the extract-transform-load process, warehousing tools, ongoing warehouse maintenance, and many more. Furthermore, SQL for the examples used in the book are available from one of the authors websites, affording the reader a hands-on environment in which to observe these concepts.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone looking to work with warehousing who already has a firm Oracle background (strong knowledge of schemas, data dictionary, storage conventions, terminology.) This is simply the best book I have found on data warehousing.

I see that there is now a new version of this book out. “Oracle Database 10g Data Warehousing” by the same authors, plus Pete Smith, will go on my short list for tech books to buy.

oracle, data warehouse, database, dba, database administration, data warehousing

Finally Some News on iPod Battery Settlement

On December 22, 2005 the Apple iPod Settlement Administration website posted that the settlement of the iPod battery class action suit was final and that “the Settlement Administrator can move forward with claims administration and claims fulfillment.” In the two months since then there have been no updates on what exactly that meant.

Today on my routine web crawl for information on the topic I found this article on iLounge.com which outlines the following timeframe for settlement:

February 17, 2006 – The Claims Administrator will mail $25 checks to Class Members who purchased the AppleCare Protection Plan and obtained battery repair/replacement under the AppleCare Protection Plan.

Beginning of March 2006 – For Class members who own a First or Second Generation iPod and who selected the $25 cash payment, the Claims Administrator will begin mailing $25 checks to those who submitted valid claims.

Middle of March 2006 – For Class members who own a Third Generation iPod and who selected battery/iPod replacement, the Claims Administrator will begin mailing letters containing instructions for battery/iPod replacement to those who submitted valid claims.

Middle of March 2006 – For Class members who own a First, Second or Third Generation iPod and who selected a $50 store credit, the Claims Administrator will begin mailing letters with certificate codes for the $50 store credit to those who submitted valid claims.

Around March 17, 2006 – The Claims Administrator will begin sending deficiency letters to Class members who submitted an incomplete/incorrect claim.

End of March 2006 – The Claims Administrator will send denial letters to those individuals who do not fit the class definition or who submitted their claims past the claims deadline.

It’s been almost a year since claim forms went out, but hey, at least there are signs of action. Thanks iLounge for reporting on this. Now why couldn’t the settlement administration have posted this timeline on the official website?

ipod, apple, apple computing, battery, technology