a window into my world.


by Benjamin Anderson 24. April 2009 21:28

This week we had a re-org at work.  The changes didn’t impact many people, and no one was let go, but it did affect me.  I’m no longer a member of the Research and Diagnostics team, no longer a lead, and probably the most significant change, no longer interfacing with the customer.  I’ve been moved to the IT team as their developer to help automate our internal processes, to consolidate tasks and to ultimately help improve our security procedures and policies by allowing us to properly restrict privileges to those that should have them.

My day-to-day responsibilities, as they were in reality, aren’t changing that much.  I’m still responsible for the production environment, deployments and maintaining our products, but I no longer have to deal with the stress and frustrations from the relationships with the customer.  Which recently, have been very frustrating, since most of my interaction with the customer is after or during a big mess.  My involvement in customer tasks often meant that is was a crisis or deemed a crisis by the customer.  Moving from one upset customer to another can be very tiring, so I am looking forward to not being responsible for those issues any more.

I still do not know how to feel about all the other changes yet.  For a while, it means that I’m solely responsible for managing and maintaining our products until I get the other members of IT up to speed, which means I’ll be working more and on call all the time.  The situation isn’t a whole lot different than it was during the re-org right before I moved to cover for nights, but now my only customer is the rest of the company.

A couple of technology “changes” I’ll be learning and working on are:

  • Learning and scripting in MS Powershell.
  • Automating many of my previous responsibilities.
  • Coding monitoring tools and plug-ins to interface with our production environment for forecasting and reliability purposes.
  • Teaching IT about our services, products and architectures.
  • Teaching IT basic “programming” skills in areas of scripting and thinking to help increase management and maintenance productivity.
  • Documentation.


There are still a lot of things to iron out in the next week or two, but ultimately, two or three months in the future, I should have a personal life once again.  It felt good to remove my name from the emergency contact list and my cell phone from the distribution list after two years.


Categories: life

Week in Review

by Benjamin Anderson 23. January 2009 18:35

Wow, this has been a pretty crazy week.  I’ve been completely swamped at work.  Rebecca got back into town Monday night, and started school Tuesday night.  I’ve been working like crazy the last three weeks to get things ready for the multiple deadlines that we’ve had at work, but this week also had a bunch of interesting things happen in the news.

    • President Obama has his inauguration.  The Justice of the Peace jacks up the oath which brings up questions as to whether Obama can be official called the President.  This has lead to people saying that Biden was president.
    • Heartland Payment Systems announces one of the largest Data/Security breaches in history the day of the inauguration. Millions of credit card numbers and account information stolen by a sniffer within their own system.
    • Microsoft contributes to the Apache SOA project Stonehenge.  The sample looks very interesting.  It’s on my to-do list to download and experiment with.
    • Viz launched their Naruto anime subs last week on Hulu, and this week marks the first new one that hadn’t already been subbed by most of the fan groups. Viz is supposed to launch the sub episodes the week after the episode originally airs in Japan.
    • A bunch on the media is starting to pickup and examine Windows 7 with very positive reviews.
    • Microsoft announced that it will laying off 5000 people and cutting $1.5 Billion in expenses.  That’s 300K by individual they let go, so it’s obvious they are cutting more programs than they are cutting people, but it is still a huge deal.
    • Intel shuts down four plants and lays off 6000
    • Steve Jobs takes a leave of Absence.
    • Seagate announces flash update to prevent the 7200.11 drives from bricking on some systems.  The new flashed caused some drives to brick…  They are offering data recovery services for free though.
    • Tests for a new cloaking device have begun.

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Categories: life | news | technology

The Future and Concerns about Obama's road ahead

by Benjamin Anderson 11. January 2009 19:10
With the many different financial and employment situations people are dealing with lately, it isn't a surprise that so many people are looking for change.  Every Presidential election has Change touted as its main purpose, but this election for so many meant something more than it has in most recent history.  It didn't surprise me that Obama was elected, nor did the fact that the media played such a large role in the election shock me either.  It did how ever baffle me that so many "sources" were pushing, and still are pushing Obama as a change leader.  I don't have anything against the man, nor do I think he will fail, but I do think he will fail to meet expectations.

The media isn't helping Obama now that the election is over, instead they are over hyping and over inflating the people's expectations.  Every news story that comes out from sources such as MSNBC,  CNN, and the New York Times are pushing him further and further up the ladder of unrealistic expectations.  The media served their own agenda in getting him elected, now for their own health and his ability to get work done, the media needs to step back and off of the topic for six months.  As it is, Obama's supporter will be ready to crucify him in six months if things are drastically different than they are right now.  The saddest part isn't that this is an unrealistic expectation, but that the majority of Obama's blind voters were lead by the media and are too ignorant to know enough about the complexities of our government, our economy and the intertwined relationships of our economy with the world's.

The financial "crash" hurt other countries as much as it hurt the US.  When the number one economy trips up after drastic and overhyped inflation, it takes the rest of the world with it.  Some are impacted more than others, but the countries that aren't impacted are either completely isolated or are hurting too much to be hurt farther.  As a result, unlike other "crashes" and "crisis" times, this one will take longer to recover from.  Inflation has taken its toll on the world, and as a result our paper, our time and our possessions are worth less now than they ever have been before.  No President could ever fix that.  Our Government can't fix that.  It requires the people to regain confidence and start over to rebuild the country.  It takes all the selfish and blinded people of the US to take action on their own, which isn't something that the generations outside of nursing homes have every had to deal with.

I'm confident that things will start turning around within the next six months, but they will not be fixed.  The stock market will recover in the next 4-5 months and indexes will rise above what they were a year ago, but there will still be people without jobs and even more people struggling to put their lives back together.  The last 10 years have seen too much exponential growth in too many areas for us to just get up and walk away.  The housing market blew up.  Health coverage has blown up, and continues to rise.  Until the entire world start to struggle the oil market was trying to gouge the world for its own gain.  As a result of impatience and greed, the world's economic stability tripped on its face.  Now everyone has to begin to fight for better deals, work for better, more healthy profits and actually work for a living.

The next country that will fall on its face within the next 10 years will be India, then followed by China.  The difference is, India's and China's struggle will be a result of the US companies tightening belts and cut the fat.  Less money will be throw away over seas for whatever comes across the board room table.  India's exponential salary growth and inflation will do itself in, causing the outsource industry to crumble, and therefore causing the companies depending on that industry to re-allocate jobs in other countries and move them back home.  China's manufacturing industry will begin to lose out to "greener" manufacturing processes and see it's thin profits eaten away by the cuts for green production and less production.

 The housing market will begin to build nice, but smaller homes for energy and financial reasons, which will lead to less people buying for the fun of shopping simply because of less living room than the exponential housing market lead people to believe they needed.  This will lead to companies manufacturing smaller quantities of their key products, which will also lead to less manufacturing over seas.  China's factories will not be able to handle to small production runs and be able to move on the next project without increasing costs, which will begin to drive productions back home and to other countries.

 I've wrote all of this to say; if the media wants to help Obama, they need to stop hyping him and start praying for him.  There isn't a man on earth that is going to fix this problem.  There isn't a cabinet of people that can fix this problem within a year.  The only one that can pull us out of the mess is the one that can see all of the mess, and that is God.  Along those lines, it is time for all of us, whether we voted for him or not to pray for our next President and his advisers.  They will need all of the help they can get, and when it comes down to it, we're all in this mess together and we all have to work together to get each and everyone one of us out of it.  There wasn't a single person or group of people that got us into this mess to begin with and there isn't a single person or group of people that will get us out, unless that group includes everyone.

Greed, pride and selfishness were the things that got us in this mess to begin with, it's time to run away from those three poisons and work together to get us back where we need to be.

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Categories: life | mental dump


by Benjamin Anderson 1. January 2009 08:38
I finally graduated, as of the 19th.  Which means I'm finished with school.  Indefinitely.  I will not be going back for another degree.  I might do other things, take classes and stuff but I will not be committing to school again for another long term session ever again.

My Dad ordered me a Kindle for a graduation present, but they have been on a waiting list since November, so it will ship sometime in March.  You'd think that Amazon would have a little better understanding of the demand for their product.  I just hope that the management and teams for the Kindle supply and development are not the same as those overseeing their infrastructure and cloud technologies...  If so, then once demand ramps up for things on the processing side, several customers are going to find themselves up a creek without a paddle due to the lack of processing resources.

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Categories: life | school

Crazy Evening.

by Benjamin Anderson 8. December 2008 18:53’s note for my area:

Tornado Warning until 12 am CST Tuesday

  • A tornado has been sighted or indicated by radar in your area - seek shelter immediately!
  • Tags: , ,

    Categories: life

    brand new beginnings, a second time

    by Benjamin Anderson 4. December 2008 18:58

    Well, I have finally moved to a new blog platform, which means I’ll write more.  I absolutely hated working with the old platform I was using.  The only thing that has prevented me from migrating was finding a blog that would work on my server correctly, had the customization I wanted and was scalable.  I finally ended up going with the .NET BlogEngine.

    It’s not as nice as WordPress or MovableType, but it runs and runs with minimal effort.  MovableType did run, but it would have taken too long for me to get things up and running, and half of the things I wanted to do with it weren’t working correctly.  ActivePerl didn’t have or wouldn’t work correctly with some of the XML packages needed for several of the newer plugins and features I wanted to use.

    Moving to the .NET BlogEngine means that I’m giving up the PHP and perl platforms that I was going to work with, and started migrating my old sight towards .NET, but it took almost no setup to get running.  I unzipped it, changed the theme and it was ready to roll.  Three hours of work max.  I spent 24 working MovableType before trying WordPress again, and I couldn’t ever get the PHP for WordPress running with FastCGI correctly on IIS.  In the end, I just gave in and tried .NET BlogEngine.

    So, things might start to roll out a little faster now that I’m on a platform that just works with the tools I use and has the features I like and want.


    Just for reference, my old blog is still available until I migrate the information from it:

    Tags: , , , ,

    Categories: life | blogging


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    About the author

    Benjamin is a software developer in the DFW area.  He spends his free time playing video games, programming, doing graphics design and photography, and reading.

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