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6 Reasons I Moved My Money To …

Way back before I was doing any programming, I was working at Radio Shack in the Chicago area.  Radio Shack, the company everyone loves to hate.  Regardless of what your experience may have been, back in the day, in the Chicago area, it was a pretty good company to work for.  We were encouraged to take stuff home and learn how it worked.  Anything in the store was open to this option.  The goal was that when a customer came into the store, one of us would know enough about the product that we could answer questions confidently.

The other thing they provided that was pretty nice was an employee stock purchase program that vested at the end of each year.  This was a no brainer because they matched up to 3% of your salary.  You contribute 3%, they match 100% of the contribution.  It was like giving yourself a raise.  Because even if the stock went down, we could count on the stock going up again.

That was the beginning of my love affair with investing and figuring out the stock market.

During the run-up to the dotCom crash, I was making quite a bit more than we spent and that all got socked away into stocks.  During those days, it was hard to NOT make money.  So, I did pretty well, as did anyone else who didn’t spend all they made.  This was good, because I spent most of the year after the crash living off those savings!

For the next several years after that, I continued to invest.  The problem is, it took a lot of time away from my keeping up with technology, and the best I could do was maintain my account balance.  Finally, with influences from books such as The 4 Hour Work Week and some other Internet marketing gurus I was following at the time, I decided to start out sourcing my life.  What better place to start than my investing?  So, I interview several different financial advisors and ended up giving my money to one of them to invest for me.

Recently, I’ve been learning more about investing and I’ve discovered some rather disturbing facts:


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Random computer freeze linked to unlikely culprit

For months now I have been suffering from the dreaded random computer freeze.  It has gotten progressively worse.  Everything I’ve tried to do to fix the problem has failed.  I know what you’re thinking too.  “Must be a virus.”  Yeah, except I have run multiple virus checkers and come up empty.  I read someplace else that maybe it was a driver issue.  OK, but which driver?  Memory?  I guess that is possible, but not likely.  I’ll admit that is one thing I didn’t check.

The great thing about this issue is that it has caused me to write better code, because the code I’m currently working on would fail as it was writing to the database, even though the database is on the same computer.  So, now I make it try three times, with 2 minutes in between, before giving up.  Fortunately, it isn’t a routine that NEEDS to be fast.  In fact, it is better if it is not.


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Effective Hacks to Enhance IT Careers of College Students

I just got back from sending my last child off to college.  OK.  Now that you all have some vague idea of how old I am…

The weekend had all kinds of events that would make for good blog post.

  • Quality Matters – and is relatively cheap.
  • Advice to Freshman – and young professionals.
  • Be consistent with yourself – and learn to say no.

Since I think I can hit the other two by focusing on the second, we are going to go after ‘Advice to Freshman’.

The advice I am going to provide here is going to be both general in nature and specific to the IT crowd.  It is what I would tell a young IT person if I were coaching or giving a speech.

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Advantages of Using Class Diagram

misc_vol4_063 One of the new tools that showed up in Visual Studio 2005 that I don’t see many people taking much advantage of is the Class Diagram.

The class diagram displays the classes you drag onto it in a visual representation much like a UML class diagram does.  It also lets you see relationships between your classes.  But the greatest advantage of the Class Diagram is that it will write a lot of your code for you.

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Bypass VPN for regular traffic

IMG_1380 For as many places as I’ve been where they use VPNs, I’ve yet to find one that is set up correctly.  I suppose there is a good reason for this, but I consider the problem to be mostly Microsoft’s fault.

I mean, wouldn’t you assume that if it were possible to use your regular connection for all of the network traffic EXCEPT for the traffic that needs to go through the VPN, that is what you would want?  But no.  Microsoft sets it up so that ALL of your traffic goes through the VPN connection.

What this means is that getting a connection to a search engine in order to look for a solution to a problem will take about twice as long as it should since your traffic first has to go to the VPN server and then out to the search engine.

Here’s how you fix it:

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