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Long Time, No See!

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Well Howdy Buttercream Cupcake! I wondered how you were. I haven't been posting any questions lately and I don't feel like I have the experience to answer questions yet, so...I lurk and learn.


I have been involved in some really cool training/testing web apps for the automotive industry. The application is used in a competition format. The project is basically questions with multiple choice answers (selected via radio buttons). The participant is presented one question at a time and a new question presented depending on what answer they selected. The cool part is I used the lesson in chapter 1 of "PHP Advanced" concerning the adjacency list data table method. This way each top level parent question can go as many levels deep as my client wants, 1 level or many without me having to "hard code" a set max depth level. This allows for a "choose your own adventure" type of an experience for the participants. Each answer has a score weight, if you go down a bad path with your answer selections, the answers have a lower or negative score value. The participant  with the highest score wins and gets some major perks from the company.


I also set up live scoring for the client. As the participants are taking the test in a hotel conference room, an HTML table with participants names and their current scores is projected on to a screen. As the scores change in the database it is updated on the screen. Participants can watch themselves sink or swim in real time, it adds extra pressure to test their mettle. It was recently used in a regional completion and performed flawlessly...whew! Chapter 1 of the advanced book made it all possible because I had to have a way to let the client select "depth levels" dynamically. Thanks Larry!


I am also creating a knowledge base wiki type of an web application for my "day job" employer. We are an Audio/video integrator for big business, universities and k-12 educators. The company had no way to save company knowledge in an electronic format accessible from the internet. I saw that as an awesome opportunity to code an application from scratch that will not only be very useful, but will add another accomplishment to my programming portfolio. 


I keep seeing software application solutions for real world problems and it is fun creating them. I am not yet ready to leave my day job to pursue a full time programming/web developing career and not sure that I ever will. I love my day job and the people I work for/with, so I develop in the evenings.


I am also a Raspberry Pi addict.


Maybe if I posted more often I wouldn't have long winded posts like this...lol.


Thanks to Larry, HartleySan, and all the other folks who share valuable knowledge on this site, it has truly changed my life.

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Wow! It sounds like you've been pretty busy, another_noob. Congrats!

Also, kudos on taking the initiative to do all those cool things. It sounds like you're making quite a name for yourself.

I think you're very right in that there are a lot of needs out there, and if you find the need and show the client how you can fill that need, you can very effectively create a name for yourself.


I've been back from Japan for about a year and a half now. I spend about 8 months working on a fairly large e-commerce site, and after that, I got a job at my alma mater university.

Currently, I'm working full-time at the university as a sys admin and lead programmer for one of the main systems used by the university.


It's a pretty exciting job in that I pretty much get to call the shots and people look to me to make the necessary decisions to get the job done.

It might seem stressful, but I enjoy the challenge, and being in the university setting, people are fairly laid-back, so it's not too bad.


Anyway, for all of you out there looking to "make it", I can attest to the fact that it can be done, even if you're in a completely different industry now.

In my case, I've been hanging around this forum for a number of years, slowing learning over time.

Larry can fully attest to the fact that there was a time when not only was I not nearly as helpful, but I would annoy the heck out of him with the most ridiculous questions.


So for all of you that want to do web development/programming as a career, stay healthy and hungry, and keep asking those tough questions, and you will make it.


(I didn't mean to turn this post into such an inspiration message there at the end.)

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Great post HartleySan!



I'm working full-time at the university as a sys admin and lead programmer for one of the main systems used by the university.


I see ads for this type of position from the University Of Michigan and U of M Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI.  It sounds like a great job, but way, way out of my league. I work in Ann Arbor in my day job and find that this city is hungry for programmers/developers and IT people in general. 


I will keep plugging away and maybe someday I will have the skills and the intestinal fortitude to apply for such a position.


Thanks HartleySan for all the time you put in here!

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Naturally, I want the Bucks to win the game next week


Yeah...no problem there, they will hold a clinic for Michigan. The Wolverines are in bad shape. I think Brady Hoke's days are numbered. I do a lot of A/V work in the team's building; a very impressive set up, but it doesn't help them win games as of lately. I am not a huge Michigan fan, I am more of a Michigan State guy myself. Of course the Buckeyes whooped us good. 

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It is interesting to read about some of the regular forum members, many of whom have helped me along my 'learning way' (Thanks again!!).


I gather that OSU is Ohio State University (Hartley-san). As an Aussie, in my younger years, I went to the University of Melbourne and then did a Master's in Computing at Monash University. In my retirement I am trying to keep my ageing grey cells active and learn some of the newer technologies which in my case is just about everything web! For me it is a fascinating and often challenging hobby.


I always appreciate the help that all of you and Larry give me.


Best wishes from Oz.

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Yes, OSU is The Ohio State University, which a Michigan man like another_noob would immediately pick up on.

Also, thanks for sharing a little bit about yourself as well, Necuima.


I'm glad to hear that web development is keeping things interesting for you in retirement.

I'd also love to hear a thing or two about all the technologies you touched in your career sometime.

I find it quite fascinating to think about where things have come from, and how they have affected the present.


On a side note, I lived in Japan for almost 8 years, and spent a lot of those years working as a translator/interpreter.

I mention that because within Japanese translation circles, probably the most popular website is one called WWWJDIC, which was created and is maintained by a guy named Jim Breen at Monash University. He's world-famous (or at least famous in Japan).


The WWWJDIC site itself is ancient (originally made in 1994 with CGI scripts, and has updated it very little since), but it's the authority for all things related to Japanese translation.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that because it's run out of Monash University.

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Hi Hartley-san, I always think of Japan when I see your name - I used to go to Tokyo quite often on business in the late 90s and I was "Eric-san".


Thank you for your interest - I started in computers programming an IBM 1401 mainframe in a language called Autocoder - that was in 1967.  Then I progressed to Cobol, and IBM 360 Assembler. From the mid-70s we started to get into mini-computers for basically stand-alone systems with just tape interfaces to the company's mainframe.  Then in then 80s came PCs and I got my first IBM PC in about 1983.


It always amazes me that there is more computing power in my desktop PC here at home than in those old mainframes which were monsters!


Later in my career I was in technical management and had to leave the 'hands-on' programming behind.  But now as a retiree I can program to my ability's content and learn, learn, learn.


So you and fellow forum respondees and Larry and his books are a great help to me and enjoyment when I can get something to work! 


In another post you will see my latest technical dilemma in C++ which I still have not resolved despite many hours of Googling!


Best wishes from Oz.

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Interesting stuff. Thanks.

More as a coincidence than anything, but I was born in the same year that you got your first desktop computer.

Also, the power of computing devices these days (especially mobile devices and smartphones) is quite impressive.


I saw your other post about the DLL, and unfortunately, I have no experience making DLLs, so I can't really answer your question. Years ago, I was into C and C++, but it's been a while, and I've been so focused on the web side of things, that I haven't gone back since.


C++ was my first language. I first starting learning it my sophomore year in high school. I then went back and played with C to get a better foundation, and then moved onto Java thereafter.

To this day, I still very much dislike Java (and I still can't explain why), which is unfortunate, considering how many high-paying Java jobs there are out there.


I have learned to be content doing what I want to do though, even if it's not that high-paying.

Plus, I do feel like a lot of businesses are looking more and more to remove themselves from Java and move to the web for their systems. As such, I don't think there will be a shortage of web jobs for quite a while.

The only problem is that so many of these businesses are so entrenched in Java (and sometimes COBOL and whatnot) that they can't just switch like that.


Anyway, it is all very interesting.

Thanks again for sharing.


P.S. Out of curiosity, what parts of Japan did you frequent? Also, did you learn much Japanese?

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Hi Hartley-san,  Your post above is also very interesting - thanks for sharing.  Mostly when I went to Japan I flew from Sydney to Narita on a Sunday night over-nighter, then worked in the Tokyo office with English-speaking colleagues and then back home again on the Thursday night overnighter to Sydney and then a connect to Melbourne where we lived at the time.  Sadly I only learned a few words of Japanese though I tried.  I have found that I can learn things fairly quickly but if I don't use them I also forget them equally as quickly. Take the Autocoder language that I learned in the late 60s - apart from the language's name, I can't remember a single thing about it other than programs written in it ran on the 1401 mainframe - cards in, printed paper out.


Once I had to stay in Japan over the weekend and I treated myself to a ride on the Shin Kan Sen to Kyoto and back - wow - what a ride!!


The Japanese people that I worked with were wonderful and often took me out to dinners where I ate and enjoyed many un-Western dishes:-)  Usually washed down with Sapporo and a little sake!


Thanks also for your comments on my current C++ post - I don't think that the problem is within the DLL per se, but in the C++ LoadLibrary statement in the simple C++ program that is trying to call the DLL.  I have Googled till I'm blue in the face but to no avail!!


Again, thanks for sharing.  Cheers from Oz.

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Hey, thanks for all the responses guys! :D


It's good to hear that you guys are still chugging along and improving yourselves.


And just for the record: I like Japan too but I think my reasons are different. I love anime, manga, MikuMikuDance, DDR, Nintendo, J-rock, and J-pop. Oh and I like the language. I like the way it sounds and it's fun learning to imitate it.


On that note, I love learning to sing songs in Japanese. It's a lot harder than learning an English song and I feel good when I learn a new one. My favorite song to sing is PonPonPon.


Yay for Japan!

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There are definitely many reasons, I agree :)


And speaking of reasons, ahhhh I forgot to mention cosplayers and sushi!. Hahaha too many things to remember for why I like it xD


Also, there's some awesome anime merchandise you can only get from Japan. If I ever go over there, I am going on a shopping spree xD

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Happy Holiday, Americans. We don't celebrate thanksgiving here, but it seems like a nice holiday. 


I've been employeed for around six months in my first job now. It's a small and stable company with a total of five developers. We got way to much to do, and the business is fantastic. There I mainly work with development in PHP, but also have other tasks related to server management. eZ Publish and Magento is historically the platforms we work with, but we are moving more and more in the direction of Symfony. With that we build multi-language company sites, eCommerce website and totally custom stuff such as parking systems and certification process management systems.


My biggest improvement got to be with the command line and on Linux systems. Before I started, I tried my best to stay away from the terminal, but it's now one of my most important work-tools. Last week, I configured two Amazon EC2 servers for clients, and provisioned the development stack using PuPHPet. Stuff I hated before, but now really enjoy doing. Moving forward, I'll try getting a Symfony2 certification before Christmas. I'm considering trying out for an eZ Publish one too.


Great to hear from everybody. I'm so busy at the moment I haven't really had time or energy to hang around the forums, but I enjoy reading here from time to time. :)

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Antonio, I totally know what you mean about the command line.

It's intimidating at first, but once you learn it well, it's hard to imagine how you ever got by without it.


On a daily basis, I SSH into my work servers so often that I don't even know how I would do my job without a command line.

Also, I know what you mean by being super busy.

I'm super busy as well, as I'm pretty much the only developer on my team, and while hectic sometimes, overall, that is the productive, good kind of busy, I think.


It sounds like you've grown a lot since joining the workforce, and as long as you always stay hungry, I see no reason why you won't be at the top of the dev stack leading the whole show one of these days.


Stay hungry, happy and healthy!

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Aw yeah!  :D I like using the command line too. There's a certain satisfaction that comes from being able to make a computer do something via commands that I recalled from memory and typed in. It makes me feel magical. And to the uninitiated, it's like I'm a Computer Whisperer.

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