Zend Certified Engineer

23 November 2005 » PHP, Web development

As of last night, my colleague Carlos Hoyos and I are bona fide Zend Certified Engineers. Joy. :)

No way out

21 November 2005 » Politics

Free DB2 (as in free keg)

18 November 2005 » DB2, System administration

This just came in over the RSS wire. It makes for a nice introduction to the lower end of the DB2 product line. IBM may offer free DB2 database.

The first DBMS product I used as a Web developer was MySQL, and then on to DB2 as I started developing Java applications (with some light experience in Oracle and MS SQL Server for small scale freelance projects).

One of the toughest parts of that transition was learning and taking advantage of all the new possibilities that DB2 offered. At first I was frustrated by the lack of things such as AUTO_INCREMENT and the LIMIT clause and I expected them to be available in DB2. Of course, I soon learned that DB2 offers the GENERATE AS IDENTITY and FETCH X ROWS ONLY constructs for similar purposes and that the LIMIT clause available in MySQL is not an SQL standard (in fact, I think it was added as a hack by Rasmus Lerdorf, creator of PHP).

Anyway, I found the transition to DB2 hard originally, as whenever I’m learning a new technology or platform, I like to install it at home or apply it to a personal project to get a feel for it. This was never really possible with DB2. However, the contribution of Cloudscape, as Derby, to the Apache Software Foundation last year removed a hurdle to this, as the DB2 API was now freely available to experiment with, since they share an SQL interface (the idea being that once you’ve used Cloudscape, upgrading to DB2 will not require application code changes).

So, it’s excellent to hear that this free version of DB2 is in the making. Allowing developers to experiment and deploy prototypes goes a long way towards acquiring developer mindshare.

Jesus of Suburbia

17 November 2005 » Music, Politics

I really got into Green Day’s “American Idiot” album around March of this year, thanks to my friend Mike York. I’ve started listening to the album again recently, and it’s amazing how its year-old anti-administration theme takes on even more relevance nowadays, particularly the lines

This hurricane of fucking lies
I lost my faith to this
This town that don’t exist

And I walked this line
A million and one fucking times
But not this time

From the excellent multi-part “Jesus of Suburbia.”

Effective metaphor, questionable word choice…

11 November 2005 » The truck

DSL sucks

04 November 2005 » Network administration

Yet another DSL update. I woke up Monday morning to find that my connection was out. Turns out somewhere along the line the phone company decided that I had submitted a cancellation of service order and removed my brand new connection at the central office. It took 4 days to find that piece of information out, and now I have to wait till November 9th for a new connection. Awesome.

Zend PHP Certification

03 November 2005 » PHP, Web development

I’ve decided to finally take a stab at the Zend Certified Engineer exam. This exam, similar in concept to the Sun Certified Java Programmer certification, tests core competency in PHP 4.

As with other certifications, my goal with the ZCE testing process is to reinforce my base skills during the study phase as well as to legitimate the experience I’ve picked up in the language over the years on my personal sites as well as on intranet applications at work.

I understand the cynicism of folks who view these tests simply as self-serving shortcuts for those hoping a piece of paper will immediately advance one’s earning potential or career opportunities, but I think the real value of certification is to help the programmer share a common, standardized vocabulary for using the technology with other developers, much as design patterns do for enterprise application development.

Has anyone else taken or thought about taking the exam? Thoughts, comments on it or other certifications in general? What certification would you pursue if cost wasn’t a factor?

Twenty-eight straight

01 November 2005 » Football

The Trinity College football team extended its winning streak to 28 games with a 14-0 win over the Middlebury College Panthers. The streak is the nation’s longest in Division III and second only to USC (29 entering today) in all of college football. The win also gives Trinity 499 wins in its 120-year football history.”

Wow. The team wasn’t that bad back when I was playing (Best Record in NESCAC, 1996), but that is out of control. :)