Mountain Living

3 dogs.
1 wife
Some food.
Couple books.
Box of cigars.
No computer. 
Vacation list.
Our cabin is very secluded.
BBQ food.  Hike in the morning. Then thrift stores. Lunch. Relax. Sleep.
No deadlines.  No meetings.  No pressure. 
Slower pace of life.  Mountain living.  Could get used to this.
The sky changes colors. As do the leaves.  I think God lives here.
Life is good~!

Georgia on my Mind



We Interrupt this Broadcast

I won't be here.  Will be somewhere else.  In a nice cabin nestled amongst the trees in the mountains.  I will not be thinking, working, thinking about working or anything of the sort.  The old noggin needs a rest.

“Close your mouth,
block off your senses,
blunt your sharpness,
untie your knots,
soften your glare,
settle your dust.
This is the primal identity.”
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching: A Literal Translation with an Introduction, Notes, and Commentary

And so it is...Be back soon...


Life Requires Big Decisions

If you knew me growing up, you'd wonder why I didn't talk much.  And why I floated through school invisible.  Yet when I got on the tennis courts, I got to be who I was and not who I was told to be.

Yes, I solved the Rubik's cube in the 5th grade.  And began programming at age 13.  And yes I majored in Anthropology in college.  And yes I worked temp jobs after college to earn money, before my first "job".

And yes, I'm basically self taught programmer for 20 years.  When I was contacted by a large social media company a few years back, I didn't move forward with the technical interview, because we had no plans moving to Silicon Valley.

When I was contacted more recently by another big tech company to interview in Seattle, I had to decline as well.  Just not in a position to relocate at this point in time.

Would it be the coolest thing to work at a leading tech company working on cutting edge technology for a living, you betcha.  I've walked away from much bigger dreams in the past and had to deal with it.  These are minor comparatively.

You are not required to grow up, but sometimes you have to make decisions that affect you, and then live with the downstream consequences, and that is life.

Some decisions haunt you for decades, others you forget.  In the end, tomorrow is a new day.  That's all we can ask for.

Before I became someone else

I played tennis today, it was a lot of fun.  We both grew up in this area, both played tennis and soccer as kids, even went to the same college.  Although we didn't know each other back then.  My boss from a few years ago.

There's nothing else like it.  Running around on the clay courts, cool breeze, nice sky, bit windy, hitting the ball, running around like a fool chasing down every ball, rally until there's no energy left and keep pushing further.

I grew up on the tennis courts.  Back when I had tunnel vision and nothing else existed.  Tennis was my identity, I had no plans on growing up, entering the workforce, getting a job.  That is who I was before I became someone else.

I threw away all the trophies and ribbons and plaques.  Nothing to remind of the past.

Except when I get back on the courts.  That's who I am.  And nothing else matters.


Cookie Cutter Patterns to Programming, Writing and Life

I know this one guy, he can hit the golf ball farther than anyone I've ever met.  I real treat to watch the ball fly endlessly into the fairway.  Only downside, the guy can't hit from the fairway, sand trap or the green.

In order to perform at maximum efficiency, he has to tee up the ball in the fairway, set it up nice and high, haul off and bam!

I've seen programmers like this also.  In order for the to work at their best, they have to position all environment conditions to their liking.  Whether that's working in isolation, taking specific tasks they excel at and dishing off non preferred tasks to others, aligning with management to ensure specific assignments, etc.  So long as the task aligns with their strength, they are awesome.

Except if they are given something to do they are not familiar with or haven't worked with before.  Or troubleshooting an unknown.  Good luck.

I've seen writers like this too.  Doesn't matter the introduction subject matter, they always end up aligning with their cookie cutter format.  If they excel at steps A, B, C, D, and E, doesn't matter where they start.  At some point in the story, they steer it towards A, B, C, D and E, Bam!

The true mysteries of life, the opportunities to grow, are when we dabble off the beaten track, steer away from our comfort zone, and into the unknown.  It is the deep end we must find ourselves, for it is there, that we are challenged to become better, smarter people.  And that is truly the goal of life.

And so it goes~!

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

We prefer to think that a developer has some cushion in regards to accountability.  Where a person gathers some report specifications, writes some SQL, validates, throws into Production.  He is awarded the highest rank, hoisted upon the shoulders and paraded around the office to receive accolades.  Wake up, dream's over.

In reality, the report writer is perhaps thrown into the deep end, learns the business, process', database on the fly perhaps without assistance or data dictionary.  He or she may struggle to assemble a report with or without the help from business, present to the business, bam!  Prime sucker ready for picking.

This report doesn't match.  Fix it!  We're waiting.  Guilty until proven innocent.

Turns out the root cause of the inaccurate report is that it doesn't match an existing report, causing someone else to look bad.  Or perhaps is uncovers a missing business rule, another land mine.  Or perhaps the business logic requires new features added upstream.  The report writer is sometimes a pawn for political maneuvering.  Perhaps the data required is unavailable or the DBA's refuse to provide access.  A series of possibilities.  The Report Writer takes it from every side. 

And they must prove without a shadow of a doubt, that the report presented in accurate, regardless of roadblocks, setbacks, lack of information or assistance.

I've been writing reports since the early 1990's.  Tons of people flocked to new found profession.  Root job description hasn't changed much.  Nobody trusts the reports.  And they never match.  And they always have a few more reports to work on.

And so it goes~!


4 Myths

Let's cut to the chase.  Let's look at a few basic concepts that could change your perspective on life.

First, GPA's in school don't matter.  In life, can you do the work, great.  If not, they'll probably find out soon enough.  Don't try for perfect grades, it's not necessary.

Next, retirement.  Sure, great concept for our parents generation to spur the economy after WWII, but it doesn't really "work" now a days.  Let's say none of us will actually retire.  We'll just keep working forever.  With that said, why worry about saving x $ per month to enjoy retirement.  More like the pasture, where people who've built their entire personality on their specific job role, to wake up and realize they have to fill the time without the backing of reputation and authority garnered by humble employees.  Don't save for retirement, just getting others rich with advice and fees, and by the way, most investments can lose 100+ percent.

Also, posting opinions on social media, how's that working.  You think the unique post is going to change people's minds.  They've already formed their opinion.  Combine them both, won't buy a cup of coffee.  If people sought your opinion, perhaps they would ask, what's the rational behind your viewpoint, that's interesting, I hadn't thought of that.  Guess what, a lot of things are making a lot of people unhappy.  Can you change it?  Yes?  Then make the change.  If not, there's plenty of safety in disgruntled apathy.

Unicorn dreams.  How many kids want to grow up and become ballerinas or marine biologist.  How many people do you know who occupy that position today.  Might as well strive to become Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny.  I heard there may be an opening for tooth fairy, must have experience though.  And it's part time .  How many people dream of getting a mediocre job where they can't stand anything about it, yet need the paycheck or insurance.  I think my guidance counselor, if I had one actually, I don't think so, said you'll make a good dishwasher maybe.  I probably could have been, just need to focus and apply talents, anything's possible.

 Lastly, our great great grandparent had messy houses.  Dust everywhere, ring around the collars, you name it.  When did we declare that a spotless home is desirable and shows the signs of impeccability.  I don't know how to break the news, but life is messy.  No commercial promising new product to clean up the world exists long term.  Houses and cars get dirty.  So do lives.  That's the way it works.

So hopefully we can move forward with our lives with the knowledge presented.

And there you have it~!

Might be a True Story

Was talking with the Uber driver.  What is it you do?  Well, I type on the keyboard.  That's it?  I also close tickets.  They pay you for that?  Yeah.  Could I learn it?  Sure.  Would you teach me?  Well, I taught a course, but you may want to sign up for some free MOOC courses, I looked up a few on the cell phone, wrote them on a scratch paper for the driver.

You know you've been traveling a lot when the bank fraud department flags your transaction as unusual activity when you're back home.  This was a short week, flew up Monday direct flight, flew home late Thursday, arrive home midnight.  Oh two dozen tasks that need to be handled at home.  What a relief, home again.

Weather change.  Sure is hot in Florida.  Sure is not hot up north.  40's.  Brrr.  Food's good though.  People walk a lot up north.  In a hurry I guess.  They'll walk super fast right at you, if you don't get out of their way, run you over.  Or they'll stop directly in front, turn around, human road block.  They don't really acknowledge others when walking, everyone's busy looking at phone or heads down.  I never realized how much people stare, like lasers scanning your soul, eerie.  You nose itches, you look around, someone staring.  When did that become socially acceptable.  Hey, if you're going to stare, maybe pay me like $1 a minute or something.  We can schedule daily meeting, you can stare, just so long as we agree to the terms, otherwise, stare at someone else.  You cooperation is appreciated, weirdos.

How can we make your life more difficult.  With a smile.  That seems to be the new mantra.  I didn't get the email.  When did society become so "all for me, none for you".  There's quite a few homeless where I've been staying.  These people battle the cold, the environment.  When I first got there, I gave my some money, then a few more, then a few more, Enough, I'm out.  It never ends.  Some appear to be legitimately down on their luck.  Others look like professionals, loud, boisterous, can you spare some change, hey why are you clean shaven with nice clothes.  Rows of people lined up, not 100% sure their circumstances are the same as others sleeping in doorways with mountains of random belongings in bags, covered in their specimens.  When I check out of living space, walking with my luggage, I wonder if some people think I'm homeless.  I'm heading to work.  To type on the keyboard.  Maybe close out a few tickets.  And take Uber back to the airport.  So I can get flagged fraud charges on my purchases from home.  It's a strange story, but I think its true.  Who knows.

Duality is a Myth

Duality.  Left brain, right brain.  Creativity or logic.  One or the other.

Don’t let your kids grow up to artists, musicians, they’ll starve to death.  Better off with practical skills you can depend on, which have value and marketable.

I played violin from an early age.  Scales, repetition, memorize, perform, repeat.  I attended art class in school, my grandmother still has a picture hanging in her apartment of the Golden Gate Bridge from 1986.  I like to take pictures, write poetry, stories.  All in the genre of creativity.

I enjoy solving problems, ones that involve logic, look for the needle in the haystack, uncover layers of an onion until the solution appears, as if waiting patiently.  I look for patterns in everyday life, observant to the minute which people disregard.

If you look closely, art and logic aren’t much different.  In fact, they overlap.  There’s creativity in solving problems and there’s structure in art and music.  Separated by semantics.

Sometimes when working on a problem for a while, you step away, and for some reason, the solution appears like a lightning bolt from nowhere.  Giving the brain a break allows the underlying intuition to get busy and somehow find the solution without effort.

Sports are a hybrid of art and logic.  You practice the foundation skills, repetitive, until perform without thinking.  During play, your instincts take over, intuition plus logic results in creative output, in the zone, on fire, unbeatable.

Perhaps that’s the real goal, finding your unconscious intuition to perform at peak levels, regardless if it’s a musical instrument, sporting event, complex logic problem.  I tend to joke that it’s fun to gather steam, so much, that you can coast uphill, float into the stratosphere, where no boundaries exist.  Where there no rules, just fun.  The peak moments, rare occurrences that dissolve when you try to capture.  The moments where gravity doesn’t exist.

Perhaps today, for no particular reason, your thoughts will become energy through action.  It could be the best day of your life.


Format Currency, Percentage, Date, and Mask SSN in Hive SQL

In Hive SQL, to format Currency, Percentage and Date, use the following SQL:

    CONCAT('$',format_number(COALESCE(12345.6789,0),2))                 AS `Sample Currency Format`,
    CONCAT(format_number(COALESCE(98.6543,0),2),'%')                    AS `Sample Currency Format`,
    from_unixtime(unix_timestamp(TO_DATE(CURRENT_DATE) , 'yyyy-MM-dd'), '01-01-yyyy') AS
    `Sample Date Format`,
    CONCAT('****-**',SUBSTR("123456789", LENGTH("123456789")-2, 3)) AS MaskedSSN

You could also apply the Round function if needed.

Happy coding~!


Back Home

My first week at home in a while, been making full use of it.  I've been taking care of chores, wake up early in the morning, try to tackle a few things before work.  Spending time with the pupperonies.  And hanging out with the Mrs.

Today I took a PTO day, walked to the park, trimmed the bushes in the back yard, played the guitar, took the dogs for a walk, and walked up to the tennis courts.

It's amazing how being on the courts brings back the energy, a lot of fun.  Back to work tomorrow finish out the week, then fly back to Boston next week.

And there you have it~!

Mountain Living