Herewith a collection of random bits and comments from today.
Web development is hard
Even the simple stuff is hard to get correct. Today, while taking a survey about why/how we run our own mail server in my group for a campus subcommittee looking into a campus-wide email/calendaring solution — it turns out that it was broken in Firefox. I was able to complete the survey in Safari, but in an effort to figure out what was causing the problem (and share that with the survey developers) — there was this snippet of html in the source:
<p> <label>3. Is this resource comprised of a single person or a group of people?<br> <input name="staffing_numbers" type="radio" value="single"> Single<br> <input name="staffing_numbers" type="radio" value="multiple"> Multiple</label> </p>
Hey — it works fine in IE! and it works fine in Safari! However, it’s not up to spec:
“The LABEL element may be used to attach information to controls. Each LABEL element is associated with exactly one form control.”
The whole validation/specification/works here/doesn’t work here is maddening — and this is just the simple stuff. This isn’t “Ajax”
Man it’s hard to keep good people
So our systems part-timer today came in to tell me he has a job at SAS for the summer. Converting some vbscript to C#. He’s good, really good, one of a rare breed of very competent, but-doesn’t-they-they-know-everything and willing-to-try-fail-and-learn students. But he’ll get good experience at SAS and make way more money. My group is a hard group to recruit for, not because the work we do isn’t really interesting (it definitely is) — and not because I can’t sell a position (I can make our group sound like the greatest IT position ever) — but doing either brings a whole lot of people out of the woodwork, and not many of them the kinds of personalities you want in a student-based system administrator position. Good system administrators have good “IT genes” and are grown — rarely found. Oh well, back to the drawing board for the summer.
(one day I’ll have to tell the story of how the very first day I started as a manager, I had someone turn in their resignation, and another employee barely show up to work for my first month, before resigning too. After that trial-by-fire, dealing with part-timer turnover has been relatively easier 😉
Where in the World is Page Hall
After reading Robert Scoble’s post about BlogMap — I decided to add mine. That led me to read up a little on ICBM / geo.position tags (which I decided not to add to EWE) — and led this evening to playing with TerraServer
After looking for Page Hall on the aerial map:
I was reminded again of my ongoing theory that the reason Bragaw Hall is shaped as an “X” is a University-Governmental conspiratorial decree to have a reference point at NCSU for satellite/aerial photography.
Try it — you look at the aerial image for raleigh closely — and see if Bragaw doesn’t show up rather easily.
[update: — just in case it isn’t clear from how I write — the idea that this is conspiratorial is largely tongue-in-cheek on my part. Stranger things have happened, but I wouldn’t care one way or the other]
And all this is why this website is aptly named “Rambles of a University System Administrator” 😉