Saturday, April 19, 2008

Spam that threatens you

Just received a spam message that actually threatens you to NOT report the message as spam, with dire consequences if you do:

"You are receiving this email message because you opted to at one of our affiliate websites on 10/16/2007 10:20 with a sign up IP of If you no longer wish to receive these messages from us, Please DO NOT Press Spam In Your Email Account! To remove from further Email Messages From Us Please Press the Link Below. If You Do Claim That We Spammed You, Your Email Provider Will Report Right Back To Us Electronically Your Email Address, and By Email Address We Can Identify Exactly Who You Are In Our Database By Name, Postal,Phone etc- And We Will Do Everything Within The letter Of the Law To Defend Your Bogus Claim, Which Ultimately May Cost You Money. So If You Do Not Want To Here From Us Again, Then Be Smart And Press The Link Below To Remove Yourself From Our eMailing List, and You Will Never Hear From Us Again! "

This was received from "Democratic Campaign" using an email address of support @

I have never opted in to this list, and that IP range is not even in the U.S., it is assigned to an ISP in Amsterdam, so I instantly recognized this to be total BS.

What nerve do these people have? And what lengths will they go to, in order to get you you click a link & have something evil happen to your PC.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Aloha to VB6

According to Wikipedia, "Aloha in the Hawaiian language means affection, love, peace, compassion, mercy, goodbye, and hello, among other sentiments of a similar nature. It is used especially in Hawaii as a greeting meaning hello and goodbye."

I can't think of a more fitting term to describe the end of Microsoft's extended support on 4/8/2008 for Visual Basic 6.

A recent article by John K. Waters in Redmond Developer News announced VB6 Support About to Disappear but reads in part:

"In fact, Microsoft intends to support the VB6 runtime for the full lifetime of Windows Vista -- five years of mainstream support followed by five years of extended support -- and will continue to support the runtime on Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 for the support lifetime of those operating systems. That means, says Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond, that with Vista, VB's runtime future is assured through 2017."

...and the article was accompanied by a sidebar with Gartner Inc. estimates that 14 billion lines of VB6 code still exist in the enterprise, which may eventually cost $11 billion to migrate to .NET or other platforms.

Surprised? Not me. Visual Basic is a true rapid development (RAD) language, easy to learn & not difficult to master. Its roots in the original Lawrence-Livermore BASIC remain to this day. In fact, even the new Office 2007 has retained Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) as the core programming environment. I remember attending an Office 2002 launch event & asked the presenter when VBA would be replaced by VB.NET in MS-Office; there was no response given.

Granted, the transition to .NET requires the developer to invest significant time and effort to learn the new paradigm. My first assignment with .NET was using Visual C#; besides VB6 and VBA, I had previously programmed in C and JavaScript, so I found the curly braces and semicolons to be more familiar than the VB.NET environment. But the object orientation still took quite some time to comprehend.

But the fact is that things change, and as Microsoft continues to retire their older product lines, the smart developer will need to master those new technologies. Mainstream support for SQL Server 2000 just ended, and both Windows XP and Office 2003 will meet the same fate in April 2009.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Resumes for IT

There is certain information that should never be included in a resume - age, weight, height, marital status, religion, or political affiliation. The only exception would be if any of that data is relevant to the specific position you are applying for. Examples - IT positions at a health club, retirement community, or a religious or political organization.

You should never include salary information, references, or a photograph.

A resume should generally be one page, with a simple layout in MS-Word (97-2003) format so you can email it - many companies will run your resume through a scanner to extract the data & will save time in filling out forms.

Each resume you write should focus on the specific skills that are being sought by the company, so you might wind up with several different versions of your resume if you have significant skills in several different areas.

Use the Internet to its fullest - research the company, not only via their Web site but also what information may be available from other sources.

There are different types of resumes to match your personal situation - the standard chronological resume works well if your work history shows steady growth patterns, but functional resumes are better when changing careers, or if you have either periods of unemployment or work history that is unrelated to the position being sought. Creative electronic resumes might be appropriate if your specialty is Flash or other interactive media to showcase your talents.