The political spectrum* is now us or them. If you’re not with us, you must be with them. If you’re not with them, you must be with us. Or at least this is what most high profile political groups, the mainstream media, and many bloggers would have one believe.
But, the thing is, it’s not that easy. Nearly everyone I know falls in the middle of the spectrum. And I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that most people do. Even MoveOn members, who one would think to be quite to the left of the spectrum, show themselves to be fairly moderate. In the MoveOn ActionForum, issues such as separation of church and state, election reform, and the necessity of free media often bubble to the top. These are not “liberal” ideas, especially the necessity of a free media and fraud-free elections to ensure our democracy.
When did this polarization occur? Did our own laziness allow us to be so easily packed, labelled, and shipped to one camp or the other?
* I don’t like the confines of the generally accepted political spectrum, but it is now easily recognized by the majority of people and has become the de facto standard. Whether I like it or not.
A few thoughts on the Microsoft Launch Event I attended in Denver, CO for the launch of SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005, and BizTalk Server 2006 (beta). Presented in bullet-point format.
- As one would expect at a tech conference, very few attendees were women. Maybe 100 or 200 hundred out of 3,000? And, seemingly, at most five were my age.
- The t-shirts Microsoft gave out were geeky black. The smallest size available was a large. They were, of course, in men’s sizing.
- Five men from the same company joined the table at which I was eating lunch and chatting with two female DBAs about what a pain in the butt developers are (hey, the first step is acceptance). Soon, the other women left. A discussion about version control ensued. After I chimed in about how a benefit of Subversion is that it commits only the parts of the files that are changed, one turns to me and says, “Wow, you must know what we’re talking about. You’re nodding in all the right places.”
- I will admit that I have nothing against SQL Server. It is as viable a database as any. But, I’m still skeptical about the .NET framework. Why does its built in templating system, steal the HTML <form> element for its own devices? This means that any site page employing a Master Page will be wrapped in a form. Very semantically incorrect and a pain in the butt if you need your own form in the content of the page.
- Does anyone else see the problem that in less than a month, SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 will seem old? If the launch of the products is not until the end of 2005, why not go with 2006 as the year?
- In the keynote speech and in one session, SQL Server and IIS benchmarks were shown. However, the only comparison benchmarks were IBM and Oracle for SQL Server and IBM Cloudscape for IIS. No PostresSQL or MySQL? No Apache? Is this Microsoft’s subtle way of saying they don’t consider these products “enterprise level”?
- As I’m dangerously close to sounding overly negative, I will say that I think the .NET framework is moving in the right direction — the .NET tools for the most part create standards-compliant code and I can use a real language (C#) as opposed to VBScript. I’m intrigued by the Smart Client capabilities and the BizTalk Server has some really neat capabilities (I have no use for it, but I can see how people would). Also, I did enjoy the sessions I got to see. The weather made it necessary for me to miss the last 1.5 sessions, which, unfortunately, were the ones I really wanted to see. But all in all, I found it informative, and it was free. Not bad for a free t-shirt and free copies of SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005.