Florida’s Getting a New Boss

Will he be the same as the old boss? Probably.

If our country ran like it was intended, the state gubernatorial election would be as (or more) important than the national election. Alas, it isn’t; so a lot of people just don’t care who’s at the helm in Tallahassee. We should care, so I’m hoping to spur a little reading with this post, maybe even some discussion.

The most difficult thing for me is always finding objective information about each candidate. Political ads have degraded to cheap slander. Candidates’ web sites can be a source of information, but you have to be able to see through the empty rhetoric. Local news is decent from time to time, if they can cease the dramatization of every little matter for a moment. The Sun-Sentinel has a pretty readable section on the race. That same article also has individual sections on the Democratic front-runners as well as the Republican ones.

I’m still looking for a good side-by-side, issue-by-issue rundown from some nonpartisan source. A friend suggested realpolitics.com but considering the source, I don’t think that was what he was intending. Anyone have a good comparison site for state officials?

Too Many Choices?

Thinking about beginning a new JEE project is as unsettling as it is exciting. On the one hand, you’re going to get your hands dirty with some new and challenging business problem to solve, you can use the latest and greatest JVM and of course let’s not forget the choice of many excellent application/persistence/web frameworks. On the other hand, you have … the choice of many excellent application/persistence/web frameworks!

I think we can all agree that choice is good, but is the sheer number of non-trivial frameworks really unifying the java community, or are we breeding segments of the population who know only a subset of what’s out there?

When you’re an ASP guy, you pretty much have you work cut out for you. Same goes for the new kid on the block Ruby [on Rails]. But Java, in its maturity, has brought so many innovations to market that one could make an entire project out of evaluating frameworks for use in any given project!

The days of Struts & JDBC are pretty much over, kids. Do you use Spring at the web tier? How ’bout JSF or Tapestry or WebWork? Do you decorate with SiteMesh, or assemble with Tiles? Maybe you are into JSP includes or writing a lot of custom tags. Do you manage your middle tier with Spring, or opt for the latest appserver’s EJB3 implementation? It might seem like everyone is using Hibernate for persistence, but it aint the only kid on the block. TopLink Essentials is bundled with GlassFish and other EE5 offerings will be supporting JPA as well. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

How do you decide?

Should Salaries be Secret?

This interesting post raises this very question and even makes the case that no, they should not be. Keeping salaries under wraps is the default protocol here in the U.S. of A., and I now wonder if it does more harm than good. Here’s one of the key points that made me think:

And here’s the problem: If Johnson’s salary is (unfairly) higher than mine, and secret, I can’t complain to my manager about it because I can’t admit that I know about it. When a company sets up a situation where people can see the unfairness but can’t address it directly, or even discuss it openly, they’re rigging the system for maximum frustration.

The author cites another potential problem, one I have experienced first hand:

I have worked at two different companies where salaries were secret and guess what: They weren’t. Most people knew what most others were getting. In one company I consulted for, the IT department had even found the Excel spreadsheets HR kept the salaries in. They knew what everyone was getting.

This blurb speaks to the larger issue of information asymmetry, the term given to a situation in which those who possess information can choose to use it against those who do not. Leaked information becomes contraband and fosters even more frustration. And as Young MC says, “From frustration first inclination / Is to become a monk and leave the situation”. But every dark tunnel has a lighter hope, so maybe transparency is the way forward.

What do you think? Would you prefer working in an open environment like this?