Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

SFB and PeopleSoft
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Victorious and Annoyed

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Got in a must-play-SFB mood last night, and finally got a game starting about 9:30. Took the Gorn, to his WYN Aux G1G1 and toasted the guts out of him. None of my plasma hit, but three suicide shuttles did, through a down shield. Only two were armed, but that's all it took. (It's usually difficult to get even one SS to hit!) Winning at this game always bouys me up.

Work these days centers around trying to make plans for integrating our WebCT and Blackboard systems with the PeopleSoft student information system so that we can automate account creation and keep class rosters updated with nightly scripts synchronizing them. It's not clear yet that either company makes software that will do this, so I may have to code our own APIs to see that it happens. While that would be challenging and therefore enjoyable, it's not my sole goal in life.

It drives me crazy trying to find information about integration packages on corporate web sites. They're full of self-promoting corp-speak and promiseware documents that are full of sound and fury, but signify nothing. Try to find anything concrete, and every single lead eventually ends in a "for more information call us" statement. Those numbers all lead to elusive sales critters that try to sell their consulting services and/or more software and have no useful technical information and therefore no answers.

They're all this way: WebCT, PeopleSoft, Blackboard, and others like Desire2Learn. Why can't they just say what they do, and what it costs for them to do it? Instead, they have to waste my time with all the corporate vision statements, say why they're better than the competition, and bury useful information way down deep on their web sites. No wonder licenses for their products cost so much: they have to pay all the marketing and exec people who wrote and maintain that stuff.

Okay, enough ranting.

Reading Brin's book The Transparent Society (even after only two chapters) is the high point of my workday right now. More on that later.

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