Saturday, August 28, 2004

Extending and enhancing IntraLearn

In my last job, I spent six years working with the IntraLearn Learning Management System. I used it literally from it's alpha and beta days right up until August of 2004. In that six year time span, I extended its capabilities to an impressive degree, allowing it to do things that even the developers insisted the product could not do.

In all modesty, I know more about IntraLearn than most the people who work on its code base.

So I've added a new category to my BLOG. Starting with this entry, I will offer a series of articles on how to extend IntraLearn and it's capabilities, how to allow it to scale beyond it's initial specifications and how to stabilize it.

At last count, the IntraLearn infrastructure I designed was able to handle close to 200,000 students with minimal difficulty, using a good deal of custom code.

You may wonder what could possibly motivate me to just give away all my expertise on IntraLearn. The answer is simple, I have no interest in working with it again, so keeping all my data to myself for future use as a contractor is not a consideration. In the end, IntraLearn has some substantial limitations that will forever keep it on the low end, ruling it out of real enterprise use. There are fundamental flaws in the software, and I want people to have the tools necessary to move beyond those flaws. I fully expect the most useful of my planned essays to be the ones detailing how to move student and course data out of IntraLearn and into a different system.

When I'm finished, if you wish to leave IntraLearn, this site will give you all the tools and information necessary to make it happen.

If you must use IntraLearn, this site will enable you to get the most out of the product, allowing you to use it in situations and student populations that not even the authors of the product thought could be done.

memorymgr.c,line:4613, chunk under-locked

Two things I learned today:

1. Do not bake or cut brownies with cracked ribs, especially if said brownies come out rather tough.

2. If your Palm Pilot is giving the error message memorymgr.c,line:4613, chunk under-locked during hotsync, delete or move the contents of the "Backup" folder in your Palm Desktop install and prepare for a long hotsync operation as it's all restored from the hand held.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


The last few days have been the most eventful in a very long time.

On Wednesday, I had my second interview with a new company, one whose products I was genuinely interested in and that I wanted to work for.

Thursday morning I got an e-mail with the title "Offer Letter"

I was full of apprehension as I opened the e-mail, all my soul eager to see the salary. The salary they offered would be the last deciding factor in determining if I was really done with my then current employer or if I still had looking to do.

The salary was slightly less than I already made

I considered three factors:
1. The offered salary was going to be renegotiated at three months and again at six months

2. The company I was working for was on a countdown to tech positions being out sourced.

3. I was looking at a far healthier office environment than the one I was leaving.

So I e-mailed in my acceptance and followed up with a phone call.

Later in the day, I got a call confirming my start date.

By late morning the company I'd been working for for the last six years also gave me the rest of Thursday and all of Friday off as a wedding gift.

On Friday, I went back to the office to hand in my two weeks notice and clear out a few personal effects. The idea was to get married that weekend, go on a honeymoon and come back to one last week at FinancialCampus before starting my new job.

Then disaster struck.

While on my way home from dropping off my letter of resignation, I was rear ended while stopped at a stop light.

At least I'm told that
s what happened. What I remember is leaving the office, getting in my car, and waking up in the hospital.

I spent most of Saturday in the hospital, before being released in time for the wedding Sunday.

I got married this past Sunday n a haze of painkillers. I'm told people were impressed that I managed to make it at all, and understood my distant, dazed expression and actions.

The honeymoon was, of course, canceled. I'm very glad we had trip insurance, otherwise we wouldn't have had a prayer of getting the money back.

It's frustrating that concerns over my injuries are taking up more of my mind than the fact that I'm now a married man. Instead of spending every moment thinking about how lucky I am to have such a wonderful woman as my bride, I'm full of concerns for my back and chest. The fact that I can't roll over in bed at night is taking up more of my thoughts than anything else. I haven't even managed a decent cough, as it hurts too much.

Through all of this, my Wife has demonstrated again and again what a wonderful human being she is. She's been taking care of all the arrangements I couldn't. She's developed a sixth sense telling her what I can and can't handle in my present condition. She's taking care of my without babying me, helping me without making me feel helpless.

I genuinely feel like I'm doing everything I can for myself, with her helping me just where i need it.

She's also been sure to metaphorically kick my arse when necessary, to make sure I actually do the things I can and don't let her do what I can.

I love her.

I contacted FinancialCampus on Monday, and after a brief conversation was informed that, while I would remain on the payroll for the full duration of my two weeks notice, they did not want me to come in unless it was to clear out any personal items I had left behind.

All told, I'm happy with the arrangement. I get to have two weeks to recover while still on my old salary. Dipite the stress and frustrations o my old position, I find myself leaving on good terms. I'm moving on and starting a new life, wishing them well.

After a brief e-mail exchange with my new employer, I was told to spend the intervening time getting better, my requests for some product related reading material being rebuffed with an admonishment to concentrate on getting well. I guess I'll have to content myself with reading their web site. :)

All told, I've had a nice, quiet exit from my old job, and have a lot of reasons to feel good about my new one.

My body has been in better shape of course. My chest still hurts too much to even cough properly, even with the pain meds and muscle relaxant. I have to sleep on my back, which I hate doing, and even then just shifting my position a little can give me nausea inducing shots of pain.

I have to replace my car and get a lens replaced in my glasses. Fortunately I had a spare pair of glasses and my new job is one I can get to via train, so aside from getting to gaming I don't NEED a car at the moment, even though I will need one soon.

Which gets me to a question. Any recommendations on an inexpensive, reliable commuter vehicle with good safety ratings and gas mileage?

2004-12-16 00:38:43
Hey, go for the MINI, 20$ new, my buddy has one and it handles well, is relatively safe and has great gas... otherwise a toyota

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Watch your screen and listen closely.


Watch your screen and listen closely. (If you're at work, use headphones!)

This is a car advert from somewhere in Europe. When they finished filming the ad the people who made it noticed something moving along the side of the car, like a ghostly white mist. The ad was never put on TV because the unexplained ghostly phenomenon frightened the production team out of their wits.

Watch it and about halfway look and you will see the white mist crossing in front of the car then following it along the road......Spooky!