Technology: Tools or Religion?

I was just browsing through various blogs on here and I ran across an entry Mark made where we mentioned being “branded” a Microsoft drone basically. ( Well this got me thinking about the issue and now I just have to say something about it.

My school is the same way. I’m pretty much in the same position as Mark since I tend to use Microsoft products most of the time. What bothers me about the “holy wars” between those that are Microsoft lovers / supporters and those that swear allegiance to the penguin is that both sides usually loose site of what is really important…

Programming languages, IDEs, OSes, etc. are not religions. You aren’t required to choose one and make your stand. You should be swearing loyalty to a technology whether you are a computer science person, MIS, or someone just interested in tech.

Technology, for example ASP.NET and PHP are both just tools. If you understand that, then you will have the key to succeed in any project you undertake and will be able to make an informed decision when a situation requiring one arises. As an example….

I work for a department here at the university where we run Windows-based servers and clients along with Exchange and MS Office. We use those tools because they allow us and our users to get what they need done. If linux was just as productive, then it would have been a harder decision, but that wasn’t the case at that point in time (and still isn’t). However, we recently decided to start filtering spam from our e-mail system because of the huge amount we were getting relative to the good mail. When 75% of our users were having their inboxes filled with tons upon tons of junk mail, we knew something had to be done. Case in point, we evaluated numerous Windows-based solutions including plug-ins for Exchange. In the end, we decided to go with Linux and a MimeDefang / SpamAssassin combo. That combination was just perfect for us because it was low cost, stable, secure, and best of all, it just worked. That (at least in my opinion) is what should be done to solve any technological problem: evaluate ALL options regardless of whether it’s open source etc. and then make the choice on which tool can best get the job done.

I just get tired of hearing people claim how their technology is supreme over all other technologies in all cases. Sure, PHP is wonderful if I want a dynamic website that lends itself to lots of self contained pages and needs to run with a relatively low memory footprint. But if you’re looking to do a robust SOAP-compliant web service that interfaces with your existing code, then you had better look at ASP.NET (w/ C#) because you’ll save yourself tons of time and hopefully money.

Just Depressing

I just talked to a friend of mine whom I haven’t see in class in about a month. Turns out that he is just having a tough time with college and life in general. But what gets me is that he said he was just diagnosed with clinical depression. Well, he happens to be about the fourth person in the last two weeks that has told me that. Why is everyone depressed all the sudden? I know college is generally tough especially if you don’t know exactly what you want to do and where you want to go, but it just seems like there’s something going around like the flu… I donno, I guess I’m just wondering if anyone else has seen this kind of thing on their campus as well. I’d be really interested to know whether this is a new occurance (as far as an increase in percent suffering from this) or if it’s just part of college that you don’t usually hear about. Anyone have any viewpoints on the matter?

Hello, World!

Well hello out there. This is my first post on a blog and I’m really looking forward to getting started with the whole blogging craze. Anyway, I thought I would give anyone that is interested a little overview about me since I don’t have any particular thing to talk about right this second.

I’m currently a senior at the University of Alabma in Tuscaloosa, AL. I can’t say it’s the best program in the country, but it’s decent at least. I’m going for a B.S. in Computer Science and then I’m probably going to go for an MBA in MIS here in Tuscaloosa (we do have the 9th ranked techno MBA in the country!). I’m not against Comp. Sci. at all, but I’m one of those people that would rather see theory put into practice by application instead of sitting around and making new theories or just being a “code monkey”. Nothing’s wrong with programming at all, I’ve been doing it since I was 5 years old (started on my little Texas Instruments TI 99/A computer’s built-in TI BASIC language). I’m really wanting to get into technical management (which I hope is not an oxymoron) by filling the niche between the business world and the programmer / development team. I do like architecting systems and thinking through the logic of a problem, but the basic coding of said system isn’t all that fun anymore. It was fun the first 1000 times, now it’s just old news that has become tedious to me. Anyway…

I’m planning on using this blog to point out little high points I run into along my path in life and in the short term, that’s going to mean what happens as I finish my senior year at school, .NET developments in general (I’m a HUGE .NET fan), XML related news (big fan of XML in general), and probably a few bits about the Imagine Cup 2K4 which I am planning on entering (can’t tell ya the project yet though 🙂 ).

With the exception of this first introduction-like post, I intend for the reader to go get some little bit of knowledge out of each of my posts. I know that’s not possible 100% of the time, but that’s my goal.

  • Adam