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I Forge Iron

Sin's Rant Post


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Purely a post for my ranting so I can contain my madness into a single area. Will contain blacksmithing stuff as well as non-blacksmithing stuff, so Everything Else seemed to be the correct spot.

 

I haven't gotten to forge in about a week or so. Been trying to get my bathroom back in order, but motivation is on 6 week backorder like everything else is now. When I thought I was finally going to have time to get out and fire up the forge again, I instead spent the evening on my laptop developing a new feature for the Access database I built for my work that my boss requested as I was walking out the door. So rather than enjoying some forging time, I got to stare at my laptop and write a couple pages of code and spend the remaining bit of my evening debugging :(.

Being the "techie" at work was fun at first, but now it can be a tad annoying at times. Trying to get other things done or am working on something else when people come to me asking if I can write them a macro or a new function for their excel workbook that makes some aspect of their job easier. I am all for helping, don't get me wrong, but boy can it be frustrating when I want to do other things. I have spent the majority of this morning developing a fresh Excel workbook for the boss that will import data from other workbooks, compile the data, then spit it back out into a nice, neat and organized report sorted however they specify then load it into tables and Pivot charts. Will probably spend the rest of evening working on it to get the charts and layouts working nicely as well. 

Once this is done, I get to root through my database and try to find what record a salesman corrupted and borked an entire job so it can be re-accessed by others. Then I have to try to come up with more verifications before records are committed to prevent it from happening again.

I need a raise.

 

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Adlai used to do IT for a group of Lawyers; you have something in common to kvetch about!

I'm thinking of learning tattooing so I can tattoo passwords on people so they can't forget them, again.   They didn't like my suggestion to brand them...

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Adlai is probably more savvy than I. I was approached with a problem at work one day with our quoting process and they wanted a solution that didn't cost them $1000+ a month in license fees, so I offered to try to do it myself. A year and a half later, I had taught myself how to code using VBA (and some python) and built an Access database from the ground up to solve said problem. I now get stuck with anything Access related and since VB/VBA more or less works with the entire 365 suite (it is Microsoft's programming language after all), I get all kinds of weird request from others for Excel. Some are as simple as showing them how to write a certain formula to achieve what they are after (VLOOKUP does tend to through people for loops sometimes), others want full blown automation that does a large chunk of their job with the click of a button.

 

Thankfully my being helpful hasn't resulted in anyone losing their job yet. My friend who is an actual full stack programmer has had the unfortunate experience of that being the end result of something he has made because the tool made the person redundant.

I could go for some password tattoos. Maybe I wont forget them all the time then!

Slightly funny side story. I once kept forgetting my password for admin rights on my database, so I planted it within the code. Now if I can't remember it, if I run a discontinued block of code, the error it outputs is the password.

 

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My step-son used to drive a forklift for his job and code as a hobby---until his employer found out that he could do data base stuff on a fast turn around basis rather than the weeks the IT group took---most of it waiting till it came to the top of the queue.  Then he did IT work for forklift driver wages.   However he did make it through a number of layoffs as they didn't want to lose their secret weapon...Now he's doing IT work from home for IT wages rather than being laid off as the warehouse was shut down for Covid...

I did software testing for Bell Labs  along with lab administration, then software testing for NRAO, then writing shell scripts to test and record system configurations for Dell.  Now doing basic IT for a Geology Department at a University.  Soon to ride into the sunset and retire!

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I had considered the possibility of a career switch into programming, as my buddy makes a ton more than I ever will. I haven't because I can't afford to go back to school to "properly" learn how to code, and it is quite unlikely I could get my foot in the door otherwise. I have been slowly yet surely teaching myself how to code in Python, which syntax wise, I find MUCH easier to understand vs VB/VBA.

I have messed with shell scripts, but our IT really frowns upon that and last time I started executing things using PowerShell, I got a stern talking to by our divisions IT department head to please not. He also strongly suggested I stop using BATCH files :ph34r:. I guess when you start using PowerShell to mess with registry items to fix something, it really, REALLY upsets IT.

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That would do it!  I'm a 30 year UNIX/Solaris/Linux user shell scripts are used a lot on that side of the fence! 

My first BS was in Geology and I worked in the oil patch till the crash of the early 1980's, a year on unemployment spent remodeling a girlfriends house; then living on my savings a year as I worked under a professional swordmaker.  Got married and worked a number of jobs in Arkansas to support a family until I got an offer from Bell Labs and moved to OH.  They said I needed to get a degree in either CIS or EE and I went for CIS while working full time.  (Originally OSU offered all the classes I needed out of hours; but as the years went on fewer and fewer of them were out of hours and I got to "make up"  time spend driving, parking, in class, driving and getting back to work.)  On the other hand, after Lucent was spun off and crashed in the dot.com bust I was Job Hunting with a brand new degree and 14 years of UNIX experience.  Worked for NRAO until the construction phase of ALMA was over....Then I got to make over 1000 international trips for Dell, (walking across the border to the maquiladora  each day).  Kinda fun when your boss is in Austin in a different country and in a different time zone.  Border got "iffy" due to politics and I got laid off and found a job at the university 5-6 miles from my house and shop.  Didn't pay as well; but not having to rent a house near the border and commute 200 miles  to see my wife on weekends makes the take home about the same.

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I have several friends who work in IT. One on the server side went to India a few years back for 2 months to train a brand new call center (who would've guessed)for L-brands. He said it was an interesting but fun experience but was very happy when it was time to come back home.

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1 hour ago, SinDoc said:

I had taught myself how to code using VBA

I feel your pain. When I started working in the office in 2005 we were in need of some software.  The available programs were 10's of thousands of dollars (a couple over 100K) and none of them really met our needs.  I volunteered to create the needed database without ever having used Access or written code in Visual Basic.  It's really frustrating to know the logic, but not the syntax for operations.  There were times I spent hours working on one or two lines of code.  All those double quotes have to be in the right places.  It took me  more than a month to get it up and running, but we still use it today.  However, now when I go back and look at some of the code behind the objects I can't even remember writing the code much less remember what it all does.  I need to do some updates on it, but I'm really dreading having to re-learn all the stuff I've forgotten.

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I feel you buzz. I had so much trouble dealing with those dang double vs single quotes.

strfilter = "ID like '*" & me.filter & "*'"

That darn line wouldn't work and it took me forever to realize I missed a single ' at the end after the *. Not to mention always mixing up the quotes to deal with text vs numbers.

I left notes over nearly every block giving a brief overview of what the block does so when I go back through, I know what each thing is doing.

 

Python is much more intuitive to learn and since I already know/understand VB, it makes it much faster to pick it up. 

 

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Reading this thread is interesting but it makes me glad that when I was in a similar situation to Thomas back in the early '80s I decided to go to law school instead of going into IT which was one of my options.  It appears to me that black smithing is good therapy for the frustrations of both IT and the law.  Having that outlet over the years really helped me to get through some tough situations.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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I did a fair amount of switching back and forth between SQL view and design view.  I'd get a small piece to work, then copy and paste the SQL line into another object.  That got me through some of those hair-pulling chunks with lots of double and single quotes.

I didn't have enough foresight to put detailed comments in with the code.  You won't regret taking the time to do that.

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I thankfully had my full stack programmer buddy giving me tips and such all through the process. I did learn a decent chunk of SQL during the building process and got decent enough at it that I started writing my own within VB for simplicity on some items. No point making an entire query just to do one small function rarely. It got really complicated when I started switching between basic, ADO and DAO. I do like the DAO style though. It is a bit more robust imo.

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Now you want some real fun: try lisp!  Very powerful but your brain has to be really really twisted to try to think in it.  (XKCD has a comic dedicated to it: https://xkcd.com/297/ )    C was amazing---if you could think like a computer.

 We had to do some programs in machine language too. (I figured that was the old professors hazing the new students.)

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Sin: I thought you started this thread to vent your frustration and anger, not create it in anybody who reads it!

I started out ready to sympathize but now I want to kill something s l o w l y. :angry:

Frosty The Lucky.

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It started out as venting my annoyance for my coworkers, but devolved into talking about coding lol.

Embrace the code Frosty. 1 0 1 1 0 is the way.

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This is so crazy. I’m a systems administrator for a local school district. I didn’t want to add that in my profile because I figured everyone on here was a blacksmith, truck driver, or a lumberjack! Ha. I am also one of those poor helpful souls. Since IT is a support position it is kind of required but also I like fixing things. I get pulled into all manner of craziness. Excel though? I stray away from it. I use it for my ip spreadsheets and a few other things but coding is not my bag. I google it and copy and paste. Anyway now that I know there are other geeks on here I feel so much better. Lol. Also I haven’t had time to forge in over a month. I’m working on a super old farmhouse and fixing up our current house. Also my son wanted a weight bench and I had to reorganize my garage to fit it. This forum is awesome. Not what I thought it would be. 

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I have learned a lot in my short time here. Thomas apparently lived right down the road from my work place, George knows law and his stuff is always an interesting read and Frosty has at LEAST 3 additional voices upstairs. Very interesting bunch here!

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I lived just south of German Village in Columbus Ohio from July 1989 to December of 2003  when I moved to Central New Mexico.  I've worked in the oil patch,  for a professional swordmaker, in a small custom wood shop, on the line in a factory in Arkansas, for Bell Labs, for NRAO, for Dell and now for a University.

Shoot I was working as a stripper when I first was married---stripping woodwork in a Doctor's huge old Victorian house!  (My wife was spending about a quarter of her time in the private Mental Hospital  the Dr worked at---she ran the front desk!)

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4 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

 We had to do some programs in machine language too. (I figured that was the old professors hazing the new students.)

If you don't understand machine language, how do you grasp what the machine is doing?

I programmed for about 50 years before retiring from the field. The underlying logic structure of what the machine can do is common to all the programming languages that live on top of it. For a long time the rest was syntax and function calls (subroutines for you BASIC folks, macros for Microsoft Office). Windows, Mac and object programming were simply different ways of packaging the same stuff. Artificial Intelligence and the underlying chips that support it have really begun to change the game.

I'm here because in retirement I've decided that pounding on physical things is a lot more satisfying than pounding on keyboards. :D

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Sindoc, I agree that this is a very interesting and improbable group who participate here.  About the only common factor is an interest in hitting hot metal.  Ages range from early teens to the 70s.  More male than female but we do have the occasional and valuable female member.  Education ranges from drop outs to advanced degrees.  And there is just about every profession, job, craft, and skill of which you can think.

I am sure that there is as much variation in things we intentionally do not discuss such as politics, religion, and sexual orientation.

But, improbably enough, we have all come together in a closely knit group and freely welcome most folk into our discussions.

I am glad to be here and it has helped get through the covid isolation.  I hope to be here for a good long time.  Even though I have been hitting hot iron for 43 years I have learned a lot here.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Well, I got home last night and said *insert expletive here* it and went out to the shop for a little bit. Worked on piecing my grinder back together since I had bearings fail a few weeks ago and worked on trying to sharpen the knife I made. 

I cant seem to get the darn thing any sharper than it is though. I have watched all manner of videos on how to sharpen via whetstones, but I can barely get it to paper slicing sharp. I also cut a hunk of wood out of the cherry log I have and have started working on turning it into handle scales. Never got around to firing up the forge though.

Once I got done with that, I went back inside and played some games for a bit with the kids then went to bed.

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The problem I seem to be having is when I think I am starting to get it razor sharp, I see a ever so tiny piece of the edge flake off. Maybe I did not manage to get it hardened?

I think I am keeping the angle consistent as I am using the marker on the edge method. I do 10-15 runs on one side, check to make sure the burr is moving as needed, then switch to the other side and do the same amount of strokes. When I feel the burr getting more unnoticeable is when I see the piece flake off the edge and then it seems I go back 5 steps. I believe I have spent a few hours between 1000 and 3000 grit.

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