I need a book to tell me being nice might get me stuff?

Hack A Day had a post on how to get better service from “service representatives”.
As commenter “joey y” says, how sad is it that we need a book to tell us that being nice to people from whom we want something is a good way to get that?
I make no secret of it that people who are nice to me are likely to get faster service than those who aren’t. My time is a zero-sum game: I only have so much of it to give out, and frequently my time is entirely consumed by stuff I’m *supposed* to do. I always work extra hours (much to my wife’s frustration), so given that my mere presence is entirely at my discretion, I feel no guilt in rewarding the good and punishing the poor. Thankfully, most of the people I work with seem to understand that making my life miserable isn’t likely to get them what they want any faster.
Anybody who is bored enough to look at my weekly roundup posts out of more than mere duty (hi boss) knows that I’ve always got plenty on my plate. At the risk of almost working on a Saturday afternoon, I’ve currently got 90 individual requests of varying complexity in my queue, ranging in scope and complexity from “can’t print” to “rebuild this cluster installation including OS, batch queue, authentication/authorization, and add some new hardware too.” So anybody walking into my office is automatically taking away from one of those items – some of which are a couple of years old – even before they ask me to lift a finger to do anything at all. That’s ok, it’s what I’m paid for, I really don’t mind. Much.
Somebody who walks into my office saying “Hi, I have a problem, can you please help me?” is naturally going to get better attention than somebody who walks in saying “Here’s my problem, you fix it now.” I’d apologize, but I wouldn’t be really sorry, and that’s just human nature. There’s a difference between “squeaky wheel gets the grease” and “I’m going to bother you and get under your skin in order to get what I think I need.”

Lottery systems

I’m helping a faculty member and a grad student with classifying Google queries in various ways. One that keeps coming up over and over is queries for systems of playing the lottery. I’m hoping that this page will eventually come up, because guys, the only way to consistently win playing the lottery is to keep your money in your pocket. There’s a reason governments like to run these things, and it isn’t because they love you, it’s because they make a boatload of money.
I’m not getting much out of helping out by making a fairly quick decision and clicking approximately 4,000 times, although the faculty member’s going to spring for lunch at a fairly decent local restaurant (I’ve never been to it, but I hear it’s good). Nevertheless, I’m getting more out of the repeated lottery queries than the people making them are likely to get. TANSTAAFL, but sometimes you can get one for not much more than an investment of time. The same can’t be said of lottery tickets.
Oh, it’s also kind of funny how many single-word searches like “erotica” and related terms there are. You don’t need to look for that stuff; just open all your email attachments, you’ll eventually get all the popups you need…

Solaris 10 pkgsrc

This is as much for my own reference as anything else. I have a pair of Solaris 10 machines upon which I would like to install various utilities (for different reasons). I’m not totally happy with Blastwave or sunfreeware, and I’m really unhappy with rolling my own for everything. I’m used to BSD and used NetBSD as a desktop for a year or so, about 7 years back mind. So I figured I’d give pkgsrc a try. One machine is sparc64 (a SunFire 280R), the other x86_64 (a SunFire X4100) so it should be a good test of both old and new architectures. If things go well, I may try this stuff out on a T2000 we have kicking around too.
I got bootstrap binary packages from here, although it turns out I didn’t need them. I grabbed the pkgsrc sourceball from here, although I see there’s a 2008Q2 directory dated a couple days later – maybe I should have grabbed that, I’m not up on my releases. Never mind though, new enough.
I’d done full installations on both my machines, so I had to remind myself about /usr/sfw/bin/gcc before I could bootstrap the pkgsrc install. I put everything in /usr/pkgsrc, so

cd /usr/pkgsrc/bootstrap ; ./bootstrap

was enough to get things started.
A PATH of something like

export PATH="/usr/pkg/bin:/usr/pkg/sbin:/bin:/sbin:/usr/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/sfw/bin"

seems to work nicely.
Caveat: Solaris 10 does not have a cvs utility. NetBSD has cvs as part of its base, so it’s not in pkgsrc. Now you have a chicken/egg: the first package I tried installing from pkgsrc (mutt) actually has a security vulnerability, so I thought I’d grab the latest pkgsrc via cvs. Guess I build that by hand.

Office Space

Academic offices.

Ahh, I can remember the offices of a few of my own professors.  Always fascinating places to visit, once I got over the innate fear reaction.  I used to love my mother’s too.  Visiting other offices, there’s lots to see, especially books on
shelves.  Nowadays I look to see what’s on the shelves that *isn’t*
directly related to their field.  Professors being who and what they are, it’s actually disappointingly rare to see much along those lines, but I look anyway.  I also like to see how people lay
things out, to see if I can scoop any ideas for my own disaster.  Unfortunately, few people have the sort of work I do, so that’s difficult.

In my current job, I see a great many offices of faculty members, but more importantly, I have my own.  Many of my friends are in industry and have, at best, cubes of their very own.  Some people I know on campus have offices, but have to vacate them periodically.  At my last job, I started in a real office, then got moved to a desk in a corner of cubeland, then I got my own cube walls, then my cube got doubled up, then I lost a bit more space – eventually winding up in a 5’x5′ square with shelving higher than I could reach and a pair of CRTs gobbling up most of the desk space.  I won’t say that’s *the* reason I ditched, but it sure didn’t hurt either.

A good-sized office is a nice thing to have, and is one of the things I appreciate about my current job.  If I changed jobs, I suspect it would be something I’d miss a lot.

Solaris runtime dependencies

Solaris ain’t Linux, as a lot of developers seem to forget, and adding gcc doesn’t make it so either. One thing I run into often enough to be annoying, but not often enough to actually remember the incantations, is runtime library dependencies. Linuxmafia has one of the better writeups going, but for my own reference, you can work around this by setting LD_LIBRARY_PATH, which is usually sick, wrong, and evil. Instead, when building, make use of the -L and -R flags:
gcc foo.c -o foo -L/software/bar/lib -R/software/bar/lib
Yeah, pretty easy to forget “R for Runtime”, shut up. Maybe the act of writing this down will fix it in my memory, finally. I also know that same page talks about crle, but I can’t do this for various reasons.