Visual BASIC - On Its Way Out?

Written on 10:42 AM by Robert

Radio Shack TRS-80
BASIC was the first programming language I ever learned.  I learned it in my senior year of high school and in the computer club I played games written in that language on the original TRS-80 computers they used.  In case you've never heard of the Radio Shack TRS-80s, here is a picture.  Reading about the history of the BASIC programming language has also made me nostalgic lately.


In college, after taking all sorts of programming courses (Assembler, Pascal, C, C++), I took a course in Visual BASIC 3.0.  It was the most interesting programming course I've ever taken because of its GUI capabilities.  It seemed like anything was possible to create with this version of VB.  Later that year, I was hired by my previous employer as a PC technician specifically because I had knowledge of Visual BASIC.  Through the years, I self-taught myself to use the next versions of Visual BASIC - 4.0, 5.0. 6.0, then .NET.

I worked there for 14 years using similar technologies - VB Winforms, RPG/400, and ASP.  Now that I have been laid off, I realize that I should have pushed for more modern languages.  C# has seemed to take over as the .NET standard.  Java, PHP, MySQL, and any web-based scripting tools have also become increasingly utilized.

Now, I've been reading several articles about the death of Visual BASIC.  C# has proved to do more than VB .NET can.  One article claims that there is absolutely no future of Visual BASIC.  According to another article, developers who use .NET prefer to use C#, but Winform developers prefer using VB6 than .NET (since .NET can be used for web and Windows applications).  This is based on data taken from a survey done several years ago.



The conclusion is that if you are a web developer trying to figure out which language to use, stay away from Visual BASIC.  There are a half dozen programming languages that are more widely used.  Winform development, in my job-hunting experience, seems to be a skill that is not as popular as it used to be.  If you already have Winform programming experience (like myself), you would be useful doing Windows to Web application conversions. Edit

Saving Money For The Unemployed

Written on 1:02 PM by Robert


One of the things I've learned soon after I was laid off was how to cut back on expenditures. Some of the things I'm about to mention I've implemented years ago, and some I'm still working on. Hopefully you'll have better luck than I have had with respect to all of these tips.

1) Get rid of that car! If you live in a large metropolitan area (like NYC), do you REALLY need a car? I live in Brooklyn and have not needed a vehicle on a day to day basis in over 6 years. This saves you on car payments, insurance payments, gas purchases, and maintenance. Can you calculate how much money YOU would save monthly just by cutting back on a vehicle? I can imagine owning a car can easily cost over $500 a month.

Use mass transit to get from place to place. It will become second nature. If you want to go away for the weekend or go on vacation, you can rent a car for that time. It will be much cheaper in the long run.

2) Combine your bills. If you watch cable (or satellite, or FIOS), combine that bill with your phone and Internet services. You will definitely be saving money on a monthly basis. You will also have less bills to pay, making this a lot simpler for yourself. If you can combine your gas bill and your electricity bill, go for it! Combine your car insurance (if you decide to stick with one) with your home insurance (if you own a home). If you have multiple loans or credit cards to pay, try to consolidate them (assuming the interest rates wind up being better).

3) Start shopping with coupons. Cut supermarket coupons before going shopping and stock up on the sale items to last a few weeks. Do you need to buy something online? Then search the Internet for online coupons. There are tons of merchants who accept online coupons - why not take advantage of them?

4) Stop eating out as much. This is something I still need to work on. Cutting back on eating out for lunch and dinner will save you the most money per month. If you haven't done so already, estimate how much you spend a week eating out. Then multiply it by 4 weeks. This monthly expenditure is scary! Cut back, if you can.


If you can think of any other money saving tips, please post and share! Edit

Why Should I Work For The Government?

Written on 11:12 AM by Robert

GovernmentMost employed people that I know work for a private company and are fairly familiar with that environment. However, many people have never held a government job. What are the advantages (and disadvantages) of holding a government position?



Here are some of the advantages:
1. A pension. This is arguably better than a traditional 401k plan.
2. The financial services of a credit union or similar institution. Mortgages and other loans with great interest rates are always a welcome perk.
3. Your position is a measure of company status. Raises come at regular intervals (based on the economy, of course).
4. The higher your position, the more administrative power you hold - not always true in the private sector.
5. It is much harder for a government employee to be let go than a similar job in the private sector.
6. Some government agencies encourage hiring your relatives.
7. A more relaxed working environment.
8. A great benefits package.


Here are some of the disadvantages:
1. Government jobs offer a lower starting salary.
2. Promotions are few and far between.
3. Pay increases are smaller than they would be in the private sector.
4. Regulations. Government jobs come with tons of rules to follow.

If you had a choice between pubic and private sector jobs, do your research. Find out what would be a deal-breaker for you.

Anyone working for the government who wants to add something to this list? Any comments? Edit

I'm Unemployed and Proud of It!

Written on 10:44 AM by Robert

Emotions definitely come into play when you go through a layoff. I think the first emotion we have after a layoff (besides anger) is shame. Being jobless is traditionally a "bad" thing to have happen to someone (especially yourself). When you tell someone you've been laid off, the first reaction they give you is a pitiful, "I'm so sorry!" There is a period of time that you naturally want to hide this fact from most of your acquaintances and some family members to avoid the feeling of shame.

This shame seems to stem from the feeling that you are somehow responsible for your current situation. The fact is that if you are a casualty of the economy, and it has happened to millions of people just like you.

The shame you initially feel should eventually become acceptance. When you begin admitting you have a problem, that is the beginning of your personal recovery. Admitting you have a problem to others invite others to help.

Ok, being "proud" of being unemployed is probably stretching it a bit. However, the more people you tell about your unemployment issues, the greater the chances become that someone will connect you with that ONE opportunity that will get you your dream job. Isn't that the ultimate goal for the unemployed professional?

Do you think you should spread the word if you are unemployed, or keep it to yourself? Edit

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