Highlighting Odd and Even Rows in JasperReports
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In order to highlight odd or even rows with a background color, in JasperReports, first create a rectangle element with a background of your color choice, and send it to the background (in JasperAssistant, right click on the rectangle, choose Arrange and then Send to Back). Second, use the following expression to set when the element should appear, by placing the expression in the Print When Expression field of the rectangle element. Where the $V{PAGE_COUNT} appears, you can use that, to base it on the row number on the page, or use $V{REPORT_COUNT} to base it on the row within the report. Also, if you are using a group, you can use $V{groupname_COUNT} where groupname is replaced with the name of your group. The expression below will then test the row number within the Page, Report, or Group (whichever you selected) and if its divisible by 2, it will display the rectangle element with the background color.

new Boolean( $V{PAGE_COUNT}.intValue() % 2 ==0 )
How to call Stored Procedures from JasperReports
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Jasper Reports is unable to call Oracle stored procedures directly, because procedures do not return standard result sets. As a solution, in Oracle, you can use a stored function to retrieve the results of a stored procedure. There are a few more steps to do this than if you were able to use a stored procedure, but it currently is the only option, if the query you need to do can’t be done with a standard SQL query.
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Telecommuting: Old-thinking vs New-thinking
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The American Telecommuting Association has an article on its web site, addressing the most common objections to telecommuting. As I said in a previous post:

Ten years ago I thought by now most Software Engineers would have the option to work from home. But old habits die hard, and human psychology changes much slower than technology does.

This contrast of “old-thinking” to “new-thinking” discusses those old habits.

Here are a few of the objections they answer:

  • I can’t be sure someone’s working unless I actually see them busy at their desks.
  • ‘Working at a distance’ is inefficient because of all the distractions and time-wasters at home.
  • If people start working from home, they’ll never come back to the office.
  • If some of our people start working from home, the rest of our workforce will feel slighted or mistreated.

In conclusion they say:

Today, more than ten million employees and their employers have already learned — often after years of reluctance, inaction, hesitation to make a decision, fear of the costs, and a totally human resistance to doing old things in new ways — how easy and effective it is to avoid that long trip into the office on certain days.

10 Tips for Your Next IT Interview
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Here are some helpful tips if you are preparing to interview for your next IT job. These tips come from Carolyn Kepcher, Donald Trump’s left hand woman in most episodes of The Apprentice.

Do you want to be a successful leader?
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If so, Karen Salmansohn, on her blog, discusses the number one trait of a great leader.

The trait? Fun. She says:

Yes, fun. It made sense. Employees are more inspired to be productive when they work in a fun work environment – than in a tough, serious space which operates on fear and stressful internal competition.

I agree that it is at the very least one of the top traits. Every leader that I have enjoyed working for has made my job fun. That doesn’t mean it was all fun and games, but that I enjoyed my work, and there were frequent lighthearted moments. We all work better in these circumstances (yes, even you serious stick-in-the-muds). I’ve never understood why so many IT Managers want to make their department more efficient so they begin cracking down and toughening up, and essentially taking all the fun out of the job. Motivation slips, passion slips, morale plummets, and soon the best employees leave for greener pastures. I’ve seen it happen in several of my jobs, and it never ceases to amaze me that it continues to be tried as a way to improve the department.

So, current and aspiring IT leaders, ask yourself, are you fun?

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