Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

There's someone in my head, but it's not me

Nintendo scores a patent for insanity. That's just crazy!

In the trenches

Need to configure a PACS client? Grab a pencil.

Normally, you can configure an IMPAX client by clicking the "configure" toolbar button. Some (most?) sites disable this feature by removing the toolbar button for most users. They don't want users mucking up the carefully configured client. There's a shortcut though - you can press a function key to bring up the configuration dialog.

Mike and I were at UCSF once. The on-site Field Service Engineer (FSE) came up to us and told us about a problem he was having with one of the clients. He told us that he had tried everything he could think of, but he couldn't get this one client working quite right.

Mike and I asked him what he had tried, and he ran down a list of about twenty things. We listened and nodded. Yup, uh huh, right, ok, good... Everything sounded right. We couldn't think of anything else to try, which actually made the FSE really happy. He had tried everything that a top support guy and a developer would have tried. If we couldn't come up with anything else, he had done a great job.

Mike asked if we could go see the station in question. "Maybe it's got something goofy in the configuration," Mike says. So we head over to the ER to see the station. We walk into the ER and the FSE hands Mike a pencil. Mike says, "Oh, thanks, but I don't need to write anything down - I just need to configure the client." The FSE says, "Right. You'll need this."

Mike gives the guy a weird look and pulls the keyboard tray out from under the desk. The top row of function keys has been smashed off, by someone who "forgot" to lower the tray before shoving the tray under the desk. As Mike's digging the pencil into the hole where the configuration function key used to be, he turns to the FSE and says, "You know, you can buy a new keyboard for this, right?" The guy shrugs.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

I was watching CNN's coverage of Hurricane Katrina yesterday. For some reason, I'm humming a bunch of tunes this morning. Here's my hurricane mix...
And for the guitar players in the audience:

Thursday, August 25, 2005

How do you define great leadership?

Fast Company asks, "How do you define great leadership?" They suggest that "If you really want to know how well someone is leading, look at his/her followers. How are they behaving? What are they producing? How have they grown?"

Great idea. Instead of measuring leaders by how well they have tongued their way to the top, we should look at how well their sheep are doing. Whose great work is the result of a team full of motivated, happy code-monkeys? Whose fault is it when nobody on the team is speaking to each other (except to yell a lot)?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Do you ever feel like you've just missed the bus?

I missed the bus! I just found one of the funniest laugh-out-loud sites around, and it's been abandoned. There's a promise that it'll be back, though. I sure hope so.

This will give you an idea of the sort of thing you'll find in the Monkey Cage:

Anytime that anyone does anything with or mentions antifreeze some know-it-all is always quick to point out "Dogs love the taste of antifreeze - but it'll kill 'em - be careful" The SPCA tells everyone the same thing. Monkey Laboratories, Inc., after years of research and development - is pleased to announce "Antifreeze Flavored Dog Food"!!!! Tastes JUST like the real thing to dogs but without the poison - enjoy that antifreeze flavor without losing the life! (Green or Blue flavors available. Warning: NOT for use in motor vehicles - will kill an engine)

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I think if someone had tried to sell my grandfather a bottle of WATER in a store for almost TWO DOLLARS someone would've gotten a busted lip or a knuckle sandwich.

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I found out the official name of the language I have come to speak since having a wife and children:
"Aposiopesis: Figure in which the speaker abruptly stops or falls short of completing a statement; stopping short of completing a statement."
Examples. "Who the...!?" "What the..." "Can one of you...?!" "Who left the..!?"

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My grandmother was always allowed to go around the house farting and it was excused because she'd say "Goodness! This medication!"
But when I try it in my house and add "Goodness! This beer!" - it's not acceptable. I don't get it.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Sneaky Bastard Worksheet

This looks promising. Not for me, of course, but you might find it helpful...

Half a product, or a half-assed product?

How many people does it take to get a project off the ground? Would you think three people could do it? We built a PACS client with six people once... Small is still the new big.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Waterloo

Looks like Waterloo is the place to be if you want to attract some venture capital (free registration required to follow the link).

I wonder if I could find a sugar daddy to sponsor a curling team this season...

Difficult decisions

Why you should always make the difficult decisions when the difficult decisions are cheap.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Don't ever say this!

The managment buzzword list.

I think I've used one or two of these, but I know folks who almost exclusively use words from this list in everyday conversation.

Trust the front line soldiers

Does the top management (or even the "little bit above you" management) know and understand what the front line soldiers are doing in your company? Do they listen to suggestions? Do they care?

What happens when process gets in the way of progress?

Algonquin Provincial Park

Just back from a week in Algonquin Park. Spent some time in a canoe, hiking lots of trails, and relaxing as much as is possible when camping with two little girls.

The Perseid meteor shower was going on this week, and on Wednesday night my four year old daughter and I found our way down to the beach at the campground to watch the sky. We snuggled up on a bench and looked up. Nothing much happened for a few minutes, but then we saw some terrific displays. Can't beat the feeling when you hear the awe in a little person's voice when she says, "I can't believe I just saw MY FIRST SHOOTING STAR!" Priceless... This is the kind of thing I remember doing with my dad when I was a kid. I hope she remembers this when she's sixteen and thinks I'm a total dork. :)

We now return to our regularly scheduled cynicism. Hey, look - 250 emails. No spam though. Last time I went away for a week I had over 450, and tons of spam. Looks like our IT folks have cut off some of our old email addresses. Nice of them to tell us.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005