Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Signs you're working too hard

I see an email in the Inbox. The subject is "Does it hang?"

I think, "Fuck. Someone else is complaining about the deadlock in the application."

Then I open the email. Actually, they were selling pharmaceuticals to, er... enlarge things.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Blackheimer's disease?

I've noticed a strange thing happening around here. Folks with Blackberries will be walking around the office, and they'll suddenly stop. They reach for their hip, unholster the berry, and stand there, head bent, reading email. For minutes at a time, oblivious to the traffic around them.

I've been tempted to take them by the elbow, like an elderly Alzheimer's patient who's out wandering the streets, and gently lead them back to their desk. I doubt they'd even notice.

Since the criteria for "Definite Alzheimer's" is only possible to obtain via autopsy or biopsy, we'll constrain ourselves to the diagnosis of "Probable Alzheimer's," which is when "cognitive impairments also have to be progressive and be present in in two or more areas of cognition." The areas of cognition include "memory, language, perceptual skills, attention, constructive abilities, orientation, problem solving and functional abilities."

So wandering the office with your Blackberry comes under (at least) attention, orientation, and possibly functional abilities.

Worry, those of you with Blackberries. Especially if you're reading this in the middle of a hallway somewhere, being led back to your desk by a concerned colleague.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Choose your words carefully

I'm trying to pull a rabbit out of my ass again, this time for a customer that is experiencing a hanging application. Several times a day, the application just freezes, then picks up where it left off a few minutes later. Very strange.

We've exhausted all the normal debugging tricks - log files, event viewer, etc. Now we need a hang dump. The secret to making this work is all in choosing your words carefully. You need to ask someone, over a noisy phone line, to get a hang dump. Keep in mind, this guy is probably in an airport, or a taxi cab, or (most likely) in a bar. It's not a quiet environment. Yell in to the phone, "A HANG DUMP! YOU NEED TO SEND ME A HANG DUMP!"

Fast forward a couple of days. There's a call from reception - "The FedEx guy is here with a package for you. And he is NOT happy."

A good little rock game

We had the little rockers play an interesting game on Sunday.

The kids are divided into teams of three players. Four rocks are lined up across the front of the house to start the end, two of each colour. Each of these rocks has a hair scrunchie on the handle. One of each team's remaining six rocks has another scrunchie on it, and this third scrunchie rock can be thrown whenever the teams wishes. The catch to this game is that only the rocks with the scrunchies on the handle can score points.

The first two ends were blanked, since the scrunchie rocks weren't in the house, but then the kids got the hang of throwing tap weight, and points were scored in the next two ends.

The kids in this group are all 7-8 years old, and none have curled before this year. We've been at this for two months now, and some of the kids have slides that are better than their parents! We started on a 1/3rd sheet, but we're now up to a 2/3rd sheet. Some of the kids are on the whole sheet already. It's great to see the progress these little guys (well, girls mostly) are making.

For some reason I can't figure out though, they all want to be the skip. We've been rotating through the positions each end, so everyone gets a chance. My daughter was complaining that her team missed their shots on the end she was skipping, and she was left with two really tough shots. I told her that was the fun part of skipping - having to bail your team out when they don't set things up for you. I don't think she saw the fun in that.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Shame design pattern

We talked about the Rubik's Cube software development anti-pattern a little while ago.

Today I'd like to tell you about another anti-pattern, as related to me by a colleague. It's called the Shame pattern. Here's how it works. You're nearing the end of a large software development project. As always, you've been flogged for months to get the thing out the door. Best practices have been left by the wayside. Testing? Nah, takes too long. Design? Why waste time on design when you should be coding instead?

Now you're faced with an internal audit. There are a number of documents that you need to have in place, including a detailed design. So you fire up your development environment and take a peek at the code so you can backfill your design doc. Yikes! You can't believe how bad the code is, or how much useless, inefficient work it's really doing.

You're so embarrassed by the code that you take it upon yourself to refactor it on the spot, and create a much better design. You have been Shamed into doing it right.

This is just "too funny"

This is just "too funny."

One of my all-time pet peeves. It makes me loose my mind.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Religious insanity

More and more Catholic school boards are pulling "The Golden Compass" from the shelves, while they investigate how evil the books may be. In Calgary, the books have been available in the schools for ten years, and nobody has complained until now. Suddenly, panic ensues.

And all this over a book that has been named the best children's book in the last 70 years.

I don't know what the competition was like, but this was one of the worst books I've ever read. I didn't make it to halfway, and I've finished a lot of crappy books. That said, it should stay on the shelves.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Curling News blows an O ring

This is too funny not to pass along.

The Curling News is in Germany, at the European Curling Championships, and ready to blow an 'O' ring.

Say with me, "Serenity now, serenity now, serenity now."

Monday, December 03, 2007

Casino curling

I was joking this morning about curling on the street around the corner from the office.

That's nothing. How about curling in a casino?

Should be really fun to watch. TSN has it this weekend.

Slip sliding away

Apt title today. "The nearer your destination the more you're slip sliding away."

Nice, easy drive into the city this morning, then ice. Lots of ice.

The City of Waterloo must have a guy counting the grains of salt as they go on the truck...