Tuesday, January 27, 2009

10 Science Fiction movies to share with your kids

My kids are a little young for these yet, but I have to agree with most of this list of science fiction movies to share with your kids.

My three favourite movies are in there! There are a couple I haven't seen, and I would add Silent Running, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Also Time Bandits and Minority Report (for Philip K. Dick, not Tom Cruise).

Hmm, my top 10 overfloweth.

Friday, January 23, 2009


This morning the girls were in the bathroom brushing their teeth. I heard a yell. "AAAHH! Dad! Spider!"

I went into the bathroom and dispatched the spider to its next life with my foot. It was mostly ground into the bathmat, so I went back to making lunches in the kitchen. After a few minutes I headed back into the bathroom to see how the teeth brushing was going. The five-year-old had moved the bathmat into the middle of the bathroom floor and covered the spider remains with a square of toilet paper.

I think she's been watching too much CSI. The only thing missing was the yellow police tape.

Vista upgrade

Well, the calendar on the wall says 2009, and since the decade is nearly over, I figured it's time I stepped into the light and upgraded from XP to Vista.

Shouldn't be hard, I figured. Vista has been out for a long time. I have it on the home laptop, and I like it. It's fast, easy to use, gets the job done. Plus, we're supposed to support the product on Vista, even though none of the developers have it. Might as well dive in head first.

So I head over to the MSDN download site, and start downloading. Picked a bad time to do it - right in the middle of the inauguration ceremony...

Next day, when the download is done, I grab a product key and start installing. After about 20 minutes, the installer tells me "Upgrade has been disabled. Your Windows configuration cannot be upgraded." and I'm left with the choice to install a fresh operating system. Not exactly what I had in mind.

I start digging around for the install log file, and when I find it, it tells me the reason I can't upgrade. My Documents and Settings (actually called "Profile" on this machine) is not on the C: drive. The IT wizards here have put it on the D: drive, which prevents upgrading to Vista.

How hard could it be to move the profile back to the C: drive? Actually, not that hard, but it requires you to get intimate with the registry.

Once I had that done, I was able to use the Vista upgrade option. And today all is well.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day, part three

I'm downloading an iso from Microsoft's MSDN subscription site.

Download speed during the inauguration ceremony: approx. 25 KB/sec.

Download speed after the inauguration ceremony: approx. 250 KB/sec.

Inauguration Day, part two

My eight-year-old was watching the news last night, and she asked why there was so much interest in Obama. We explained that it would have been unheard of, not all that long ago, for a black man to become president.

She thought about it for a minute, and said, "Just because of the colour of his skin?"

We said, "Yes."

She said, "Well, that's not right."

Looks like we're getting this parenting thing right, after all.

Inauguration Day

Attention all panic-struck American friends. Your anti-Christ is sounding pretty good right now. You can come out of the shelter.

Live streaming

This is interesting. From Conestoga College:
The inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States will be live-streamed in the atrium of the Student Life Centre, the Sanctuary, and on monitors in the Library Resource Centre. Broadcasting of this historic event will begin mid-morning leading up to the swearing in at 11:59 a.m.

Somehow I doubt they had any live streaming of Stephen Harper's swearing in.

Top Ten reasons managers become assholes

Scott Berkun enumerates the Top Ten (eleven, actually) reasons managers become assholes.

1. A boss they admired was an asshole.
2. They are insecure in their role.
3. They prefer intimidation to leadership.
4. Their life sucks.
5. They lose their way.
6. Promotion chasing.
7. Their management chain is toxic.
8. The Peter Principle.
9. They’re not assholes, they’re just insensitive or oblivious.
10. Madly in love with themselves.
11. They always were assholes.

I've been pretty fortunate to have rarely had an asshole for a manager. I've had a few second-tier managers who were assholes, though, and I think they all fit into this Top 10 nicely.

By far the most common cause I've seen in Promotion chasing. It's the "head in the sand" approach to management. In short, telling the truth is not good for your career. Nobody wants to hear bad news, because their boss doesn't want to hear bad news. When the shit hits the fan, go nuts. Make sure the powers-that-be know you're in total control of the situation, and that you'll make sure heads roll for this awful sandbagging you just took. Management will nod approvingly, and you'll go up a notch in their books.

SuperMegaCorp in the news

Lots of news yesterday, with the announcement of a whack of money coming in from the Ontario government, and the benevolent Belgians.

Maybe we should take the development staff to Mexico for a nice holiday. It worked for the sales group last winter...

I guess we could always use the money to pay all the contract penalties we incur when we promise functionality that doesn't exist...

Perhaps the best option would be to hire a few software industry veterans, to help us figure out how to ship software that works, on time.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Must. Work... No. Time. For. Blogging...

What's up these days? Let's see...

Curling last weekend in the Fairfield Marriott Challenge. We curled ok, but crapped out. A, B, see you later. We had a couple of misses at strategically critical times, and more than our share of picks, and those just killed us. I was running beside one rock, trying to keep up, when it picked and took the other turn. I've never seen that before, at that weight.

Tons of new features pouring into the product lately. Some long overdue UI improvements, and some eye candy. Might not be all that clinically useful, but it's going to look great on the RSNA show floor. And no, it won't be me in a bikini.

Time to start thinking about camping for the summer. We're toying with the idea of heading to Quebec. I grew up in Montreal, so it would be neat to camp in a park I stayed in as a kid. And I can brush up on my French. Note to self: run the product in French for a while. Might not help when camping, but if someone busts a leg I can talk radiology in French at the hospital...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This can't be good

I'm not sure what Notes is trying to tell me, but I don't think I'm going to like it.

Friday, January 09, 2009


It's project planning time around here lately. That means estimating, or as it is more commonly called, asstimating. Asstimating is the art of pulling numbers out of your ass.

My five year old was telling me what she was up to in school this week. She said, "Dad, what's that called, you know, when you're... not guessing..." I said, "Estimating?" She said, "YEAH! ESTIMATING! We were estimating how many beans were in a jar."

I told her that I spent a whole day estimating at work. She was suitably unimpressed.

And no wonder. There's very little chance our estimates will be anywhere near the actual delivery date of the software. Never have been, never will be. Every new project manager has their illusions of effectiveness shattered when their carefully crafted project plan crumbles around them.

Welcome to the big leagues.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Monday, January 05, 2009

TSC Tankard Region 3 Results

Glenn Howard had no problem this weekend, blowing through the field with ease. The young kids he squashed 11-4 Saturday afternoon looked pretty happy getting their asses handed to them. To be fair, they scored in four ends, and Glenn only scored in three...

The B final yesterday afternoon was a good game, although really really slow. Shane was in control for the first four ends, then Corner's team switched up the rocks each of them was throwing. Whatever they changed, it worked. The game was filled with misses. There were four or five air balls on wide open hits, mostly by Shane's vice.

In the end, Corner had a short runback double for the win, and he made it perfectly.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2009 TSC Tankard - Region 3

Anyone in the mood to watch a couple of world champion curlers this weekend?

Glenn Howard and Peter Corner meet in the first game of the Ontario Curling Association Region 3 playdowns Saturday morning at the Elmira Curling Club. The action gets underway at 9:00am. We've got about 40 seats available, so get there early for a good view.

Second game goes at 2:00pm, and the A side final is Saturday at 7:00pm.

Sunday's action gets underway at 9:00am, with the B final at 2:00pm.