Wednesday, January 31, 2007

January Photo - better something than nothing

jan07 003

Well, I said I would post something to my flickr account each month. It would probably help if I carried the camera with me more often.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Being Sick

A week ago I knew that I was getting sick. You know, you get that little scratchy scratch in the back of your throat that simply can’t be itched. It starts out as a subtle annoyance, but as the day goes on, it gets more painful, and before you know it you have a sore throat, and there isn’t much you can do to help it. I thought that maybe I could be sneaky and overload on the vitamin C and drink the herbal supplement Airborne, and that maybe that would kill the ailment sure and fast, but alas, a week as gone by and I am still suffering from the same sickness though now my throat is not so sore. I’d like to believe that I am on the tail end of this thing, as I don’t believe that I will be able to tolerate much more sick time than is left in the duration of this weekend.

I’ve had a lot of time this week. Not so much by choice, but that I didn’t want to contaminate all of my co-workers with this forsaken virus. So I managed to “score” a week off. Though, on Monday and Tuesday I worked from home so that wasn’t exactly off, and Wednesday through Friday I was still taking telephone calls and answering my email. I don’t say this to make you believe that I am important or anything, it was just one of those weeks where not being at work really was more of a hassle than it would have been on a normal week. I learned that though working at home does give you some of the quiet that is desperately missing in the cube farm, that there is nothing like face to face communication when trying to get something explained. Instant Messaging, Email, and telephone calls can only go so far. I’m glad that I got the most essential of my work done, and that I had the time to be able to take off.

As I said, I had time to think. I didn’t come to any earth altering/shattering conclusions. I found that I bore quite easily, and that I like to have something going on, but that when dealing with cold medicines that something shouldn’t be too mind challenging, as it can lead to very discomforting dreams. On Monday night, I took my NyQuil, and started reading while waiting for the drugs to knock me out for the night. I was reading about adding testing harnesses to legacy code systems. Needless to say, the drugs worked, and shortly I was asleep, however my brain kept wandering on methodologies to work with legacy code. I think I got stuck in an infinite loop of code. Now it’s not always a bad thing to dream in code, however, I don’t find that my sleep is as restful when I’ve been thinking about something all night long. Lest I bore you with more about code and unit testing, I learned my lesson. No serious stuff before going to bed, especially when taking cold medicine.

Deciding that I couldn’t read tech books while working my way into dreamland, I decided that I needed to have deal with something lighter. I decided also, that forcing my eyes to move across the printed words on a screen or page was simply too much work, so I went to iTunes and purchased The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, as a book on tape. I hadn’t seen the movie, and wanted to read the book first, I happen to have had a lot of time on my hands, so now was as good a time as any. Books on tape are a great way to pass time when one is sick. Unlike television, movies or printed media, they don’t require that you keep your eyes open, and yet, there is still a constant stream of words to keep your mind busy on things other than how much your coughing is hurting your already sore throat. Anyhow, I found the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy as a book to be interesting, not nearly as funny as people made it out to be. I never found a moment where I laughed out loud, but I am glad that I am now concurrent with that side of pop culture. After listening to the book, I also purchased the movie, and was rather disappointed with their poor adaptation of the novel. In case you’re wondering, my current book on tape is now Eragon, a book that I’ve read. I just thought it would be fun to hear it read to me, and so far I haven’t been disappointed. I haven’t need that move, nor will I, as I’ve heard that it wasn’t true to the book at all.

So, as I said, it’s been a week of sick. I managed to keep up with school, I did the bare minimum for work, I’ve enjoyed some books and movies, and now I am ready to get back to regular life. I’m pretty sure that my voice won’t be back to normal for quite some time, as I am still coughing quite a bit, but at least my throat doesn’t hurt anymore. Maybe next year, I’ll be sure to get a flu shot, and beginning on Monday, I am going to be much more religious about my use of the hand sanitizer that sits in a bottle on my desk at work. This sick thing is no fun at all. With any luck (and a good dose of sheer will), I’ll be back to my normal schedule on Monday, though I am quite sure I won’t be feeling 100%.

Friday, January 19, 2007

She's a Gonner

I tried to bring the desktop back to life last night, and it just didn't happen. I think that this get mac advertisement sums it up quite well.

As much as I would love to go out and purchase a new computer (and I probably still will in the coming months) it just doesn't feel right at this moment. There is some nice hardware in that machine, and it would be nice if it could be used. To get me through the next several months I found a similar motherboard and processor. It's a bit of a downgrade, but I will be able to use my existing RAM, video card, and drives. Hopefully this swap out will fix the issue.

If throwing another band aid on keeps it going for a few more years, I'll consider myself lucky. Or as I heard quoted somewhere from my past "Use it up, wear it out, fix it up, or do without". Hooray for frugality.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Computer Troubles

It seems that computers all around me are broken. Maybe it is a sign. I got one of them up and running again this evening. That leaves one more that needs major help, and another that could use some attention. It's times like these that I really wonder if the whole build it yourself thing is actually worthwhile. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I keep hearing "go buy a mac and forget about it".

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Lyrics Brought to You by Muse

"it's time we saw a miracle
come on it's time for something biblical
to pull us through
and pull us through
and this is the end
this is the end of the world"

Apocalypse Please, Muse

Maybe something more substantive tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

iPhone - Not Yet.

It was pretty cool to participate in the MacWorld keynote address today. No, I wasn’t in San Francisco, but I got to watch the story unfold on twitter and macrumors. It would have been cooler had there been a live video stream, but as it was, it felt something like a second Christmas as I and my coworkers waited for the updates. As with any Apple product announcement, you see the three major camps forming. The first composed of the most loyal Apple fans who wouldn’t say anything bad about the company were they paid to. The second composed of people who aren’t pleased with the announcement, and feel somewhat betrayed; and the third, composed of people who are quite ambivalent toward the whole thing.

I think I fall into the second of the camps this evening. The iPhone looks really cool. As someone who carries a video iPod and a Blackberry everywhere he goes, while watching the presentation I could easily see how this new phone could fit into my life. I’m even ok with the price tag. The memory however leaves a lot to be desired. Traveling with eight gigabytes just isn’t enough. I had seriously hoped for something more along the lines of twenty to thirty. If the device had met that specification, I would gladly pay the early termination fee with T-Mobile and make the move in June. But, it doesn’t, so I won’t. Maybe generation two will offer more. In the meantime, I’ll just have to lust after what looks to be the most advanced and sexy portable UI I’ve ever seen.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


I suppose that a comment is better than no comment. It also seems that regardless of the subject that I choose to write about here, someone is going to take issue with what I say. The comments generally swing in two directions. When talking about work and school, someone believes that I should be talking about other stuff, namely life outside of work and school and vice versa. You know, it’s the classic damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Considering the fact that I haven’t really known what to write about for several months now; when any post that happens to come through my head and fingers appears on the screen or in your RSS reader, I see it as a small miracle.

So, since inquiring minds want to know, here’s the state of things, hopefully covering both the technical and personal sides of my-so-called-life.

Tomorrow begins the first day of the last semester of my CS degree. Ha! It’s really quite amazing. Providing that I can pass my last two classes, I will have that piece of paper I have been chasing now for seven years. Though I wasn’t chasing the same piece of paper when I started seven years ago, I am quite happy with the way things are working out. CS is a good place for me, and hopefully I’m good for CS too. It’s only two classes, but with one of them being a project class, I imagine that I’ll have my hands full in a couple of weeks.

Work is going well. They’ve been good to me, and I am happy to be an employee there. I’ve got some interesting projects on my plate, though the current project has to do with maintaining some older software. I found the book, Working Effectively with Legacy Code at Barnes and Noble over the weekend, and I’ve been quite impressed with what I’ve read so far. Feathers has some great ideas that I hope to be able to start including in the project I am currently working on.

Life in general: Ah yes, the pot of gold you’ve all been waiting for. Alas, there isn’t much to tell here. Much of my life has to do with the above two paragraphs, and though I know that I should be trying to be more social, it just feels like “one more thing”. As far as what I did with my Christmas holiday from school, I did a lot of work, catching up on the stuff that got somewhat neglected as I was working on school… oh no, there we go again, talking about work and school.

But seriously. I’m not dating right now, and most of the people I associate with outside of work and school seem to have someone that they want to line me up with. Have you been on a line up lately? I gave that another try toward the end of the summer and it was really quite the disaster. Some people have a lot of luck with lineups, but that hasn’t been my experience. Perhaps that should be the topic for a new blog, “The Lineup (mis)adventures of CodeFin”; it cracks me up just writing it down. That way, I could write about work and school and things geek here, and write about my misadventures in dating there. Meeting people is a challenge; there really aren’t that many women in engineering. I guess that means that I need to find some new social circles. I think that about covers the “What ever happened to the girl/friend and stuff?” comment. Put quite simply, I don’t know where she is, but I’ll do my best to keep it interesting in her absence.

As far as my last night of freedom before facing school again, I spent the afternoon/evening playing World of Warcraft. Yep. That’s right, World of Warcraft. Pretty nerdy isn’t it? But I had fun, and so did my guild of friends. Yes, I also belong to a guild. For the record, I’ve had a World of Warcraft account since May of 2005. And just this weekend my one and only character (a night elf priest) reached level 50, after 11 days 2 hours and 26 minutes in game. Also, when school is in session, I don’t keep my account active. Anywho, I think that does it for the evening.

Good Night and Good Luck.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Vignette Application Portal

Or… my pain for the next month.

Just a few questions:

  1. Why is it so hard to find documentation?

  2. Why is it so difficult to add JSTL tag lib support for Vignette custom JSTL tag libs

  3. With portal beans, why do I have to restart the bloody web server every time I want to see the most simple change? (Speaking of JSP changes not bean changes)

Clearly I missed the boat with this stuff somewhere. I know that the current trend is to create JSR-168 portlets, however the application I am maintaining wasn't written that way, and I don’t think that the management is too keen on a re-write in what is supposed to me a maintenance release. Are there tools out there to make this stuff easier? Certainly there must be. I just can't fathom this "industrial strength" portal environment being enterprise worthy, if it is such a pain in the neck to use.

I’m out.