On The Other Hand

I had a blog post all ready to write. I had an idea, I was really excited to delve into it, and I was humming along when all of the sudden, I realized that I had 1100 words, and I was nowhere, and I mean NOWHERE near finished. Then I re-read what I’d written, and it turns out that it’s more along the lines of a diary entry than a blog post. So, I’ll keep writing that one on my own time, and one day, maybe an edited version of it will show up on this site. Until then, I will entertain you with this.

Programming goes really well, and you can feel incredibly smart that you’re making the decisions you are, and everything works on the first try — but it doesn’t feel like a try, because you know the thing you’re trying to implement, you know how you want it to work, and you implement it exactly the way you saw it. That was today. I refactored a huge pile of code, added a field which required a whole bunch of functionality change, and I did it. I didn’t spend too much time thinking about it. I knew what had to happen and I just typed it out and it worked.

Programming does go really well until it doesn’t. On Tuesday, I spent six hours trying to get my code base to run on my application server. Six hours. This involved deleting all of the deployed files, deleting all of the required libraries, deleting temporary and work folders in my application server’s directories. It still wouldn’t work. I asked for help, but because I use a different development environment, they couldn’t help me. The problem even survived installing the new version of the IDE. Eventually, I got so sick of feeling stupid, so sick of being wrong and unable to figure out what was going on that I just checked out the code to a different directory, opened it up in the new version of the IDE, and everything worked. I still have no idea what was wrong with the old code base. The pragamatic part of me is trying to let the OCD part of me let it go. The stuff I have now works. I can move on and forget the whole thing ever happened. But the OCD part of me won’t let it drop. It went wrong. I don’t know why. If it went wrong once, it can do it again. And it WILL. I just know it will.

Working from home continues to go well. It’s nice not to have to commute. To just be able to work until I’m done. I miss incidental interactions with workmates, but not as much as I’d thought I would. Turning off has been a bit of a struggle for me. We’re in a bit of a time crunch, but there’s nothing I can do about that right now, since a bunch of our work hasn’t been approved yet, but the temptation is to just sneak on there for a little bit after the kids go to bed. Not saying that I should do that, since I have enough of my own projects to do, but the temptation is still there, since management has made it clear that we’re going to come in late and they don’t want that.

Listening to music through speakers is a good thing, too. I don’t mind headphones — I’ve made use of them for long enough that it’s just another part of me, but I do like listening over speakers. And they’re speakers I’ve had since university.

The coffee is better at home, too.

Tired brain needs sleep, so good night.


SBC Reflections

This is my third year participating in the Summer Blog Challenge and I thought I'd spend a bit of time reflecting on it.

Firstly, I applaud Liam's push to get fresh meat on board for this year. It's always interesting to be exposed to new ideas and get a chance to peer in to the lives of people I don't get to see very often (or at all). This year my sister asked me how she could get involved but changed her mind at the last minute. Maybe next year we can bring her on board!

Coming up with content has always been the most challenging part of the SBC. By now everyone has thrown out their personal version of the "cop-out" post. Don't worry if you find yourself writing one, those kinds of posts have become expected. One idea that I threw out last year was to spread the challenge out over a couple of months in order to take the pressure off of people to churn out something every day and give them a chance to focus their energies on some solid posts. I have never talked to Liam about his reasons for starting the SBC or his hopes and dreams for it, but I imagine that it was just to get people writing and hopefully generate some diamonds in the rough along the way. This year I know he didn't want to constrain people by word counts or even defining what a "meaningful" post is but perhaps taking the focus of the challenge off of posting every day to crafting posts that encourage discussion might be something interesting to try for a future year.

Earlier this week Vlad and Ruby stopped by for a visit and we talked a bit about the challenge. Vlad (and many others) has tried valiantly in the past to complete the challenge but hasn't ever made it to the end. His idea was that maybe it would be better to hold the challenge in the winter time when people are home (and inside) more. It may work, but I know I'm inside almost all the time and it hasn't helped me none.

For the last two years I've actively tried to shake the "all Chad does is play WoW" reputation that I seem to have developed by talking about other stuff. While I don't deny that I play the game a lot, I find it sort of unfortunate that somehow that is the thing people have chosen to associate with my blog. This year though I am rather proud of myself for being able to get people to comment on almost every post that I've made. None of which have been about Warcraft (yet)! Like I said at the end of last year's challenge, I really enjoy it when I'm able to start a bit of conversation around the topic that I chose.

As much as I want to avoid placing too many rules around the SBC, I think it might be fun to have a few days where everyone writes a post on the same topic. Last year quite a few people wrote posts about music and I followed James' and Liam's (sorry dude, I couldn't find the post) lead and tried writing some short fiction. I found that having a topic given to you really helped on the days when I was drawing a blank.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the Summer Blog Challenge.

Summer Blog Challenge Day 17 Digest

Summer Blog Challenge posts for August 24, 2011

Until tomorrow,
The Management