Thursday, May 26, 2005

Another one of those crazy quizzes

What Video Game Character Are You? I am a Gauntlet Adventurer.I am a Gauntlet Adventurer.

I strive to improve my living conditions by hoarding gold, food, and sometimes keys and potions. I love adventure, fighting, and particularly winning - especially when there's a prize at stake. I occasionally get lost inside buildings and can't find the exit. I need food badly. What Video Game Character Are You?

We are SO lucky

When Mikayla was born, Courtney and I were very upset that we didn't get to take her home on time. We worried constantly while she was in the NICU about when we would get to take her home and show her her new room, and hang out with her on our couch and take naps with her and everything else.

I guess, in focusing on when we were going to be able to take her home, we neglected to remember that we had a mostly healthy baby girl, and didn't really need to worry about whether she would come home. We had the luxury of being upset about when she would come home.

This week I came across a link to a weblog. Be forewarned, I teared up twice when reading the events of the past week.

Mei Giagnocavo's story.

Thank you Mei, for your sacrifice. Your story has reminded me of everything that is good in life, and has encouraged me to remember that the distractions of work are not nearly so important as my family.

God bless you and keep you, Mei.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Crunch Time

So, I have my first experience with 'Crunch Time' this week. Pretty much, it sucks.

For those not in the software development industry, crunch time is when the managers of a software development project realize that it's only a few days until release, and we haven't even finished designing the system yet. So, they get all freaked out, and start running around in panic mode, and say things like 'all development must be done by Friday'.

The thing about crunch time is that it is totally avoidable. Most of the time, devs have been warning management that there is a lot of work remaining, and mgmt has been blowing them off.
In my company for example, our qa(testing) department has not touched the new version of our flagship application, despite the fact that it has been in development for over a year. So, this week, they decide maybe it's time to do some testing(30 days before we go live with our first client).

So, mgmt decides that the development group (me & 2 other guys) need to have all of the open bugs completed before the end of the week(the deadline given to the qa department).

We worked until midnight last night(16 hours for me). We got a bunch of issues fixed. I checked in like 40 files yesterday. When we got in this morning, our bug list had almost doubled, since the qa dept is finally doing their job.

How are we supposed to complete all of these bugs when the number of bugs is doubling daily? There are only three of us.

I have the answer: 16 hour days until it's done. Of course, Re is fairly unhappy with that solution. As am I, since I don't get to see either of my girls very much at all.

The frustrating part is that we have been begging for the qa dept to start testing for months. Most of these bugs would have been fixed long ago if they had done so. bahstahds.
Listening to: Twentythree - Yellowcard - Ocean Avenue (03:27)

Monday, May 23, 2005

Moving on...

I am interested in getting together another D&D group. I am thinking that we will be able to play about 1-2 times per month. I can run, if there aren't any more experienced DMs, or someone else can run. I was thinking of building a campaign off a bunch of modules that I have, so we could conceivably change DMs fairly frequently, if the group so desires.

As always, we will take people with any level of experience, and teach those that don't have much. Hopefully, we'll be able to learn from those that do have some experience.

Anyone interested? Leave a comment if you want to join.
Listening to: Wisconsin_Death_Trip - Static-X - Wisconsin Death Trip (03:11)

Friday, May 20, 2005

Bike News

I worked on the bike a bit yesterday. I got all of my new accessories and modifications completed.
  • Side marker lights(removed ugly stock front turn signals)
  • Tank pad(protects the tank finish from zipper scratches)
  • Integrated garage door opener(works when I hit the horny horn)

It was a lot of fun. Working on the Yamaha is a blast. Everything is easily accessible, and laid out pretty logically.

I will be posting a big writeup about the garage door opener. I have seen a couple of other guys online who wired theirs into the high beam headlights, but that seemed inelegant to me. The button on a garage door opener is a momentary switch, normally open. The high beam circuit is controlled by a two-state switch. The horn button more closely matches the original circuit's layout.

Plus, the high beam guy has to use some workarounds. If his highs are on when he gets home, he has to turn them off and back on to get the door to open. That shows the downside of changing a momentary switch to a two-stater. I think the transmitter in his opener is probably getting heated up, and turning off, which is why he has to 'reset' it by flicking the highs off and back on.

Pictures tomorrow.
Listening to: Memory Leak - - DJ Bolivia - Memory Leak (01:04:17)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Some background on why Brian and I don't hang out

I was a little hard on Brian in my previous post. I guess reading his blog entry about how he totally disrupted a training session hit a nerve with me.

I guess it just reminded me of what happened when we were in college together.

For those who don't know(most of you, I think), Brian and I signed up for an independent study together. Our idea was that it would be good for us to work on a joint project, to give us some idea of what professional programming would be like. Also, it would be fun to hang out together and do some interesting programming.

Independent studies at UNF work like this: you talk to a professor, and they either give you an idea, or you submit an idea for a fairly major project. They sign a form, and you go register and pay for the course. At the end of the semester, you give your completed project to the prof, and get a grade.

I went to Dr. Eggen, and presented our idea of a joint study. He had reservations, because Brian was not going to register, he was going to wait until the next semester, so he could pay for the class then(money troubles). Eggen was concerned that Brian wouldn't be properly motivated, since there would be no negative consequences if he didn't do the work, or did poor quality work. I spoke with Eggen three times, and vouched for Brian, before Eggen agreed. I vouched for Brian based on the strength of our friendship(we were pretty tight, at the time).

Eggen proposed that since we had two people, we should do two projects. Any other solution wouldn't have been fair to the others who did independent studies in the past.

Summer came, and we scheduled several times to get together and begin working on the projects. Each time, Brian called me and cancelled. Most of the time, he cancelled within 15 minutes of our scheduled meeting. A couple of times, I didn't hear from him until an hour or so after we were supposed to meet.

I started to get worried after the first meeting got missed, but we were still hanging out and stuff, and Brian assured me that the projects would be easy, and we had plenty of time.

At the end of the summer, no coding had been done on either project. I had thoroughly researched one project, and Brian had researched the other. Both looked fairly uncomplicated to code, but the architecture for both was daunting. Since my project was not complete at the end of the summer, I negotiated with Eggen to get an I(incomplete) for the project.

During the winter semester, I talked to Eggen several times about the project, and my inability to get Brian to commit. He decided that I could complete the project alone, and dropped one of the two projects off my list.

So now, in September 02, I am starting off on a new project, and have to complete it by December 02 to graduate. Except, I had my schedule planned out for a certain number of hours, and didn't make room for the extra class.

I didn't get time to work on the project until about two weeks before graduation. My final semester was filled with programming classes, and I spent all my free time in the lab working on projects that were due right away.

The last two weeks before graduation are a blur to me now. I don't really have any clear memories of that time, except for sitting in my room, in front of my computer from the time I got up till late at night. I only left the computer to eat and sleep, so I could get the project and all the documentation done.

I finally finished the project, and met with Eggen to get my grade. That was on the day of graduation, at 3 pm. Until we left his office around 4:30, I wasn't going to graduate. We had to go to the dean of the CS college, and get her to make a special update to my student record so the grade would be recorded and I could graduate.

Everything ended up okay, because I got my degree, but I would have been a lot less stressed if Brian had help up his end of the deal, and worked on the project when it was due. I guess the real reason I got upset is because I counted him as a friend, and he totally screwed me. I don't think friends should do that to each other.

I realize that I bear most of the blame for causing my week long coding marathon, since I could have worked on the project without Brian, and probably got it done over the summer, but I was still going under the belief that we were going to do the project together, as a team thing.

To this day, Brian still hasn't told me that he has bailed on the project. He never told me he didn't want to do it, or wouldn't do it. That is just not the way you are supposed to treat friends.
Listening to: I Will Be Heard - Hatebreed - Preserverance (02:59)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

It's a trend

I always wondered if it was a one time thing. Maybe he just didn't take the work seriously because it was the summer, and he wasn't getting credit(so therefore couldn't fail). When I hear of programming positions that open up, I consider calling him to let him know, and maybe giving him a positive comment.

I wonder if I am just being childish and holding a grudge.

Then I see this. I am right on this one. My original stance is my current stance.

Never, ever, in a million years, will I work with this person again. Just look at the shit he brags about: Goober of the Year Award

What kind of jackass gets such a kick out of disrupting a training session? Great, glad you don't need the training. Someone else in the room did, and you prevented them from getting it. Good job. You're the head ass in the room.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Follow up on managed code controversy

Rico Mariani put it in words better than I can:
Note to reviewers of managed systems: If you want to make a framework -- any framework -- look bad, simply ask it to do nothing. It turns out pretty much all known frameworks are lousy at doing nothing. So "hello world" for instance is a great way to make a framework look like a pig.

Rico Mariani is an MS employee, working on .NET performance issues.

How bout that?
Listening to: landing - moby - XXX OST (03:43)

Friday, May 13, 2005

What a blast!

I rode the bike in to work today. The bridge was a little scary(like I expected). Once I got off 295, though, it was all great. I had a good ride in this morning. It took about an hour, but that was because I had to run to Mom's and drop off the title to the MR2(which is being donated today).

Courtney called me earlier and told me Tiff is in the hospital with abd. pain. It sounded like her gall bladder might be bad. At lunchtime, I rode down to visit with her. It was the least I could do, since she came and visited me & re about a hunnerd times. If she's still in the hospital when I head home, I am gonna stop and say hi again.

The ride to and from the hospital was pretty good. 9A is even more windy than 295 across the Buckman, so that was a little nervy, but it was no biggie.

I have decided that I am definitely going to get a Double Bubble windscreen. The stock screen just doesn't block any wind at all. Broderick gave me a check today for the stereo I sold him a while back; I think that money is all going towards the bike. That will get the fender eliminator, tank pad, and hopefully the windscreen too.

I am really excited about the ride home. I am almost out of gas, so that will be my first full tank of gas. The odo is up to about 155 or so now.

Listening to: Firestarter - The Prodigy - The Fat Of The Land (04:40)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Developer Summit is over

The 1st annual FNDS dev summit is over now. We spent the last three days meeting from 11-2 about dev stuff. It was a pretty good experience. Slow at times, but mostly worthwhile.

I talked to James today, and he has set aside some time for me to chat with him tomorrow about my status as an employee/contractor. It sounds like everything is going to be okay. That is a huge load off my mind.

Guess that's it for now.
Listening to: Way Away - Yellowcard - Ocean Avenue (03:22)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Installshield 11 is a powerful tool. You can do a lot of things with it, and for desktop deployment, it's probably really easy and efficient creating MSI's. Web apps are a little different. Setting permissions in IIS virtual directories is difficult. I actually had an easier time using the VS.Net installer(which is very feature-limited).

I have been beating my head against the wall creating an installshield script for three days. It's getting frustrating, but I think I have it licked now.

Friday, May 06, 2005

What is the deal?

Several times now, I have asked for your input in the form of comments. How come no one ever leaves a comment except for the occasional stranger? Where the hell is my family? This media is a two-way communications technology.

Get with the program, folks.
Listening to: Friends of Mine - Bowling for Soup - A Hangover You Don't Deserve (02:18)

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Project Raven v1

Last night, I installed frame sliders on my bike. For those of you who are cycle challenged, frame sliders are sacrificial plastic pieces installed on the left & right sides of the bike. Mine are black plastic, so they match the surrounding fairings very well.

I am really proud of the job I did installing them, too. It is the first time I have done any meaningful work on a motorcycle, and it came out Great! The 2" hole I had to cut on the right side fairing is about 2mm oversized for the slider puck, giving me the perfect amount of clearance. The hole is nearly centered, too; only about 1mm offset. Pretty impressive considering I positioned the hole using a little piece of bunched up masking tape.

Now that my bike is protected, I will feel much more comfortable getting out on real roads like 103rd St. and US 17. I think I will continue to avoid Blanding Blvd for a while, since they have the street surfaces all torn up and lots of uneven pavement.

It has been raining all morning, but here it is 3 pm, and the sun has come out! If the sun stays out and kinda dries the streets, I am going for a ride when I get home. Stoked!

Motorcycle Glossary:


The plastic pieces that form the 'body' of the motorcycle. These are the pretty painted pieces on the sides of the bike.

Slider Puck

The sacrificial plastic piece that bolts onto the slider's base. During a crash, this piece will be sliding against the road surface, preventing the frame from contacting the ground with force, and partially protecting the fairings on the bike.

Listening to: Twentythree - Yellowcard - Ocean Avenue (03:27)

Need a cool name

I need some kind of name for my bike. Something that reflects the mean look and power of my motorcycle. The paint scheme is called 'Raven', but I can't use just that, because everyone's black R6 is a Raven.

Suggestions are welcome, leave a comment with your name idea.
Listening to: Out on My Own - Keith Urban - Keith Urban/The Ranch (1 of 2) (04:56)

Reflections are fun!

I am learning a ton about the System.Reflection namespace this week. The other day, I used some reflection in a developer tool I wrote to dynamically set a property on an object.

Today, I am using reflection to execute a dynamic method, given only the method's name, and an xml file with the parameters for the method. I am building the parameter array from the xml data, and then calling the method using MethodInfo.Invoke().

I am having a blast. I knew this job would be a great learning opportunity for me. Rock on me!
Listening to: Give Me Novacaine - Green Day - American Idiot (Proper Retail) (03:26)

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Complete a referral, please

So, I decided to start doing this thing to get a free mp3 player. The deal is that I have to complete a free offer(I signed up for BMG music, and got 11 free cds and had to pay for just 1).

Then, I have to get five of you guys to sign up for one of the free offers. There are a large selection of offers to choose from, some of the coolest are the music, book, and video clubs.

Dad, I think you should join one of the book clubs. You only have to sign up and get the first deal(like 6 or 7 books for $1).

Anyway, to complete an offer, just go to this address:

Please make sure you complete the offer from this address, and not by typing in the url. If you don't use this link, I don't get credit.

Anyways, thanks for taking a look at the offers, and thanks even more if you complete an offer.

Things have been tiring lately

With Courtney and I both working, it seems like I only have like 20 minutes at home at night before we rack out. We have been getting up at 5:30, so around 9 or so, we are bed-bound.

At least I'm getting enough sleep, though.
Listening to: Out on My Own - Keith Urban - Keith Urban/The Ranch (1 of 2) (04:56)

Monday, May 02, 2005

My bike is Frickin' AWESOME!!!

I had a blast on my bike this weekend. We definitely made the right choice getting this bike. I was totally comfortable riding it. The bike wasn't a monster, like I feared. It's really easy to drive calmly on the bike, and you KNOW that there is a ton more power available when/if you need it.

I don't think I twisted the throttle more than 1/4 of the way the whole time I was on the bike, and I was definitely getting pushed back in the seat, and having to hold on to the bars.

I put gas in the bike at like 37 miles, because the light came on. I think the light came on due to a hard accel or decel, though, because it only took like 3.5 gals to fill. The tank holds about 4.6 gals, so I think the light wasn't supposed to come on for a few more miles. Plus, the light turned back off a minute or so after I noticed it.

Some really cool things I didn't know before:

  • No gas gauge, just an idiot light. To compensate, there is a special trip meter that is automatically activated when the gas light comes on, to let you know how long ago it came on.
  • There are helmet holders inside the cargo compartment on the bike, so I can hang my helmet off the back like an idiot
  • Riding is not nearly as scary as I thought it would be, although I haven't gone on any major roads yet, so that might be part of it

I'm having a hard time keeping my riding to a minimum until I get my frame sliders installed. Maybe I will work on that tonight. I have to get a couple of tools before I can do that, so I'll try to hit HD or Lowes today, on the way home. Wonder if Courtney and Mik will be up for that?

Crap return to work

Courtney is having a shitty day back at work. She found out that her subordinate is now her peer, and got a raise to the same level as Courtney(despite Re's 2 years advantage of experience). She is really freaked out about it.

I thought those bastards had changed their ways, but apparently they didn't.