journal for 2002-08-12


I was expecting today to be pretty hectic, as it begins my Week of Planning for my next project. Unfortunately, one of the key people who needs to give me spec-like information wasn’t available, so I did other work and even got out only an hour late!

I did a bit of overhauling of MASH today, both to the mail-checking script and to the still-in-its-infancy object model. Weak references may be my salvation! Hard-headed and so-called requirements from our UK branch put a halt to the actual completion of my next set of tasks; I need to wait for management to decide what it wants, and then I can finish building it. Oh, if programmers ran the world! (Man, that’s a scary, scary thought.)

I ate “cup noodles” for lunch, and they were really pretty good, even though I didn’t wait long enough for them to cool and burned my tongue. Making lunch at work is much easier than making it at 0630, so when I revert to PB&J, I think I’ll try to do it by taking the bread, peanut butter, and jelly to work and making the sammiches there. It’s a little silly, but my brain is not even at 30% yet when I leave the house, mornings.

We got the Office XP installation media in, today, and I was able to get it installed on a few systems. The key is, they’re the systems of people for whom I used to generate daily or weekly reports. Now that they have Office XP and can run the (XP-dependant) scripts on their own, I can sleep in on late days! Oh yeah. Laziness is truly a virtue.

Speaking of the Great Virtues of the Perl Programmer, I guess I forgot to record the Seed that I have planted. Several of our engineers have begun writing custom add-ons to Office for various scientific or statistical purposes. They’re using VBA, and they all (almost) seem to hate it. I’ve given one of them an installation of Vim and Perl and a brief crash course in some of the myriad ways that Perl surpasses VB is usability and power. I’m hoping that, within a few months, I can have a good number of the engineers moved over to Perl, and I can start letting them access the object classes for my custom software.

This is the kind of development environment that would really make me enjoy working as a coder. I think that, given a few more large projects under my belt, I can probably try to muscle this kind of thing into place. Every company needs way more programmers than it has (except for, say, software companies.) The key is that they don’t all need to be full-time programmers.

So, we’ll see how my Plot To Become a Software Engineer goes in the future. My current goal is just to get specs written.

the house of doom

My eldest sister and her husband were in town this weekend, and Gloria and I helped them paint and redecorate my parents’ TV room. The room, chronically cluttered and covered in wiring, is now tame and organized. We contemplated starting a pool on how long that would last, but I think it would’ve been too depressing when we all overshot by picking “eight hours.”

I also did a lot of cleaning-out of my old bedroom, which was weird. There was a ton of stuff that I didn’t really want to have in my apartment, but that I also didn’t want to consign to oblivion. I made a good division of the stuff I’d take and that I’d toss, though, and I’ll finish following through on that soon.

While we were out getting furniture at IKEA, I picked up four “BITS” metal wall hangings. They’re 40 x 58 cm, and four is about perfect for holding all of our magnetic poetry. We don’t know where to hang them, yet.

MASH, etc

When I got my new phone through work, my old one became relatively useless, so I sent it to y0shi, one of the semi-regulars on my IRC channel of choice. He asked what I wanted and I said, “Eh. You can get me something from my wishlist.” I figured he’d send me a novel or something, but he sent me MAS*H Season Two! Just when I thought I was done watching complete series of things on DVD… but, hey, I’m A-OK with that. (You know, I’m not sure whether I ever mentioned that I’d been given the first season by my parents. Now I have.)

Speaking of DVDs, my Black Adder DVDs came, Friday. UPS denied having received any rerouting request, but since Gloria was home, I figured she could receive them. UPS didn’t come until roughly 1900, though, so I was home—and impatient—when they came. I’ve watched about a third of the content, so far. Good stuff. I still haven’t decided what kind of feedback to leave the seller.


I installed mod_perl on cheshirecat, Friday. After a lot of kicking and scratching, everything seems to be working just dandily—except for my install of dailystrips-web, which is acting VERY strangely. (As it’s there for my boss, not me, I didn’t notice. Upon being told, my day was not ruined.)

Then, this morning, I decided that the brightest thing I could do—and, note, this was at 0730 or so—would be to upgrade cheshirecat’s OpenSSL installation. I did not think about the fact that upgrading SSL would kill my ssh session dead. It also killed Apache. I got Gloria to reboot cheshire, and Apache came back, but ssh did not. Now, things are all better, and that’s good.

Written on August 12, 2002