journal for 2003-03-19


Work went slowly today, and I felt guilty for not getting lots of stuff done with my long-seeming day. Still, it wasn’t too bad.

I have two draft specs circulating, both of which will, I think, be approved soon. One of them is only for minor changes, but I’m going to use the opportunity to really clean up the i18n. Hopefully I can get that running in the UK, too, which would be nice. I will have come full circle! When I was first hired, my first project was to write something to log reactor use. The UK had a program to do it, but for some reason would not share the source with us. It was absurd.

Finally, I made an Access front-end. It was plagued with problems, mostly because Access is lousy; it was also partly because I didn’t have the same level of SQL Fu that I have now. I decided to rebel and write it in PHP. They since rewrote it as an Access database, but it’s got a number of relatively severe problems (in my opinion). My PHP solution (rewritten in Perl some time ago) will soon grow cooler, and hopefully take over, over there.

Of course, “my work” is now far beyond that kind of stuff. The other project is the interesting one, as it’s the one that’s going to start requiring web services (XML-RPC, probably) and db-stored code or dynamically loaded modules.

I also played around with the new version of the Chart module. At first, I was looking at GD::Graph, thinking that it would be useful for some interesting reports. I quickly ran into some of its annoying old limitations, and a few new ones. The most amazing is that GD::Graph can’t treat the x-axis as numeric, meaning that every data point is evenly distributed. It makes the system completely useless for real statistics!

In disgust, I figured that something must do useful charting in Perl. Searching CPAN, I stumbled across a new version (2) of Chart. It’s great! The docs are a PDF, but I can live with that since they’re very good. I’ve got some cool applications for error-bar charts in mind. Mmm.

I threw together a test, which I’ve adapted for home use. You can now track my weight. Yay? Eventually I’ll add body fat.

the gym

So, working out continues. I did a full hour on the elliptical machine tonight, burning (it said) 857 calories. Wow! I felt pretty weary when I finished, and my legs were rubbery, and one of my knees was angry. After a shower and a sit in the whirlpool and a little time to rest, though, I felt great. I felt better, in fact, than I sometimes do after an evening of cycling.

Yesterday, Gloria had advised me not to weigh myself right after exercise. She said, in fact, that the scale said that was a bad idea. I did it anyway, today, since I figure the control chart will drop it as an outlier if it’s a weird measurements. I’m almost worried that having a chart will drive me to get a little nutty with measurement intervals. I’ll get another one after this entry.

I feel good.

I think that working out is making my appetite smaller. This is totally OK with me. Today at lunch, I sat eating some (awesome) ramen. As I neared the end of the bowl, I thought, “Man, I’m full. Should I even finish this?”

Now I need to focus on eating only really good things and at good intervals.


Gloria is learning vi, largely because I keep trying to explain that it will change her life and give her a cookie. It’s a really hard piece of software to start using, and I think she’s doing really well, and it just tickles me. I like to see great tools get used, and I like to see my loved ones benefit from great tools.

Of course, I think vi and I are driving her nuts.

I’m doing my best to fight urges to tell her about really esoteric commands, and even some commands that I’d call “second string.” If she replaces a character, I have to shut up about ‘r’ or ‘~’. I wish I remembered how I learned it, so I could be more helpful. I think the key to learning vi is, as it is with many things, immersion.

Years ago, when I was learning CSS, I wrote a cool vi quick reference. I wish I knew what happened to it. I assume it’s lost. I should write a new one.

More importantly, I should write more Brief Guide content. I started (barely) a DNS guide, and then I want to do a email guide. Instead, I’m playing Sonic in five second bursts to try to unlock more Sonic. I’m OK with that.

Written on March 19, 2003