journal for 2003-08-04

workin’ late

It’s about 2300, and I got home about an hour ago. I walked through the hot sticky dark fog. It rained earlier, which just help make things hotter. Musikfest is going on, so the combined heat of a zillion bodies is warming the town up. Some idiot cyclist, riding on the road with no light or protective equipment, nearly ran me down. I hope for a swift end to Musikfest.

I’m hoping that tonight was the latest night I should expect this week, but I don’t think I’m going to have a lot of out-the-door-at-four days. I’ve got a lot of coding to do, a lot of documentation to write, a lot of internal auditing to do, and who knows what else will turn up.

I was up late yesterday working on a few things. I did a bit more work on replacing the framework of our intranet site at work. (It’s a real mess right now, largely built on FrontPage extensions. Ugh!) Mostly, though, I worked on putting together a presentation explaining what MASH is and how it can (and, to an extent, will) be used in the future. I think it went pretty well, but I think the people who could most benefit from it weren’t there. That was a little upsetting and a little disappointing.

I want to get a copy of Keynote to play with, but I have no real use for it other than very occasional presentations and, well, play. A hundred dollars is too much for messin’-around software. I’ll just play with it next time I’m at the Apple Store.

Today I stayed late to reinstall MS SQL on the database server. The previous installation refused to let us change the run-as user. Why? Who knows. A few people on USENET had reported this problem; no one had a solution. Now it’s running correctly as the right user, but the control console has an error on start. I’m hoping I can fix it with a bit of mucking around. What a piece of crap! Give me pgSQL any day.

At least it seemed that all the databases were working. At one point, I was convinced (for at least ten seconds) that I’d accidentally deleted the main production information database. That would have been incredibly bad. Fortunately, I was just misreading something.

The MS SQL server is on Win2003 Server. When you open the “log off” or “shut down” menu in W2k3S, the screen fades to greyscale, which is kind of fun. Then, when you hit “OK” to shut down, it goes back to full color and fades again. WTF? What is wrong with these programmers?

Tomorrow I’ll probably start work on replicating the database to Cardiff, again. It’s not my favorite thing to work on.


The “company picnic” was Saturday at Dorney Park. I enquote “company picnic” because it’s not very company-oriented or very picnic-oriented. There was some free food, and I ran into several co-workers, but that’s it. Basically, the company gave us free tickets to Dorney.

I think it’s lame. I’d rather have a fun company picnic at a nice field somewhere with a tent and frisbee and a keg or three. Sack races, stupid prizes, and talking with people you barely know so that you know them better. I don’t mind free tickets to Dorney, but… how does that really help morale, or a sense of comradery?

Gloria and I went with Jennifer (Gloria’s sister) and her two sons, Keegan and Dalton. Keegan and Dalton are frighteningly cute and well-behaved kids—at least when we’re around. At their worst, they’re still better than the average kid their ages (in my unvast experience with kids their age). Their ages, by the way, are five and four respectively, I believe.

While Jennifer and Gloria rode big roller coasters, the boys and I rode little things and slow things. Occasionally, I just hung out. It was chill, and we all had a good time.


After Dorney, Gloria and I hit the mall. First, we got dinner, courtesy of Gloria. We ate Chik-fil-a. Man, it was good. I dig their sammiches.

I wanted to look for an 802.11 access point. We went to Best Buy and Circuit City. Both had wireless “broadband routers” and “firewalls,” but no simple APs. Sunday, we tried Staples and found the same situation—only more expensive. Finally, we went back to Best Buy. I bought a D-Link DI-624 and turned off the firewall and NAT stuff. It works pretty well, although the signal doesn’t reach the bedroom. I’m not very concerned about that, as I don’t intend to do any computing in the bedroom any time soon. If it becomes important, I can always put up an AP in the middle of the apartment.

I’m not sure if it works in the kitchen, yet.


I feel like my understanding of Perl, and coding in general, is getting a good bit stronger as I read more about coding and play more with code.

I started to write a Case class this evening while waiting on SQL install tasks. I didn’t do anything fabulous, but I felt like things just made more sense. I think that next I’ll (finally) read Design Patterns. I was so excited to get that book, and then I only read the first chapter. I’ve seen it mentioned so many times lately, though, that I think I should really try to get through it.

Then maybe I’ll can get back to re-learning good C. I want to be a good programmer. As it stands, I can at least claim to be on the right side of mediocre!

Written on August 4, 2003