playswithfire

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Ireland Pictures!

Ireland pictures are up here. I tried to pick the best bits from each day. Some of the descriptions may need editing; I was messing around in iPhoto and I think I did something wrong.

This was an incredible trip. I can’t say enough good things about it - we had a great time with wonderful friends. I’d go back in a heartbeat.

BOQ

Buddy and I are in Bachelor Officers Quarters until Sunday while Kat is in North Carolina on vacation eating Chick-Fil-A and I am not jealous at all about this. Really.

This apparently means the dog wakes up at 5:10 AM regardless of what we’ve been doing for the last, oh, 8 weeks. The morning routine is pretty straightforward:

  1. Dog wakes up at some unknown time in the morning.
  2. Dog waits for what seems to him an interminable amount of time (5.2 seconds) before finding exposed skin and licking incessantly.
  3. I wake up wondering what the heck is happening.
  4. Oh it’s the dog (about a minute - I’m slow in the morning).
  5. Go to the kitchen.
  6. Feed the dog (1/3 cup food + 1/3 cup brown rice - about a minute and a half).
  7. Let the dog out.
  8. Take the dog to the park for a rousing game of Fetch and Chase Stuff (30-45 minutes, depending on what other dogs are around).
  9. Walk home.
  10. Play a rousing game of Sit On The Couch And Sigh Occasionally.
  11. Prepare a Kong bone with treats inside for the dog.
  12. Put dog in crate and go to work.

The lunch routine is the same thing, just start at step 7 above. Sometimes we skip step 8 depending on how much time I have to spend at lunch.

Dinner is just steps 7 to 10.

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I kind of enjoy the structure to my day. The break in the middle to let the dog out is a great way to get out of the office.

Getting Unblocked.

Finally fixed a bug that’s been bothering me for a day. I’m amazed at how much different the programming is “up here.”

In many ways interacting with the operating system is a fairly straightforward thing: There are some system calls, they return some errors. In CoreFoundation and Foundation, we layer more sophisticated behaviors around those calls to make them easier to use, or to provide new facilities.

As soon as a user gets involved, things get infinitely more complicated. Interaction must be taken in to account. Designing the user experience takes time and effort, and designing and writing APIs to support a user experience or interface take a lot of time and effort.

Still, I’m having fun. I miss the low-level stuff, but I’m getting immersed in the things that I’m working on now. It helps.

Still Hate the Gym.

Yup. Still not a big fan of the gym, but on Sunday I went to the 9:30 AM spin class because I noticed during the ski weekend that while I’m a better skier, Katherine’s in much better shape than I am. This is a shocker, I know.

I made it through the whole class, but I was definitely thoroughly worked over at the end of the session. I suspect despite my aversion to the gym, I’ll be going back next Sunday.

Ultimate Getaway Car…

…for a bank robbery in San Francisco:

A Toyota Prius with a KQED bumper sticker.

Third Day of Work

…and it’s already pretty interesting.

The first day was spent doing the usual getting set up. The second day was trying to get my mind around the sources and straighten out some problems with the version control server.

Today was actually fixing a couple of bugs and doing a code review. I’m excited that I’ve been able to hit the ground running and participate as much as I have already.

I have to admit, I was extremely nervous about changing groups but I’m feeling much better about this whole thing after today.

Great Ski Weekend

Just got back from a fantastic ski weekend in Tahoe; the first of the season for Kat and me. We took Friday off and drove up Thursday night. We skied at Sugar Bowl on Friday and Squaw Valley on Saturday.

I made my obligatory run whistling “Tea for Two” which my grandfather taught me was a pretty good cadence for making turns (and he was right). The whistling and the skiing are both bits of family tradition.

Getting Started. Again.

I told myself I’d start writing again; but I had to set things up first. I also didn’t want to dink around with customizing things, so I installed WordPress and picked up a likely-seeming theme online.

I’ll try to republish some of my old content and then get started with some code and cooking entries.

Envisioning Information

I recently had a chance to hear Edward Tufte speak about (primarily) information presentation and his techniques and critiques of the same. He’s a wonderfully dynamic speaker with a wide range of interests and all of his interests clearly influence everything he brings his eye and mind to. I’m really glad I went, as it’s given me many many things to think about in my own work.

Perhaps most interesting to me right now (and perhaps to him, since it seems to be what he’s updating the most lately) is the idea of sparklines; a method of displaying a data series in a small, word-size chunk inline with the text. Given a combination of the Cocoa text system and some other stuff I don’t think it would be terribly hard to integrate these into a computer program. A quick Google search yields some implementations in various languages.

The thing about the implementations that intrigues me is that very few of them incorporate any kind of interactivity in them - they’re all static. There are all sorts of interesting things to be done with the sparkline area including the overlay of sets outlined in the article that I’m surprised people haven’t brought that in yet. I think I can add some value to the sparkline concept by including this kind of additional visualization.

I picked up another set of copies of his books which is good as I can’t seem to find the copies I already own (I’ll have to dig them out of the boxes at some point). It’s dense, challenging reading but they’re beautifully printed and I even had one of the copies autographed.

He also slipped in a couple of comments about getting a Macintosh and leaving your G4 PowerBook during the break - I’m not sure if he’s a Macintosh user, but one can always hope…

Extended Tour of Duty

It must not be my day or something.

Last night I managed to injure my ankle through my own stupidity. Ouch. Pain. Anguish. Frustration. Especially in light of the impending ski vacation. Fortunately it appears to be getting better fairly quickly.

Today at Caffe Macs I managed to get a little bit off balance and spill an entire bowl of scalding hot soup on my hand. This is, mind you, the first time I’ve had soup at the cafeteria in something close to a year.

It’s definitely Monday.