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While working on scripted deploys for websphere I've had to do some python programming (well, actually jython). It's just to do little functions, but it's been pretty fun. No autocomplete or syntax highlighting because I'm doing most of my work on the server in vi, but I'm finding it easy to spot any syntax mistakes errors and I can almost guess at the functions available to me.
Like the ruby code I've played with, it seems nice and clean. The only thing that I've got to figure out is how to write unit tests because I hate developing with print statements...
If feels like the difference between python and java is the same as java to C. Why do we program in things like java when there are things like jython and jruby? I can understand not wanting to swap out the infrastructure, but if you can just switch the language to something faster and cleaner, why not? The java eco system seems to be moving towards what they have in .Net: write in whatever language, we'll convert it to the same byte code and run it on the server.
A couple of random helpful things that I've noticed lately that I thought were pretty cool.
1) When using google calendar, if you use the scroll wheel (or 2 finger scroll with a mac), it will scroll "pages" in the calender. For example, when you're in the month view and you scroll, it will change months. Pretty handy.
2) In firefox, I've known for a long time that you can get to the url / location bar by ctrl-l (or command-l) and to the search bar using ctrl-k (command-k). With the search box you can set it up to search different search engines / sites (google, yahoo!, wikipedia). What I didn't know is that you can change the search engine using the keyboard by using the up / down arrows and the alt key (command key on the mac). Now I can easily switch what I'm searching without using the mouse and finding that part in the ui.
I enjoy little things like that. ;-)
I love lego. Some of my fondest memories of childhood toys were playing with it for hours upon hours... so much fun. Of course there are sites like lugnet dedicated to all things lego... I should have looked before now. The cool part? You can find retro sets that you used to play with including build instructions. Some ones that I remember playing with were sets like lunar rocket launcher, cosmic cruiser and modular space transport.
Now all I have to do is get it all from my sister... I wonder what I'll have to do / trade in order to get all that lego back. :-/
I've got less and less patience for companies that don't have a good website. I'm understanding if you're a small business if you don't have much - a single page with some contact info is a good start. It doesn't matter to me how much content you have, as long as it works. Quality over quantity.
Thankfully their site has a feedback form that I could find (unlike some places) and the form actually worked. It's sad, but I was surprised that it did. I sent them snarky feedback and outlined all the steps that I went though to try to get the information I was looking for our their site before giving up. Even if your site isn't going to have 5 9's of uptime, or have automated testing or anything else, do at least a manual smoke test in some browsers in some OS's. Anything less is just unprofessional.
One thing that I'm trying to do is for when Laura comes home, I want the house to feel cozy and welcoming. This time of year that means the christmas lights are on (yes, I know that it's January), supper is made or cooking away, the fire is on, the house is a comfortable temp, and I've made at least an half-assed attempt at tidying up. Part of that means that I also try and make supper interesting: either fun dishes, comfort food, or new dishes displayed nicely.
Yes, I know that makes me sound like a house wife. I get that.
But it's effort. I think that I've got to keep on trying so things don't get boring and fall apart. Laura mentioned to me that one of her classmates is breaking up with her husband after like 2 years and that just made me really sad. I would think that when people are together - at the start at least - they think that things will always work out. I have no idea how things break down like that and I have no intention of finding out. If that means making food that looks good, I'm okay with that.
A lot of the time I blog about how to write software better: how to increase quality and decrease costs by doing "good engineering" like unit tests, CI, deliver early, etc. Those were all "how's", but I never talked about the "why's". What's the motivating factor for doing things better?
When you get right down to it, people strive for "better" because if you don't, someone else will do it better and all your customers will get up and leave. But what happens when your customers can't leave? When you've got a monopoly all that business side motivation goes away and the goals of the business change. You're no longer trying to do better to protect from competition, but you're actually trying to figure out how to charge the customer the most money without them just giving up. The only conclusion that I can come to is, no matter what business you're in, is the obvious "monopolies are bad". Clichés sucks.
A couple of things I'll try to keep in mind when traveling are to always ask the price and to be able to understand the answer.
One story was a group of people (who will remain nameless) were traveling in Rome and decided that they wanted to stop for some gelato. They found a quiet place and ordered 5 gelato's and a beer for the group. They didn't look at any menu's, they just picked stuff through the counter. I believe that the bill was 78 euros which today works out to ~ 125 $. Always ask the price before ordering.
Another story from another friend where they were traveling and many times their flight would make stops in Dubai. While waiting for their connecting flight, they'd make a stop at starbucks and get a coffee and some cake. Since this was never a destination, they'd never have any of the local currency or understand the conversion so they would always just pay with their credit card. This recent time they must gone to a different starbucks that didn't take credit cards. Thankfully the starbucks took canadian dollars. The staff did the conversion and it worked out to 25$. The friend was astounded how much they had been paying coffee and cake all this time. Knowing the price isn't any good if you don't understand it.
I was not amused by the Ottawa transit strike before. I'm furious now that they voted "no" to the cities offer. How many places that you can think of where you can tell your boss what time you will work? Who wears the pants in that relationship? In the past it doesn't seem like it was the city. That leads you to having sites like fireottawabusdrivers.com. The issue seems to be the union vs the rest of the city.
I'm pretty pissed right now, but what makes it worse is when I find quotes likes this
you cant compare a doctor with a driver- they are on 2 completely differently playing fields. they dont have to endure the hardships bus drivers doHardships...
The thing that sucks about this strike is that the people who are the most vulnerable are the ones most effected by this. It's disgusting. Sick, elderly, business just scrapping by, people who don't have access to transportation. The union can't see past their noses.
Dear Drivers: I hope that the best offer you get is less than the current one on the table. I hope that this bankrupts as many of you as businesses that you are bankrupting. I hope that as many of you lose your jobs as you've caused others to lose. I hope you stay out till June.
Sometimes I spend far too much time on the flickr last 7 days interesting page just looking at photos. Getting ideas on composition, lighting, techniques... One thing that occurred to me this morning is that for like 95%+ of the shots that I really like from that page, they all have had some editing done with photoshop (aka PS). I've got nothing against PS, but that's going to be another set to techniques that I'll have to learn and get ramped up on. It just doesn't feel like that would be a fast process at all.
I don't know if it's because I enjoy the "style", or because I'm rationalizing it because I'm lazy, but I enjoy the straight-out-of-the-camera look to photos. It just feels more "honest" if that makes any sense. You know that's actually what it looked like, not because someone sat in front of PS for a couple of hours making a composite of totally different things.
Having said all that I'll probably get a book on PS and start tweaking some photos - sharpening here, blurring there... If I go into the effort of taking a good shot, then it would be a shame if it just needed 5 more minutes of tweaking to make it the best it can be. :-/
I come from a family of car guys. The type of guys who can identify make / model / year from something like a headlight. Guys who buy auto trader for casual reading. Guys who spend most of their day wondering how to put a bigger engine on something. I'm not one of those guys.
Recently I went with my brother to princess auto. He was buying a sockets that were the size of my fist. I bought a blow torch and was quite excited about it. When I told my brother in the store that I plan to use it for crème brûlée he told me to shush because he didn't want anyone else to hear. For Christmas my dad and brothers got things like torque and adjustable wrenches while I got really nice cutting boards from 3 different people.
Some times I wonder why I'm so different then the rest of my family. It's nothing that I'm concerned about, but it's funny how people raised in the same house can have interests that are so vastly different.