General Ramblings comments edit

In general daily life, I find that I run across two kinds of people: those who think before they act, and those that act before they think. The folks who think before they act (henceforth “thinkers”) seem to be easier to deal with than the folks who act first (“actors”). I appreciate the thinkers. I have a problem with the actors.

The actors never seem to realize that you can’t always necessarily fix bad action with more action. Quantity doesn’t make up for quality.

Let’s apply this to development. Say you’re writing some business logic with an API that will be consumed by other developers. Even if it’s simple logic, stop and think: If you were the consumer of the API, what would you like out of it? Is it robust enough to support all the cases it’s going to need to? (Did you ask your potential consumers to verify that?) What about doc? Consistency of naming and usage across methods and classes? Don’t make it so that some methods return true on success and others return false…

Or how about defect fixing: The actor will start coding before figuring out all the ramifications of what they’re doing, then realize that the fix they just made actually breaks three more things. The thinker will follow the related code paths through and apply a more correct fix.

Sounds common sense, right? You’d be surprised.

Got a question on how something in a standard framework (.NET, Java, etc.) works? Stop and think! Dropping your laptop on a coworker’s desk and interrupting them with a question or five isn’t always the best way to go. You could try searching Google - chances are you’ll find what you’re looking for. Are there docs you could look at? It might take a little more time, but maybe you’ll learn something along the way… and the stuff you learn will probably help you out in the future (and save your coworkers some time).

Now, I’m not saying that people shouldn’t help other people. I’m all for everyone carrying their own weight toward a common goal, and if sometimes folks need a little help, that’s fine. What I’m saying is… help shouldn’t always be the first resort. Try to figure it out. Stop and think for a second. Still can’t get it? Stop and think just a little longer - this is the part most folks miss. Your first failure does not necessarily equal “blocked.” If you still can’t get it after puzzling on it for a while and you’ve exhausted the standard methods of helping yourself (doc, search, etc.), then ask for help. Folks will be much happier to help you if you have already researched the topic yourself and legitimately came up dead-ended.

Building something with weak requirements? Stop and think! If you don’t know what you’re building, you can’t build it. Even in an Agile environment you have to have some sort of direction before coding. Too many times people code before planning. I’m sure you’ve seen it - spaghetti code that makes absolutely no sense, grown in upon itself without hope of ever being untangled. Stop! Think!

Got a small feature that needs to be added? Don’t just tack code on the side. Refactor your code if you have to. Test it! Especially in the case of an API, you can’t just throw some code in there without testing it - frequent releases of your API to fix bugs that appeared because you didn’t test your new feature not only causes churn in consuming products but also makes people lose confidence in the API.

Yeah, that was more of a rant than anything else, but I’m really tired of actors. At the store, at the sandwich shop, in the tech world… come on, people. Stop and think. I promise I won’t dock you for taking a couple extra seconds to get it right the first time.

General Ramblings comments edit

Saturday was spent in Woodland, WA, touring the Empress Palace, a location that Jenn and I ended up reserving for our wedding.

It’s a beautiful place, currently decorated for the holiday season, and, frankly, we couldn’t beat the price for what we got. Paying up front got us a 10% discount, and Jenn won a drawing for another $500 off.

The date’s set for October 14, 2006. I’m sure we’ll have plenty to fill our time between now and then, but at least the venue (for both the ceremony and reception) is settled.

media, movies comments edit

Went with Stu and Tif to see Aeon Flux this weekend.

Now, I’m a fan of the cartoon. I admit I came in thinking (hoping) that they’d stay faithful to it and reproduce the coolness (and oddness) that the cartoon renders.

I was disappointed.

It’s not that Charlize Theron did a bad job - she didn’t. She was pretty good as Aeon. It wasn’t that the premise was bad - it wasn’t. They came up with a reasonable plot with respect to the cartoon. It wasn’t even bad effects - they worked in the cool gadgets and some of the more odd things the cartoon had to offer tech-wise.

It’s just that… well, it’s like they said when they were making the thing, “Hey, we can be 100% faithful to the cartoon with this movie, except where we can’t be totally faithful. Then… aw, fuck it. Half-ass the thing and call it a day.”

The cartoon felt rich and intriguing. The movie felt sort of hollow. I didn’t feel for any of the characters. I didn’t get to like them. I didn’t care why they were doing what they were doing. It very much felt like it was just going through the motions.

If you see it, do it on a rental. I might even wait until it’s off the new release wall at the video store and pay your buck. You’d do better, though, to pick up the cartoon and watch Aeon in her full glory and pretend the live action version just never happened.

downloads, vs, coderush comments edit

The new version is out and is primarily a bug fix release - hopefully some alleviation of problems for the VS 2005 users.

Fixed bug that would cause VS 2005 to throw an exception on shutdown if the CR_Documentor window had been displayed during the session.

Fixed bug that would display a security warning in the CR_Documentor window for VS 2005 users. CR_Documentor now executes the preview in the “Local Intranet” security zone.

Go get it!

Big thanks to Max and the rest of the DevExpress support team for being so responsive and pointing me in the direction for the exception-on-shutdown bug as well as for testing it out for me to make sure it was fixed. Also thanks to Scott Grosch and Chuck McGavern for reporting the bugs and helping test - if folks don’t tell me something’s wrong, I can’t fix it!