General Ramblings comments edit

Got home yesterday and noticed that the Roomba, which is normally parked on its Home Base charging, was parked… but not charging.

The Home Base has two lights - one light is for “power” (that is, power to the Home Base) and one is “charging” (which lights up when the Roomba is charging itself). The “power” light was flashing and the “charging” light wasn’t on.

Tried docking it a couple of times but Roomba doesn’t recognize the Home Base as a valid source of energy anymore. Tried plugging Roomba in directly, but Roomba’s own charging light sort of flickers rather than staying on strong.

I think there’s something wrong with the power adapter. That’s the only thing I can think of. I filed a help question with the iRobot support people and we’ll see how that goes. I don’t want to buy another power brick. Those damn things are like $50.

After futzing with the Roomba, I went in to see what Jenn was up to. She was watching television, but for some reason had the VCR on… huh?

Oh, I see - that’s because the digital cable box died. Great. The display on it goes black then flashes “88:88” and goes black again. No signal coming through. Unreal.

I’d blame a power surge, but the cable box was plugged into a surge protector and no other components plugged into that protector were affected (thank God - my TV’s on that one). Maybe just a bad electronic coincidence. Regardless, Jenn will take the cable box in and get it swapped for a new one, and I’ll have to wait and see what iRobot says about the power adapter.

General Ramblings comments edit

Pretty rockin’ weekend this weekend. Both days I got up at like 7:00a (just couldn’t sleep anymore… for some reason I can’t really “sleep in” like I used to) and played Prince of Persia: Warrior Within until 10:00a or whenever I felt that it was time to take a shower.

On Saturday Jenn and I went to the comic store and then were going to follow that up with a trip to the mall to pick up stocking stuffers when we got caught in probably the worst traffic I’ve ever seen. I had to get off the freeway and take back roads for like an hour to get the five miles or whatever ridiculous short distance it was from us to the mall, then proceeded to sit for another half hour just getting into the parking lot, at which point we decided to skip the whole thing and go home. Another 45 minutes or so and we had escaped the clutches of holiday capitalism.

Oh, we did stop at Target, though, and we picked up a couple of those buckets of frozen drink mix you can get. They had “Frosty Eggnog” and “Mint Chocolatini” that both sounded good. A quick trip to the liquor store had those setting up in the freezer outside.

Saturday night didn’t really do much anything. Watched some TV. That’s about it.

Sunday, after my round of gaming I went outside to put the protective cover up on the awning. Good thing, too, because it got snowy and did a little freezing rain action - don’t need that gumming up the works.

Finished that up and after a ridiculously long wait for the cable guy to show up and fix Stu’s cable modem, Stu and Tiff came over. We went to Qdoba for lunch, then came back and while Jenn and Tiff made sugar cookies Stu and I played Soul Calibur 2 and Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour (where Stu got an awesome +28 score in a single round of golf - harsh). The SC2 was a lot of fun - we played the “Weapons Master” mode and finished it the first round through (once you do that you unlock all these “extra missions” that we didn’t want to get into at the time). It validated my belief that enough strategic button mashing can, in fact, make you successful. Plus, it makes me want to get the new Soul Calibur 3.

We busted out the frozen drink buckets to try them out. Both are really good, though most of us happened to go for the “Frosty Eggnog.” (Don’t worry, Mint Chocolatini, I have not forgotten you!)

Woke up this morning and noticed that the kitties hadn’t eaten much food, so I didn’t need to add any new to their bowls. Walked downstairs to find one of the plates of sugar cookies totally uncovered and one cookie in several pieces on the floor. Asked Jenn about it and she said she had trouble keeping the Tiny Cat out of the cookies while she was making them… turns out those cookies, covered or not, were not safe from the ravages of that little turd. Cleaned up the cookie bits, put the remaining cookies away, and now… work.

I have only Monday through Wednesday to work this week, though, and Friday everyone’s coming over for the 24: Season Four marathon at my house, which I’m totally looking forward to. Christmas spirit, here I come!

General Ramblings comments edit

This is more for the folks involved in this debacle, but I’m going to just put it out there. Those who know what I’m talking about, great. Those that don’t, sorry.

A while ago, one member of my family (“Family Member A”) said something to another member (“Family Member B”). There were actually a lot of “somethings” said, and it has caused a rift in the family continuity.

Whether Member A was justified or not in saying those things is between Member A and Member B to work out. I have my feelings on the matter, but they don’t have anything to do with it. To both of them (and the rest of the family), know this now:

I will not have this ridiculous awkwardness at my wedding.

If this shit is not figured out and addressed by the time Jenn and I send out invitations, not everyone will be invited. And I will not regret that decision.

That is all.

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.