We’ve gotten to that QA stage in the project where for the last several days all I’ve done at work is fix minor typographical errors and, like, the alignment of columns in tables.

Somehow, that’s not too exceptionally stimulating. Particularly when the errors are all in bits of code that I had no part in writing. Fixing a small thing becomes a painful ordeal - search through the code to find out where the errant bit is (keeping in mind that each developer on the project does everything differently, so there’s no real consistent pattern to any of it), make the update, fire up the app and verify the fix, then do the “paperwork” of filing the defect resolution and such in the defect tracking system.

All that means a 15 second fix takes half an hour.

In the meantime, my mind is totally wandering because it’s about as exciting as data entry. There’s no problem to be solved, there’s no new code to write (and in many cases, it’s not a code fix at all, but a resource file fix - so it’s updating XML, not code).

I’m having a pretty difficult time. I think it’d be a little better if I was fixing defects in my own code, but I’m not - it’s other peoples’ stuff. (At this point there are no open defects filed against my stuff, otherwise I’d be doing those.)

As I go through this, I’m realizing that once a problem is solved - even if the code isn’t totally written - I’m done being excited about it. My fun is in solving the problem. Sometimes that ends with the solution architecture. Sometimes it involves coming up with a slick way to implement the thing. But the nitpicky stuff - no joy there.

Now, that said, I’m almost as big on closure as I am on problem solving. I like finishing things. When a significant module is done in a project or when the project is done, I’m pretty stoked about it. That drive for closure gets me through the rote parts of the bits I’m working on.

The problem I’m having here is that fixing typos neither offers problem solving nor closure.

Perhaps I am not caffeinated enough. Maybe I should address that.

downloads comments edit

I was messing around the other day with ASCII text generators like this one when I thought I’d combine that with the power of MSN Messenger. But how to address the font kerning issue? ASCII text art needs a fixed-width font.

The solution? Draw in emoticons! The Emotifier was thus born.

Let’s use, for example, the word “JAM” - Emotify it, paste it into MSN Messenger, and you get:

Emotified Jam

How crazy is that?

Here you go - try it for yourself:


A couple of notes: First, due to the max length of a Messenger message, it turns out you can really only get four characters in there, so I’ve limited the above demo to four characters in length. The script itself will do more. Second, it only supports letters, numbers, and space, and the following punctuation: !@\#\$%\^&\*()

One other (sort of important) note: The recipient’s chat window needs to be opened wide enough to see the whole width of the message or it may come in garbled because of line wrapping. Sorry, guys, there’s no “nowrap” I can throw on this one.

Like it? Want it? Get it.

Get it: emotifier.js

blog comments edit

I’m looking at different blog packages and trying to determine what people like and don’t like about their current blog software. If you have a blog (or if you would like to have a blog), please take a sec and fill in my six-question survey to tell me what you think is good or bad about their blog packages. What do you like? What don’t you like? Old survey has been removed.

I think my new favorite restaurant is Quizno’s. I’m not even really a “sandwich guy,” but I never really get tired of eating at Quizno’s. I went there for lunch today, and if Jenn told me we were having it for dinner tonight, I’d be cool with that.

It’s actually been kind of a staple in the new diet that Jenn and I have been on for a couple of months. I think we eat at Quizno’s once or twice a week at least. And I’m doing well - I checked last night and I’m down like 10 pounds in the last month. I’m going to be, like, the Jared of Quizno’s. They should just give me my sandwiches for free and in return I’ll pimp their stuff.

Since I haven’t heard for a week on what the story is with my TV, I called the warranty company to find out.

I ended up speaking with Dolores, a very nice lady who was probably the most helpful person I’ve talked to yet in this ordeal.

Apparently, the warranty company hasn’t heard anything from the TV repair shop confirming that the set is unfixable. Dolores submitted a request for a status update from the “authorizations department” and I should be getting a call back by Friday. If I don’t hear from them, I should call them to find out what’s what.

I inquired about the whole process, and here’s what I understand it to be:

If there’s something wrong with your warranty-covered appliance, they first try to repair the unit. If the cost of repair will be greater than 85% of the cost of a new unit, they first do a bunch of research to see if they can get the parts and such at a lower cost and bring it to under 85% of the new unit cost. Failing that, they move to “buyout/replacement.” At this stage, they have a week to evaluate whether they can find a “comparable unit” to replace the broken item with. If they can, you get a replacement item. If they can’t, they refund your purchase price with applicable sales tax, excluding the cost of the extended warranty proper.

So: repair, replace, refund. That, as Dolores’s Great Uncle Enoch would say, is “the whole schtick.”

We’re in buyout/replacement phase, so I should already have heard back. Something has slipped through the cracks, so we’re nudging the authorization department to get them going on this.

In all honesty, I’m hoping for the refund. I’ve been researching TVs like mad lately. I joined Consumer Reports online to see what they say about TVs, I’ve been reading the AV Science Forum to see what other owners have to say…

I’ve pretty much settled on LCD-based technology. I don’t fancy the screen burn-in that plasma can provide when gaming, and the DLP “rainbow effect” has turned me off of that. I’d go with LCoS, but it’s so expensive there’s no way. So, LCD. I considered a direct-view LCD, but the most I can afford would be like a 32” one, which is too small. So I’m in LCD rear projection land.

Looking at those sets, I’m liking the Sony series. The existing owners seem pretty happy, and I do have a certain brand-affinity for Sony. Aside from this TV issue of late, they’ve never let me down, and I’m hesitant to really blame Sony for this one - it’s a technology issue common to sets that size, not limited to Sony. The leading sets right now are the KDF-55XS955 and the KDF-60XS955, 55” and 60” sets, respectively. The Live Color feature on the XS series sets seems to be a make-it-or-break-it feature for many of the existing owners, and the ability to do gamma correction and whatnot in the user menus (that is, without having to wade through the service tech menus) is a big plus.

I’ve never been a fan of the whole rear projection thing, but I’ve seen these in the stores and they’re pretty nice. It’s unfortunate that there’s really only one [very expensive] LCD set on the market that does a full 1080 resolution natively (without scaling down), but I don’t have the $13K to drop on that right now. These sets are, if I recall correctly, 1386 x 788, so the 1080 hi-def images get scaled down, but the rest actually have to get slightly scaled up.