- 16 November 2008 04:05pm: Interesting. With the exchange rate such as it is the D700 is actually cheaper here (without researching or shopping around) than B&H.
- 16 November 2008 08:56pm: Fixed a number of bugs this weekend. It's been a while since I felt this productive, and I've not even been working that hard.
- 18 November 2008 08:27pm: The only way to make my new computer run slow is to encode two movies at a time into a format that iPod can grok. Why is Apple so fussy?
- Yesterday at 08:22pm: Nice cool evening at The Point. Pick Lena up from the airport tomorrow.
Running late today, and this guy was ambling down the escalator on my way to the train, so I shifted into the passing lane and ran for the door, which announced “stand clear, doors closing” just as I jumped through the threshold. Only it was just like that scene in Aliens when Sigourney Weaver and Kyle Reese jump into the elevator when the xenomorphs are chasing them and it is all suspenseful, because the train doors stay open just long enough for ambling man to sit his butt in the door and mumbles something vaguely sounding like if this train is going to mumble-muble to a couple of asian girls who clearly have no idea what he is saying.
“In or out, dude.” Someone says in a thick American accent.
Okay, actually it was me. And I feel a little mean for having said it, as I am sympathetic with people who come to a train station they have never been to before and I understand the desire to know where the train you are getting on is going, and furthermore wanting it to coincide somewhat with your own final destination, but I hardly think that entitles you to delay an entire trainload of people, most of whom are already late to work, just because you are too lazy to read the big blue monitors strategically placed around the station.
He hops in and once the train is underway, he asks me “does this train go to Central?”
“Yes, it does.”
When I get to work I hold the elevator for someone who thanks me and we start talking about the weather. It struck me that it was totally the opposite reaction to the situation earlier in the train. It was just when Bill Murray and Egon Spengler are in the elevator with unlicensed nuclear accelerators on their backs. Except for totally unrelated.
i miss you black and white; and my time in the darkroom
i never was very good at being blunt
i like how history is always repeating itself, except for the nice parts; the future always seems like a cut down discounted version of something you once remembered
i hate missing people no longer with us
i’ve forgotten more than you will ever know, but do you remember more than i’ve remembered?
i am moving to wyoming; yes really!
i hate MySQL, but if everything were postgres, it would be pretty boring arguing about it
i tasted lime in my drink tonight; it reminded me of someone special
new mexico will never be the same; before or after
product launch next monday; should be a grand crash
Kim was arguing with Andrew last week about something pointless and I had a sense of utter joy at the fact that it wasn’t me having a pointless argument with her. The more that I think about it though, the more I realise the reason Kim irritates me so much is that she is a computer. She was carping to Andrew about this silly “fun factoid” billboard on the way to work isn’t precise enough for her. “People should be more precise!” She was saying. Andrew was arguing that people don’t have to be so precise when they are talking to other people because they can understand the meaning through context. The reason this pleases me is that for a long time I believed that there were significant advantages to working with computers over with people. Computers tend to do exactly what you tell them to. This is both their greatest strength and their greatest weakness. People are more flexible, and as a result tend to do exactly what you tell them not to do. In Kim I have finally met someone who is more like a computer than a person. What pleases me is that I finally enjoy much more working with people.
At work yesterday, I got into this drawn out argument with my boss about an API that I had designed (and implemented). It was a respectful argument and in the end I think we came to a compromise that we were both mildly happy with. It is a funny thing because this one little function call seemed pretty uncontroversial when I wrote it, but it has somehow managed to draw the most criticism (Gordon suggested a change which didn’t get made weeks ago).
I hate arguing with people because whenever I look back on arguments I see how I was either too zealous in arguing my point, or give in too easily. On Friday I was arguing with Kim about macro lenses. Short version is that I made an assertion that, while true if explained correctly, I didn’t feel like arguing the point. That feels like every argument (read: every conversation) that I have with her, as she is totally unable to see my perspective, as a result I sort of intensely dislike her.
Yesterday was also Russian and I was going to bring my computer with me so that I could go to Potts Point after class instead of home (Potts Point is closer). Only when I left work I realised my computer wasn’t in my backpack and I panicked. I remembered closing the lid to my computer so that it would go to sleep, but I couldn’t remember if I had actually put it in my backpack. The only time I hadn’t had my backpack with me was when I left it at work briefly to go to the bathroom and if it had been stolen that would have meant it would have been someone at work. I was relieved when I got home and it was sitting in its place, asleep, but unmoved. I felt weird that I could have thought that someone at work could have taken it, because it is a smal company and everyone knows everyone (not that people don’t steel in those situations, but it is somehow worse when they do?).
I usually make it a rule not to get to close to my co-workers. I was hoping this might be an exception, but days like yesterday remind me that there are reasons that I have those rules. Nothing really terrible happened (in the end), but events leave me vaguely uneasy.
Wednesday I decided to come down to Canberra. I went to Dick Smith’s to get iPods for Tristan and Lara. I pointed at the merchandise and said “I will have a blue one and a green one” and the salesman responded “is that for different moods or different people?”
Thursday I did the rest of my Christmas shopping, including getting a gift for Secret Santa ritual at work. Usually stuff in Australia closes at 5 or 5:30pm, but Thursday before Christmas everything is open till midnight practically, if not in actuality. It was a mad rush! Friday we had Christmas lunch at work. The food was really nice and we had Christmas crackers and everything. Then everyone drew numbers and picked gifts and/or stole gifts from others. I never want to steal other people’s gifts because it seems rude somehow (I realize it is just a game meant for fun of course), but it is always entertaining to watch other people steal gifts. My gift was the last one to get unwrapped. Can I just mention here how awesome my new coworkers are and my new work environment is?
Friday I flew down to Canberra. The airport was surprisingly uncrowded for this time of year. The aeroplane was mostly empty. When I got to Canberra, Tristan had his earphones on listening to music, and I thoughts to myself, I definitely got him the right gift. Lara was excited about her iPod too, although I think she was more excited about the games and the possibility of putting music on it. Dad already has the DVD I got him, which was unfortunate.
In RiD (One of the recent modern Transformers adaptations), the robots would say “so and so Transform” in an appropriately dramatic voice, because, you know, if they didn’t say it the gears and such wouldn’t operate and they’d be stuck in their previous mode. For some totally unjustifiable reason this caused me to imagine myself saying “Extend Contract” in another suitably dramatic voice, when “David” told me that my contract had been extended until the end of December. My immediate employer called and said that the contract will be in the mail, and I trust them a little more, so it looks like I’m good until the end of the year.
I just wasted an evening installing software (Gentoo Linux… not worth it). I’ve come to the realization that software is never going to be exactly “right” for me, and the alternative of writing my own for every task in life is a loosing proposition. Everything is either too big or doesn’t have enough features. Nothing is, as Goldilocks would say, “just right.” There was this brief period in my life when I was completely happy spending my time taking photographs and pretending that I wasn’t a programmer anymore. I miss those days.
Speaking of Goldilocks, clichés and fairytales, mum was complaining the other day about someone at Sydney Uni who was using fairytales to justify his male chauvinism (it’s sad if you are a grown man and are using fairytales to try and understand how the world works). Her analysis was that she would be less likely to have to put up with such attitudes back in the states.
This was all happening at about the same time when I was reading a thread on slashdot (ug… which I am embarrassed to say that I have become addicted to) about crossing the gender barrier in an IT work environment. The question was asked: “How do you make it easier for a woman to enter in or interact well with gender cliques in an IT environment?” IT is of course (sadly) dominated by men, and I shouldn’t have been surprised that the /. crowed would be likewise dominated but I was shocked that the primary response to the question was: “I’d like to say ‘hi’ to women new hires, but if I did then I might get sued for sexual harassment and get fired, so instead I avert my eyes and walk the other way when I see them in the hallway.”
Does that actually happen? I mean in the numbers that would justify that kind of response? I suspect the number of men who have been unfairly dismissed from their jobs due to alleged sexual harassment is negligible. I think “some” people think they are victims because they are required to watch a one-hour instructional video once a year on stuff that should be obvious. Get over it.
Work has been keeping me pretty busy, and while I still find the regime in control of the network at Company 2 to be on the oppressive side, I am enjoying playing with foreign language input methods. I have been tasked with making software tools usable by native Chinese speakers. I have always been interested in how people interact with computers and technology, and when you take away all of the assumptions (which I have always lived with) which come along with English, things become a little more interesting.( 中文 stuff )
My knowledge of Chinese is itty-bitty, but just the fact that I can sort of distinguish different forms of Chinese from each other and from other Asian languages excites me. Maybe someday I will find the time to properly study Chinese. I think it would be a fun and useful thing to know. I almost picked up a Chinese language Sydney paper at the newsagent last night just to study the characters.
Last night I went back to Sydney Uni for "Trivia Night." It was pretty fun, we had pizza and answered trivial questions. The one question I got "wrong" was something that I really should have gotten right. The correct answer was either SGML or HTML, but I was pretty sure that HTML didn't exist in the 1980s (as specified in the question), where as I knew that SGML (on which HTML is based) had been around since the 80s. I just checked on Wikipedia, and sure enough the first specification documents for HTML date back to 1993. The reason I should have known that the "right" answer was HTML is because non-IT people with whom I was playing would be more likely to recognize the term HTML than SGML. I mean, SGML - what's that?
- download new version of Google Earth
- mention Anecdote Goblins in my journal.
 I'm still ready to quit though.
 Seriously, I miss IM, which I took for granted at The Company.
I bought a bunch of things like clothes and a new phone yesterday (let me know if you want the #). It has the Internet on it (yes, the ENTIRE internet), so now I can carry it around with me (yes, the ENTIRE internet). Actually it still doesn't solve my problem of not being able ot IM at work. It solves a host of other problems though, so I don't object. Cameras on phones seemed like such a dumb thing before I got one, but living without my first few months in Australia has reminded me that there are times when they are handy. Mostly to take visual notes. If I see an ad for something that I want to later research I can. Also: I know it seems like a little thing, but I am offended by the fact that I actually have to set the time on my phone. In America my phone set the tiem itself. This was handy when I flew.
Yesterday I also found a really nice apartment in Artarmon, for which I filed an application, but the realestate agent screwed me and it looks like I won't get the place. Lawyers have a bad rap, yet I have had nothing but positive experience dealing with lawyers, whereas my experience with realeastate agenst has been entirely negative.
 I'm ready to quit
 at least not directly, I still may be able to figure something out though
 in fact, the one time when I worked with lawyers and programmers at the same time, the programmers really dissapointed me in their narrow mindedness.
"What will you have, Ham-I mean, Cousin Eddie?"The measure of inertia at The Company is high. To make things worse, I tend to be distracted quite easily. For example, right now I should be working on Feature Number 123879 now that I have dispatched Defect Number 123940. Instead I am sitting here typing in the passage from the latest Thursday Next novel which got me to start reading the books in the first place.
"What is there?"
"Espresso, mocha, latte, white mocha, hot chocolate, decaf, recaf, nocaf, somecaf, extracaf, GoliachinoTM... what's the matter?"
Hamlet had started to tremble, a look of pain and hopelessness on his face as he stared wild-eyed at the huge choice laid out in front of him.
"To espresso or to latte, that is the question," he muttered, his free will evaporating rapidly. I had asked Hamlet for something he couldn't easily supply: a decision. "Whether 'tis tastier on the palate to choose white mocha over plain," he continued in a rapid garble, "or to take a cup to go. Or a mug to stay, or extra cream or have nothing, and by opposing the endless choice, end one's heartache-"
"Cousin Eddie!" I said sharply. "Cut it out!"
"To froth, to sprinkle, perchance to drink, and in that-"
"He'll have a mocha with extra cream, please."
Hamlet stopped abruptly once the burden of decision was taken from him.
"Sorry," he said, rubbing his temples, "I don't know what came over me. All of a sudden I had this overwhelming desire to talk for a very long time without actually doing anything. Is that normal?"
Something Rotten, Jasper Fforde