Archive for the ‘Coding’ Category

A little IE6 smackdown

2009/11/13 Comments off

and another site to add to our list of one page wonders. This time around it’s Is IE6 Older Than Your Grandpa?


Ain't he a cutie?

Sadly, no highly entertaining wackaloonery in the source, but you can’t have everything. Could also use a little tweaking on the layout (unless, of course, the designer is making a statement about the horrors of IE6 dev and the disaster that is CSS compliance, in which case, good on you).



ModelBuilder fun

2009/10/07 Comments off

Quick tip – when ModelBuilder (ESRI ArcGIS) starts pulling the whole invalid input/input tables don’t match rigamarole, it doesn’t seem to help to just  run the validator or restart ArcMap. At least for my last model marathon, it actually wouldn’t run until the computer was rebooted. And now, no problems. Just another bit of wacky weirdness for ArcGIS.

Categories: Coding, GIS Tags: ,


2009/10/06 Comments off

I moved a few years ago from a large metro area to a medium-ish metro area. My commute dropped from 25-45 minutes each way to just over 5 minutes. Hooray for me, I’m saving the world! Well, at least some carbon. And even though it’s cut down on the driving and the gas bills, it’s come with a bit of a downside. I used to resolve a lot of design and coding issues driving and now I’m home and focusing on other things before the brain can wrap around the day’s fun. I haven’t found anything else to replace that nice chunk of time.

Alternatives for inspiration while driving:

  • shoveling snow (unfortunately cannot be relied on, even in winter)
  • raking (again, pretty seasonal)
  • showers (a traditional standby)

There must be other minimally distracting tasks that leave enough room for problem-solving out there. I definitely don’t want to shovel more snow than I have to.

Categories: Coding Tags:

Trying to put The Daily WTF out of business

2009/09/03 Comments off

Well, they’re no Canadians (with the always funny Corner Gas), but whoever thought that replacing the Microsoft error messages with haikus in Japan ranks pretty high on the comedy scale.

A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.

This happened twice this morning:

Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.

The fate of my master work schedule:

Having been erased,
The document you’re seeking
Must now be retyped.

which I did not retype. Too depressing.

Pick a flash drive or the Program Files partition (hint, IT boys, 10GB or even 20GB is not enough in these days of massive MS bloat):

Out of memory.
We wish to hold the whole sky,
But we never will.

Lost count after the morning’s crashes:

Program aborting:
Close all that you have worked on.
You ask far too much.

Pick a day, like tonight at 9 on the drive back to the office to reboot the piece of junk:

Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.

Oh noes, where did SharePoint go!?

Stay the patient course.
Of little worth is your ire.
The network is down.

When the Google-fu fails me:

The Website you seek
Cannot be located, but
Countless more exist.

You step in the stream,
But the water has moved on.
This page is not here.

So every time the thing crashes or the app borks:

Three things are certain:
Death, taxes and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.

I think I might get this on a shirt for Halloween. So much scarier than some random zombie.

Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.

Because, really, why would it be where you left yesterday?

With searching comes loss
And the presence of absence:
Your file, not found.

Windows and coding:

Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.

Size matters:

Your file was so big.
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.

until it’s gone.

via Let ε < 0. via Laura RuneMercury H.

Fear and failing

2009/08/23 2 comments

Remember the ski school instructions for the n00bs? Pizza to slow down and french fry to speed up. I was thinking about that  the other day during a run of shifted priorities and server disasters. I think we need a similar analogy for project management—cheetah and ostrich. Cheetah for the lean, mean, effective plan; ostrich for the haphazard, awkward lack of planning.

Cheetah! I have a plan. I see the end point. We’re going to make it! We are on fire!

Ostrich! Oh noes! The program doesn’t work. Maybe if I ignore it, that stack trace will just go away.

Cheetah! Dude, we are on fire!

Ostrich! Is that smoke pouring out of the server?!

Not quite the same as pizza and french fry, but you get the idea.

Consider working for people who always take the ostrich approach to PM. And then extend the lack of planning to an inability to consider all of the projects and the priorities when responding to new requests or problems. Or even bouncing between the two states—frustration city with disaster lurking in the burbs. Then there’s no time to plan, no time to think things through and the cycle continues because now you have to keep going back to redo things that were close but not quite right due to the lack of planning. But it also speaks to a failure in communication and to fear. If you don’t make a plan then there’s really no reason why the failure is your fault, but once your name is in there as responsible for some or all of the project, well, that’s pressure. And thus the fear.

What they (the planless) don’t realize is that having a plan is like a fear quencher. You know what to expect, at least in somewhat broad terms; you know who to go to for each part and you know what you’re going to get at the end. Far less scary than contemplating the great unknown of your project. So avoid the disastacle* and make a plan. And then follow the plan. That last part is just as important.

* still my favorite disaster term. Hooray, Better Off Ted!

Categories: Coding Tags: ,

Shocker! People don’t search by programming languages on weekends so much

2009/08/16 Comments off

So some engineering student used the data to see if C# and Java were ‘serious’ languages (i.e. languages that people used mostly at work) and Python and Ruby on Rails were ‘play’ languages (languages people used for fun). He figured that you would see this in the search terms – C# and Java during the week; Python and Ruby on Rails on the weekends. Here’s what he came up with:

StackOverflow results

StackOverflow results (normalized)

And then there’s some talk about big spikes on weekends and on Mondays. I’m not seeing anything that screams statistically significant. So I went to Google Trends for outside corroboration. Here’s the results for the last 30 days:

C# v Java v Python v Ruby on Rails v Lego

C# (red) v Java (orange) v Python (purple) v Ruby on Rails (green) v Lego (blue)

and threw in Lego, working on a similar assumption that more people would look up Lego on the weekends. Seems pretty clear—searches for C# and Java drop on weekends (and you can ignore the blip on the lower chart—that was related to the island of Java); Python and Ruby not so much; and Lego goes up on weekends. Not even remotely scientific, but I think a clearer case for C# and Java being used more for work than play given the dropoff. Obviously, for a real comparison, one would need better data for Python and Ruby on Rails in particular as well as a filter to remove Java the place from Java the computer language. I like that there are more searches for Lego any day of the week than there ever are for C#. That’s awesome.

The best security advice you could ever get from IT

2009/07/29 Comments off


Pretty standard boiler-plate until you get to:

If shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area. Do not get under an overpass or bridge. You are safer in a low, flat location.

Uuurrghhh… pffft. My head just exploded from teh awesomeness of this advice. At the next bug report, I will duck and cover. With the kit that I made for cyber emergencies—two cans and some string, a tin of caffeinated mints, a megaphone (because I’ve always wanted to respond to “I am on the phone” with “But I am on the megaphone” like Beth from NewsRadio and because that is the closest analog twitter equivalent), and my two plush microbe brain cells. You never know when you’ll need two to rub together.

via The Tumblings of Kev