Category Archives: Week.In.Review

Week 3038

Tap Tap…

So, I’ve been a busy boy. Biking has started up again and I got a few days in this week.


Max has been learning to read pretty well and is sounding out words he sees all over the place. I like that he’s teaching himself to some extent. At school he’s only in the B reading group, but at home he can get through E and F books. It’s really exciting because reading is such a big part of my life that I really want to be able to share this with him.

As a result of showing Max some bees and bombs gifs he was into asking for that every night for months. I almost ran out of internet art! Slowly I got him into just listening to me as I read The Watch aloud.

Wednesdays Sam and I go to special therapy with Beryl Nightingale to learn how to deal with Swale’s twice exceptional behavior. I think we’re making progress because this is the first week back from his spring break and when I picked him up from school his teacher said he participated in everything and has really improved from the beginning of the year.

Zelda has turned into a little chatterbox. She just started naming circles and triangles, she’s got opinions about everything and she’s super funny and super cute. She’s doing a lot of pretending to be dogs or lions and is always ready to go on a walk.


At work I’ve managed to spend some time doing interesting code work. I probably shouldn’t but it was too juicy to not grab. We’re changing the namespace of our client libraries to better brand them. That’s good! But it means that anyone who’s currently using our client libraries would have the code completely break for them. That’s bad!

So I’ve written a little utility that wraps the client library python wheel and outputs a set of legacy wrapper scripts that bridges everything and does it dynamically!

I call it snowchains (a wheel wrapper, getit?) and it was also a good chance to get to know sphinx, tox, RestructuredText, Abstract Syntax Trees and python reflection internals – a real geekfest of learning. Hope to get it open sourced if possible.

Speaking of a real geekfest of learning, I snapped up the python humblebundle super quick.

Kyle at work helped me figure out an issue with jumpstart having problems installing z. It seems that if you run a script in non-interactive mode it isn’t sourcing all the resource files so it doesn’t see certain paths so it can’t tell that my tool is already installed.

Grunting and Sweating

On Thursday I registered for the City Challenge New York Obstacle Race. Some folks from work are joining me and I’m hoping you might as well. The last one was fun other than it raining. I put in some work and Vimal, the proprietor of Cafe Hudson came out to be my personal photographer. He got some verrrry sweet photos.

Not bad for an old guy

Cinco de Mala

If you can make it to Szechuan Mountain House 6pm on Sunday we’re going to go eat some crazy fizzy spicy Szechuan food. This place specializes in delicious numbing Mala food – I stumbled on it while exploring on my free night out a week or 2 ago and was really impressed. I’ve never eaten anything quite like it. Also I will turn as old as an actual mountain.

Week 3020

A lot of things have happened, some good, some scary. Let’s keep it simple and just talk about the last 2 weeks.

It’s a celebration week! Cousin Atlanta has been staying with us and providing wonderful babysitting every day. She finally left on Thursday to go to Germany and then Oklahoma and it’s sad because she’s been wonderful as a guest and so much help with the kids. They already miss her. It also let us go out a lot – my work party was on Wednesday, Beer Club was Thursday, Lance’s birthday, a maker night for Max at his school, a meetup for some old PWP folks and uh…

Frankly, I don’t think I can do much more celebrating. I need sleep and some water.

Atlanta got us an Xbox One! Incredible gift. Of course, I’m trying to play with Max so he is connected and I’m not just staying up being a dork by myself. So few games revolve around anything other than murdering people.

This game ABZÛ is pretty amazing though – I love talking with Max about the different fish.

I’m excited about all the gifts I’ve bought my family – can’t wait to see them unwrap things next week.

We are disappointed at how kindergarten is turning out for Max. He’s not engaged, he doesn’t want to go, he leaves his class and they can’t really manage him. We met with a Beryl Nightingale, a neuropsychologist in the neighborhood to learn about what’s going on with him. She says he’s a Twice Exceptional (2E) kid, which is a term I wish existed when I was growing up. He’s a smart guy so he’s able to learn a lot without paying much attention, but he’s going to be rigid and have a tough time processing the rules of what people want him to do. We’re trying to work with the school to see if they can give him an adequate education. I’m a hopeful, but not certain it will work out.

We also toured some schools for 2E kids, the West End School, the Lang School and the Quad Prep. Each is really impressive in different ways – but I have no idea how we can find the funds to send him to one. I wish the public system would teach him better.


I was able to get some coding done and finish some updates to a cool python script that moves Jiras around through our prioritization process at work. I held myself to the standard I’d ask of others and put tests in and made sure they run fast and cover all the new work.

Also did some neat tricks in jupyter notebooks for people asking questions about our API.

We got asked to do some work around cost estimates for work as well and I was hoping to get time to automate the answer using Boto, but it was apparent really quickly that I could do it in a fraction of the time using a spreadsheet. One to revisit later!

Going to take some time off next week, but of course there’s a giant project due nearly every week until Sam leaves for Morocco, so I’ll probably end up sneaking a little work in here or there.




This week in review

Bad news first. My cat is wasting away and it is very sad.

Lots more that is good news. My team’s project at work nears completion. We are in the final crunch of testing and bugfix.

Sam’s brother Roger and his family have moved to New York from London. That’s great as they are fun to hang out with.

I’ve been whacking away at learning Ruby on Rails for a while now. I’ve read a good bit of the skateboard book, and have been hacking away at a site while I ride the subway to work and back. On labor day I put my new scuba dive logging website into production. As I’m getting this thing going, I’m amenable to any good suggestions folks have.

What should the name be?

What features are missing?

Right now, you can log dives. You can see your profile and some statistics for you. This is my scuba profile. Come to think of it, there’s another change I can make right there. The url for a profile should be domain/User/username – is there any reason to have this show business?

Go ahead and create a login and play around. Don’t count on your data being there tomorrow, but it probably will be. I’ll be adding in a way to export your dives back out, add more details in about your dives, etc. Anything in the PADI standard dive log book should be an available field shortly.

Erm. That’s it for now, I’ll let you know when more useful things are added.

I’m off to vegas on thursday for my friend Atari’s bachelor party.  Expect no tales and no blogging  for a bit.

This week in review

At work, we have a full build process working now, thanks to Jiho the new guy and the msbuild task in nant. If you are trying to get vsto to work under nant, that seems to be the only way. We’re into some of our final testing now, it’s very exciting.

My sister’s sweetie John isn’t doing well. His health is rough and his dad just died. If you want to get in touch and wish them well, let me know and I’ll give you their contact information.

Sam and I are on the lookout for a house/apartment to buy. If you’ve got any good leads or advice, we always appreciate it. Sam has also decided to teach our cats to crap in the toilet, which should make for some amusing and terrible experiences in the coming weeks.

Installed Cygwin and rails under cygwin so that I can be more flexible in making a switch at home from windows. Very easy, not as harrowing as my past linuxy experiences have been. Then again, it’s always the hardware that’s the real hassle. Sam has generously donated to me the laptop I donated to her a few years ago for my ubuntu project.

Week in review

Oh, the things I’ve done.

Found the excellent Website Baker – a simple content management system. Probably what we will use for Gina Mauro‘s new site. I’ll be meeting with Gina on Saturday to help her buy a domain and get started.
Wrote an article on how to generate your resume in multiple formats with Zoho. It fixes problems in the google docs version.
Learned about polyphasic sleep. Seems like it’s a pipe dream for now. The basic idea is to compress your sleeping time to just REM sleep and do it on a strict schedule. I’ve read alot of the literature on the web and the common theme seems to be that it sucks to take a nap every 4 hours if you don’t have to.

The FilthI’ve started reading “The Filth“. I can’t really tell the difference between it and “The Invisibles” yet.

Saw the “Bourne Ad Infinitum”, where Jason Bourne tournes into an indestructible superhero. You know, you could really have stopped after the first few times he survived a paralyzing car crash.

More VIM love. I’m wondering how long until I’m faster with VIM than I am without it. Where’s the crossover point with VIM? More to the point, when I can I remove the vi/vim cheat sheet as my wallpaper?

Major achievements this week: Oh, I don’t know. How about celebrating 4 years of awesome with Sam?

Also, I scored major good son points with a perfect birthday gift for my dad. I bought him a picture of his boyhood home from the New York tax photo archives. I got the best thank you call ever. I’m still beaming.

This week in review

So much happened this week, without even getting into the tornado that hit Bay Ridge.

On Saturday I met with my ex-neighbor Gina Mauro – she needs a better website for her art. I think Sam and I should be able to provide one. The big part of the project is taking her requirements and picking a Content Management System off the shelf that she can use. I was playing around with Drupal and Mambo, but I think she basically just needs a styled and themed version of Gallery2, plus a contact and about page. That’s it. My biggest worry is making sure that I don’t underestimate the work involved.

Started learning to use VIM again on Monday. I just think I can get more done with it. I need to get better at it. So I’ve started trying to use it for all my basic text editing needs. Within one week of use, I’m getting pretty decent at using VIM. It seems like it encourages you to write text like a programmer, thinking about how to minimize steps as you take them.

Sent out an improved ipc batch script to my coworkers and introduced them to the wonders of autohotkey. No one really seems all that enthused by the possibility of saving some time, but we’ll see if a little prodding helps it catch on. Next week I may tell them about launchy!

The big news is that I managed to reform Ryan Stewart’s PDF Wallet into a class and an edited version of ezpdf. I’ve got the first wallet from this new page in my pocket right now and I’ll be working to migrate Ryan’s stuff with him this weekend. Most of the work was done on the subway to and from my job. All of the work was done in Vim. More on that next week!

Next week I plan to put more effort into getting Gina an estimate for her website and then trying to knock it out in my spare time.

No progress on Spanish. I haven’t given up on it yet, but if I don’t do some more learning, I’ll start forgetting.

Sam and I took out the stitches in my foot together. I’m walking fine and everything seems to be working.

Next week I plan to put more effort into getting Gina an estimate for her website and then trying to knock it out in my spare time.

Work next week should be much quieter, one of the louder folks here has gone on to a new job. I wish him luck and more happiness!

This week in review

Not much went on this week.  I’ve been hobbled a bit (pardon the pun) by my recent ax injury.  Working from home agrees with me, though.

I’ve gotten everything building on our build server, deployments made to our client machine, etc.  From here on out, it’s just iterative refinements.  I’m very pleasantly surprised by the performance improvements we’ve achieved.   Thanks merely to a few design choices, we’ve got things that used to take 5 minutes happening in seconds.  Lots of this improvement is due to our removing all the string manipulation and business logic from the database.  We now deliver all of the data that the client is entitled to down the wire and let the client’s pc do all of the manipulation needed.  Our clients can scale their hardware to the perfomance needs that they have.

My new hire showed up – he seems bright and eager to work.  I’ve got high hopes for him.

Agile Web Development with Rails (Pragmatic Programmers)So far I’ve gotten through the tutorial section of Agile Web Development with Rails and am plowing through the active record sections.  I’m feeling like I should start playing around with a sample project.  Time to dust off the dive website idea and start implementing.  I’ve also finished this week reading Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby and started reading an online copy of the Pickaxe.

I think that next week I’m coming up on a month straight of no meat. I really need to nail down the last time I ate it.

Spanish: No progress.  I’ve been naughty and haven’t done any learning there.  I’ll need to put the easy spanish reader back in my bag to finish.  Also, start trying to do simple conversations at work.  Because I’m used to having the gift of gab, I get easily embarassed by not knowing how to say things. Too bad, I need to crawl so I can walk.

Next week, projects at work begin simple end to end testing and integration testing with other systems.  We have to train up our new guy, get auto upgrading working, get the build server to make our install package.  We also need to refactor a bit to treat the UI of Excel 2007 differently from the UI of Excel 2005, though I don’t know if we will get to that for next week.  Learn some spanish.  Buy a domain for my dive website.

This week in review

This week in review has a surprise at the end after all of the work stuff.

It’s been another busy week at work – trying to get our latest offering out the door.  We hit a snag when moving our database from dev to stg.  A dba came in groggy and deleted our development db by mistake.  All of our work was based off of this db.  At my urging, we had our stored procedures under source control and continuous integration, but the table definitions and data weren’t.
Bit of a tense time until we got Thursday night’s backup restored.
I got to show my coworkers the benefits of learning new langugages.  Ruby on Rails has a really good approach to this issue.  In RoR you write your table definitions, etc. in ruby code in a series of files.  As you make changes you add files.
Each file has a roll out section and a roll back section.
For the next project at work I’m going to approach it in a similar way.  We run off of cruise control and subversion, not rake, but I think we could have a similar method.  You have a directory with database scripts. Every time you want to change the database, you add a script. CruiseControl picks up the script, runs only the new scripts in the directory.  If the script fails, it rollsback these changes and runs the rollback scripts.

In other news, I was chopping wood with an ax up at Matt Scott’s lake house this weekend and I chopped my foot instead of wood.  I’ve got some stitches and all of my toes, which is nice.  I’m working from home because walking is no longer fun.

This week in review

I’m trying to get in the habit of doing a weekly review now.  This should help me focus more on getting the things done that I care about.

I’ve started a few self-improvement projects recently and I’m sort of sticking to them.

  • Start learning a new programming language.  I’m picking up Ruby and specifically Ruby on Rails as my language of choice.  It seems to be perfect for very quickly creating small project websites, which is the sort of thing I enjoy.  This week I finished reading and coding along to Agile Web Development with Rails and I think I’m going to put up a simple dive log application on the web.  Hopefully my friends and I can log our dives there.
  • Start learning a new language.  Since I live in NYC, I’m trying to pick up Espanol. Sam’s better than I am, she’s listened to a lot of tapes.  I’m mainly reading the Easy Spanish Reader on the subway occasionally.
  • Eat less Meat.  Everyone yells at me when I say I’m a crappy vegetarian in a way they never did when I said I was a crappy pacifist.  The past week has only involved a little seafood and no red meat.  The rest was veggies.

Both Sam and I have been doing well on career development stuff.  She’s doing a new design of her website and it seems to be coming along.  I’ve gotten comfortable enough with Ruby on Rails that I’ll be trying a small project on my own and offering some help to the Downtown Bar and Grill down the road.  I think alot of what I have done is just repeating the magic incantations without knowing what they mean though.  I’m going to try to storm through Why’s Poignant Guide to Ruby to get a better idea on what the language is.

At work, our big project is still steaming along.  We’ve gotten the features done, now we are working out bugfixing and deployment stories.  VSTO deployment is definitely where you get the feeling Microsoft didn’t finish the work before shipping their product.  I’ve also been learning all the crappiness that is nant scripting for our CruiseControl build server.  The documentation seems complete but only on the surface.

Last weekend Sam and I got to hang out in Maine on a houseboat with Jaymie v.V.  Her Aunt Karen was a great host.  She lives on a wooden houseboat built in the 20’s with a couple of cats.  She was one of the first women ever in the Merchant Marines and told us some chilling stories about it.   Portland was an awesome town to hang out in.  Sam and I are both definitely up for going back…

Things to do next week:

  • Hang out with Jaime while she is in town.
  • Finish build and deployment stuff at work.
  • Work on my dive log website.
  • Book tickets and hotel for Jonad’s Wedding.   I’m way overdue on this and I don’t know why.

On a personal note, Sam and I think our cat Magic has some sort of cancer.  He isn’t eating and is throwing up.  Hopefully he’ll make it, but if you are a fan of Magic Man you may want to come by and say hi.