Category Archives: Week.In.Review

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.
001_create_products.rb
002_add_price.rb
003_add_test_data.rb
004_add_sessions.rb
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.