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September 1st, 2009

01:25 pm - Another Day
So many years have passed, may things have changed, and I think parts of me may have changed along with the times.

Some, but not all.

Last I wrote, I was single, but living with someone.

Now, I am married and living with someone.

Last I wrote, I was in the throes of a quarter-life crisis, having just battled through infidelity, gone into counseling, and rethinking my career.

Now, the throes have quieted some, but not entirely. I no longer talk to a counselor, although I imagine I should at time, and my job is still what it is - an overworked, undermanned skeleton crew that keeps getting pushed to its limits.

Then, my dad was likely in the hospital for any number of reasons - prostate cancer, pulmonary embolism, DVP,  getting a pacemaker, random growth in his side, and so on and so forth.

Now, he's awaiting notice for  a surgery date to have a section of lung removed.

My wife, to my knowledge, is faithful, although unhappy with the tug-o-war that takes place between her and my work..

It's quite a dilemma - I work to keep my sanity, to pay for our bills and our house, to entertain ourselves, and to drive our cars.

I take my wife's calls at work, I MSN with her at home when she arrives home before I do. I run errands when I can because my work is more 'flexible'.

And yet, by working hard to provide, I am somehow neglecting my wife. She thinks she is in competition with my job for my attention.

When I work from home, she hates that I'm on the computer, even though, when she needs to do the same, it's necessary and normal.

I've been finding it harder and harder to work effectively, knowing I'll be coming home to complaints about my job, and the effect it has on me and my wife. I find it hard to come home to my wife in a good mood when my work is the way it is.

I thought this was a church-and-state matter - but apparently I need to figure out where my loyalties lie.
Current Location: work
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Current Music: none

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February 8th, 2005

01:17 pm - What Version of Dilbert Are You Running?
My company makes software, and as with any software, we apply version numbers to software releases.

Years ago, we started out at version 2.0 and quickly moved to 2.2.

Currently, we've been moving clients away from 2.7 to 3.2. In the background, we're preparing to release 4.0, as development works furiously at 4.1.

Now, version numbers aren't just thrown out there - there are guildelines for the use of the numbers and the decimals.

For example, we once released version 3.2.1945. This means that the release was of Major Version 3, Minor Version 2, and build 1945.

'Major Version' doesn't change until you change something substantial in your product. It's like switching from the Chrysler Intrepid to the 300.

'Minor Version' changes when you keep the core of the product the same, but revise some components within the product. Think Intrepid 1995 vs. Intrepid 2000.

For us, the last number is the Build Number. When bug fixes or enhancement requests get put in, the product has to be compiled with the changes, and each compile is referred to as a 'build'. Each build has a number. It's analagous to a Lot number or a Factory number from which 2000 Intrepids come from.

We meet most of our problems when we change Major Versions. That is, when we put out 3.0, it was the very first iteration of a 'new' product. We rewrote the code from Version 2, and as such, version 3.0 has a ton of bugs. People in the field - customers, partners, and architects - thought the new build was a piece of shit, and since then have been hesitant with any Major Version change. We've even met stiff opposition in moving clients between Minor Versions:

"Well, 3.1 has been working great for us, and it's *way* better than that 3.0 pice of shit you put out. We're not going to move to 3.2. We'll wait 'till some other customer finds all your bugs, and maybe then we'll think about moving to 3.3 or something later."

Understandably, customers and partners don't like feeling like Guinea Pigs. Or as we call them, Beta Testers.

In the coming months, we plan to release The Future.

The Latest and Greatest.

We want to bring the world up to version 4.0.

And people are nervous.

We've heard several partners state that they would not install 4.0, and would wait for 4.1, after all the bugs have been flushed out by other customers.

By 'other customers', they mean 'suckers'.

In our weekly Development meeting, we received word that to counter this resistence, management has proposed a procedure to gain customer confidence. What is this procedure - an added, official Beta test with a willing and trusted client? An added round of QA focusing on customer-specific implementations? A cash-back guarantee? A free DVD with each purchase?

No - We will simply release 4.0, but change all the versioning information to 4.1

Or, as one guy said in that meeting:

"Yeah, we're really Dilberting this one."
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: Mack The Knife - Bobby Darin

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February 7th, 2005

06:01 pm - The Mystery of Nedward
I work with a man named Ned.

He works out of his home in San Jose, CA and is considered part of our 'Pasadena' office - a small group of people with very large IQs. They are responsible for the core of our product, and are more or less considered the gods on the mountaintop. Ned is one of those software gods, but a very humble, affable one. He can also out-drink almost anyone I know.

I'm not one of those gods, but I help them out on occasion with some diagnostics and testing. As such, I don't know Ned well enough to ask him personal questions. There was one question that was on the minds of several other people who work with Ned, and it concerned his name.

You see, when I or anyone else receives e-mail from Ned, his name appears as Edward. This is entered on his side, and is of his own choosing, and we could not fathom the connection between 'Ned' and 'Edward' other than that 'Ed' and 'Ned' are one letter away from each other. Even his voicemail states, "Hi, this is Ned.", as does Ned himself when he answers the phone.

Now, a couple of us were talking with some Management-types the other day, and I referred to Ned as 'Nedward'. A few of us used this term to jokingly reconcile the 'Ned' and 'Edward' dichotomy, but management had never heard the joke.

"Why do you call him that?" asked Richard.

I explained, and another manager gave us this explanation:

Ned's real name is indeed Edward. He worked at another company before joining us, and at this company there was another Edward. They were both called Ed, and in that company they were the two most respected developers. At some point, Ed began to become more 'popular' and they began to discuss how people would differentiate between them. It was determined that our Ed would have to change his name. How would they do this? What's the difference between them? After some discussion that I'm sure Descartes would have appreciated, it was deemed that one Ed was Ed, and the other was Not Ed. And thus, Ned was born.

This is a very geeky joke. In programmer talk, 'Not Ed' looks like this:


Which very few people will find funny.
Current Mood: giddygiddy
Current Music: Evil - Interpol

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January 18th, 2005

11:13 am - A Week in Winter, a Weekend in Summer
As written in my User Info, I live in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Our neighbors to the south (read: Americans) often purport the misconception that my country, and thus my city, is a frozen wasteland whose inhabitants live in igloos and ice-skate to work each day.

Well, they are wrong: we live in houses and get around by either driving or using one of the hemisphere's best public transit systems. Our summers are hot, humid, full of pollen and festivals. Our springtime is gentle and invigorating, and the autumn a cozy mix of sweaters, changing colors, and the smell of burning leaves.

Then comes winter, in it's 4-6 month glory, when I tend to agree with the Yanks' "wasteland" assessment.

Comedians working Canadian crowds often joke that there are two seasons in (insert town name here) : Winter and construction.

Well, if not for our Winters, we'd likely need less construction when the weather warms. The drastic switch in temperatures, our over-reliance a sea of salt to dethaw the streets, and an old and decaying system of roadways all adds up to potholes, burst mains, cracks, and general driving misery.

But I digress from my main point: the cold.

This week is a great example of how unpredictable and often unbearable a Canadian winter can be:

Friday: 1.6 °C
Saturday: -5.5 °C
Sunday -7.4 °C
Monday: -11.9 °C
Today: currently freakin' - 23 °C
Tomorrow: -11°C
Friday: -8°C

What kind of sick rollercoaster is that?

For those °F people out there, it was -13°F this morning when I arrived at work. This isn't just cold, this is the void of space encroaching on planet Earth as we spend time estranged from our Sun. This is proof that heat is a precious and temporary gift in an otherwise icy universe that would prefer to collapse in upon itself.

Ok, so I'm prone to melodrama. But it gets better:

When it feels like my bladder has frozen, my ears are about to fall off, and my testicles are scrambling for a warm retreat, I feel I have to blame somebody. Well, somebody other than myself for not dressing properly.

Why do we subject ourselves to such extremes in temperature? For most of us, certainly not by choice. I was birthed here by parents who emigrated to Canada in search of better things. Coming from Scotland and the Ukraine, my relatives probably saw 'better things' in terms of work and quality of life, as the weather wouldn't be much of a step down for them; My white, pasty skin is testament to the sun-less quality of my ancestral homelands. So here I was born, and here I was raised, but I often wonder why, when reviewing all the possible places to live, why an immigrant would opt for -23°C over, let's say, Florida, California, the Carolinas, or even moderate locales like Vancouver or New York?

The answer, honestly, is that Canada is a very, very good place to live. And Montreal, in my very biased opinion, is the best city Canada has to offer. Our winters are unbearable, but we pride ourselves in out forbearance. We ski through the frostbite, we drive through snowdrifts, and we hunker down in bars and basements, drinking local beer and cheering our local hockey teams. And when the weather warms, the city comes alive with Festivals, rollerblading and biking, pikniks on the mountain, golf and camping in the countryside, movies in the park and fireworks in the night. Pools open and fill, children play, balconies hold countless loungers, and the nightlife still rampages on till after 3am. Nearly every restaurant - and we have a lot of restaurants - has a terasse, and at the first inkling of spring, the terasses open to summer-starved patrons willing to shiver down a hot meal in the great and almost-tolerable outdoors.

Our Summers are like the Weekend: Much shorter than the week, but much better, and our anticipation for two days off often gets us through 5 days of work.

Still - I'm in the middle of the week now, and it's hard not to blame my parents for spawning me so close to the Arctic. But I know I can look to the ski hills, the cup of hot chocolate on my desk, and forward to the brilliant summer months, and know I really have less blame to give than thanks.
Current Mood: coldcold
Current Music: This Fire - Franz Ferdinand

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November 9th, 2004

11:15 am - The Beastie Boys let the beat....

They looked old.

They looked grey.

But The Beastie Boys tore shit up at the Bell Centre Sunday night.

Honestly, all other hip-hop acts - or any band regardless of genre, for that matter - should look to the BBoys' live show as the standard on how to get it done. Coming up on 40, and 2/3 of them looking it, the Boys had more energy than my sorry-ass at 31. The quality and clarity of their performace was impeccable, something too many live acts get wrong these days - the crowd shouldn't have to rely on memory to match the a live performance's sounds to the recorded songs they love. Sunday night, their show was on point, and the crowd was drinking it in. They held off on 'Sabotage' till the very end, and when the 'thunk' and 'twang' of live instruments being prepped backstage hinted at what the last encore would be, I was nervous for the dudes standing stage-side.

I'm tellin' y'all.
Current Mood: draineddrained
Current Music: To the 5 Burroughs

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March 16th, 2004

04:01 pm - Why I'm Not In Charge
Manager: "Hey, did you see that error message from the customer?"

Me: "Yup, sure did. Doesn't look good, does it?"

Manager: "Aw, it's not that bad. They can just re-start with the files left over before the crash."

Me: "There were no files, they're screwed."

Manager: "That's impossible! They can just re-start with the files! The files have to be there!"

Me: "Well, not if they crashed before the files were being written..."

Manager: "Impossible.. they can just apply those files and move on. They're always there."

Me: "... or their scripts could have deleted the files after the crash if they didn't check to see whether or not the process completed successfully. Either way, the disk is empty. The files are gone. They are indeed screwed."

Manager: "Not necessarily! If they can just re-start with the left over files..."

Me: head implodes

The moral? I can't be in charge with an imploded head. I would scare clients away.
Current Mood: irritatedirritated
Current Music: "Twisted Nerve" - Kill Bill Soundtrack

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March 15th, 2004

06:00 pm - Color me productive.
I have no idea why I signed up on this thing, other than that I saw a link to LJ while searching for something completely unrelated through Google, and though a place to blab out loud might come in handy now and then.

That, and work was going at a snail's pace so I figured I'd kill the dying moments of the day by filling out the registration form.

Hopefully this will get better as I have more to say.
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: "Just the stuff in my head" - My Head

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