Self-badge

Jun. 8th, 2014 11:59 am
davidn: (rabbit)
The camera for making security badges at the new office has been broken all week, but I've done my best to provide a substitute.

davidn: (skull)


When I have to write something to spit out reams of dummy patient data and the schema includes fields like "cause of death", you can bet that I'm going to write a generator that lightens its mood a bit. Although I imagine they might want to hand it to someone less mad before such a tool gets released to anyone else.

As they seem to be the leading cause of death among my surrealist population - watch out for refrigerators, particularly the ones that hide up trees.
davidn: (rabbit)
For the first time, there are a couple of anniversaries at this time of year. Even though it really doesn't seem like it, it's now exactly one year since I started my new job (which I should stop calling my "new" job, seeing as it feels perfectly normal now). Going into a company with some semblance of hierarchical organization was a completely new experience to me, as small as everyone else thinks it is, but I seem to have found a secure place and even feel like one of the older people there as others come and go.

I still miss having an office with a door, but now that I'm sitting in an open-plan room next to the corridor where people come in, I feel that I get much more conversation with people. We're moving across the road to a bigger space in about a month, so perhaps I'll manage to get myself a window seat - the only seating plan anyone has put forward so far is just all arriving as early on moving day as they can possibly manage and camping out in the best spots.

The car has also had its first birthday - over the last twelve months it's taken us 4,907 miles that would otherwise have been covered (far more slowly) by buses, and by my estimation, we've spent about $500 on fuel for it (compared to $1400 for the total cost of MBTA passes for us for a year).

The occasion was marked by having to go and have the Massachusetts inspection sticker renewed - it's a test that's done on several aspects of the car to make sure it's safe and within acceptable bounds of emissions, though I'm told that all they actually have to do is to connect the car's computer up to a different computer and ask if it's reporting any problems. This was the first time I'd had to take the car to anybody who wasn't our actual dealership - the whole process was done in about fifteen minutes by the most monosyllabic man that I've ever met. I've owned goldfish that had attempted to exchange longer dialogues than he did, with his entire contribution to the conversation being "Keys? Sit. ... Okay. Cash? Mastercard. Keys on the front seat."

So now I have a new green sticker instead of an old orange one. Quite by coincidence I met my driving instructor this evening, so I could say that his teaching had led me to having no incidents at all for a full year.
davidn: (Default)
This has to be the most interesting thing that Microsoft have done for a while. Everyone I know in our industry has been hoping for the worldwide use of Internet Explorer 6 (and more generally, Internet Explorer) to reduce to the point where nobody has to support it any more, but now Microsoft themselves seem to be heading a campaign to finally wipe the old version off the face of the earth.

It's been around since last year, but it's recently come up again because its usage dropped low enough for it to be officially declared dead in the Western world. Currently it's at 7.7% worldwide, with the page hopeful to get it down below 1% eventually. Only China now has a significant share of it, with several countries on the brink of passing the 1% mark - America managed it, so there's no reason we can't!

(A note, just in case, because one of the most frustrating things for anyone to say in these conversations is "Why should I change away from Internet Explorer? It works fine". Do you know why it works fine? Because people like me have spent days battering its demented interpretation of everything and anything into shape so that it will at least work somewhat like other browsers that actually make sense.)
davidn: (skull)

Right, so apparently my clever random name generation routine doesn't produce quite as convincing results as I had first imagined. Perhaps I'll just say that we're recording information for obscure Aztec deities.

The Tree

Mar. 11th, 2011 10:50 pm
davidn: (Jam)
I suppose I might as well throw this up here as well, just on the off-chance that any developer-type friends have seen the image manipulation symptoms before. We're doing something that involves converting PDF pages to images on the fly using the PDFBox library, but certain images that look perfectly all right embedded in the PDF come out a bit... wonky. For example:



I think that I'm quite close to identifying what's wrong, and after analyzing the differences in how two libraries handle the colour models and spaces of PNG-encoded images, I have managed to produce this. )
davidn: (skull)
A general question to Apple developers - how on earth have you managed to survive thus far without your head bursting? Having gone through a few online tutorials, plastered my entire whiteboard with all the unnecessary differences from everything else (from the insane bracketed syntax used to call methods, to the most elementary basics like YES and NO instead of true and false) and hacked my way through getting a Back button added to a Split View that loads an RSS feed, I'm convinced that they all wear their hair long to hide the criss-crossing lines of sellotape that they've had to stick on to piece their skulls back together.

Until last week, I used to tell people that "if you know one language, you have a fairly decent grounding in them all". I am now forced to revise that to say "a fairly decent grounding in them all except Objective-C". Everything that I've seen done in it seems to take about three times as long as doing it in anything else, using unnecessarily awkward method names like application:didFinishLaunchingWithOptions and very little reasoning as to why you have to declare things in three separate places, synthesize variables (whatever this does) or why Interface Builder is quite so unhelpful. A particular favourite of mine so far is the way that you log a formatted string, which begins NSLog(@"@%",.

So I took a step back, both in terms of what I was doing and back before the Internet, and have got iPhone Application Development for Dummies out of the library. Previously, I had thought I could just learn anything online, but as I seem to be learning to program from scratch again, the piecemeal tutorials offered by the Internet are just too numerous and chaotic to be helpful. I know that in the back of my mind, even though declaring an array seems so unnecessarily roundabout now, people do get past its seemingly wilful obtuseness and successfully use this - I mean, I've been looking at tutorials on Youtube by someone who sounds like he's 13, and even he seems to just naturally accept what an IBOutlet is and why you have to drag connections from your UIPageViewController elements to your File's Owner.

So far, the book has advised me that "You don't use frameworks so much as they use you" and "it lets the programmer know where he or she is essential", which both sound pretty much like my experience with the Xcode environment so far. I'm fairly confident that by being explained things from the start rather than trying to adapt my existing knowledge to suit the language as I've done with everything else before, I can get on and do something useful with it.

Can I also just take a moment to reiterate that by Christ, Americans are loud? This is the least silent library that I've ever been in. People walk past the desks chatting like they're on opposite sides of the street from each other, some toddler set off the fire alarm a minute ago, and there's someone at the desk down the corridor bellowing his way through an anecdote about window blinds.

(And to those wondering about Boxplode, below - that was done using a framework that sits on top of this language, which abstracts away everything and is significantly less mad than doing it all with Apple's tools.)
davidn: (Jam)
This morning, I was working away quietly at my desk in our new office when I was suddenly engulfed by a cloud of sawdust. Perhaps "cloud" is the wrong word - it was a gentle sprinkling of wood shavings from the ceiling, but it was enough to cause a slight shock (and cause my hair and shirt to develop a rare case of xylodandruff). Looking at what could have caused such doom from on high, we couldn't see any obvious problems - I sit more or less underneath a skylight and a storm drain pipe, which would be far worse.

When it happened again, though, it appeared that it was the skylight causing the shower - that's only guess that I have. There's a wooden border surrounding it at the top and they're doing something to the conduits and possibly the roof today, but there's nothing that's obviously making it vibrate or otherwise perturbing it. Nevertheless, taking a suggestion from over instant messages that was meant to be a joke but that I thought was a work of perverted genius, we now have a temporary solution in place until the building people can come down to look for themselves.

Eclipsed

Sep. 22nd, 2010 05:53 pm
davidn: (skull)


You really are useless, aren't you Eclipse.

(I think this is the computer's way of saying that it's time to go home)
davidn: (skull)
David is this handled. It is on the list of JIRAs that might could stop upgrade to R5 because CLIENT no I cannot determine from what info is available that is no longer applies or manners or is to be concerned about?


... ... ... ...Yesno, you will won't.
davidn: (skull)
Having learned multiple lessons from turning the Gulf of Mexico several shades blacker in the middle of the year, news has just come in that they blew up another one. This one doesn't appear to be as disastrous as the last time so far, and all thirteen people have been accounted for, but though the platform wasn't producing at the time, there's no word so far on whether this means another leak.

What's especially inconvenient from a work point of view is that when I read that the name of the oil rig is was "Vermilion 380", it seemed awfully familiar as one of the vaguely sensible location names that I had to examine in the latest iteration of the hierarchy for one of our clients at work, in between all the pig launchers, large rack holders and ballcock suck units. But when I checked back, I saw that they listed a large number of Vermilion units, but fortunately for them, not rig 380.

So I'm relieved, but also a little disappointed, that I won't be able to open a new issue about the location hierarchy saying "Well, you won't be needing this one any more".
davidn: (skull)
UPDATE lcmr.content_relationship SET content_entity=
(
	SELECT TOP 1 ce_id
	FROM lcmr.content_w_xms_name newContent
	WHERE newContent.content_type=130
	AND newContent.xms_name='Badger Mushrooms'
	
)
WHERE id IN
	(
	SELECT lcmr.content_relationship.id
	FROM lcmr.content_w_xms_name newContent, lcmr.content_relationship
	INNER JOIN lcmr.property_value
	ON (lcmr.content_relationship.id=lcmr.property_value.id)
	WHERE property=13
	AND lcmr.property_value.content_instance NOT IN
		(
		SELECT pvForExisting.content_instance
		FROM lcmr.property_value pvForExisting,
		     lcmr.content_relationship crForExisting
		WHERE pvForExisting.id = crForExisting.id
		AND pvForExisting.property = 13
		AND crForExisting.content_entity IN
			(
			SELECT TOP 1 ce_id
			FROM lcmr.content_w_xms_name newContent
			WHERE newContent.content_type=130
			AND newContent.xms_name='Badger Mushrooms'
			)
		)
	AND (newContent.content_type=130
	AND newContent.xms_name='Badger Mushrooms')
	AND content_entity IN
		(
		SELECT TOP 1 ce_id
		FROM lcmr.content_w_xms_name oldContent
		WHERE (oldContent.content_type=130)
		AND oldContent.xms_name='Cow Exploding'
		)
	)
;
DELETE FROM lcmr.property_value
WHERE id IN
	(
	SELECT pv.id
	FROM lcmr.property_value pv, lcmr.content_relationship cr
	WHERE pv.id = cr.id
	AND property=13
	AND content_entity IN
		(
		SELECT TOP 1 ce_id
		FROM lcmr.content_w_xms_name oldContent
		WHERE (oldContent.content_type=130)
		AND oldContent.xms_name='Cow Exploding'
		)
	)
;

A masterpiece. (This is just one of them - it has to do all this about 32 times for different locations.)

Note the fair amounts of repetition - SQL is not my strong point, and this probably does things 100 times slower than they could be. It might be possible in about four lines, I don't know.
davidn: (Jam)
Before we invented a location editor to do all of this automatically, one of the more monotonous tasks at work was to trawl through lists of changes that the clients wanted to make to their large hierarchy of publication locations. They started off with names that sounded normal enough, but my suspicions of these names grew fairly rapidly as they started to sneak things in like "Wet Gas Scrubber" and "Water Strippers". After complete disbelief at it, I even allowed in "Gooseberry Booster". But on a look through the biggest location list yet today, I found just between the Happy Valley Block Valve and the Jump Over 6 Junction...

Happy Valley Pig Launcher

That's it, I refuse to believe that these locations exist - I'm now convinced that there are two people in our client's IT department going "Bet they won't believe this one." "Bet they will!" in direct competition with each other to finally produce a silly enough name for us to write back questioning it.

And if I hadn't been given this explanation, I would have done so - but I still like my own mental image better, that of some sort of porcine secret weapon from Serious Sam.

Moving day

Feb. 16th, 2010 03:12 pm
davidn: (ace)
We moved into the new office today, this time with the aid of a large cardboard box rather than several vanloads like last time. Here's a blurry mobile phone picture of my new work space.



Of particular note in this picture are the whiteboard that was left for my claiming (which will no doubt be full of assorted junk by the end of the week), and the unmistakable view of outdoors that we didn't have the luxury of in the centre of the building where we were before.

The biggest difference, though, is something that can't be shown visually - another concept that's very new to us is that we have a door (with hooks on the back and everything), and therefore the only noise that we hear is a faint murmur from the desks outside, which makes a change from half of everyone in the office's phone calls. It really is quite a novelty to be able to work in peace, without hearing the woman who I mentally christened Foghorn Nancy bellowing down the phone about someone mending her fence from the other end of the room. (At least, I always assumed she was using a phone. Now that I think about it, it's possible that she really was just shouting towards Somerville.)

Unfortunately, that new view of outside made me increasingly worried about the snowfall and the T's ability to cope with it, so I retreated home in the middle of the day. But it's going to be nice to have our own space to go to from now on, when we can get there.
davidn: (ace)
We're moving offices once again, but this time it's going to be a much more pleasant experience than last time, having only a couple of books, monitors and other bits and pieces to move down with us instead of years' worth of accumulated miscellany, and it's only down one floor. If anyone else is after a couple of desks in an open-plan office space around other companies, here are the apparent requirements to get in:
Tick all that apply:

I talk:

[ ] Constantly
[ ] Incessantly
[ ] Ceaselessly
[ ] All the time

My personal volume level can best be described as:

[ ] Loud
[ ] Very loud
[ ] Obnoxiously loud
[ ] Billy Mays

My ringtone is:

[ ] Awful
[ ] Irritating
[ ] Excruciating
[ ] Fatal

1 tick or more: Congratulations! You're in.
davidn: (skull)
"I've always been afraid of typing as far as rm -rf / and brushing Enter." *
"Oh, I did that once."
"Where was that?"
"Well... we used to have a mail server."

* Therefore instantly removing everything on the computer, although most systems protect against this
davidn: (Default)
I haven't really had the best week, partially because of running out of levothyroxine just before the pharmacy was closed for three days, so I nearly turned into Jack Dee. And yesterday, a combined effort at work finally uncovered that a bug that I had been tearing my insignificant hair out over was caused by an object comparison with a == - be careful, because it happens to everyone!

I have been spending far more time on the news feed page for Crystal Towers 2 than is frankly healthy, though, and it's really nice to see updates happening as they go past. I'm currently mustering up the courage to submit it to a couple of the bigger independent game sites. I've also been keeping my promise to work on it this year, forging ahead with level layout and beginning to draw up a tree of the eventual layout of the entire game. This is going to get finished.

To that end, I bought a new computer this morning. Or three bits of one, at least - thanks to everyone who responded in the various places I posted the suggestions (even if everyone on Facebook misread the title "Computer advice needed once again!" as "Please have a Macfest in this thread immediately!"). I went for almost exactly what I had posted, but with a Phenom instead of an Athlon. That should keep me going for a few years.

I think the state of the week is summarized best by a series of phone calls that I had to make to our Internet service provider recently, after we had no connection in the morning. In order:
  1. Called the support line on the landline phone. Got as far as reading them my account number when the man told me I was breaking up really badly, so I said I would call back on my mobile.

  2. Called the support line on my mobile phone and was redirected to the office in California. I was given a number to call to specifically get the one that was appropriate to where I lived.

  3. Called the new number and got to a man who sounded very confused before revealing that he was in the Massachusetts sales office. He said he would put me through to support, but hung up instead.

  4. Called the number again, went carefully back through the menus, found the right support option, got through to an actual person, turned around, looked at the router and then had to explain to her that I had spent so long on the phone that the Internet was now working and no further action was required.

Well, that's not very Comcastic, is it?
davidn: (savior)
We're back in Boston now, though I still have to put up some entries that I wrote on the cruise. We both keep expecting the floor to move about.

I came back to find this in my inbox:

Ready for a Break? CIC Adds a Wii to the 16th Floor
October 11, 2009

Feeling worn out after a long day? Need a quick distraction from editing that grant proposal? Do you have an over abundance of energy from those three Nespresso shots you just drank? Come play some tennis on the CIC Wii!

A Nintendo Wii is now located in the Dijon conference room on the 16th floor (located through the single door entrance from the 16th floor elevator lobby, just down the hall to the right). Instead of a projector, this conference room is equipped with a 46 inch LCD television, which works beautifully for presentations, especially those requiring high resolution, and when not being used for that purpose, it does a fine job with Wii tennis as well.


...and will be knackered within a week due to flying remotes, I think. As I have said before, I think I work in the best IT building in the world - I think my current average of getting in on two and a half days a week might be about to go up.

Not today, though - we got to sleep last night at something past one in the morning. Our flight out of Los Angeles was delayed because the wind was so high that it had to land and get some more fuel on the way out to us (not when we were on it. I would have had an aneurysm.) But the same wind helped us across the country in four and a half hours when we eventually took off. I'm now no longer completely white, and neither of us have yet exhibited any signs of coughing, sneezing or deadness.

I'm going to have to get some essentials today. Maybe also install a balcony, as I'm already missing having one right outside our bedroom.
davidn: (Default)
I'm rather ashamed to admit that I've just bought a set of so-called "Feng Shui pens" from the bookshop down the road. Someone seems to have been stealing mine, and they didn't have any packs that were remotely normal - most were the kind that cost $25 and are presented in silk-lined boxes that are incredibly over-elaborate for a tube to dispense ink in a semi-organized fashion on to a dead tree.

So I was forced to go for one of the gimmicky "bookmark pen" packets, and the variety that I happened to pick up are decorated with the Chinese characters for Friendship, Peace, Happiness, Wealth, Success, Love, and Health (none of which are fantastically appropriate in this setting - especially that last one, as I came back balancing them on top of a rather giant pizza slice). At least, that's what it says the characters are. They could read "Please punch me in the face, I've just bought Feng Shui pens" for all I know.

Anyway, all of this is irrelevant because as soon as you lift one out of the box (which happens to be a jewel CD case) you discover that the reason they're called Bookmark Pens is that they're unnaturally flat as if they'd been left in the path of a steamroller. Furthermore, they appear to be made out of a mixture of low-grade plastic, Teflon and soap, and have a habit of slipping into the crook of your hand whenever you try to get a grip on the impossibly thin surface, or shooting up towards the ceiling when you press the end on to paper. Far from inviting peace and tranquility, they're performing the impossible feat of making my handwriting even more chaotic and dreadful than it was already.

I just went out to get a biro. I'm sure there's some sort of conspiracy behind all this.
davidn: (Jam)
I've just noticed that the comments on the last entry are coming up on my LJ home page as "[Username] in Butter" like some sort of cannibalistic main course of the day, so I feel the need to push it off the recent list as soon as possible.

We got back to Boston early on Monday morning, after a flight that seemed positively heavenly compared to the last time - with the vast amount of electronics I was carrying, it didn't even feel like I needed to do anything to actively pass the time. The city welcomed me back by giving me a massive shock from the first remotely metallic-looking thing I touched on arrival at the luggage area.

That day passed quickly, as most of it was spent asleep, but instead of staying at home the next day as well for jetlag recovery I managed to drag my carcass into work for a meeting. I feel most companies would be in trouble when the lead consultant finishes off his list of items with "Oh, and I'm moving to Paris", but he's worked from the opposite end of the country for most of the time I've been there anyway, and the only effect will be that we're back to having only three people in the immediate office again. (When I told my brother about our work situation near the start of my employment he asked "So are you like The IT Crowd?". I'll just leave it to your imagination whether the answer is 'yes' or 'no'.)

I phoned the immigration office yesterday as well, and I was naturally delighted to hear that on top of the sixty days that were expected to process my fingerprints there's actually an expected eight-month waiting period for getting a Really Permanent Residence card. So that should arrive in about five months now, and if I want to get out of the country at any time before then, I need to use my old expired card and the letter that they sent saying that my Not Very Permanent Residence had been extended for a year. But seeing as they haven't called me in for an additional interview yet, that means things are probably going just about as smoothly as you could expect.

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

July 2017

S M T W T F S
       1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031     

Most Popular Tags

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Style Credit

Page generated Jul. 20th, 2017 04:44 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios