19 Jul 2001
(updated 19 Jul 2001 at 15:49 UTC) »
3-4 weeks seems to be settling down as my intra-entry
interval, so here I am again right on, or perhaps a teensy
bit behind, schedule.
Life is still grand - I'm not so rabid about cooking in
the mornings any more - I've gotten pretty good at the
perfect omelet, I just generally prefer to sleep for the
extra 10 minutes that a bowl of cereal buys me. Dinner
though, is still a cooking party. I got my manual pasta
maker, which makes a world of difference believe me. When
amy & I cook the packaged pasta now - even the good
stuff, it just seems flavourless by comparison.
Work is making sense now - I'm actually producing code,
starting to merit IBM's investment, and generally
understanding what's going on to a far greater extent. The
beauty of working on a product line that came into
existence a month before you joined the company is that
everything is very one-point-oh, but that's a double edged
sword. No question it's where I want to be, I love this
kind of work - work that actually requires/allows me to
make relevant decisions - but it's... interesting at
times. Imagine the amount of documentation that exists,
for instance, on something brand new and kind of
complicated to boot. Now cut that estimate in half and
spread it all over a company with 350,000 employees.
I guess my CompSci profs should be proud - their message
got through to me - document document document - and now
I'm in the real world, reading vast expanses of code, and
the documentation is sparse. Or not where I'd expect it,
anyhow - it does exist... somewhere. But I'll continue
doing my part anyhow - in-code explanations, javadoc
comments on every method - actual written specs that are up
to date. Maybe that makes me a keener. I'd like to think
it also makes me a better developer, though.
My hacking life is done by proxy right now. I'm
learning php while teaching it to Amy, who is going to
whip up her first cgi driven site and who has relatively
little programming to fall back on. PHP seemed like a safe
choice - I might have recommended JSPs, I'd certainly enjoy
reading a couple books on the subject, but I think that
would be too much extra work for too little extra
payout - at least for her needs. So our evenings right now
are cook dinner, racquetball, SQL tutorial. Or cook
dinner, racquetball, C-style syntax refresher. Or... etc.
Essentially, I just read through the php docs faster than
she does, and answer the questions she has since I've got a
little more background to which to attach this stuff. I
gotta say, btw, props to PHP's doc writers - they use
excellent, unambiguous language when describing the
features of php, makes a compsci major feel quite at home.
Does manage to be a little intimidating to newcomers
though, I'm guessing. Perhaps there should be "Programming
PHP" and "Learning PHP" style manuals, to steal from perl's
format. Perhaps there already are...
Extra! Extra! I find out, just after writing
this, that I have had copyrights infringed-upon! How
exciting. My AI
tutorial (written a couple
years ago for psych students) has been copied, almost in
full, by these guys. They have preserved
our names at the top (though they removed the mailto:'s)
and they have removed all our copyright notices.
Charming. I've written to the prof with whom I wrote the
tutorial, to get his thoughts on the matter. I'm inclined
to let it be - I wrote that tutorial because I thought
people might find it educational, maybe even interesting.
For the most part, I'm happy it's reached a larger
audience. I do wish they'd been a little more polite about
it though. We'll see.