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Last Visit 2012-11-09 18:06:58 |Start Date 2005-09-01 15:28:14 |Comments 1,246 |Entries 866 |Images 935 |Sounds 4 |Videos 95 |Mobl 173 |

10/25/08 03:55 - 54ºF - ID#46322




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Permalink: Wassup_.html
Words: 17
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: culture

10/25/08 02:47 - 54ºF - ID#46321

Equal Opportunity

An interesting essay by Will Wilkinson: which also keyed off some things that I've talked to James about recently, in his job search.

[W]hat little I know of economic sociology tells me that access to economic opportunities is deeply network-relative. -- Will Wilkinson

I find this to be very true. It's the adage that it's not what you know but who you know -- opportunities come through communication, not based on merit. Merit is what allows you to take advantage of the opportunity. You don't have a chance of showing off your skill unless you can talk to the right person.

At work the positions I've helped to hire for have been filled based on me knowing the people we were hiring. I vouched for and championed them because of their personalities and communication skills in addition to their technical chops. The thought of posting those jobs in public and hiring strangers off the street unnerved me greatly.

It's not a perfect system, but we'd only hire a programmer who doesn't come to us through either personal recommendation or by coming to the Ruby meetups we host only as a last resort. Hiring someone is a huge decision that can make or break a team, as I've seen from a few different sides.

It's a tough problem. There are people who are perfectly capable of careers that they can't get into because they don't know who to talk to. Networks limit choices, but also minimize risk and maximize chance of success, if you start out with the right mindset.

If you're looking for a job, don't look in the want ads, look for smokey back rooms and referrals :)

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Permalink: Equal_Opportunity.html
Words: 285
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: nature

10/25/08 11:55 - 53ºF - ID#46319

Green Thumb

I got a couple cute little house plants to take to work. They're all marked as tolerant of low light, so hopefully they'll do OK. I got a plant light just in case, but I'm not sure how to set it up so it won't put too much light on them. I think I'm going to set a timer so it lights them up for a couple hours every morning.

Does anyone have any recommendations on low light plants species to get? I'm always on the look out, and would love to fill my cube up :)

Also, does anyone know where I can by some simple, plain, but not ass ugly plant stands that would be neutral enough to look OK in an office? Target and Home Depot don't seem to sell them. Metal or wood is OK.
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Permalink: Green_Thumb.html
Words: 138
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: writing

10/23/08 10:56 - 38ºF - ID#46272


November is National Novel Writing Month -

You try to write a novel over the course of 30 days. Which seems insane, but if you do 10 pages a day that's a 300 page book. If you sign up on the site it's got some peer pressure social tools to encourage you to keep going.

I'm tempted to see what I can do... I'll journal my progress if I choose to participate.


If you do sign up, please join the Buffalo region:

And add me as a buddy:
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Permalink: NaNoWriMo.html
Words: 106
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: internets

10/23/08 08:40 - 38ºF - ID#46268

Feed Reader Slaughter

I have been trying to follow the principle of 'inbox 0' (background: ). Basically, you get to zero messages in your inbox at least once per day. Ruthlessly, if need be. It forces you to decide if you're really going to need to respond to something, to really think about how you're going to spend your communication time.

For a few months I've been using that system, and found it incredibly useful. Then a week ago I realized that the tyranny of my mail has always paled in comparison to the beast that is my feed reader.

So, I went through my feed reader and deleted all the feeds that update daily or that are only momentarily useful. I'm down to 60 feeds from over 200. The 60 that are left are the ones that update occasionally, and have a very high signal to noise ratio.

It was taking about an hour or two every night to sift through them all and get to 0 unread. It feels nice to be able to do that in 5 or 10 minutes today. I am missing out on some really awesome random information, but the good stuff that I really need to know still finds its way to me.

The downside is fewer random interesting links to post into the (e:strip) chat.

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Permalink: Feed_Reader_Slaughter.html
Words: 221
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: internets

10/21/08 08:22 - 47ºF - ID#46224


Don't ever dress your daughter up as Gallagher :)


Read all about it:
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Permalink: CHILD_ABUSE.html
Words: 26
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: work

10/20/08 09:49 - 58ºF - ID#46219

Pair Programming Starts Tomorrow

More work stuff - I need to fill my daily journal quota!

We've got our automated testing down pretty well at work, so on to the next step. We start pair programming every single day in the afternoons tomorrow. It will be interesting to see how this goes, if we can make a habit of it. It's the best way to learn.

( - pair programming )

We aren't going to do it full time, as the linked page suggests, but even part time should be very, very useful. I've learned to hate silo-style development. Everyone on a team should share ownership of every single line of code. There should not be anywhere that a developer fears to tread.

It's a little bit scary to work so closely with someone, the times that I've paired in the past - you have to fumble around and show your inadequacies, but it's worth it when you teach each other new things and hash out designs before they're halfway done. Code is easy to change as you're speaking about it and hard to change later.

The alternative - well, it is very nice to work alone and polish your work before you show it to other people, but it's just not as communicative in the end. I totally go off in the weeds when working alone.

We're going to rotate the pairs - most of the time it will be one Ruby expert paired with one former Fox Pro programmer who is learning Ruby, but is a domain expert in the software. It should be a good match. Everyone will work with everyone though, just to make sure we can all talk together.

Code reviews are coming, probably next month, too.

So the arc looks like -

Phase I - automated test suite: TDD and feature stories.

Phase II - pair programming.

Phase III - weekly team code reviews.

I love my job so much. I love love love it.
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Permalink: Pair_Programming_Starts_Tomorrow.html
Words: 332
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: estrip

10/19/08 09:51 - 36ºF - ID#46188

Close Your Eyes and Do It For England

I donated $40 last night to the campaign to defeat Proposition 8 in California (Prop 8 will remove the constitutional gender-indiscriminant right to marry, and nullify existing same sex marriages in CA). I'm hoping that James and I can go there next year and get married. Either there, or Connecticut.

We are upstanding citizens, we pay our taxes, don't hurt anyone, and just want to be able to rely on the legal system to acknowledge that we can make decisions for each other in times of crisis. We're not trying to undermine other families. I don't know how we could.

Someone linked to this on Twitter, and it convinced me to donate:

Yikes. is the link, if you're interested in donating, too.

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Permalink: Close_Your_Eyes_and_Do_It_For_England.html
Words: 132
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: work

10/18/08 08:04 - 49ºF - ID#46182


I am now the head of Rails development at my work, so I'm coordinating 6 developers. Three new to Rails, and two who are new to the company, and myself. It's actually pretty awesome to be running the projects. I get to be the face of our development team to all the executives and our parent company in Boston.

It's not really a promotion in the sense of title change, more of a coordinator role (still spend 80% of my own time writing code), but it's going to be nice when I have my yearly review next April to be able to claim credit for how nice things are going.

The best part of the job? Saying no to stupid things before they are forced upon us.


We're digging into a ground-up rewrite of one of our core products, an evaluation tool for Physical Therapy students. It's going much smoother then I had anticipated, although two of the guys we thought we'd have had on the project months ago are only now able to lay down Visual Studio and Fox Pro and join us.

There are two other ongoing projects too, so 3 things to keep tabs on and moving forward, plus all the training. Training devs is nice - another way to shape the company culture and make sure that we're doing things the same way. They really like Ruby over Fox Pro - big surprise :)

Thank God for the ADD drugs. I'd be hanging myself otherwise.
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Permalink: Pseudo_Promotion.html
Words: 247
Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: starwars

10/16/08 10:21 - 50ºF - ID#46148

Episode 7?


(source / more in the series: )
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Permalink: Episode_7_.html
Words: 11
Location: Buffalo, NY



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