Sunday, December 31, 2006

writing prose or code, it's the same.....

I just read that Donald Murray died - I was one of those readers not in his age group who really enjoyed his writing. I had been too busy to read his columns lately, but linked to his recent columns - this one captures how I feel about coding. Coding feeds my innate insecurity - just as he says, every time I sit down to a problem, I'm never sure I can solve it. As a corollary, if I already know how to solve it when I sit down to code it, I'm bored before I begin and the task is infinitely harder. Sometimes people think they're doing favors to programmers when they tell them how to do something, but giving someone the answer ahead of time spoils the fun.

I echo his wish for us in 2007 - may we all find something we can't do. That's the only way we know we're achieving the most we can.

Saturday, December 30, 2006


I was as they say "bone tired" before Christmas. I was working hard and getting less and less effective because I needed a break. And getting more and more stubborn about not taking one. But finally the lack of Christmas shopping reached a sufficiently perilous state that I finally started vacation halfway through the Thursday before Christmas. Right up to Christmas Eve, I was very busily shopping.

Christmas morning, the boys actually slept til 9. All six were home, which was very rare, and we had a very nice day and dinner all together. I can't say I've accomplished all the things I wanted to since Christmas - I haven't played the viola every day, I haven't spent enough time on the elliptical machine, but I have slept in, baked some cookies, reached the yoke of the Icelandic sweater I'm knitting, and feel much better than I did a week ago.

In the first few days of vacation, my work would try to push through my mind, but I was able to push it back. Even Lotusphere could be put on hold - I know roughly what I want to say and demo, and while there's still lots to do, I'm not panicked (yet).

I remember Pete telling me once right after we shipped R5 that he needed to take a break so coding was fun again. That really rang true for me this week as coding had ceased to be fun before Christmas.

I haven't rebooted my laptop since vacation began. There in the task bar is my development environment. An hour or so ago, I maximized it, just to look at something quickly to put a thought to rest.... Before I knew it, I had a file checked out, a new file created, and here I am in the thick of it again.

I think it's fun again :-)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

still a wii little boy....

The Wii I promised to my son on his birthday 3 days after its launch finally arrived yesterday (after persistent pursuit, I finally managed to find one online at retail price!) He's 19 now, but has definitely grown up with Nintendo, and this was his one wish for his birthday. It was late, but quite anxiously awaited.

He was so excited, it was really fun to see. He had his first Wii related injury within 5 minutes playing the tennis game - he managed to scrape his knuckles on the ceiling... He was still up when we folded for the night, and when we got up this morning, we found him curled up on the couch, the Wii remote dropped out of his hand. All I could think of was when he was four, refusing to nap, but finally falling asleep in place in a similar pose.

It was nice to see the little boy inside the gruff teenager. Good to know he's still in there.

Friday, December 01, 2006

the music is on again

My mother noticed long ago that she could tell how I was doing by watching how much I listened to music. In a particularly dark period, my stereo went unconnected for two years. That is so not me, that she knew that things were wrong.

I used to code to music most of the time. In the past year, with more meetings in my life, I have gotten out of the habit of turning on the music when I get those precious chances to code.

Today I remembered... And at the end of the day, my code was working, and I felt better and less fragmented. The music is going to be staying on!