Category archives: Knight Errant

Questing and jousting and other entrepreneurial details RSS

Free Million-Dollar Idea of the Day

Add a SquareMap-style visualization to accounting software, instant visualization of your entire company's expenses, revenue, budget, etceteras.  Perfect for including in reports to CEOs, Shareholders and the like.  For bonus marks, make it explorable, with a web-based tool to which I upload simple tree-structured data-sets.

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Learning Curves

Sat down to clean up some dojo widgets for a project today.  Basically these are "explorer" like collections of sets-of-things, with the desire to allow for filtering the set, viewing a detailed-list view, you know, standard stuff.

So I figured I would work on the detail-list stuff.  It's a simple grid control, dojo has a grid control, therefor I'll be done in minutes.

Except my grid drew the first line of the grid on top of the grid headers.  Hmm, well, what's causing that.  Let's look under the hood.  Hmm, rather complex-seeming under there, lots of ...

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Expanding Micro-Tasks are Demotivators, Communicate your Strategy

Imagine you have to wait 2 minutes before you can do something you need to get done, it's otherwise wasted time so you decide to work on some trivial task, say sweeping the floor, or washing the two or three dishes in the sink.

You start washing dishes, and someone sees you doing it.  To them, you're "doing the dishes", not "filling the two minutes while you wait", so it's perfectly reasonable and helpful for them to bring dishes over to you (or start moving furniture to help you sweep every corner of the floor in every ...

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Back from the Tropics

Got back from the Caribbean on Saturday morning.  Wound up sleeping most of Saturday and Sunday to recover (somehow working down there was way more exhausting that working up here, though being sick and not sleeping well might have been part of it).

Spent yesterday on personal errands, little cleanup tasks for various projects, and poking at a weird GLU error in one of the PyOpenGL-Demo demos (GLU is rendering GLU_FILL as a very narrow band of faces around the knot-points rather than a solid surface).  Works fine in OpenGLContext, but the stand-alone GLUT/NURBS demo doesn't work.

Today ...

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But I just need 1 little function...

I'm working on a side project at the moment, just a clean-up for an old customer who was acquired and needs to be migrated off our old systems and onto their parent company's systems.  To do that, we need to make a single, simple calculation.  About half of the time so far in the project has been taken up by trying to extract the core of this calculation from the legacy system in which it was written.  By comparison, the same basic function for the "new" parts of the system was a few lines of code, since the ...

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Been thinking a lot lately about how to direct my energies into socially beneficial channels.  I'm still reasonably convinced that we need to focus on education, without that you're pretty much doomed to fall back into chaos with every blow.  I'm also reasonably convinced that some of the things that need to be taught are things that we don't seem to teach very well here; maybe every grade-school student should be learning civics, game theory, philosophy, psychology, moral leadership and political science?

If your populace doesn't demand good government, are they going to get it ...

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TurboGears Weirdness (Validators don't Run)

Ran into a weird situation with TurboGears validators on a client project. It seems like they're just plain broken for the most common use case, at least one other user seems to agree. That's disturbing me primarily because it means I'm somehow "missing" the normal pattern for validator usage (people can't be using them in this broken way, so how do they use them).

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Mind Numb (22.5 billable hours in two days...)

Have had high-priority issues show up half-way through two days in a row now, pulling me from one client to another. Result has been 11+ hours billable each day (on top of not being particularly rested from the weekend). I'm getting well toward mind-numbed.

Some (tired) thoughts:

Pre and post condition checks are good things in maintenance code-bases. Sanity checks for the "no way that can be that" stuff are a very good idea. Particularly good idea if you're going to work on a code-base for long enough that you won't remember the original plan when you ...

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C++ and Accounting (Not as exciting as you might think...)

Spent the whole day on C++ memory-leak hunting. C++ really is a tool that no-one should use without some mechanism to take away the memory management. Without automated handling it's just way too easy to lose track of a reference and wind up with a couple of hundred KB lost.

Got some book-keeping stuff taken care of. Started setting up a VM so that the book-keeper can run GNUCash on her machine. It seems there's a port to Windows, but it looks pretty dodgy.

Started looking at FiveDash. Will need to get apache set up on my workstation ...

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Unexpected 'free' day (More of an "I want to do something else" day...)

I got up this morning fully intending to work on billing/provisioning stuff for ACI all day... I only wound up doing 2 hours total work for them (well, so far), exhausted the stuff that can be done during the day (most of the changes need to be done after-close-of-business) and decided to brush up on my C++ for a contract next week (it's been 9 years since I did any paid C++ work (garn I'm getting old), I normally use C when I need to drop down for low-level work).

Read the book "Effective C++ (Second Edition ...

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