Making things easier for myself

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Monday, May 21. 2007 in Programming

I find myself using external "port kits" more and more often... Instead of keeping track of, and hand-compiling, various external packages that I use and rely on, I'm using MacPorts (formerly DarwinPorts). As previously posted, I'm also finding myself using Locomotive to handle my RoR environment, again, instead of worrying about the versioning and dependencies myself. It's not laziness, just efficiency. By not "being bothered" by some aspects, I can focus on the things that are more important. Plus, I alternate from a G5 desktop system to a Intel MacBook semi-regularly, and using Locomotive ensures parity between these development systems for me. FWIW, I hardly ever use Fink anymore... It used to be my main external source, but I like MacPorts better.

Personal break Boss?

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Tuesday, May 15. 2007 in Programming

Between what I do for fun and what I do for work, I deal with a lot of different languages and frameworks. I find myself switching gears quite often, sometimes several times a day, from one programming environment to another. So it should come as no surprise that even though I consider myself "proficient" using all these variants, I have not committed to memory all the different library/class/method calls, parameters lists, etc. So I find myself occasionally pulling out a "pocket reference" (or man page) as needed to refresh my recall. Yet, from what I hear about the normal working practices in several companies (including large companies as well as those that really should know better) as well as standard interview "techniques" this classifies me as a low grade moron. Sure, I guess if you use just one language and just one framework then yeah, I guess, you should know them down cold. But who is so specialized nowadays? And how does simply rote memory tests mean anything regarding how well you design and implement code? Of course, one rationale for such "characterization" is that it increases productivity; that having designers/programmers/coders "constantly" needing to look stuff up (assuming, of course, their IDE doesn't do this for them anyway) wastes time. Well, it's certainly been my experience that programming is not just simply typing. You spend time thinking things through, designing things in your head, with others, testing and refining, profiling and reworking. These hardcopy lookups are hardly in any way an impact on schedule. If you don't understand that, you aren't running a software development house; you're running a sweatshop. And Boy! I bet the quality of that code leaves much to be desired.

No AC EU 2007 for me

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Friday, May 4. 2007 in Programming

What with the Hawaii vacation trip, and the inevitable work-load that results whenever you take time off, I was unable to attend Apache EU this year, something I'm still quite bummed about. However, I've already set aside time for the US show, plus I even "submitted" 3 presentation proposals as well (it's in quotes because every time I tried to submit a proposal via the website, it wouldn't let me... I ended up just sending my proposals in via Email). It appears that the conference was a nice success. In the meantime, in addition to the "real" work, I managed to find some time to attend to a lot of things that I've been meaning to do. For example: finally removing the dependency on the (non APR-ised) ftp_glob() function in mod_ftp; releasing the 1st beta of the 1.2.0 version of Telaen; voting on various backports for Apache httpd 2.0 and 2.2; trying out Locomotive for ROR development on OS X instead of creating the runtime environment by hand; and using that setup to create an online gradebook to make tallying up the grades at the MSB summer camp easier (and less time consuming)... And to add to all that, I even found time to badly sprain my ankle yesterday! I could have done without that.

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