19 Jul 2001 Johnath   » (Journeyer)

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 quality 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. Interesting.

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.

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