Friday, March 23, 2007

My Inner European

Your Inner European is Italian!

Passionate and colorful.
You show the world what culture really is.

Funny, I'm making a grilled caprese sandwich right now, complete with balsamic vinegar.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Engage Duffel

Funny what things do and don't change when you get more money. Dumpster diving, for instance. You'd think I make enough that I wouldn't be interested in this, but hey, it's still free stuff that just needs a little washing. Yesterday afternoon I took the trash out, and I saw an Army duffel bag full of clothes sitting in the dumpster. Of course, I couldn't resist the urge to climb up and try to pull it out - and I found out that those scenes with Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse engaging Duffel were no exaggeration: this thing probably weighed 80 lbs. So, I pulled most of the clothes out first, then pulled maybe the last third with the bag. Also found a couple of sheets (black beech sateen, I think - score!). Kind of sad - you can pretty much guess what happened: guy gets back from the military and gets dumped, and his girlfriend throws his stuff away. Well, more for me, and it's in the washing machine right now... with bleach.


Have you ever spent all day deciding what to do, not done anything, and realized that you could have done most of the stuff you were considering if you'd just picked something and gotten moving?


Right next door to my house (I can see it out the living room windows) is a big church parking lot which is usually empty (except, as you might expect, Sunday mornings). Last night, I suddenly saw it differently: no longer just a place where the faithful leave their vehicles, but a giant rollerblading rink. Only took me four months living here to think of that. But they were four dark rainy gray months that didn't really lend themselves to thinking of outdoor activities that work better on dry ground.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thoughts for Pi Day

Happy Pi Day! I missed 1:59, both of them. Oh well. I missed 12:34:56 7/8/90 too. I don't think it made any difference. I had a good day today anyway :-)


There is no good amount of email, i.e., nothing between "Nobody loves me!" and "Ack, leave me alone, people!"


Plants in Hawaii go about life differently from plants on the mainland. Here, they grow a little, think about it, then maybe grow a little more. In Hawaii, it's more like, "GROW GROW GROW GROW COMEONHURRYUP! GROW GROW GROW GROW GROW...." til they're nothing but leggy green monsters.


Oh, yeah, and it looks like this post actually missed Pi Day by 9 minutes. It's still Pi Day in 4 timezones west of here (did I count right?).

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Daylight Savings

Are my savings of daylight FDIC insured? Can I collect interest on them? Is there a daylight 401(k)? Or maybe 401(d)? Do I have to pay luminosity gains tax? Can I spend any of the savings in December, when I really need them? Or do I just get more light after I retire? Is that what the light at the end of the tunnel is, all that daylight you saved throughout your life?

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Density of Meaning in Code

If you're in the tech field, chances are you've heard the statistic that industry programmers average 3 lines of code per day. If you're in school, you don't believe it. But, let me tell you, in school, I had no trouble cracking out a thousand lines of code in one day, like many CS students. Now, I work at Microsoft, and yeah, I probably average 3 lines of code per day. I got to thinking about this a couple of weeks ago, when I spent more than half a day tracking down a bug that I fixed by moving one line of code down 100 lines, into another function. Not only did this work, it was probably the best way to fix the problem (that feature has since been tested and found to have no bugs). I mentioned this to one of my coworkers (who's a great coder), and he said we should be doing more of that kind of fixes, because it usually means you've understood the real problem, rather than just trying stuff until the issue magically goes away, and never knowing why.

This seems to be a property of large systems: the bigger the code base, the more effect you can have with a given number of lines of code. In fact, I'd argue that this is part of the nature of coding: the first time you need to create something (a window, say), you have to create the entire thing (lay out the window, add all the styles, etc). The second time on, you can just make another one of what you already have (you can make arbitrarily many windows with just a for-loop calling the constructor). It's a property of electronic things that once they exist, they're easy to copy. This manifests in code as being able to do more and more, the more code you have. Each line can do more, and thus means more, in the sense of having more semantic/visual/effectuality significance. The density of meaning increases as you have more code.


Why I'm Not In Marketing, Part II

Neal Stephenson: You Just Picked Up 900 Pages of Crack

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport: Your Flight Only Costs Three Times As Much As Your Parking!

Yogurt: It's Milk That Went Bad In A Different Way Than Cheese Did

I'm not kidding about the SeaTac parking: for going to both San Francisco and Hawaii, the parking did (or would have) cost the same as, or a bit less than, a third the airfare.