Sunday, October 21, 2007

Vacations and Returns

Had a nice long vacation this past week. A whole week with basically no structure and nothing that HAD to be done. Sometimes I think it would drive me crazy to be retired and have nothing to do, then something like last week happens and I wonder if I can retire sooner than later. I had a great time camping on the beach in San Diego. The food was awesome (the tacos we had were AMAZING), the people were great to hang out with and I got to spend a lot of time with my family. Sounds pretty perfect. I am even willing to put up with a really sore back (I threw it out of wack boogie boarding of all things) for the good time I had on the trip. I am glad to be returning to work tomorrow, hopefully with a new outlook and new vigor in completing the stuff I need to get done.

I haven't gotten much farther into "Getting Things Done" yet, but hope to this week. I'm still hoping it will also add to a renewed sense of vigor in completing stuff and allow me to be much more productive. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

filibuster vigilantly

The title of this post really has nothing to do with what it is about. It comes from a song by They Might Be Giants named "Birdhouse In Your Soul" if you are interested. It seems from my googling of it, that this is a somewhat popular blog entry title.

I've started reading a book called Getting Things Done by David Allen in hopes of improving my efficiency and productivity. I figure the more I can get done in a more efficient time period, the more time I will have to spend with my family. The interesting thing about this book so far (I'm only on page 5) is the way that Mr. Allen refers to work. I tend to separate my life into work and home, Mr. Allen tends to say that anything that needs to be done is work, and his system will cover all "work." I really like this.

Whether it is mowing the lawn or finishing the power measurements at the office, these are things in my life that need to be completed. They are work items, that if I can plan for better, I hope to complete more efficiently and have more time with my wonderful family. Every minute that this program buys me with my family is a great return on any investment in my time it takes to learn the program.

Monday, August 13, 2007

sloppy coding

Sloppy coding has to be one of my main pet peeves. I hate looking at code that I have to pick up and maintain and realize that the person who came before didn't care one jot or tittle about the maintenance aspect. For hours at a time each day it seems like I look at code with huge blocks commented out. I don't think people understand that when using a source control system, YOU CAN GO BACK TO PREVIOUS VERSIONS!

It's not just the large blocks of commented code. I also deal with large amounts of poorly thought out code. Examples are people who use C++, but don't USE C++. Many times it seems like people just code in C, but name the file .cpp. What good does that do? What benefit is there? If you are going to use C++, use it for what it can be good for.

Then there are those who like to pretend they know about software development. They claim that their code is well written, that they follow good design principles. These people can have the worst code of all. They over comment, considering it "built-in documentation." If their code was well thought out, they wouldn't need as many comments, the code would comment itself.

The most frustrating thing is watching new projects head down the same road. I watch as people continue to put in hacks where a well thought out solution would do so much better in making the code maintainable and portable. Long down the road some poor sap like me will have to go through the code and wonder how it ever came to be.

I try and try to influence people to write good code, but alas the battle is never ending, uphill both ways in the snow.