Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Dream

That is, my dream at night, not my dream like "I'd love to see this come true" (though that might be true as well):

In the outdoor pool, pool-bully swimming around, holding people's heads under water.  Until:

Hulk Hogan. 

"I'm gonna dunk you, Hulkster!"

Hulk says nothing.

Pool-bully attempts to dunk Hulk.  Hulk doesn't move.

Pool-bully pushes down on Hulk's head, leaving him open for:

The body slam.  Only it's not a normal body slam.  Hulk rears up and throws pool-bully out of the pool. 

Then I woke up.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Windows Live Writer - or - MS finally gets it right

So, I generally don't have anything too bad to say about Microsoft.  I use their products when I have to, I go Open Source when it's available, but I have to admit, I'm pretty darned impressed with Windows Live Writer.

Despite the fact that this is the first time I've used it, I see no reason to continue using Firefox Scribefire or trying like crazy to get's blogger add-on working.

This is basically a test to see what the functionality of the thing is and, well, so far, so good.


Pictures work.


Links (even self-referential ones like this one) work.

Tables Work

Map image

This is basically the <gasp!> moment for me.  You can import maps really easily.  So I could, like, show you guys where I bike to work every day.

Good form, Microsoft!

Monday, July 07, 2008


We've been through some good times and we've also seen our share of hard times. I won't kid you – some of those hard times are the happiest in my life. Lately, though, there's a lot that's been on my mind. I'll admit that I haven't been perfect. I don't know that my lack of perfection has been enough to justify the way you've been treating me.

It started last July. That's what I would call the end of the “Honeymoon Phase.” I went out of town and you told everyone you were thinking of breaking up with me. Oh sure, you took it all back and accused Susan of blabbing secrets you told to her but it definitely set the tone. That pushed Chris away. He even moved to Calgary to get away.

Then, in February, you canceled our favourite “Activity.” We'd been doing it for a year and a half and you just squashed it. (We were even getting pretty good at it) Sure, we've bounced around from one thing to another since then, and it seems like we've found new common ground but it seems like nothing will ever be better than that one special thing. And it really had the potential to be something.

Then you passive-aggresively drove away two of my friends. Gustavo and Wenpan noticed the cold shoulder you gave them and they left.

The latest thing, and the one that pushed me to write this, was that I went out of town again, and you told people that it was Marius or me. When I got back, I found you'd kicked Marius out.

I've done some research and I want to share a list with you:

Signs your relationship is failing:

  1. You look less forward to seeing each other. -- Have you noticed that I've started coming around a little later? Have you cared?

  2. You find it harder to focus on the needs of your partner. -- Have you noticed how soul-wrenchingly hard it has been for me to concentrate on things? How my mind has been wandering when you need my attention?

  3. Your devotion to your partner is less and your thoughts begin to stray to another. -- Yes, it's been good, but others have told me I'm a catch and I thought I would send out a letter gauging interest. Nothing has happened but there was definite interest on their part.

  4. You hang on to a reason to stay with your partner even if you're unhappy. -- It's the money. I've tried substituting the money for happiness. All that's made me is broke.

  5. The wrongs that your partner has done you dominate your thoughts and you keep coming back to them. -- This is the most pressing and telling of the signs listed, in my mind. I've tried being happy, laughing it off, even, shamefully, mocking you behind your back. None of that has worked.

Everything seems to point to a failed relationship and there are those who say I should just take the money and cut bait. But I don't want that, even if there are others out there who say they'd treat me better.

Father Roger once told me that love is a choice. Sure, it always starts out grand but once things become real, you have to choose to keep loving your partner in order to keep things going.

I'm not ready to give up on you, Intuit and I think that if we start choosing to treat each other better, things can be not only like they were before but better and we can stay together and laugh at all the people who thought we wouldn't last.

I'm not going anywhere, and I will see you tomorrow.

Ready to start over,


The Wonderful Wizard of Oz/The Marvelous World of Oz

A Book Report Double-Feature

After Nick and I finished the Prydain Chronicles, a wonderful young-adult series that I read when I was a child and was eagerly anticipating telling to Nick, I wasn’t sure where to turn. Eventually, though, I figured that The Wizard of Oz was a good movie, so the book should be pretty good too.

I was a little underwhelmed. The story is essentially the same. Dorothy and her problems are similar, the Wizard didn’t change either.

The Good

I liked the expanded characters of the flying monkeys. Rather than the terrifying and nightmare-inducing version from the movie, they’re a group of mischief-makers who found themselves in the limited thrall of the wicked witch (and then in service to Dorothy).

There were some more characters and more problems for the characters to overcome. The mice were a good addition, for example.

The Bad

When I watched the movie (even most recently a year or two ago), I figured that the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Lion had what they wanted in good measure before seeing the wizard but it was done subtly enough that there was always a little question. The book, however, hits you over the head with it again and again. All ideas came from the Scarecrow. All sympathy flowed from the Tin Man.

The Conclusion

I obviously liked the book enough to continue with the second in the series.

The Marvelous World of Oz

New characters join the Tin Woodman (now known as Nick Chopper) and the Scarecrow as the Scarecrow’s place as ruler of Oz is overthrown.

I appreciated an extended look into the world of Oz, as well as the new characters, particularly Jack Pumpkinhead and H.M. Wogglebug, T. E.

The ending was a surprise to me and to Nick as well, and the consequences will be felt in the third book.

The story did drag a bit, although that may have been more a consequence of a week’s layoff during camping than anything else. I imagine that Nick and I will return to Oz for the third installment (out of an eye-popping 41) with Ozma of Oz. However, for now, we’ve moved on to Pawn of Prophecy, the first book of The Belgariad by David Eddings. I know that Eddings is seen as simplistic and formulaic, but I enjoy his earlier books and I think they’re a good progression from Narnia and Prydain into more standard fantasy.

Next Up

How does one structure the 200th post of one’s blog?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

No Rant, but an Explanation

So I know that there are a number of you out there who gain enjoyment from my anger but I'm trying to pare back from that. I'm disgusted, and tired of the things that are going on with The Company but I'm not going to sit here and badmouth my bosses or whine about the way things have gone, especially when the real-life impact to me, personally, has been minimal. Yes, I've fretted, yes, I've looked for other jobs but in the end, I still have my job and I still intend on keeping it.

So, while I was on vacation, camping in the mountains, Intuit announced the infamous 575 jobs that they had cut. I came back and found out that Marius, my cubicle-mate, and my "Buddy" (new hires get a buddy to help acclimate them to the way things are done) had lost his job. He's okay with it. After all, he's been with The Company for ten years and his severance package is quite ridiculous (in a good way). So he'll take some vacation, decide what he wants to do and he's happy with the way things have worked out.

The reasoning for the jobs going away is still a little sketchy to me.

The Company Line is that they are positioning themselves for growth into the future. But it appears that most of the people cut (all of the people that I have heard of, anyway) are in product development. How a software company can grow while limiting the amount of things that can be made is not something I can understand but the people in position to make the decisions are there for a reason. I am not there, also for a reason.

Another thing that they are concerned with is Speed To Market. So basically, you take a code base and turn it into a product that people are willing to pay for. What is the way to do that? To me, it would be to
1) hire observers to see what the problem is (product management, User Experience, product development, operations, qa, etc.)
2) hire a consulting firm to reorganize processes for the functional group that is holding up the release to market
3) implement those procedures

In this case, I believe the issues lie with Operations. They have a large process that involves a lot of redundancy and CYA.

In the case of The Company, however, they have decided to remove PD resources and hire Ops people. I guess the way you make ops more successful is to remove more things from the pipe so that they can handle the load.

Again, I'm sure there are reasons for this but I will be darned if I can understand them and it's not like bosses make it a habit of explaining their reasoning.

Friday, July 04, 2008


575 is the number of employees who lost their jobs throughout Intuit inc. while I was on vacation.

60 is the number that were lost in my business unit.

1 is the number of people in my cube area.

Gustavo and Wenpan quit, which made the necessary cuts in our area lighter.

I doubt I'd have my job if they hadn't quit.

Thank you, gentlemen.

(rant to come)