Tag Archives: coding


I felt productive at work today!

I spent the entire day working on SQL stored procedures for importing data.  Pretty routine work, but I did some innovative validation stuff, that should make it easier for a person to validate the data that gets imported into the database.  I was in good flow and both the morning and the afternoon flew by.

I’m home now and setting my sights on getting my next assignment done for the writing workshop.  Week three is on setting so I’m sitting the comfy chair in the family room, surrounded by dining cats, with my laptop and workshop book.  Earlier today I had some insight into how the new version of the story will unfold and I think that will help with the writing of the next scene.  But I’ve got some chapters to read first.

No mail when I checked a little while ago, but that may be because it hasn’t been delivered yet.

Nearly 130 pages through Vinge’s Rainbow’s End, and I’m finding myself both amused and entertained by it.  It was tough not to use this hour or so before Kelly calls to just read more, rather than do workshop stuff.

Peaceful weekend, part 1

Kelly and I planned for these to be a peaceful weekend–our first one in over a month, since moving to the new house.  And for the most part, today was very peaceful.  I went to bed early last night–by accident.  I got in bed to read, and before I knew it, I just couldn’t focus on the page any longer.  Kelly came to bed later.  I managed to get 10-1/2 hours of sleep, which is remarkable for me.

We were still up before 8 AM.  We lazed around for the first two hours, watching some TV.  Kelly Tivo’d "Rock the Reception" on TLC, which was a lot of fun to watch, and really kind of addicting.  We set the DVR to record it some more whenever it comes on.  I worked on some wedding website stuff for a while.  Finally, just after 10 AM, we headed out for breakfast.  We walked a different route to Shirlington, through Park Fairfax.  It’s a slightly longer walk but I like it much better.  We headed to the Luna Grill for breakfast, where Kelly had eggs Florentine, and I had a bagel and lox.  Then we walked back home.

We lazed around some more.  Later in the afternoon, Kelly and I put together the new "kitty bathroom" that she ordered.  I did a little reading and then we headed out to Pentagon City to do some shopping.  We got some groceries for the dinner I was planning to prepare.  We also got some bike stuff.  We got a new tube for Kelly’s rear tire, and I got a new helmet and a mirror.

Back home and I started to prepare dinner.  I planned on making Chicken Marsala with a side of Italian Pasta Salad.  I prepared the pasta salad first, making the dressing, chopping up lots of veggies, and then refrigerating the whole thing.  Then I started on the chicken.  We used our new dishes and napkins and sat down to eat right around 7 PM.  And guess what?  For a wonder, it came out really good!  The chicken wasn’t overcooked, the Marsala sauce was just right, and the pasta salad was great!  This time, I cooked the chicken on a lower flame, but for a longer time than the cookbook said.  I was pleasantly surprised by the whole thing!

After dinner, we booked the final excursion for our honeymoon cruise (this one, at Ocho Rios, Jamaica, takes us to some caverns and then some waterfalls), and then headed off to the gym.  I got in a decent lower body workout.

Got the most recent issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN in the mail today.  Actually, it was delivered to a neighbor, but they kindly brought it by.  It’s a special issue on privacy and looks like a good one.  I’m somewhere around 220 pages through Old Man’s War, and expect to finish tonight or tomorrow.

Spoke briefly with stubiebrother  today.  Also with Mom and Dad.

I do feel relaxed.


Almost no one who reads this is a programmer of any kind, so this will mean very little to you. But I just have to say that I spent the last 2-1/2 hours trying to debug a type problem in a C# .NET application I am working on. I added a cool feature that allowed a table of dates to be edited inline from the browser, but when the date was submitted to the database, I kept getting an exception indicating that the string could not be converted to a datetime. I tried different approaches. I made little tweaks. I scoured the InterWeb. Nothing was working and yet I was confident that the value I was passing was a datetime value.

I was about to give up and go to lunch when a stray thought struck me. Maybe the value is a datetime, but maybe the parameter which I am setting using the value is not a datetime. I checked, and sure enough that was it. Someone, in the hours of frustration, I had swapped the order of two lines of code. That was all that was wrong and all of my frustration and fruitless attempts were for naught, if only I had recognized this change 2 hours ago.

I’m going to lunch now…

Finally Some progress!

There were some problems with the development server that I was using this morning. What made it worse is that the server is in Santa Monica and I can’t just walk up to it on smack it. I couldn’t even make a remote connection to it. Aside from other things, this server is our source control server for all of our source code and I was unable to check out some code I needed.

Fortunately, some folks were in the Santa Monica office this morning and were able to bounce the server and I am finally (after over an hour’s delay) able to get some productive work done.

Coding complete!

Well, what I thought was going to take me a full eight hours took under four. It must be the music! I can now move onto some other stuff–in particular a bug that was reported late last week in some software that is rolling out on March 5.

Top 10 albums for writing code

Today is a code-writing day at work. There is also construction going on outside the building and there is intermittent bone-jarring noise that has already developed into a headache. Headaches are rare for me so you get the idea. I was about to put on my iPod to block out the sound when it occurred to me that I have been meaning to post what are, for me, the top 10 albums for writing code. Keep in mind that I personally feel more productive when I listening to these albums while casting out spells of C# or Transact-SQL or PHP or Perl. The downside is that I am so focused, I usually don’t hear the songs. The list is alphabetcial by album title.

The list

Friday night/Saturday morning

I went to happy hour after work last night with several people from work. We went to Chammps and we were there until just about 8 PM. I was home just before 9 PM and I tried to read for a little while but I was pretty tired and I went to bed soon after.

I was up at about 8:30 this morning and headed up to IHOP in College Park for a big breakfast. The place was packed. A tour bus had arrived just before I got there and it was chaos. Fortunately, because I was a party of one, I got seated quickly, and had my scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, and pancakes post haste.

When I got back home, I worked on the book collection database for a few hours and did a little laundry. I’m eating lunch now and plan to head over to the gym for my arm and shoulder workout at about 2 PM or so. I’m in desperate need of a haircut so I may try to get my hair cut after the gym.

I plan on getting some writing done today at some point, but I’m not sure which story I am going to work on yet. I think I need a little more planning on both and that will give me a chance to test some of the features of Scrivner.

Last night my car ignition was getting stuck when I put the key in. It wouldn’t turn. This has happened before and I think it is a known problem with older Saturn’s but last night was the first time it happened in a while and it took some jiggling before I could get the key to turn. I’ve been careful about it since then and so far so good. But it’s another thing to keep an eye on.

Wrap up

I spent about 6-7 hours today working on interfaces for my book collection/reading list databases. It’s possible that by tomorrow I will have enough in place to make some of this more public so that people who are curious can take a look.

I’m quitting for the night on this, and I’m just going to relax for the rest of the evening.

The driver side door on my car has a problem. When I opened it the other morning, I heard a pop. The cable that attaches from the car to the door to help the door open slowly and keep it in place snapped. I vaguely recall this happened to me once before many years ago (or maybe it was Tawnya’s car?). It’s not a problem, I just have to be careful when I open the door that it doesn’t fly open. But at some point, I should get it fixed.

I got my T-Mobile bill today and sure enough, I completely forgot to pay it last month; the new bill was exactly twice as much as usual. Oops.

A few minutes ago, I received email from Norm (of vickyandnorm fame). He emailed me from his flight from London to New York asking if it was unusual that the outside temperature at 38,000 feet was -75 C. For some reason, I found that amusing.

In the course of the last 3 hours that I have been writing code, I have listened to 46 songs in iTunes “party shuffle” mode. That’s an average of just under 4 minutes per song. I don’t know what made me think of checking that, but I think it means it’s time to go.

Free day tomorrow!

Book database updates

I got home from work at about 6 PM and I have been working on updates to the book/reading database ever since (virtually without stopping). My goal for the weekend was to (finally) get the web-based interfaces for updating the database put together and I made pretty good progress tonight. I got the interfaces for titles and publications well underway and working for the most part. There are several additional components to each of the interfaces that need to be added. And I need an web interface to the reading list that allows me to update, but I plan on getting those done tomorrow.

And then on Sunday, some searching capabilities…

Seven hours!

Ladies and gentlemen, some advice:

When you are developing a software system in environment A with the full intention of rolling it out in environment A, do not be so foolhardy as to allow the Powers That Be to decide it will be rolled out in environment B. What should have taken an hour or so, took me seven hours today. The software that I wrote was developed to work with multiple databases on a single database server. Instead it was decided at the last minute to split the databases over multiple servers, each of which is a different version; and by the way, so is the operating system. In Windows 2003, Microsoft added some additional security measures to DTS and nested transactions that use DTS which gave me the majority of my headaches today.

That fact that I screwed up a password lost me only about one half hour.

We all live in a yellow submarine

I recently gave a briefing on some software I have been developing to a fairly large audience of technical people. These were all people within my department, and the purpose of these briefings is to keep everyone up to speed on interesting projects going on in the department.

I usually do these off-the-cuff, but I have some little jokes that I think up ahead of time in order to make what are otherwise boring presentations a little more humorous. In this case, however, the funniest thing about the presentation was unintentional.

The software is a database that tracks that status of research projects throughout their life-cycle. It can be used to find out the type of research being done by an organization, who is doing the research, news and publications related to the research, etc. One of the features I illustrated in my presentation is the ability to search for keywords. In the resulting list, the matching keywords are highlighted in yellow to make it obvious where and why that particular record matched.

There were a number of projects in the database involving submarines, and I decided to demonstrate a search using the keyword “submarine”. This brought back a list of matching projects, with the appropriate keyword highlighted in yellow. I hadn’t yet explained why the keywords was highlighted.

At this point, there was a question from one attendee, in a mock-facetious tone: “Jamie, can you tell us why the word ‘submarine’ is yellow?”

To which my off-the-cuff response was, “Well, you see, we all live in a yellow submarine.”

It really wasn’t all that funny, but for some reason, the room fell apart.

Long day

I was up at 4:30 yesterday morning (since it is now past midnight) and it is now approaching 2 AM and I’m about ready to get to bed. I’ve been up for more than 21 hours and it’s my longest day in quite a while. I was working on my book database this evening, and then cataloging some magazines (I’ll have more to say about this tomorrow). Then I got stuck in front of the TV watching Armageddon.

Now I’m off to bed. I have to stop by the post office in the morning to pick up my passport.