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Showing posts from September, 2016

Skills I'm glad I have

Too long for a tweet.

Too short for a blog post.

These are some tech-related skills I'm glad I have.  They come in awfully handy:

Touch typing.  You'd be surprised at the number of people who work with computers for a living who can't actually touch type.  Markdown.  Markdown is incredibly handy for tossing-off documentation and forum responses.  I've actually considered hosing this blog entirely and converting to posts hosted on Github, formatted in Markdown.Vim.  I've rediscovered a love for Vim in the past few weeks.  I've intentionally avoided installing Sublime Text 3 on my work machines, just so I'd get better with Vim.  This thing is a frickin' katana for text editing (duh...)Ruby.  A surprising number of production programmers don't have a scripting language under their belt, which is a shame.  Ruby is both light enough for scripting and powerful enough to do basically anything you need.  (Just write RSpecs for anything > 100 lines, m'…

"When Can Test Start?"

A few quick thoughts on a subject I've seen at least 10 times in my career:

"Okay, when are you done enough for me to test this thing?"

Let's parse that a bit, because the ensuing arguments are one of definition

"Okay," Acknowledging that stuff is just great or else I wouldn't be talking."when" I'm going to ask you for a date. "are you done" Done as is: Things won't change between the time I hit submit on the bug and I go to the bug review meeting and look like an imbecile."enough" I'm not a total douche.  I'd like to test this, not make you look like a fool by filing 15,000 bugs."for me" Hi, I'm a professional software tester.  Yes, we do exist."to test" I was born to test and break things.  I can make your code cry.  You need me."this thing?" At the end of the day, your work of art is a piece of business value and I'll not insult both of us by implying otherwise. The ab…

Homesick

I'm homesick.

"Home" is hard to define:

The place where your feet are.The place where your wife and kids are.The place where you feel at...well....home. I don't feel at home in Austin.  All the social and physical trappings of having roots here just aren't here yet: We don't have a real house.  We have an apartment with a yard.  It's nice enough, but nothing about it feels like 'home' except for the occupants.We don't have a church.  Realistically, we're not even close.  Everywhere we've visited, coming up on 10 churches at this point has been some combination of too.  Too loud.  Too small.  Too doctrinally unsound.  Protestantism, as ever, remains a mixed bag once you go somewhere else.The water here is genuinely terrible.  For one thing, tap water is hot, not cool or cold.  There seems to be mix of limestone and sulfur in that's just hard to take.  Everything reasonably potable is filtered or bottled.I don't have the friends an…

Java8: Loops Not required

So, during my job-hunt, I spent at least an hour a day on HackerRank.  I highly recommend the site for anyone learning to code, sharpening their skills, or learning a new language.

Anyway, so at my new job we use Java8 extensively.  I'd had cursory exposure to Java at my last gig, but mostly in the "Why won't this frigging library run with my Java 1.7 JVM?!" variety.  So, it was time to learn something new.  Narturally, I thought of HackerRank and it's Java tutorials.

So here's one that's interesting: Java List.


Some things of note:

One can eschew loops completely now.  The new Streams API + lambdas make it possible to mimic the expressiveness of Ruby, with Stream.forEach( ) feeling awfully similar to Ruby's each {}The Stream parallelStream() is pretty much as easy as concurrency on JVM is likely to get.  The only downside is the global JVM fork/join pool for the streams.It's awfully easy to get sucked into multiple transforms that seem to make co…

Is Printing Dying?

Yes.

Was it Two Septembers ago? It Seemed Like Yesterday

September is ruined, it seems.

September is my time of reflection, just as it was 2 years ago.  I looked out upon Chevy Chase in Lexington, on bi-monthly afternoon off, and I was both over-caffeinated and sad.

Today isn't all that different:  I'm pensive, alone among a crowd, and over-caffeinated.  I'm a Christian without a church home, a football fan without a team, and a father down one child.

How did we get here?  The man writing on that patio in 2014 was actually on the rebound: He'd learned the folly of pursuing The Company.

The Company had asked him many times to do what was necessary, and he happily obliged.   Somehow, it was the one safe harbor in his life, where being a "confident, capable" person was somewhat true.  He wasn't a failure there, as a husband or a father.  For seven, ten, or twelve hours a day, he could make things better, make things work.

Until he couldn't.   They broke him in 2011, irrevocably.  He got the big call-up as the…