Archive for March, 2005

Cognitive Advancements

I hate sounding like the stereotypical dopey parent, oohing and aahing at their child’s every insipid developmental achievement.

But I gotta say, this was pretty cool

This morning, like every morning, we came downstairs to Ani’s nursery soon after waking. And this morning, like most mornings, we were greeted with the joyful sight of our daughter standing in her crib, bouncing and smiling, nearly rapturous at our overdue arrival into her morning. Cheryl and I have gotten into the habit of lingering over these moments; Ani is generally a happy baby, but she’s hardly ever so gleeful as she is in these first moments of our day. So this morning, like many such mornings, we oohed and aahed and generally made fools of ourselves talking to our infant, like many parents like us are wont to do.

But this morning, unlike previous mornings, I took this interaction to the next level.

“Ani,” I said. “Where’s Jim?”

Without hesitation, Ani bent down, picked up Jim the Gingerbread Man (her absolute favorite toy), and handed him to me, her nearly-toothless smile broader than ever.

Pardon the expression, but I nearly lost my shit.

Such a simple thing, this question. And it’s not the first question we’ve posed to her that she’s responded to. “Ani, up?”, accompanied by the requisite two-fingers-pointing-skyward hand signal, elicits near-giddiness as she anticipates the impending lift into the grown-up heavens. We think she’s learning to recognize “Ani, milk?” and “Ani, more?” as well.

But “Ani, where’s Jim?” was a brand new one. And she totally nailed the landing. No hand signals. No pointing.

Count me among the dopey.

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My best friend in the whole wide world (he currently shares this title with one other, and there’s not much either of them can do about it) just sheepishly admitted to me he “has his own blog”:http://www.fromthesalmon.com. Coincidentally, he started it on the same day as mine, but strangely enough, he saw fit to actually put content in his.

Good for him.

I love this man. I think you will, too. Plus he can write real good.

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Giving Maven the boot

There are few technology decisions I’ve made during my current tenure at Jobster that I regret as much as using Maven for our build system.

We started out with a pretty simple but workable ant script. However, I came across Maven and was intrigued by its promises: standard targets derived from a project descriptor and sparse property overrides, automatic (slightly less than attractive, but informative) site generation, and a host of plugins that will grant us instant functionality as needed.

How deluded I was.

While I (more-or-less) got the above, these features were tightly coupled with the following:

  • crappy or non-existent documentation
  • poor performance and memory utilization
  • meaningless error messages
  • poor tool integration

My current favorite issue with Maven is that it never releases memory acquired as part of a unit test until the build is done. So each unit test keeps leaking memory into the next test. Our build runs out of memory if it tries to do anything besides run unit tests. So, for awhile, the workaround was to have a two-step build process: build the product, then run unit tests. This was less than convenient, and people got out of the habit of running unit tests.

We’ve found another workaround for this.


This causes each unit test to be forked into its own java process. But then our unit tests take over 4 times as long to complete. And its not like unit tests in Maven were fast to begin. For comparison purposes, IDEA can run all of our tests (including our integration tests that actually hit the database) in less time than it takes for the maven build to run just the unit tests (and this is with forking turned off).

Oh, if only I had listened to those that had gone before me.

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Mommy and Ani

Mommy and Ani

Originally uploaded by shaug.

Cheryl’s mom came to visit this past week, and brought her new christmas camera with her. The camera was in hand more often than it wasn’t. She got some great shots, and I’ve used her prodigious output as an excuse to start playing with Flickr. Here’s one of my favorites from Elaine’s visit.

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posting by email

I’ve learned the hard way that if I’m going to post to my blog over
email using Outlook, I have to be in plain-text mode. The resulting post
looks like crap otherwise.

But, other than that, I think I have everything set up for this to work
automagically. This will hopefully make long bus rides with my
blackberry more rewarding…

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Incredible. I just upgraded to WordPress 1.5 with the click of a link.

My hosting company (HostMatters) makes available through my site’s control panel a tool called Fantastico!. Googling around, it seems like this is a common feature offered by many web host services; if yours doesn’t provide it, I highly recommend finding one that does.

For those of you not in the know, Fantastico is a cpanel extension that allows for easy installation and upgrades of many common webapps (seemingly all PHP-based). I had originally used Fantastico to install WordPress 1.2 for my site. Today I checked back in and saw that the upgrade to 1.5 was available, and I took the plunge. All seems to be working, and I get Alan’s favorite theme upgrade by default.

I’m looking forward to playing with the new features…

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