Monday, June 28, 2004


The problem with working at this company is not that when you're taking a wizz in one of the men's room unrinals the accompanying muzak is a stream of inane little tunes of beeps and midis that emanates from a stall where someone is obviously cycling through the list of ringtones to find the one that suits him best.

The problem is that this vignette is unremarkable. Or almost a source of corporate pride. "We're empowering individuality!"

Tuesday, June 15, 2004


You know, the complications of poly-amory get a whole new dimension once you enter the realm of cloning.

Well, it would be just like poly-amory with twins.

Oh yeah, like that simplifies things. "Honey, no dinner for me tonight, I am going out with your twin brother! He's just like you, but different!"

Thursday, June 10, 2004

JavaHMO On FC1 With SUN JAVA 1.4.2

I have a TiVo that allows streaming of music files from computers that know how to talk to it. That functionality is called TiVo Home Media Option (HMO). I have repurposed an old laptop with a broken screen to be my MP3 server, running Linux RedHat (FC1), and uses JavaHMO to stream the music to the TiVo. Except that from time to time the music will just stop, wait, pause, and start again from where it left off. And other functionality is flaky too. I diagnosed the link, the disks, everything working fine, until I finally looked at JavaHMO itself with 'top', and found out it will happilly eat 80% of all memory available, and during streaming will spike to 90% of CPU time usage, often co-inciding with one of the pauses or other functionality problems. From my intuition of 5+ years of JAVA development, I'd say that during the pauses  it's... garbage collecting. Or there's a thread problem somewhere, but does JavaHMO need multi-threading? My guess: SUN's JAVA 1.4.2 for Linux must suck ass, since no-one reports this problem on Windows boxes running JavaHMO, and JAVA is supposed to be over these garbage collecting stutters thanks to many optimizations.

Now what? Find a a better JAVA implementation? Did I misconfigure JAVA somehow upon installation -- eventhough it didn't give me any options? How do I tune it? Wipe the server and make it into a Win2K box -- but what about my perfect DNS/DHCP server, dnsmasq, run that under cygwin? The option I'd like most is find another HMO streamer for Linux that doesn't use JAVA, but nary one seems to be out of alpha stage.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Not Saving The World Unless You Are With Me


So I launch an idea on one of my intranet webpages  for a developer toolset in a certain area, months ago.

I can sense it does some internal rounds.

So the overall product manager of the developer tools division that would implement this idea sends me email out of the blue that a project for the idea is starting up, would I like to help steer it? Attached is a critique of the idea and why it is a so-so one, and why it only a minor solution to the bigger problems of development in this area.

I respond to the critique. In return my points are answered with more data that people in the target audience aren't really waiting for my idea anyway, and that it is not the best use of resources.

I then decline to help do the steering work, since I do not believe the manager is committed.

The response to that is that saying he is not committed is 'a tad unfair'.

I am sorry, but I am not going to spend time on a project that does not have enthousiastic buy-in from the product manager. Not if it needs to be a cut above previous efforts and would require exceptional performance of the organization to succeed.

I now both regret telling the manager he was not committed, and don't regret it. It was good of me to cut those ties, I don't need to get involved in a side-project where I see my idea slowly get bogged down in compromises because people didn't push hard enough to make a spectacular product that is a cut above the rest, ending up with the same product quality that all our developer tools end up with. I left developer tools; they were too ready, top to bottom, to compromise.

Yet here I am thinking that if I just got involved in the steering, maybe, just maybe, I could push the project towards what it needs to be, if only I were convincing enough in my reviews, creative enough in my solutions to problems people would bring up...

What, like I can move mountains? I can't let myself enter this crap-shoot of  what may end up rolling out of that process, of how a team I won't lead and can only advise will counter with point after  point why we need to make a product just like the ones we are trying to replace, because getting rid of the legacy deicions that led to the previous horrendour products is jut too hard...

I actually told a product manager point blank in email that he wasn't committed to an idea. I actually chose not to be involved in a mediocre product creation process. I have learned that I alone in a consulting capacity can not make a difference to a remote contracted team making an outsourced product. I have declined to be involved with mediocrity that isn't part of my job anyway.

I am not saving the world. Go me.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

My TiVo Is Running Out Of Suggestions

It seems the damn box, as a suggestion, decided to spontaneously record an hour of one of the music channels that come with digital cable.

Classic Rock. Classic Rock, of all things.

I'm a modern, hip, gay dude, already. Whatever Happened To Baby Jane. Inuyasha. Home To Go. Full Frontal Fashion (to make fun of). And it suggest opening an hour starting with The Doors?