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February 11, 2000
a year ago
two years ago

Coding and Communication

I concentrated on fixing bugs today.

It is very nice to have clear goals, simple changes, and problems that are fairly straightforward to attack and finish. Things seem to get much simpler this late in the game. The early stuff is the hard part, back here it's very easy because the targets are very obvious. It's much harder to figure out what customers might want in a year than to say this thing crashes the application and I have to fix it.

So I had fun working, and while I was compiling I was talking with Geoff. Communication can sometimes be an astonishing thing. I was listening to NPR on the drive to and from work and there was this guy who had traveled all the way around the world and never left the surface of the earth. The interviewer asked him how it was that he actually went and communicated with all these people he'd never met before and probably didn't share a language with, and the guy laughed. He said that the Internet phenomenon really isn't anything new, but there's something in all human beings that requires communication and human contact. That when he was out there, traveling, when he actually arrived at a human habitation, even as alien and strange as he was, nearly everyone initiated contact with him. There were a lot of other cool things about the interview, including the fact that he was trying to re-enact a Buddhist practice of circling a sacred object by circling the earth.

Anyway, online contact has always been about communication for me, and Geoff is particularly eloquent with the medium. I think, when I look for relationships through words I am looking for someone who can keep up with me with words. My friendship with Carl would never have begun without the eloquence we both showed in the news groups that we frequented. All of the MUSH acquaintances I have through the Horde are all particularly eloquent in that medium, which essentially boils down to English. John is actually fairly eloquent and succinct in his use of the language, especially in engineering documents or design documents; however, he rarely writes me and has little desire or practice with fiction. Not that I mind, is there is so much more to him that I do love.

Geoff, however, does fill that need of mine for that level of communication; and seems to take pleasure in the fact that I can keep up with him. He even gives me opportunity to stretch my abilities, which is fairly rare for me, and he has the good manners to not make me feel inadequate.

John was really cool and rearranged some of his meeting schedule so that he can actually have lunches with me on Friday. He has lunch meetings for most of the rest of the week, and his boss had developed the habit of having his one on one meeting with John on Fridays at lunchtime. John was great and asked for it to be moved to another time so we could have lunch together. Neither of us had any idea of where to go to eat, and then I remembered that he hadn't been able to make the group lunch on Monday. So the two of us went to China Gourmet and had lunch specials that came out fragrant, tasty, and with a depth of flavor that I really enjoyed. John really liked it as well, and we both were very happy with the lunch choice.

It was especially good as the day itself was very cold, as there was cloud cover, high cloud cover that kept the sun from doing its usual solar thing. Every once in a while there would be small flakes of white, as snow tried to fall, but nothing really stuck.

My afternoon was fairly productive, even though I had a meeting in the middle of the afternoon. Jim did as asked and actually presented an entire strategic plan from marketing that really helped everyone that attended to figure out what the top product priorities were going to be for the next year and why. I always been of the opinion that so long as engineering actually understands why marketing wants certain things done that we do a much better job engineering a real solution rather than the asked for feature. Most of engineering, from my point of view, has to do with the definition of the problem; and with this extra information we'll have a better idea as to what the problem really is. All in all, it looks like it really is going to work out better this time around.

On the way home, John asked what I wanted for dinner, and I realized that I was really hungry for Japanese katsudon, which is a fried pork cutlet on rice with an egg custard based on a fish-seaweed soup stock, green onions, and Japanese wine vinegar on top. It is a somewhat convoluted dish, and we had to go to Safeway to get the pork, so I also got some chicken wings for tomorrow as well. I spent a very happy hour putting the entire thing together, and it came out beautifully. The cutlets were crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, the rice was excellent, the custard turned out the perfect balance of sweet and savory, and the combination turned out to be very satisfying. Kathy was the first to turn me onto this dish, than I still remember when we made it when she was visiting.

After dinner I marinated the chicken wings for tomorrow. Then I plied the last of the silk yarn on itself, tripling the bulk and softening the thread by turning it back on itself. It has to rest overnight so that the fiber can actually set itself in this configuration, then it won't fall apart if I wash it tomorrow morning. I stayed up fairly late doing it, the John was watching TV as well.

Brought to you by Dragon System's Point & Speak.

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