previous next index

November 15, 1999
a year ago
two years ago

Getting to Work

I got started today, but only after a to-work ranting and raving and despair bit. On the way to work I was lamenting about how I wasn't going to get it all done, so why even try? But John was patient, listened, and didn't give me any reason to believe what I'd just said and argued a bit with me. Finally I got to talking about what it was I had to do and what I might be able to do today.

So I really started, and mostly started by clearing my plate of the ten thousand things that I knew that I had to get done before the end of the month. Get rid of the distractions, first, then start to deal with the meat. The first of those things included changes to the engineering documentation of how things were actually going to work. There were a number of them, some of them from various things that we'd found out while actually implementing things, others were fall out from the presentation that I'd done on what the Usability group decided about things and what we were going to recommend to the whole team.

One of the best things about working here at Xilinx is that a product development team is actually composed of marketing, front-line applications folks, the engineers, the test facility out in Ireland, and our technical publications folks. So everyone knows everything that's going on and we get input, from the very start, from everyone that's going to be involved with the development. One really great thing was getting our test folks involved from the very beginning and having them know what to expect. So they've been testing all our incremental builds against what we say they're going to do and what we're saying isn't quite implemented, yet.

So I spent the entire morning getting all the documents up to date, so that test would know what to really test for and what wasn't really going to be there. Changes to these docs can be done as much as the team allows to the end of the month, after that we start going into change control for those with a level of escalation. That's the other cool thing, is that the closer we get to release time, the stricter the controls and the stricter the controls the more we really have to converge on a working product that meets our testing team's quality requirements.

In the midst of that, with all the physical pain I've been in and, over the weekend, John showing me a mailer that had the phone and address of a massage therapist in Erie, I finally just snapped and decided I had to get an appointment. She answered on her cell phone and said that there was actually an appointment available tonight as well as tomorrow night. So I made it for tomorrow. Monday night football and I wasn't ready to do it so soon. I'm not sure why, but then I'm also not all that sure why I suddenly decided that I had to do this. The good thing was simply that I got it done and the appointment made.

Lunch was with John, and we just went to Good Times and bought lunch to bring back to work and he talked over with me how I'd done today and it felt really good to know that I'd gotten something done. He also reminded me that, last thing of the day, I really did need to get the machine to work off-line so that I could bring it home tonight.

Sadly, Bob hadn't been able to make it in last night. Mai was in Taiwan, and wasn't getting home until today, so he couldn't leave until today. He'll be here tomorrow, but I won't. Drat. Luckily, though, he'd made accessible a few functions in the GUI that I needed. So, in the afternoon, I added some GUI elements, plumbed them into what I needed as the last link to the last problem I have been malingering over for the last three weeks, and FINALLY got it out of my hair. Finally, finally, finally got the last problem that I thought I hadn't been able to solve done.

It was a tiny detail as to when and how a single menu item was going to show and when it would be disabled and when it would be enabled. Tiny, little thing, that had been sitting in my soul like a splinter for the last two weeks. It was finally out and it felt amazingly good. I got the latest stuff from everyone else, tested my changes against that, then checked everything in and that bit was actually, completely and totally done and the weight off was amazing.

That's when Lynn asked for help with his stuff. He's never done NT work before and is getting pretty lost in the way Visual C++ does things. He's only ever worked in C before, as well, and he's only done UNIX-style work. He's done some development on NT, lately, but it's been a mixture of the project that he's been working on for years and a new thing that he really needed me to help him with because it interfaces to our biggest body of code. So that's what I worked with him on and getting him to understand the behaviours of some of our classes and the objects that they instantiate. He's not used to thinking of bodies of code as objects, yet, it's just all code to him, still. Not things that interact with each other and talk with each other about what they need.

Now I kinda understand why my dad, when I was really little, had trouble trying to explain algebra to me. But I sat down with him and we stepped through stuff and I showed him stuff and I think he's starting to get some of this. He's really smart, he just hasn't had the experiences that the rest of us have gone through. And he was picking up on stuff pretty quick. I got him to a point where he was able to fix a problem, and he was able to keep going on his own for a bit.

By then it was about 5 p.m., so I unplugged my machine from the network, did all the things to make sure that it could come home, and tried building things. That worked out just fine, so it was all ready to go home. Yay!

John is really cool and did all the lifting and carrying. If he hadn't been able to do that, I might have had to set up a laptop that I don't even know all that well to take home and get it to build and all that. There's no way I can carry my desktop machine around.

So we got it home, had dinner, watched some football and I figured out how sore I was while I was sitting on the soft couch. I am *so* glad that I'm going to have that massage tomorrow. Another thing we watched was a program PBS had on the Navy Seals, what their training is and how they do things and how they think of themselves. That was very interesting indeed. How they should be used in battle or situations was very, very cool to learn.

[ Previous | Next | Index | Mail ]