Dispatches from Andyland "Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever!" — The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

May 30, 2006

Looks like someone has a case of the, um, Tuesdays

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew @ 11:42 am

I went to grab some lunch, and I tried to decide whether to go the the place I typically go or to take a walk downtown. I thought to myself, “let me just look at what they have, but I’ll likely go elsewhere. But tomorrow, I want to be sure to be there for there for the Chicken Chimichangas that they always serve on Tuesday.” When I walk in, I can see the cash registers are busy, the line doubles back on itself three times, and I think to myself “I hope it isn’t this bad tomorrow for Chicken Chimichanga Tuesdays. I’d hate to wait in a line like this.”

So then I look at the menu of the grill section, and I see Chicken Chimichangas. I suddenly remember that it is Tuesday. By now I should be used to this Monday holiday thing, but it still throws me for a loop.

May 29, 2006

Teach your children well/Their fathers…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew @ 1:09 pm

I just saw the subscriber database my daughter set up for her newspaper. She was setting up in Applework’s database module, (which is built to look and act much like the original FileMaker.

The form had spot for name and address. Then had checkbox fields for each of the publications. (I didn’t know she was making more than one. The two checkboxes shows that I guess I’ll need to teach her about database normalization someday.)

The item I found funny though was the field labeled “I agree to the terms and conditions described above”.

May 25, 2006

The Legendary Chuck Chow

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew @ 2:04 pm

Adam came up to me today and said James just pulled a Chuck Chow on me. Before I could respond, Ted (another software developer whose cubicle is next to mine) said “What do you mean? Were you about to pay for lunch and then James claimed to have forgotten his wallet?”

Its been a long time since Chuck worked here as a software engineer. Ted never met Chuck. Its very likely that the person that we hired Ted to replace never met Chuck either. Somehow, the “gee, I lost my wallet”, and so many other Chuck Chow stories have remained, to be told and retold across generations.

Technical skills

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew @ 10:10 am

I was just stopped while walking into my office by someone from the sales department of the company I work for. He was wondering if I knew how to set up the LCD projector to the computer in the conference room. Maybe I could of figured it out, but I told him that since my job has very little need for PowerPoint presentations, I’ve never used the LCD projector before. I guess as a guy who does “computer stuff’, he figured I might know.

Every job has its share of technical skills that a practitioner needs to learn. Musicians need to learn how to produce notes on their instrument; learn about keys, scales, and harmony; maybe even to read music. (Or even if they didn’t, they wouldn’t ask the luthier who created their instrument, since they know all the technical stuff.) Its seems to me that a 21st century salesperson has a certain set of technical skills that they needs to master, and those skills include how to use a mobile phone, how to create presentations in Powerpoint, and how to hook a computer up to an LCD projector.

May 11, 2006

Missing the point

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew @ 1:33 pm

I just read this post The best feature of the upcoming Netbeans IDE 5.5. The site that I saw it linked from framed it as NetBeans taking a swipe at Ruby On Rails. Maybe they are, but if so they aren’t doing a very good job of it. With Rails, the “convention over configuration” theme works with the dynamic runtime nature of the language. For example, Accessors and mutators of ActiveRecord objects are created based the fields in the database table they are bound to. Netbeans seems to have developed a system where “convention determines configuration defaults”, which autogenerates code and config files. That still can be useful in many cases, but has some drawbacks (in the comments on the blog, people very quickly start pressing him on the “round trip” issues.) In Rails, a better chunk of the autogenerated stuff is what they consider Scaffolding, and expect it to be thrown away by the time the application is completed.

May 9, 2006

“Careful, that plate is hot.”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew @ 10:44 pm

I don’t know why I never realized this before. Maybe because I never worked in the food service industry when I was younger, maybe something else.

When the server says “be careful, your plate is hot!” what he or she really means is “Yours is the plate that has been sitting under the heatlamp. Everyone else’s food is fresh.”

May 2, 2006

Newspaper vs. web circulation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew @ 6:26 pm

In Online Readership on the Rise, But Not for Everyone, and wonders what it means for the breadth of Boston area media. Luckily, I don’t think it is nearly as much as they suppose. The survey period starts during the month where the Red Sox won the World Series, causing record traffic for the site, ends a year out from there, and essentially complains that Boston.com can’t keep that pace. I wonder which scenario the Bostonist would have preferred, having the Red Sox not win the World Series and having the Nielson ratings show steady growth for Boston.com, or having them lose and Boston.com showing a 1% drop.

You can find New York Times Digital traffic statistics on their web site. It breaks out nytimes.com, boston.com, and about.com separately. The “unique visitors” is a bit hard to judge, because half way through 2005 the switched from reporting unique visitors from the Boston DMA to unique visitors nationally. The figure for page views correlates fairly well to visitors on either side of the switch, and it shows the large rise in traffic around the fall of 2004, and even if you ignore that spike some fairly steady growth.

I know that some people are going to fault me for the my slight of hand with the figures here. I wish I had the “national unique visitors” figure from somewhere mid-2004 to the present. Its the best I’ve got though. It seems to me that the page views figure pretty much needs to be the number of visitors times the average number of visits times the average number of page views. So unless the Boston or the national visitors vary greatly in the length of the visit or the number of visits a month, the page views figure is the best I’m going to do.

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