Okay, yeah, I haven’t posted in days. There’s a couple of reasons for that.
Yesterday started out pretty well. Since I’ve been getting up in good order of late (although I bobbled today), I was the first person in the office besides my supervisor. He took that as an opportunity to drag me into my interim performance review. These usually go well for me. I’m not one of the slackers, my programming efforts are central to my division’s work, and I keep up to date on all the software we’re using so I’m the SharePoint/SAS/Sharp Floor guru. However, this was the first time the word “brilliance” has ever been used in one of my performance review. Personally, I think that was a little over the top; but I am working on graciously accepting praise.
The last few days have been pleasantly surprising to me. Work has just sucked. Nothing new, just the same old BS I’ve been ranting about elsewhere in this blog. But in the evenings at home everything has been totally cool. I’ve had no problem at all just letting work go and enjoying the evening. I think the main reason is meditation. With time pressures and getting rid of my backpack, I’ve been meditating on the train. It’s been going well, and I’ve been having a lot better focus on the train than I was recently on the cushion. Which in and of itself is odd, considering that I went back to the cushion because I was having trouble with my focus on the train. But such is the ebb and flow of life.
Yeah, I know, I haven’t posted in a while.
It all started Tuesday. It was another rough day at work, frustrations with the new system and little time to deal with it due to other people making demands on my time. Then I got home, meditating on the train on the way, and did my Chess habit. Felt good. But then I went to post it on the Habit Course forums. One of the re.sponses to my post from Monday was just so patronizing that it totally pissed me off. I was trying to get past my anger and make a reasonable response, but I couldn’t separate my anger at the patronizing post from my anger with my frustration with work. I spent a half hour or more trying to form a response before I decided it would be better than I just not respond.
Technically, my bachelor’s degree is in Cognitive Science with a minor in Religion. However, it sort of got overwhelmed when I had the chance to take a fifth year tuition free to study (more) linguistics. So it would really be more accurate to say I have a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics, with minors in Philosophy, Artificial Intelligence, and Religion. But no one ever accused my undergraduate university of accuracy.
Why do I mention this? This evening there was a post on Slashdot about an analysis of communication on online forum for hackers. One of the (inevitable) comments was that they were misusing the word “hacker.” A “hacker” (according to Slashdotters) is not a criminal programmer, he is a good programmer (I would use a more neutral pronoun, but the Slashdotters would use “he”). The correct word for a criminal programmer (according to Slashdotters) is “cracker.” That is, someone who cracks into systems. The Slashdotters would claim that their usage of “hacker” is more true to the original usage of the word. My understanding is that the original use of “hacker” was a bad programmer (someone who hacks away at a program until it works), but that is beside the point.
I was at a programming convention with my sister (the younger one, which is odd, because the older one is the computer programmer). We were sitting at my booth in the exhibit hall when a group of orphans came up to talk to me. They were having problems with the program I had written. Since they were orphans they didn’t know when they were born. When they tried to enter an unknown birth date, the program crashed. I realized that the program expected a birth date, and told the orphans I would work on fixing the problem.
I woke up, but I have the day off from work, so I rolled over and went back to sleep.
I was going over the code for the program in my head. Even though it was all in my head I could see it clear as day, pixelated green characters on a black background, exactly like the monitors for the Apple ][. I realized that I was running a loop to do a sum, but the sum loop was within a DoW loop. The problem was that I wasn’t resetting the sum variable at the end of the sum loop.
I woke up.
When I woke up the second time I almost jumped out of bed to fix the program. Last night I was thinking about writing a program last night to combine data from different personal informatics systems. I’m not sure where the orphans come from. I do have a SAS program at work that runs searches for different people on the last week’s data. The incidents that don’t show up in anyone’s search are called the Orphans. Or maybe it’s just the Orphans from the Warriors.