Tag: coding

Top 10 albums for writing code

Today is a code-writing day at work. There is also construction going on outside the building and there is intermittent bone-jarring noise that has already developed into a headache. Headaches are rare for me so you get the idea. I was about to put on my iPod to block out the sound when it occurred to me that I have been meaning to post what are, for me, the top 10 albums for writing code. Keep in mind that I personally feel more productive when I listening to these albums while casting out spells of C# or Transact-SQL or PHP or Perl. The downside is that I am so focused, I usually don’t hear the songs. The list is alphabetcial by album title.

The list

Friday night/Saturday morning

I went to happy hour after work last night with several people from work. We went to Chammps and we were there until just about 8 PM. I was home just before 9 PM and I tried to read for a little while but I was pretty tired and I went to bed soon after.

I was up at about 8:30 this morning and headed up to IHOP in College Park for a big breakfast. The place was packed. A tour bus had arrived just before I got there and it was chaos. Fortunately, because I was a party of one, I got seated quickly, and had my scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, and pancakes post haste.

When I got back home, I worked on the book collection database for a few hours and did a little laundry. I’m eating lunch now and plan to head over to the gym for my arm and shoulder workout at about 2 PM or so. I’m in desperate need of a haircut so I may try to get my hair cut after the gym.

I plan on getting some writing done today at some point, but I’m not sure which story I am going to work on yet. I think I need a little more planning on both and that will give me a chance to test some of the features of Scrivner.

Last night my car ignition was getting stuck when I put the key in. It wouldn’t turn. This has happened before and I think it is a known problem with older Saturn’s but last night was the first time it happened in a while and it took some jiggling before I could get the key to turn. I’ve been careful about it since then and so far so good. But it’s another thing to keep an eye on.

Wrap up

I spent about 6-7 hours today working on interfaces for my book collection/reading list databases. It’s possible that by tomorrow I will have enough in place to make some of this more public so that people who are curious can take a look.

I’m quitting for the night on this, and I’m just going to relax for the rest of the evening.

The driver side door on my car has a problem. When I opened it the other morning, I heard a pop. The cable that attaches from the car to the door to help the door open slowly and keep it in place snapped. I vaguely recall this happened to me once before many years ago (or maybe it was Tawnya’s car?). It’s not a problem, I just have to be careful when I open the door that it doesn’t fly open. But at some point, I should get it fixed.

I got my T-Mobile bill today and sure enough, I completely forgot to pay it last month; the new bill was exactly twice as much as usual. Oops.

A few minutes ago, I received email from Norm (of vickyandnorm fame). He emailed me from his flight from London to New York asking if it was unusual that the outside temperature at 38,000 feet was -75 C. For some reason, I found that amusing.

In the course of the last 3 hours that I have been writing code, I have listened to 46 songs in iTunes “party shuffle” mode. That’s an average of just under 4 minutes per song. I don’t know what made me think of checking that, but I think it means it’s time to go.

Free day tomorrow!

Book database updates

I got home from work at about 6 PM and I have been working on updates to the book/reading database ever since (virtually without stopping). My goal for the weekend was to (finally) get the web-based interfaces for updating the database put together and I made pretty good progress tonight. I got the interfaces for titles and publications well underway and working for the most part. There are several additional components to each of the interfaces that need to be added. And I need an web interface to the reading list that allows me to update, but I plan on getting those done tomorrow.

And then on Sunday, some searching capabilities…

Seven hours!

Ladies and gentlemen, some advice:

When you are developing a software system in environment A with the full intention of rolling it out in environment A, do not be so foolhardy as to allow the Powers That Be to decide it will be rolled out in environment B. What should have taken an hour or so, took me seven hours today. The software that I wrote was developed to work with multiple databases on a single database server. Instead it was decided at the last minute to split the databases over multiple servers, each of which is a different version; and by the way, so is the operating system. In Windows 2003, Microsoft added some additional security measures to DTS and nested transactions that use DTS which gave me the majority of my headaches today.

That fact that I screwed up a password lost me only about one half hour.

We all live in a yellow submarine

I recently gave a briefing on some software I have been developing to a fairly large audience of technical people. These were all people within my department, and the purpose of these briefings is to keep everyone up to speed on interesting projects going on in the department.

I usually do these off-the-cuff, but I have some little jokes that I think up ahead of time in order to make what are otherwise boring presentations a little more humorous. In this case, however, the funniest thing about the presentation was unintentional.

The software is a database that tracks that status of research projects throughout their life-cycle. It can be used to find out the type of research being done by an organization, who is doing the research, news and publications related to the research, etc. One of the features I illustrated in my presentation is the ability to search for keywords. In the resulting list, the matching keywords are highlighted in yellow to make it obvious where and why that particular record matched.

There were a number of projects in the database involving submarines, and I decided to demonstrate a search using the keyword “submarine”. This brought back a list of matching projects, with the appropriate keyword highlighted in yellow. I hadn’t yet explained why the keywords was highlighted.

At this point, there was a question from one attendee, in a mock-facetious tone: “Jamie, can you tell us why the word ‘submarine’ is yellow?”

To which my off-the-cuff response was, “Well, you see, we all live in a yellow submarine.”

It really wasn’t all that funny, but for some reason, the room fell apart.

Long day

I was up at 4:30 yesterday morning (since it is now past midnight) and it is now approaching 2 AM and I’m about ready to get to bed. I’ve been up for more than 21 hours and it’s my longest day in quite a while. I was working on my book database this evening, and then cataloging some magazines (I’ll have more to say about this tomorrow). Then I got stuck in front of the TV watching Armageddon.

Now I’m off to bed. I have to stop by the post office in the morning to pick up my passport.

Early start to the long weekend

I worked my butt off today, closing out 11 bug and enhancement issues with the application I have been working on (and that is about ready to roll out to production). I’ve reached a good stopping point and I’ve decided to get an early start on the long weekend. I’m leaving work 48 minutes early!

No big plans for the weekend. Some work on the book collection and reading list database. A lot of reading (I hope) and some writing too. Otherwise, I plan on taking it easy for what’s left of this year.

New feature on reading lists

This evening I added a neat little feature to my new reading lists. The book that I am currently reading will display the estimated completion date, based on the date that I started the book, and my average pace for similar books in the last calendar year. (The pace is based on a words per day calculation.) For example, I started Chindi Saturday evening, and based on my average words per day for 2006, the system is estimating completion on January 1, 2007. Check it out.

The new MySQL-based reading lists

Enough of the infrastructure is in place where so that my new MySQL/PHP-based reading lists are available. They are far from finished, and functionality is minimal at the moment. No stats yet. Just a basic stylesheet, some queries and presentation of some of the data.

All of my reading back through 1996 is available, and if you want to take a look at a “beta” version of the new design, check it out at:


The nice thing about this is that it integrates seamlessly with (and will eventually have links in to) my book collection database. At some point in the near future, I will post the data model and you can see for yourself how cool this really is.

More work on the book and reading database

While waiting for Mom and Dad to call last night, I got some more work done on the MySQL/PHP version of my book collection, reading and submissions database. It is now generating lists from the database, which is good. No styles have been applied yet and so it’s really not in any condition to make public yet, but I think I’ll have something to show in a week or so.

I’m having a good time working on it. I find it easier to do certain database related tasks in PHP than in perl. Plus it’s fun to work on something of your own. Today at work, I’ll be working on C# all morning, developing fixes for 13 “open” bugs in the project tracking system I have been developing. And if I get all those out of the way before noon, then I move onto integrating the system security programmatically with Active Directory, something that I started on yesterday and that grew increasingly confusing the longer I worked on it.