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The weight of life on my shoulders

    So it’s my first blog post in a few weeks. Sorry about that, but things haven’t been all that exciting in the past while. I’ve been reading up on Drupal (as usual), the Eclipse editor, UML, and a nice little book on building scaleable websites ‘the Flickr way’. It’s a book by Cal Henderson, the lead web developer for Flickr. It’s a nice book that shows you how to build large scale web applications with poor man’s web technologies (LAMP).

    I finally got an office (again) in the CIS department and I got a computer to do my work on. This explains why I’ve been reading up on Eclipse. It seems that I’ve been missing out on an amazing editor for my 5 years being involved in software development. It is a great IDE for java, and there are plug-ins for other development platforms such as PHP, C, Fortran, HTML, etc.. I set up Eclipse on the machine at work and I’ve been developing tests using Eclipse, Java 5 EE, Globus, and other technologies that I’ll need to get my research done.
For downtime, I’ve taken a few pictures of things around campus. I’m finally getting my head around digital image editing using various imaging software (photoshop, picasa, irfanview).

Reynolds Building

Science Complex

    Some of the pictures I’ve taken were specifically for use on the new CIS website. Unfortunately, it seems like the other members of the websteer committee aren’t all that interested in the CIS website redesign. I feel like I’m wasting time waiting to hear back from the other members. I’m sure it’s nothing person, and they are just busy with midterms, grad student, and upcoming exams. So I’ll just do what I can on my own without worrying about their input. When they have input, I’m sure they’ll stop me and tell me what I’m doing wrong.

    Work has been ok… Nothing that great has been happening there. I’m starting to realize how not important I’ve become at work, and that’s cool. I tried to warn them about IE7, no one listened, and now clients are complaining. It seems like everything we’re doing is becoming mostly a patch job and not much of a software development job. Sometimes I come in to work and there really isn’t anything for me to do, or I come in and I have to go on a patching mission with terrible, uncommented, inefficient code. While I’m struggling with it, the boss complains about how I’m not working efficiently and how I need to work along side Rob. She doesn’t realize I struggle because of how poorly the systems are developed originally. And God forbid we suggest using something different as opposed to what she paid an arm and a leg for development with the previous staff. Then people who read my blog start saying things like “you should talk more about your personal life” and “nobody cares about Drupal.” To them, I say try living my life for a week, working where I work for a month. Drupal is something I can get excited about because of what’s going on in my life at work and at home. If it’s to the point where I get excited about it, I consider it personal. If you don’t care, I’m not begging you to read my posts about Drupal.

     I learned a really good lesson doing a website for this guy here in Guelph. I realized what’s so important about having people sign off on designs, design documents, and requirements documents. If there’s nothing for them to sign off on, then they will continue to change their mind and the development costs will become out of control. Then when it comes time to pay up, they will complain about how expensive it became and will hesitate to pay up. From now on, I’m making sure I have contracts signed and documents to sign off on for the development process. The fellows at IBM that did the articles on Drupal have 1 article specifically on the system design process for a website. I think I’ll follow that from now on. It just makes sence.

    So the Zune is out. I don’t know what to say about it. I like its features and how it’s designed. I don’t like the fact that it is bigger then the iPod, or how I can’t get my hands on one right now. My iPod is really starting to get on my nerves. My click wheel has been messing up since the beginning of summer, and since then, I’ve been considering whether or not to just get something new, or send this one back in and get a different iPod. The problem with the click wheel is that since I like to skip tracks, the skip button has become over sensitive. I mean, I click menu, it skips. I click pause, it skips. When I try to fast forward and I’m touching the wheel too hard, it will skip and continue to fast forward on the next track. ANNOYING! But apparently the iPod is getting rid of the click wheel and there will be something new in place for the next iPod.

     As I begin to think about what’s next for me after grad school, I try to think about what will be more of an asset to me: Grad school research, or technical web development work experience. As it stands right now, I consider my work and web stuff (Drupal) to be more of a hobby then a career move, and my grad school research as being what I’ll be doing for a living. I know it might seem a little ambitious, but I can’t help thinking that the web stuff isn’t what will put food on my table and put my keeps through university.

Grey Cup today: I’m calling Alouettes over the Lions but at least 1 touchdown.


Hey Jay, I like the pics. It's too bad that the web steering commitee isn't as excitied about the redesign as they could be. I looked at other department pages around campus, and I think ours is actually lacking a bit. The fact that it was an improvement over the older site is its one saving grace. I look forward to seeing your changes if you are ever allowed to implement them. Also I say keep writing about Drupal because you are obviously passionate about it.