31 January 2003
inevitable failure

I wrestled with my test suite today, and I think it came out to a draw. Didn't find any new core-recovery bugs, and spent a long time tuning the infrastructure, but I did fix a lot of cleanup bugs that have been bugging people for a while. Not bugging me so much, which is why they didn't get fixed before, but still.

Madhava and Tyla and ALASDAIR and I are going to get some food and then watch a bad movie. The Recruit might do well in that role, if Tyla can be convinced.

I was thinking about Chinese New Year celebrations as an alternative to moviegoing, but now I'm not so sure I'd enjoy that. Snakes are a little iffy for me at the best of times, you see.

January has just about ended, and I'm about to acheive total failure with respect to my New Year's resolutions. Maybe I'll do better next month. (Other than the exercise one, all I really hoped to do in January was sign up. How hard is that? Sigh.)


Forgot to publish when we got back from the movies (Catch Me If You Can, because of Tyla's influence and timing) and dinner (Sottovoce, pretty good). There was a time when LiveJournal would sort of screw itself up if I added to a day's entry after it had grabbed one copy, so I would try to just publish once for the day. I missed it when Jacob pointed out that they fixed that bug, but now I don't have to worry. So I'll just publish all the time, and fill the world with timely joy.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
30 January 2003
osgoode that ends good

This morning, Tyla got up early, showered, answered her email, ate a healthy (if small) breakfast and walked to U of T, where she participated in an Aquafit class. Meanwhile, I sat in my boxers on the couch, typing on my laptop, watching Muchmusic, and eating Fuzzy Peaches. I swear, sometimes it feels like we're the same person. When is she going to start living her own life?

Work went well: my test suite is starting to bear fruit, in the form of bugs that I'm finding and fixing before the customer gets a chance. I fixed about ten bugs today, half of which were problems or omissions in the test infrastructure, and the other half of which were things in the recovery space that Just Weren't Right. And then I got to explain to my good buddy Phil some of the way recovery works — how we deal with replaying opens and closes correctly, to be more specific than any of you really want. Slowly, I'm working off the huge clue-debt I accumulate every time I look into the lock manager and then make Phil's phone ring.

Coop isn't coming to visit on the weekend proper, but it sounds like I'll get to enjoy his company during the week instead. He'll get to join us for Buffy night, and we can even get some work done together. Much fun.

This evening, Madhava invited Tyla and me along to a production of Un ballo in maschera at the Hummingbird Centre. It was a lot of fun, and I'm now three for three when it comes to enjoying opera performances. I should go more often — especially if Madhava can keep scoring these sweet $15 tickets.

Bedtime. Tomorrow I will spout productivity like a geyser and get the recovery test-train rolling at full steam. Also, I guess I should go and buy some more metaphors. Cripes.

29 January 2003

This was one of those days which, placed in the appropriate other week, would have either been really pretty good, or quite bad. I got most of the driver for the test suite I mentioned yesterday working, until I realized that I'd forgotten a critical piece. On the one hand, it meant that there weren't — well, weren't necessarily — a pile of new and terrifying bugs in my recovery processing. On the other hand, it meant that I wasn't done writing the test driver, which I had really hoped to finish today. Looking at it now, it doesn't look like a huge pile of work, but you have to understand that I wasted lots of time trying to make it perfectly generic before I realized that we had other people who are a lot better at that than I am. Now it's just a straight-up monolithic test set, and anyone who wants to add a new test can damned well copy and paste a little. It builds character any way. I was trying to be methodical and thorough about this as a counter to the urge I was feeling to just tear through it and get onto the fixing of recovery bugs. I guess the lesson is to give into my gut and let the panic rule me. Or something. (Confidential to Mike Who Has Made It Very Hard To Link To Specific Entries: I don't know if this is one of those "Real Real Programmer" things. Maybe the real programmers I work with can tell us.)

In fiscal year 2002, AOL lost nearly $100B. I, to the best of my knowledge, did not — but I should probably send a pile of paper off to an accountant and make absolutely certain. If I managed to lose many thousands of times more money than I made, Tyla will never let me have a baby. Or, you know, will never let me let her have a baby. Or something. (Look, hon: cute baby!).

Coop might — just might —come to visit me in Toronto this weekend. Food will be purchased and prepared. Drinks will be drunk. And boy, do we have our bad movie work cut right out for us.

I coughed maybe twenty times today, and didn't wake up at all last night from coughing. Might be able to declare victory tomorrow, especially if I get off my ass and go outside.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
28 January 2003
never test for an error you can't handle

I work on recovery. This means that I'm responsible for getting the cluster — or, at least the filesystem parts — back into mostly-serviceable shape automatically, if (OK, when) something goes wrong. Could be a network failure, or one of the server or client computers crashing. Maybe a rack loses power, or we hit a fatal bug in our server software and it autoreboots. The combinatorial explosion of failure modes and their effects is really pretty impressive, and makes for some challenging analysis problems. ("OK, but what if the file was created on the other client, and then we have to replay the open on this client?" "Wait a sec, that transaction could make it to disk before we send the reply to the dead client.")

Today, I embarked in earnest on a test suite to let us test the various combinations of, well, recovery things that we care about. (This is, for the record, the same test suite I told Coop yesterday to not write. After I told him to write it. Tee hee.) I'm very excited, because the quality of tests tends to have a significant correlation with the quality of the code in question, and I think it's pretty important that recovery, our "software safety net" be robust.

And just in time! Phil and Peter have each put both fists — that's four flying fists of hacker fury, in total — through the lock management and metadata parts of Lustre, and it's going to break some parts of recovery like a drunken promise. I don't mind, though, because it's improved our stability so much.

When I wasn't fretting over recovery today — I seem to do that a lot since I started this job, don't I? — I was reading some pretty entertaining stuff on the interweb. Colby Cosh is a funny guy, and this bit from an article about the Davos conference registered as Officially Funny over here in this armchair that I'm calling an office this week:

For some, life begins at conception, for others at birth. "According to Jewish law," deadpanned Yossi Vardi, an Israeli software entrepreneur, "life begins when the fetus becomes a lawyer."

My main man Jacob has acquired hockey tickets for my next trip to Boston. It's all starting to come together.

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27 January 2003
sweet, sweet routine

I was a little bit concerned about getting back into the rhythm of work after four days away — my god, four whole days! — so I decided that I'd make myself feel a little less outclassed by sending Coop off on a wild goose chase for a few hours. Sorry about that, bud. (Also, I can't believe you didn't like Office Linebacker ad. "Hi, Janice!")

I still have a nagging chest cough thing, but it's getting better. It might be my annual bronchitis — no joke, it happens every January — in which case I will end up living la vida penicillin.

I don't have a lot of trouble believing that this site exists, though at one time I would have spent a lot of time fretting over such an obvious sign of the apocalypse, but I do have trouble understanding why Boing Boing linked to it. You feeling OK, Cory? Are there a lot of people who are wardriving or otherwise flitting about from network to network, but don't know how to find out their own IP address? If so, is that a huge victory for wireless network usability, or a savage condemnation of the usability of the rest of the network software floating around? I'm sure mpt can tell me.

Four days left in January, and I have already pretty much blown one resolution — 30 minutes of exercise every day — for no good reason. Still have a chance to get some of the other ones underway before I fly past my self-imposed "during January" window of victory.

I'm tired, and I need to shake this cold, so I'm going to go off to bed and read about the discovery of plutonium. February 1 will usher in a whole new month, I predict. And maybe some exercise!

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
26 January 2003
a senior moment

OK, just to be clear, I have no idea why I haven't been publishing the entries for the past few days. I was reminded on Friday that I hadn't published Thursday's, but it really seemed to not stick. Given that "publishing" involved typing one 20-character command, it's a little disappointing. For me, anyway.


"Mystery" solved, as though you care: I was issuing said command in the wrong directory, thereby republishing December's last entry over and over. I'm going to be unstoppable at work tomorrow, I can tell.

Tyla and I went grocery shopping. Then we ate sandwiches. Now we're going to watch some Super Bowl and then probably I'll play more Shadowbane. It's so fun!

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25 January 2003
gentle reintroduction

Played more Shadowbane this afternoon. There's a big story-arc event going on tonight, with seiging and feature characters and all manner of fun stuff, but I'll have to miss it: Tyla and I are joining Aven, Mark, Madhava, Hilary, and Rob for a spot of celebration in observance of Rabbie Burns Day. Should be good fun, so off we go!


That was quite fun, though the conspicuous lack of pipers made it seem — other than the haggis, of course — like it was just another evening at the pub with some friends. Which is a quite wonderful way to spend one's time, but I guess I was hoping for something a little more...experiential.


And, because we're both morons, Tyla and I are coddling our sick selves — Tyla has a cold-like thing that I am still not taking responsibilty for — by staying up until 5AM playing on various computers. Alas.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
24 January 2003

As I had hoped, but didn't dare to predict, I felt a lot better this morning. Probably 80%. There was a time, back in the silly days of my youth, when I would have jumped back into work with both feet, knocking myself out to make up lost time. But I'm older and wiser these days, or at least less hardy, so I decided to take today as a day of rest and additional recuperation. Nobody at work seemed too upset; they're probably just glad that I'm not breaking anything.

I played some Shadowbane — which is shaping up into quite a fun little diversion, I must say — napped and read a lot, didn't go out anywhere, all responsible I'll-get-better-or-die-trying behaviour. Yay for me.

It would have been fun to zip to Ottawa for the weekend and watch the superbowl with Coop and Kev and James, and maybe go to a Sens game with Alasdair, but that would also have been irresponsible.

Time for bed, nice and early. Tomorrow, I get to go out and see people!

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23 January 2003
home stretch

I had trouble propping myself up in bed last night, such that my lungs would work as designed, so I ended up retiring to the futon with Chester instead, where I fell asleep sitting up for a fair while. When I awoke, I still felt like I'd been beaten with a Buick, so I fished around for my doctor's phone number and made an appointment for 6pm.

In the interim, I talked to Phil a little bit — he's a wonderful guy, and goes so far out of his way to make me feel good about my mildly-broken work that it's quite unbelievable — and then had a nap. When I woke at 5pm, ready to call a cab to hit the doctor's, I noticed something strange. Something different. What's this? I can breathe. I'm not coughing every ten seconds. Whoa, whoa, whoa, my nostils are useful.

Well, holy crap. I called the doctor back to reschedule my appointment to tomorrow — if I'm feeling even better then, then I don't need to waste her time, though I really should get my prescription refilled soon; hmmm... — and she thanked me for not coming in if I was on the mend. It's the little things, really.

Of course, I'm not yet "hey, anyone want to build a house?" better, or even, as we discovered today, "maybe I should check some code into the source tree right before our next milestone release!" better, but the derivative is positive, and I'm in a much better mood. I can take a bath without the steam sending me into body-wracking fits of coughing!

In fact, I think I'll do that right now.

(Confidential to Asa: it seems I don't have Mitchell's bacterial thing — we compared symptoms on the phone today — but you're a sweetie nonetheless. Thanks a lot.)

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
22 January 2003
no mercy, it seems

We all die a little every day. I know this, and largely accept it. This week, though, I really seem to have made significant progress. No noticeable improvement this morning, and Tyla thinks I sound worse. If she were a doctor, or even really awake, that would probably worry me a little.


I wrote the rest of that recovery test plan today, and I got in a lot of the old "praying for the sweet release of death", but that's about it. The temperature swings have calmed down somewhat, but the chest congestion has picked up the slack and the caulking-of-the-sinuses seems to be here to stay. Rumour has it that my good friend Mitchell, with whom I spent far too little time on my Californian trip, has something very similar, and it's a bacterial condition that requires treatment. So, yeah, it's doctor time. (You win, mom.)

I pity the fools that shared AC754 with me.

I've been telling Tyla that I love her a lot today, because I want those to be my dying words.

21 January 2003
neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of mucus

My battle against the head cold continues largely unabated. It got to the point today that the acid from clementines — sweet, healing citrus though they may be — caused agonizing burning in my throat. And I could really go for some sort of high-pressure sinus attachment for the fire hydrant outside. Dayquil helps, as we always knew it would, but it's still not enough. Worst of all, I'm now too weak to pick Tyla up with one arm, which removes a key arrow from my domestic-disagreement quiver.

In spite of being congested and headachy and weak and hot-no-cold-no-hot all day, and in spite of being hopped up on pseudofreakingephedrine hydrofriggingchloride — or, more likely, because of said up-hopping — I managed to get a fair bit of work done today. Not much progress on the recovery test plan, because coherent prose was beyond my feeble ken, but I did fix a handful of bugs and analyze a few more. That's right, my American friends, your nuclear stockpile is going to be protected by code written by me, while I'm high as a kite on poor man's meth. Sleep tight!

I didn't eat lunch today, but I had some yummy Japanese food while watching a decent Buffy — no, really, in Season Seven! I figure it's a wash.

Phil and Peter are in New York right now. I was sort of idly wishing I could join them, since I always learn a lot while they're hacking hard, but now I'm so very glad that my wishes don't generally come true. Boy, would I hate to be travelling right now.

I downloaded a copy of Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom today, but I don't think I'll be able to read it until I get finished with my current epic. And then I'll probably go and buy a paper copy anyway, just to lend him support.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
20 January 2003
traffic; congestion

I had hoped to sleep on the plane back, since it was a red-eye and that's what they're for. Failing that, I was willing to settle for getting some work done, because there's always enough of that lying around to fill a few hours.

Instead, I was too tired to work, or even read, and too cold and uncomfortable to sleep. Non-upgradeable tickets are really starting to seem like false economies, given how much travel I'm doing.

When I got home, I slept for 5 sweet hours, in a perfectly comfortable bed with my perfectly lovely wife. Then I woke up with a sore throat and mild congestion. As of this writing, they have only worsened. There is no Neo Citran in the house, and we're now out of honey.

That didn't keep me from a handful of bugs, though, which is making me believe that my groove might really have returned. Tomorrow, I will write a test plan for Lustre Lite 1.0's recovery support, and then probably spend a fair bit of time talking with our testing stud about how to turn that into reality. I was thinking of having Coop come to Toronto for a few days this week (not Super Sunday, of course, because Kev and James would have my ass in a sling), but the Velocet offices are in the final throes of renovation, and it's really quite a disaster.

I forgot my tux-vest in California. Have to call the hotel tomorrow and have them mail it to me. Or maybe get Pav to pick it up and do the mailing, though that didn't work at all with my Netwinder.

Also, while I was away my desktop machine was moved and during the process the power cable for one of the CPU fans got wedged in the fan itself, rendering the apparatus totally useless for cooling the processor. As a result, the processor pretty much melted, so I have to sort out replacement bits sometime this week.

My loving and wise mother bought me a book of historic speeches for Christmas, and since today was Martin Luther King Day, she lovingly and wisely pointed out that I should cue up the CD to his speech and give it a listen. Great idea, and I know I said I'd do it, but I'm just way too cold-tired to give Mr. King the attention he deserves. Maybe I'll remember to rip the CD before my next trip (this week, to Ottawa, perhaps) and I can absorb wisdom and eloquence while I flit about the globe, or at the very least the province.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
19 January 2003
sic transit shaver mundi, or something

Just for the record, I didn't make Joe recant, and I didn't set out to make him look like a fool. I just feared the worst, as I often do with Mozilla.

The wedding last night was pretty great. I'd never been to a nuptial mass before, and the biggest impression I took away was that there was not a lot of room for negotation on some points of Catholicism policy. I can handle that, though, given that I was very much on their turf. (And beautiful turf it was.)

Pavlov finally arrived to come to SF with me — Caltrain doesn't offer weekend service right now, wonderfully — so we're off to see dmose and maybe the Watersons. Then dinner with Jamie and a red-eye back. My jet lag is going to be fierce.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
18 January 2003

I just got back from Hyatt's, after Brendan and Eleanor's wedding, and I'm really tired. I'm not going to even do a crappy list of things. Good night.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
17 January 2003
if it's Friday, this must be California

Most of today was occupied by Air Canada flight 757, and transit related thereto. Actually, it was only about 8 hours, of the 22 I've been awake as of this writing, but spiritually it was a clear majority.

I got a lot of work done on the plane, which felt great. I might really be back in the groove this time. A really frightening problem — frightening in that we really had no idea what would cause extN to behave that way, not in that it woke me in the middle of the night with loud noises — turned out to be something else entirely. I've rarely been so happy to find three involved bugs in my code in the span of an hour, but Andreas and I had a good little analysis run.

My tux is being cleaned and pressed overnight. My hotel is literally a five minute walk from both the cleaners and the site of tomorrow's wedding ceremony. The hotel also backs directly onto the Caltrain station, which was very convenient for visiting Mitchell for dinner, and hanging out with Casey and Jarett (did I spell that correctly?) and Dawn and Myk and Judy. So far, this trip is pretty darned sweet.

I'm going to go to bed now. When I wake up tomorrow — I'm guessing around 9am my time — Peter and Phil will have changed everything on me.

This was a pretty geeky entry. Sorry about that, if you're not the pretty-geeky sort; it was a pretty geeky day, too.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
16 January 2003
phoning it in

I was going to write something interesting here, I swear, but then I checked my itinerary for tomorrow's flight, and discovered that it leaves at nine fifteen in the morning, instead of three something in the afternoon. So instead I'll just tell you what's in my head right now:

Tux (jacket, pants, vest, suspenders, tie, cufflinks, shirt-studs, shoes, socks), underwear, more socks, passport, itinerary, Mitchell's cell number, Robert's cell number, shirts, slacks, belt, Nomad, Nomad cable (left it at work, I lose), sunglasses, reserve a taxi.

I haven't been very productive over the last couple of weeks — basically since I got back from Edinburgh, mildly burned out — but it's starting to slowly pick up again. I might get to spend some time working with Robert at the tail end of this trip, which would be good.

[Ed.: cp draft.html cotnent.html does not quite publish. Close, though!]

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
15 January 2003
back; popular demand

I said I'd be back, but I never said I'd be prompt about it. Regular readers, or people who have actually met me, know that promptness is not my strongest suit. Sometimes, in fact, I think I've been dealt a void. But enough about me.

Quite a little surge in hits over the last few days, due to the news.com story; from my usual daily average of ~450 to yesterday's record of nearly 5000. I bet that at least 4500 of those hits resulted in disappointment.

Anyway, I have two major points of clarification with respect to Mr. Festa's article. I don't dispute that I said the things that he quoted, and I won't pretend I don't believe them, but I do think that there was a significantly larger amount of "KHTML beats/helps us in some areas, and we beat/help them in others" when the quotes were taken in context. Even Safari developers will tell you that Gecko's "correctness" is materially better than KHTML's, for standards-compliant and legacy-quirk content alike. Safari also took one of the most complex and effort-intensive parts of Gecko, the view manager, to add to KHTML, because Gecko's worked so well.

This brings us to the next point of concern: I don't believe that my statements, even the very ones he quoted, support his contention that Apple's choice "stings" Mozilla. Certainly, some of the presentation of Apple's numbers (such as comparing KHTML's size to that of the Java-laden Netscape browser suite) were a little troubling, and jwz has never been known to spare the vitriol, but that's not really the same thing. I explicitly said that I wasn't offended or embarrassed by Safari's performance or the fact that they chose KHTML. I've known about Apple's choice for many, many months, and I wasn't even offended then. Apple had some goals for their browser that weren't met by Mozilla, and certainly ease-of-modification is one of them. I think Safari is great news for Mozilla, because it provides another source of effort for another open source browser, from which we can learn things, as they have learned from Mozilla.

(I really wish KHTML had been "All That" when we were starting out on Gecko, because it would have provided a sanity check against some of the problems that dbaron points out. Their appearance on the scene heralds, IMO, only good things for Mozilla as a project and a technology, other than the inevitable distraction of people trying to spin it into a new browser war.)

That's probably all I'm going to say about this little episode, because I have a lot of other stuff to think about and work on, and I'm already pretty cranky. Festa has robbed me of more hours of my life, and I keep swearing that it won't happen again.

In other crappy media news, the public lost an important Supreme Court case today, opening the door for what could well be an indefinite copyright protection period in the United States. I'm interested in seeing whether or not Canada "harmonizes" its copyright duration laws (read: "kowtows to the US") in time to keep "Steamboat Willie" from entering the public domain up here.

Coop is almost done with a most righteous test suite. I'm quite impressed, especially since I provided basically none of the help I promised. Yay coop, boo me.

Dinner last night with Kev was a wonderful feast of seafood and beer and great conversation. It was great to see him again, especially because he hadn't seen Madhava since The Days Of The Moustache (Moustake?). If you're ever looking for a fun dinner companion, I recommend Kev highly, and if you're looking for oysters and seafood, I can now recommend Rodney's Oyster House as well. (One reviewer didn't like the coconut curry shrimp, but Tyla and Kev sure did.)

I'm working from home today, and there's a cat outside that seems to want attention. I'm not sure where it is, exactly, but Chester seems very interested.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
14 January 2003
yeah, but don't sweat the context

Welcome, news.com readers! I have to get on a plane now, so I can't write all the things I want to write, but you should probably start over here with what Blizzard wrote. It's a lot like what I would have told Mr. Festa if he'd bothered to contact me at all for commentary or confirmation, rather than just tearing portions of my statements out to suit his angle. I'd like to say that I expect better from him, but I don't think that I do.

Back later, with more. (I'm sure you can't wait.)

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
13 January 2003
baroque fruits of creative labour

Phil has been reading this great book about, well, the making of the atomic bomb. I started to flip through last night, before I passed out, and I'm kinda hooked. I've just hit a bit of a lull in the other book I've been reading, so I might see if I can find a copy of the bomb book. What better reading to take through airport security? (Phil, a contractor for the United States National Nuclear Security Administration, also had a book about India's nuclear program with him for a while. I'm not that brave.)

I wrote some docs today, and had a fair bit of fun. Organizing my recovery knowledge into some semi-coherent documentation actually helped me think concretely about some annoying problems in new ways. So, yay for writing.

I am so close to done with the thing I'm writing for the friend I'm not supposed to talk about. He left a really cute voice mail on my cell phone while Joe and Jacob and Chris and I were at a movie and Phil was at home working so hard it made me feel a little guilty. Just a little, though. I'm going to finish this writing thing first thing in the morning thing, so that the friend thing can have it before I get on the flying thing and return to the wife thing. Or something. (Confidential to said friend: I did spend almost an hour on it today. Did I mention that I hate writing this stuff?)

The movie was a lot of fun. Recommended. Great date movie, I think, though I might be biased because Jacob kept putting his hand in on my thigh.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
12 January 2003
productivity factor zero

I slept quite well last night, and didn't roll out of bed until about 2:30pm, at which point Phil and I fairly scrambled to the grocery store to fetch vegetables. We are going to have a nice meal — I just know it — at Chris' and Shona's tonight, and our contribution is supposed to be roasted root veggies. Except that we have a lot of veggies, and not a lot of cookie-sheet space, so it's turning out more like roasted sweet potatoes and potatoes, baked onions, and carrots with butter and cinnamon and orange juice and stuff. I think it'll turn out OK.

It seems that Chris was afraid that Phil and I would work all weekend. Ha ha ha. Well, Phil has spent a fair bit of time on the phone and sending email, but I've been the slackest ass in all of slackassdom. That's just going to make things that much more brutal next week, but for now I'm having a blast. This weekend thing rules.

I think our food is ready now, so we have to grab the zipcar and then grab the boyz and get ourselves Blizzard-ward.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
11 January 2003

We slept in late, because we can do that when Tyla's not around, and then started the day with the watching of some football. I think Tennessee won, and I think that's who we were cheering for — because they weren't, and still aren't, Pittsburgh — but I know so little about football that I was really just along for the ride.

Every time I come to Boston, we don't get barbecue, and since the Boston crowd basically cannot stop talking about it when I'm in Toronto, I put my foot down and demanded that we rectify the situation. Damn, that was some good barbecue. Just what we needed to fortify ourselves for hockey.

Maybe the Leafs should have had some barbecue. Sundin was back in the lineup, and I thought that would help a fair bit — and given that the Leafs had been playing quite well, and that Boston had just lost to Buffalo, that fair bit would be gravy, right? — but he wasn't really a factor. Part of the problem there is likely that he's a bit of a playmaker, and the Leafs couldn't string together three passes to save their miserable little lives. I don't think the Bruins played excellent hockey either, but they sure played better. Ah well; there two more Leafs games in Boston this year, and I might come back to cheer them on.

We're going to play some Halo now, just because we can, and then I'll probably write some more about my travel experiences the other day.

[Ed.: Or maybe I'll just fall asleep watching Sports Night DVDs instead.]

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
10 January 2003

A day in the life, as described by a very very sleepy shaver who is nonetheless quite happy to be in Boston with his friends and the Toronto Maple Leafs:

Work work work.


Traffic traffic traffic traffic curse sigh rebook.

Eat eat read relax shoeshine read wait.

Takeoff sleep sleep sleep land.

Chris Shona Phil Joe Jacob Mexicanfood Halo Halo Halo exclamation disperse.

Email diary (soon very soon) sleep.

[Ed. failtopublish sigh lame.]

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
9 January 2003
a blip in the learning curve

I stayed home today, which meant that they fixed the noise at the office: Ken had a pretty free hand with the duct tape, so apparently the hissing is no longer a major issue. Of course, the electrician also managed to bust the power to my workstation, so I got to have a little office-related interruption anyway. Made me feel right at home, or something.

We had Aven and Mark and Madhava over for dinner this evening, to thank them for letting us stash relatives at their otherwise-unoccupied houses over the Christmas holiday, and they conspired with Tyla to get me drunk. Scoundrels.

Probably for the best, because Phil thinks that the test I wrote today is totally useless, and now I can forget about that. (He didn't use the phrase "totally useless", but I know that's what he was thinking.)

Tomorrow I get to hit Boston and visit with the boyz (and Shona, who is an honourary member of the boyz), which will be a fine end to a week that saw me mostly recover from a spot of burn-out, and totally recover from a wimpy little throat problem.

I'm such a lucky guy, in so many parts of my life. I wonder what I did to deserve it.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
8 January 2003
designate contact sierra-five

Turns out that I was a little wrong. The Japanese food wasn't waiting for me at all, and it was the Buffy that was mediocre. Or worse. OK, yes, definitely worse. I'm trying to not imagine all those people out there who said "hey, maybe I'll check this Buffy thing out" last night and will now never, ever return. Apparently one of my sisters-in-law has Buffy nightmares at times, and I think I might start as well. "God, will the Slayerettes speak again? Please, no, not more clunky exposition!"

I went into the office today, because the office is where I work. Ha ha ha. After most of a day spent unsuccessfully trying to concentrate enough to rewrite our connection-negotiation code, I finally gave in to the HISSING and the GROANING from the ventilation system, and the SHOUTING that said HISSING and GROANING requires of my office mates, and went home to nurse my headache. I'm working from home tomorrow, because home is where I can get some work done.

This whole Safari thing is a source of deep entertainment to me. I guess I'm supposed to be mortally offended — or at least embarrassed — that they went with KHTML instead of our Gecko engine, but I'm having trouble working up the indignation. We've all known forever that Gecko missed its "small and lean" target by an area code, and we've been slogging back towards the goal, dragging our profilers and benchmarks behind us, for years. If I had to write a new browser, and I was going to have to touch the layout code in a serious way, I would think about Mozilla alternatives. I think it's awesome that they pretty much have to compare Safari to Chimera and Netscape/Mozilla, because it shows how far we've come from the universal acceptance of IE's hegemony. I think it's fantastic that they chose to include "Gecko" in their user-agent, so that they could get standards-compliant content, because it means that our evangelism efforts in support of such content have been working. I'm thrilled that they're going to be another IE-alternative browser, which will try some techniques Mozilla decided against, because we can see if it really works or not. And I really really hope that Mozilla will learn from Safari/KHTML, because they've done a lot of great work in about a tenth of the code. Kudos, guys, and welcome to the web.

(I still think our JavaScript engine is better, though.)

I had to look at his in-development site to find Ian's email address, because it doesn't seem to be anywhere on his current site. Dork.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
7 January 2003
nyah, nyah

Today is Jon Johansen Day, all over the internet:

The court determined that it is not illegal to use the DeCSS code to watch DVD films obtained by legal means.

Not a lot of hacking today, but I helped Coop a little with the new test suite — he seems to be kicking ass with both feet now, not that the metaphor really lends itself to such extension. I got a new bugzilla installation spun up for some project tracking work, filed some bugs on myself, sent a vanishingly-small fraction of the email I mentioned yesterday.

My productivity was impaired today by the lack of a ceiling in the office. Whereas before it used to just be annoyingly loud when 5 people had a "conversation" near my desk, it now gets to be infuriatingly, blinding-with-rage-ingly loud. I practically ran to the Eaton Centre in search of magic headphones, which I did not find. I did find Phil's gift, though.

More later, I'm sure, but for now there's a new episode of Buffy and some mediocre Japanese food waiting for me.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
6 January 2003
michael fails to live up to his potential

First day back at work, today was. So full of promise. I was going to start on three days of solid, heads-down fixing of bugs we found during the course of our New Year's testing. Protocol ugliness would fall like wheat before the scythe of my hacking prowess. Entire industries would spring up around the innovations I would produce in storage technology. Children would break into song spontaneously, honouring and remembering my heroic efforts.

Or, alternatively, I'd start to feel the same symptoms as Phil, spend too many hours sleeping accidentally, and spend the rest of my day ruling out three possible fixes for an ugly bug, because the fixes would have been even uglier.

At least I helped Coop get started on the next test suite.

I owe mail to my mother, George Favvas, Tim Keanini, Phil Schwan, A Friend I Shouldn't Name Or He'll Hurt Me, Dawn Endico, Brendan Eich (postal mail, no less), Jamie Zawinski, Stephen Tweedie, and the status-updates list at work. Most of those messages are composed in my head, or regard work that is more than 80% complete, but I'm too tired to finish the job tonight. Not that staying up any later would be a good idea if I were able, so I guess that might be for the best.

I'm too tired to play Halo with the unemployed, even though I caused him to disturb Phil's rest and he managed to get tickets for this weekend's hockey game.

Welcome back, me!

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
5 January 2003
backlog of inanity

I'm positively adamant that I'm not going to do any real work today, but there is quite a lot of other stuff that needs to be tidied up today, before I binge on Age of Mythology or something just as pleasantly fruitless.

First on my list is writing a personal description for a person who I cannot identify, relating to an event that dare not speak its name. The payoff could be quite impressive, so I'm trying to do a good job. The problem is that I'm really not very good at writing about myself, because I fundamentally don't consider myself all that interesting; writing resumes is purest, driven torture, a pitched battle between "I should probably mention Some Project" and "boy, it looks so inane spelled out like that". (No, I don't know why you're reading this either.) It's already 2pm and I haven't made anything resembling solid progress.

I also need to set up a web site for my mother, though she hasn't really settled on what she wants her domain name to be. I guess I'll pick the last one she mentioned in my presence, and she can bother me if it bothers her.

And, of course, I need to protect my wife from the contents of our home:

You know those chocolates I told you to hide? Where are they?

Poor, weak Tyla.

If you don't have a lot of things to do today, I highly recommend spending some time with Boing Boing. Cory Doctorow is nothing short of a genius, as you would already know if you'd read his most excellent short story 0wnz0red. Make haste.

I have still not been able to acquire Phil's Christmas present, but I have a promising lead to follow up on tomorrow. I hope he likes it, or is at least convincing in his fakery.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
4 January 2003
R & R; pro forma

Woke up early enough that I think I missed jet lag. Shopped a little for Phil's Christmas present, largely unsuccessfully. Was visited by Sancus, who came bearing gifts, and joined me for lunch and a mediocre movie. Then I watched some hockey, made dinner, and thought about going to sleep. Instead, some evil men lured me into a few rounds of "King of the Hill".

Now, though, I'm really going to sleep, in case I change my mind and decide to go climbing tomorrow after all. This entry is really just here to keep my streak alive. It will exhibit the crappy Mozilla bug that pops up here from time to time, because I can't be bothered to edit around it. Maybe I'll just learn to live without the first-line-small-caps.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
3 January 2003
jiggity jig

There are quite a few things in this world I don't fully understand, and today many of them manifested themselves in the form of air travel. I would exposit in no small detail about the insanity regarding electronic itineraries and the security implications of giving me a matching set of boarding passes without a printed email for verification, but that would be giving more of my precious, fleeting life to the evil air travel complex.

We did get home — or at least as far as Toronto in Phil's case — and without too much difficulty in the end. I suspect we could have endured more difficulty, even, what with the mitigating effects of a 10AM scotch tasting at the Heathrow duty free. Phil was cruelly victimized by the weather, so he's spending the night here.

We got back from emergency sushi with Madhava, Tyla and Steph, and stopped to purchase Age of Mythology during our return. It was fun, and now I sleep, mercifully free of jet lag. With some small luck, Phil's flight tomorrow will make it out uneventfully, and we can return to our regularly-scheduled programming. Ahem.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
2 January 2003
c'mon, hit me again

This is day four (maybe five) of "so, this is what it's like to vacation with phil", and we just passed the last of the tests. We're done. We can invoice. More importantly, we can actually vacation our little hearts out for the last 24 hours that we're in Edinburgh.

Also, it seems that we can do 3oz shots of Canadian whisky at eight in the morning. Going to be a great day, I can just tell. Time for breakfast, which may well involve enough fat to turn my heart into confit.


We had great intentions, but after an all-nighter, half a bottle of whisky between us — I can't believe it either, but it's true — and a very filling Traditional Scottish Breakfast, none of us could stay awake very long. I fell asleep first and woke up first, so I got to make plans to visit with Stephen.

Near Chris' place there are perhaps too many good Indian places, and we found another with Stephen's assistance. Very yummy, very filling, very Edinburgh. Stephen had the wonderful idea to visit the Scotch Malt Whisky Society's tasting room, but it wasn't open when we got there — the automated phone message indicated that it would be open until 11pm, but 2 January is apparently some inviolate holiday in Scotland, so we were out of that particular brand of luck. Instead, we substituted a vastly superior brand of luck, and were invited back to Stephen's to sample his impressive personal collection, talk about topics ranging from the inner workings of Linux filesystems to the devolution of powers in American states and EU countries, and look at pictures of his adorable daughter Heather. Fiona was busy working on a quilt for a gift, but she offered to drive us back to Chris', so we got to chat a bit then. A fantastic evening; I need more of the Tweedies in my life, clearly.

Over the course of the day, Phil and I had toyed with changing our tickets to stay a few extra days and actually visit with Chris, but our airline friends wanted an outrageous amount of money in change fees. I'm still waiting for a wire to show up, so that wasn't in the cards for me. Chris has been a saint, more patient than we deserved with our working and sleeping, and we'll have to come back in a little bit and show him a good time.

I was thinking about sleeping a little bit before we took off to the airport, but Chris just pointed out that that's in something like an hour. He and Phil were smart and slept. I was not, and didn't. Story of my frigging life.

(Yes, this entry did say "2 January 2002" for most of the day. That's going to happen a lot, I predict.)

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)
1 January 2003

We weren't hung over this morning, but we could easily have been, so we slept in just the same. A long search for appropriate dinner — technically a breakfast, but at 7pm that becomes an awkward term — led us to a lovely Arabian/Spanish place. We ordered the "Arabian Feast" for three, and got enough food for five. Mmm. Sweet gluttony.

We just made it to a showing of Die Another Day, which is certainly a fine Bond movie. It didn't feel over-long, even, and I hope we get to see more — cough, cough — of Rosamund Pike in the future.

Phil and I are so close to the fix for our last test that the strong force is involved. Now that we've mostly frittered away our vacation, it's not putting up as much of a fight.

Because this is our "boys' week out", we've managed to run out of food in the house, and outlasted pretty much everywhere in Edinburgh that might provide us with nourishment. It's just like when I was single, except I have better clothes now. Maybe Chris can make some oatmeal.

I was expecting her to be a little off-kilter on New Year's morning, but apparently Tyla started drinking early: there wasn't any Monday, December 31st in 2002, to my knowledge. Everyone point and laugh at Tyla!

No Scottish girls kissed today; this morning might have been an anomaly.

Made some New Year's resolutions today, while pondering in the shower, and I might talk more about them later, unless I flub them really embarrassingly.

Posted by shaver at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)