Archive for October, 2007

The New York Times is pretty awesome.

Unfortunately, it’s not every day that you see a big print media company do something smart on the web. Somehow, many of them are just too set in their ways, or scared, to see what a good online presence can do. I’m not saying every publisher needs to have a web-first mentality, but well, someday they will, and that day is getting closer. For whatever reason, either they don’t get it, or the people who do aren’t allowed to do anything about it.

The New York Times, basically the only New York paper not owned by Rupert Murdoch, gets it. I saw a link on Digg just now to their internal development blog. Which also has links to a couple of internally-developed projects, that they’re releasing as Open-Source projects. And they sent a couple of guys to OSCON.

These are all things that my company does. Well, we have a whole planet of blogs, and I think about half the office was at OSCON, but OmniTI Labs isn’t wholly different from Open at NY Times.

This is what we do, every day, but it’s nice to see a company that isn’t 100% tech-related doing these things. It probably helps that the tech department at the Times is probably bigger than Omni as a whole, too.

Keep on truckin’, New York Times. Keep on truckin’.

New-ish iPod

I showed up late to the iPod party. I figured I wouldn’t be able to use it at work, and I can play music from my computer at home, or the CD player in the car. There didn’t seem to be any real need for another expensive way to get MP3s into my head. Then my co-workers got louder, or I got less tolerant of background noise, and my CD player jammed. So a year and a half ago I bought a 2 Gb iPod Nano, which has started feeling a bit constricting of late.

So I bought Alex’s 80 Gb 5.5th generation iPod (AKA, “Video iPod”) off of him last week, because it was cheaper than buying a refurb 5th gen from Apple, and much cheaper than buying one of the new iPod classics from Apple. Once I got done peeling the screen protectors off it, because I hate my electronics and I want them to suffer, and fixing the tags on all my songs in iTunes, I threw everything on there. And then the sheer scale of this thing started to sink in.

First of all, I’m not retarded. I know that 80 gigs isn’t a whole lot of space. I routinely deal with databases that are probably bigger than that, and I’ve generated text files almost that size¬† before. You’d be hard-pressed to fit 10 uncompressed DVDs in 80 gigs, to say nothing of HD playback. It’s not infinite.

Which made it even a little more strange when I looked at what fits on this iPod. When Alex  gave it to me, it still had a lot of his music on it - something like 20 gigs. And some video. Like the entire series runs of The Boondocks, Harvey Birdman, Venture Brothers, and The Tick.

Add to that my entire music collection, which is about 30 gigs, and I still have 20 gigs free. Which is enough for every song Becki has, with room to spare. I could seriously back up my entire file server on it. Music, video, 5,000+ high-res photographs, the code/images for about five different web sites, and all the other random goodies on GBS.

It’s a lot of space, is what I’m saying. The fact that Apple released a 160 Gb version speaks for the relative runty-ness of my file collection.

Anyway, so far I like the thing. The screen is a lot bigger, obviously, and brighter than the Nano, it holds 40 times as much, and the battery lasts longer (though I haven’t had it long enough to know exactly how much longer).

The downside is that the UI seems to hitch for half a second sometimes, presumably because the hard drive needs to spin up. Which brings me to the other problem, which is that it has moving parts, and I have a chronic case of the dropsies. So I’m keeping the Nano around as a backup for when I break this stupid thing.

Portal

oh my god portal is the best game. I’m not even kidding. Go buy Portal right now because it is amazingly rad.

Eternal Monday

So, in the unlikely event that you’re wondering what I’ve been doing this week, allow me to drop some knowledge on you:

- Monday: Work from 10 AM to 1 AM.

- Tuesday: Work from 10 AM to 2 AM.

- Wednesday: Work from 11 AM (I overslept) to 2 AM.

- Thursday: Work from 10 AM to 3:30 AM.

- Friday: Work from 10 AM to 8 PM.

UPDATE: Saturday, 1 PM to 10 PM. Even on weekends this Monday, we were putting in 9 hour days. That’s what, about 82 hours of work this week? And I normally work 35.

I’m not going to do the math there, since I’m pretty fucking tired right now, but that’s like 75-ish hours of work this week. To the point that a few co-workers and I started thinking of the entire week as being Monday, with the occasional nap (and not even particularly long naps) when we were too tired to keep working. Thus, Eternal Monday.

The reasoning behind this, I can’t really get in to, so I’m going to be intentionally vague for my own reasons, about which I am also going to be intentionally vague. Suffice it to say, a lot of work had to get done in a short period of time, and I ended up more or less locked in a room with 8 other coders for an entire week. I should point out that, like everyone else, I volunteered for this.

Despite the somewhat grueling nature of this Monday, I actually enjoyed the whole experience. Not that I liked essentially not seeing Becki for an entire week, or missing all kinds of social engagements, but OmniTI is an amazing working environment, and I feel like I’m a lot better at Perl now than I was when I showed up on Monday. We met our deadline, I learned a few things, and it was incredibly satisfying to work on such a huge project. We knew going in that it was going to require late nights at the office, but you don’t get better by doing things that are easy. How could I say no to that?

Anyway, when we left work tonight, I pretty much decided that I was going to go home and drag my easy chair and a bottle of Gin out onto the porch, smoke one of the cigars Phil left here, and then probably go directly to bed after. And that’s exactly what I’m doing.