thewhitelily: (Default)
Found inside attempting to climb onto the boss's computer. It's a green tree snake: not only non-venomous, but completely devoid of fangs. We think he might be a particularly dull brownish colour in the picture because was trying to blend with the cardboard box we kept him in until everyone arrived and could have a hold. He was cool and sweet, with his little muscles gripping my skin. We released him into the bushes, and he sailed up and away from branch to branch at incredible speed, not even pausing to grip one branch or the next, just effortlessly stretching on to the next one and the next one, trying to gain height and escape from the crazy bigjobs.

My god, it's enormous! Is that one snake, or two? )
thewhitelily: (Default)
Warning: this is the first in a series of technical entries regarding the details of data synchronisation. Look away if you don’t care.

I’ve been working on and off over the past six months at including offline capabilities in our web-based athlete management system. The idea is that a coach or a doctor should be able to unplug their machine from the network, go out to a training camp or on a scouting trip and use the system completely as normal, then come back and push the changes they’ve made into the main system and pull back any changes made by other people in the meantime.

The obvious technology to use, given we’re in a .NET environment, is the new Microsoft Sync Services framework based around SQL Server CE. Plenty of examples around - and now it's all got a wizard, including bidirectional synchronization should be as easy as ABC: click through the wizard, add a web service on one end and a reference on the other, run the autogen upgrade scripts on your server database, and go!

Reality is never so simple. )

Coming up: what the ClientSyncProvider doco should tell you, and a short history of SyncAnchor.
thewhitelily: (Default)
It's amazing how much a programmer can learn from an in-person training session with a real, honest-to-goodness user.

As long as the user is holding the mouse, every struggling attempt to determine which way to go next is another revelation in exactly where the path forward should lie. Every time you find yourself saying the words "Oh, you just need to..." is another time when you can make the discovery process one step easier for the next user. Every time they ask for something the system doesn't already cover, you've got a whole slew of new ideas begging to be acknowledged.

As always, for half a morning's observation, I've come away with about three-quarters of an A4 page covered in densely packed ideas, usability enhancements, and grand designs. Now I just have to get some time to implement a fraction of them in between finishing off my current infuriatingly almost-finished project and heading back to apply polish to the last couple of projects I was forced to finish and move on from without squeezing the juice out of the low-hanging fruit.

Today we got an unsolicited email from one of our users praising an enhancement I released a few weeks ago, which was very gratifying indeed. Yesterday we got a call from another client one saying "hey, that's really cool, and can you make it also..." And I'm pretty sure I can do it in fairly short order, when I come around to it again, and it'll simply be sweet. Tomorrow, Hubby and the boss are going down to Canberra to demonstrate the swanky-looking proof of concept I was working on before that to a potential business partner.

And while they're gone, I'm going to finish off the releasable version one of this current project, and start off another round of knocking people's socks off.

Yeah. Sometimes I really love what I do.
thewhitelily: (Default)
Just call me Super Support Su - er - Lily.

So, the office was practically empty today, because half of the company was off in Sydney demonstrating our software to a new client, and another significant portion is on holiday.

This leaves me as not only the person on phone/email monitoring duty, but as the only technical person in the office capable of solving customers' problems and the closest we have to a business savvy person in judging the urgency of having those problems addressed.

Of course, this morning between 9am and 10am, just before the boys' plane lands, is the time that every customer we have suddenly strikes some inexplicable problem, which must be solved instantly because (a) they're leaving for New Zealand in half an hour, (b) the event for which they're using our software started ten minutes ago, or (c) they want to change the details of the demonstration the boys are about to give.

The phone was ringing hot, to the point where I finish solving one client's problem and hang up only to find that there's a new message been left while I was on the phone with them. My inbox filled to the brim with client's messages requiring responses, timestamped things like: 9:10am, 9:13am, 9:18am, 9:23am, 9:28am...

Of course, after 10am, there was no more email and only one call for the rest of the day - that one from a telemarketer. Hah. Just goes to show how awesome I am at getting everyone's problems sorted.

General notes for future troubleshooting:
1) By default, Vista does not give users write permission to the root directory of an external drive. A good thing to know before half an hour of stuffing around with an increasingly frantic client on the other end of the line.
2) Half my video is gone, you bastards, is likely caused by running low on hard drive space and thus not having anywhere to put your bloody video.
3) If in doubt about the urgency of an email, check how long it's taken that person to reply to the previous respondant. If it's more than twenty-four hours, you don't even have to think about responding until the immediate crisis is over.
4) Being CCed on the itinerary for the boys' flight to Sydney is a fantastic thing, because knowing when their plane lands means that I can follow them up if they don't check their messages.
5) Don't panic. It's not the end of the world.

I kept my head above water. Just.

Next time the boys go to Sydney, though, I'm bringing a snorkel to work, just in case.
thewhitelily: (Default)
It's Melbourne Cup Day!

The race that stops the nation has definitely stopped our workplace, as we all crowded around the TV to watch three minutes of horsies running around in a circle. The only intelligent comment I can make is that I'm very sad that Blutigeroo didn't win, because he had the best name. *nods*

The current subject of contemplation in the office is whether the boss should go and fetch a ladder so he can change the blown light bulbs on the high ceiling, as he rather unwisely promised he would while he still had his champagne glass in hand.

I'm voting yes. :)
thewhitelily: (Default)
I've just come back from the annual Microsoft technical/brainwashing conference, and of course I'm all fired up with new ideas and new tech and new desires to bring the whole world under the wonderous umbrella of Microsoft, our benevolent lord and master.

I'm really excited by a few of the emerging technologies in particular - WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), Silverlight, and Sync Services to name just a few. My personal favourite has to be the massive (40-100x) performance enhancements to the development environment in response to a specific problem with a small percentage of projects that just happens to affect me and is the major cause of frustration in my life.

Of course, the few days after TechEd are always a bit of a culture shock with the return to reality. Visual Studio 2008, in which all these lovely goodies reside, doesn't officially come out until... you guessed it, 2008. I can play with the beta software all I like (and pay for the speed increase with the traditional beta instability), but there's no way that we're going to cut any of the code it produces live in any case until 2008 is officially supported.

But there's plenty of ideas I've come out with that can be implemented straight away, even if they're not the cool flashy impressiveness that the shiny new tech looks like being.

In particular, I've remembered again how keen I am to clean up our corporate website. It's not that the website itself is bad - actually, it's pretty good, if somewhat spartan, and the members area is totally useful for all our clients. It's just that we've never really got around to writing the actual content for the public area. And it's pretty much disgraceful for an IT company that's been in business for 11 years to have a website where 80% of the public pages still say "Under Construction" - and in the other three, I've discovered five broken links in the last half hour.

So, it's past 3am and I'm writing copy for the corporate website. Who says insomnia's bad for the general dedication of employees?
thewhitelily: (Default)
When I was little, I always said I wanted to have a family business, because it seemed that my parents could always take enough time off when appropriate to go on a proper holiday - they'd just close up the building business for that long!

Of course, I didn't realise that it's actually more to do with what the business is doing than who's doing it.

*sigh*

Hubby's just left for work, for the fourth time this weekend. It's 11pm on Sunday night, and if he doesn't go, a client in South Africa will go without a fix for the problem they've encountered - and then when his dad (Teh Boss) gets to SA to help said client demonstrate our product to a possible new Uber Client, there won't be good things to show. A client is in trouble - enter Super!Hubby!

Is it any wonder he suffers from a stress-related illness?

On Friday, Teh Boss comes back and takes over operations again. On Friday, we leave for our first holiday together in three years. Hopefully, it'll be the first of many. Hopefully, given his favourite holiday activity if we don't leave the state is going in to work, Hubby can decide that travelling and getting some sort of break is less stressful than being at work at midnight on Sunday night.

Hopefully.
thewhitelily: (Default)
I'm facing an unusual dilemma here. Our company has received an invitation from our partner company to their Christmas party, and it's been suggested that Hubby and I fly down to Sydney at the end of November to represent us there.

Aside from the ever-present problem of my likely state of panic towards the end of NaNo, a more worrisome aspect of the entire venture is the invitation, which goes as follows:

just to let you know the Xmas party is on a Tall Ship Svanen, leaving The Rocks at [date and time removed to prevent gatecrashing]

bring yourselves ready for a goodtime, the usual booze guns pirates swimsuit models, massage and bikini girls will be onboard

Um... riiiight. I'm not usually much of a party girl, mainly because of the whole extreme introvert thing, but I don't think I can really justify missing that. Just for... well, for just for the sheer experience of something so mindbogglingly politically incorrect!
thewhitelily: (Default)
For your personal edification, I thought I'd transcribe a conversation Hubby's currently having on the phone with Teh Boss, on the other side of the desk from me.

The phone's tucked up under his shoulder as he continues programming, totally unhindered by the conversation. This is why:

Boss: [inaudible]
                           Hubby: Yep.
Boss: [inaudible]
                           Hubby: Mmmm.
Boss: [inaudible]
                           Hubby: Uhuh.
Boss: [inaudible]
                           Hubby: Yep.
Boss: [inaudible]
                           Hubby: Sure.
Boss: [inaudible]
                           Hubby: Mmmm.
Boss: [inaudible]
                           Hubby: Mmmhmmm.
Boss: [inaudible]
                           Hubby: Mmmm.
Boss: [inaudible]
                           Hubby: Yep.
Boss: [inaudible]
                           Hubby: Uhuh.
Boss: [inaudible]
                           Hubby: Yep.
Boss: [inaudible]
                           Hubby: Okay.
Boss: [inaudible]
                           Hubby: Mmmm.

All right, I'm getting bored of following this thing.

Actually, I'm getting bored of it going on in the same universe with me, let alone the same room.

I don't know what they're talking about, but SOMEBODY PLEASE LET ME OUT OF THIS OFFICE!!!

Profile

thewhitelily: (Default)
The White Lily

July 2017

S M T W T F S
       1
2345 678
9101112131415
16 171819202122
23242526272829
3031     

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 28th, 2017 04:34 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios