Rants

Nobody NEEDS a cellphone

13 comments

People got along just fine without them 20 years ago. Yet now you can't leave home without one!? Also, cellphones make things /too/ convenient. Makes people lazy.

I've heard this argument several times, and again recently. Ya, no one needs a cellphone, we use to get along fine without them. This definition of "need" also applies to:

1. Computers
2. The internet
3. TV
4. Anti-biotics
5. Cars
6. Refrigerators
7. Electricity
8. Plastic
9. Running water
10. etc.

Just because we /used/ to get along fine without technology X doesn't mean we don't "need" it now. Though we're not as dependant on cellphones as we are on electricity (yet) I would argue that we still need them (unless you define need as something you will actually die without, in which case, whatever). So please, spare everyone the i'm-superior-cause-i-didn't-use-to-have-a-cellphone argument next time.

</endrant> <3

Trust

4 comments

I've been thinking a lot lately about the idea of trust. What it means to trust someone or for someone to trust you, trust in new/foreign situations, and most importantly the risks associated with trusting or not trusting. Over the past two years or so of traveling Sam and I have been confronted with a lot of unfamiliar situations and unfamiliar people. Fortunately, both of us have a very good eye for spotting bad situations and if one of us misses something that's potentially off usually the other will catch it.

We've been lucky to have really only been "screwed", taken advantage of, conned, whatever you wanna call it, by only three people in the past two years. The most recent situation was the worst by far in terms of the stress and money involved and I suppose it's the reason I've been thinking more about this now.

please put your garbage in the provided receptacles

no comments

I've been reading microserfs and am really enjoying it. I don't think it's quite as funny as jpod, but definitely has a lot to think about it. It's also kind of a funny flash back to the mid-nineties tech culture. Remember the "Information Superhighway". Or how everyone pretended to hate emoticons. Ahh, the good old days.... when i was 12. Hmm... remember how on Peewee's Playhouse (man, what a freaking odd name for a show!) he had those awesome video phones. Video chat always seemed so sci fi and far away in the distance... heck, I figured we'd have flying cars before video chat. I'd probably be hard pressed to find more than a handful of my friends/family who have never done a video chat. Whereas it's a lot easier to find people who still haven't used a flying car.

By the way, has anyone else been annoyed by the stupid skytrain messages they started playing every 2 minutes telling you to "help keep the skytrain clean" and throw out your garbage. Honestly!? If someones just tossing their garbage on the ground... an annoying message isn't about to stop them. It's practically annoying me enough that if it keeps up I might have to break down and buy a car to get around. Either that or drop out of university so I don't have to commute to surrey/burnaby anymore. Wouldn't that be funny... I dropped out of university because I couldn't handle the annoying skytrain messages.

Drupalcon - part 2... testing

3 comments

There were a lot of very interesting sessions at Drupalcon, 4 full days packed with them in fact. Some of my personal favorites were openid, form api 3, panels 2, and the Drupal association panel. One of the things that really stood out (and I also really enjoyed) was the configuration management discussions. A decent percentage of the talks covered or had some overlap with configuration management and testing. Automated testing is a huge issue for "Enterprise" Drupal right now. There's not really a "safe" way to upgrade a Drupal site at the moment. A major upgrade pretty much goes as follows:

  1. backup
  2. upgrade the code
  3. update the database
  4. cross your fingers
  5. tap your toes
  6. hope it works.
  7. repeat if necessary (*always* repeat if necessary ;-))

Once you've upgraded you can manually go through the pages and try to find any glitches in the site, and if you're lucky you'll get them. Maybe the users of the site will find and report the errors. If you're lucky you won't lose any data. There's currently no unit testing, regession testing or smoke testing (sure, there's some test code... but as far as I'm concerned the amount that exists is really only proof of concept that it can be done). There's roughly half a dozen companies that put the majority of paid development into Drupal and are also hiring up most of the good Drupal developers. These companies have a vested interest in getting automated testing working in Drupal.

At one of the more ad hoc sessions (which included people from most of the big Drupal comapnies and prominent community members) NowPublic promised a large chunk of one of their developers' time to work exclusively on writing unit tests. There was obviously a lot of support for this. This session was more or less a discussion of how to approach the problem and solve it and I think some good ideas and points came out of it.

Writing tests is a bitch. I can say this as I use to write *very* extensive tests for code I wrote (python has some very nice tools for unit testing that I miss in almost every other language I use). The test code can often be significantly larger than the code it's testing. It was kind of fun at first, but all the typing and copy-and-pasting quickly started aggrevating the carpel tunnel ;). Writing the tests is the easy part. Keeping the tests up to date is the tough part. Getting developers to keep improving the code at the same rate while forcing them to write and update the test code on a mostly volunteer project... I don't even know if that's possible.

There's a popular idea in the Drupal business community that if you develop something, give it back to the community and let the community maintain it. I think this works great for both the companies developing Drupal and the volunteers working on the project. Keeping their code a secret hurts both parties. Let the company pay for the initial development of the code, and if there's interest someone will pick it up. Unfortunately, I don't see this working for testing. Even if the initial set of tests is paid for, I really can't see the "community" picking up the maintenance of the tests. It's a bitch, and doesn't scratch enough peoples' itch.

Regardless, automated testing in Drupal will be a Good Thing. And what do I know, maybe volunteer developers will be totally into keeping the test code up to date. "All tests passed" messages make people feel warm and fuzzy inside :).

One last point... since I'm in a ranty mood. This is to the person who likes to preach "...every time you touch a contrib module ... run coder module ... write and update simpletest tests ... yada yada". Perhaps it's about time you put your money where your mouth is and start getting your own developers to do it. :-p

Pet Peeves

5 comments

Happy Friday :). I'm feeling kind of ranty today, so... here are some of my pet peeves for Friday, June 1, 2007:

  1. When it's 21 Degrees outside (actually, probably hotter than that where I am), why am I cold while inside? 15 Degrees isn't a good temperature to work in... even when it's hot outside. PLEASE turn down your air conditioner! (and by "down" I mean, make it hotter) Honestly, people complain for months that they want summer and hot weather... then as soon as it comes, crank up the A/C, so much so that you have to wear a jacket inside to be comfortable.
  2. I realize that you don't know me... but does that mean you can't even acknowledge my existence when you're about to travel between 2 and 19 stories in a 3'x6' elevator with me? When someone says "hey", or "hi", or nods (often accompanied by some sort of grunting sound), the common protocol is to at least acknowledge them back. Maybe it's just those dang Yaletown people.
  3. The term "pet peeves", wtf does that even mean? I hate the term... please stop using it. Thank you.
  4. The boringness of my blog. You know, like content, look and feel, etc. What do you mean that's my fault?
  5. When people follow a sentence about global warming, with a sentence bitching about the "high" gas prices. This is mostly the "news", mind you, as opposed to individuals. While I'm on the topic... a 1L bottle of water from the same gas station you're buying the gas from is gonna cost you more than 1L of gasoline.

That's all for now (at least for the next few minutes, until I remember a really good one, that I forgot to post here). The weather's great, so let's all go outside for a smoke... oh, and be sure to stand directly in front of the entrance so that everyone has to fight through a cloud of smoke to get through.