Walmart “Quality”

I had this short-term contract a little while back, just a couple weeks work updating their BizTalk-based solution-generating tool (yes, nice software).  Not much to say about the work besides that it all went well and everybody’s happy, but there’s this one memory that I felt was blog worthy.  Cue intro music…

One of the things I like most about jobs with bigger companies (which seems to mean ones that don’t have a small business owner) is that there’s always a steady supply of fresh coffee.  Plus everything you need to make the coffee to your taste.  And other people to make it that really know what they’re doing with a coffeemaker.  All that, that’s the one thing that I really appreciate while those jobs last.  Anyway, as usual there’s the kitchen cupboard full of cast-off mugs and I’ve pulled out the biggest one I can find that nobody else looks to be using.  I’ve been using this mug for two weeks, several coffees a day, carrying it around with me.  It’s the first thing I grab after I power up the PC, and the last thing I put away before I leave.  All this time, and do you think I’ve actually read the mug?  No.  I’ll bet you can see where this is going.  After two weeks on this project, I’m finally at the point where I’ve got all the critical issues dealt with.  I’ve got a couple minutes to breathe, look around, take stock, regroup, whatever you want to call it.  I pick up the mug, take a swig of programmer fuel, put it down, look at what’s written on it, and nearly spray coffee all over my desk!  I manage to contain my laughter, but I’m sure I was making more than a couple strange noises for a minute there.  “What did it say on the mug already!” do you ask?  Ah, well:

Wow.  Just… epic.  Fail, of course, but so indicative of the level of quality that I expect from Walmart.  So completely representative.  It makes it an impressive symbol.  I hope these mugs were deeply discounted on sale.  Ooh, even better if they were just given away.  Yeah, that’s more likely.


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Generating Visual Studio, Music, and Chess

Time for me to just post about a couple seemingly unrelated items, because that’s one of the things you’re supposed to do when you’re blogging.

Let’s start out with some random assistance for any developer doing something very strange: Generating a solution file (yes, a *.sln file) for Visual Studio.

If you happen to be trying to do just such a thing, I have one very important thing to tell you: The project GUID values absolutely have to be in all uppercase.

Really, I kid you not.  Apparently one of the developers over at MS decided to use a String.Equals call instead of doing the obviously much more expensive Guid.Parse and Guid.Equals call.  If you want your generated solution file to work and it doesn’t, look for things like that that would cause a string comparison to fail.

Next is the song Night Moves, by Bob Seger and his Silver Bullet band.  It’s kind of weird, that every time I hear it I think of One Night In Bangkok, by Murray Head.  The link between them (entirely in my head I assure you) being Chess.  One of those songs is obviously all about chess, it was even the hit song from the musical.  The other?  Well, “ain’t if funny how the knight moves?” is what I always hear Bob Seger saying.  Gotta agree with him too, it’s definitely strange how the knight moves.  With or without autumn closing in.

And that of course leads me right into thinking about one of the many movies that I always wanted to see but wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped when I did see it: Knight Moves.  Sometimes Christopher Lambert is the only good thing about the movie.  Ah well.

So there you have it, hard-core software development, pop music, musicals, a mediocre 90’s movie and Christopher Lambert.  Just a single day in my life and all these things come together.

There can be only one!

Damn, I was doing so well holding that in.  Ah well.


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Additionally, I’m NOT Cohen The Barbarian.

In very much the same vein as one of my previous posts, I found myself at Which Discworld Character Are You? today.  I’m a big fan of PTerry, so what the hey.  And, since I’m a sharing kinda guy, here you go:

You Scored as Lord Havelock Vetinari
You are Lord Vetinari! Supreme ruler of Ankh-Morpork! Cool, calculated, and always in control. You graduated from the assassins guild, but failed a course on stealth and camouflage, because the professor never saw you there (even though you attended every class). You always seem to know what everyone is thinking, and after a conversation with you, people feel that they have just escaped certain death.

Lord Havelock Vetinari
Gytha (Nanny) Ogg
Commander Samuel Vimes
Carrot Ironfounderson
The Librarian
Esmerelda (Granny) Weatherwax
Cohen The Barbarian

I can’t think of anyone else in the Discworld that I’d rather be, really.  It’s also quite pleasing that I’m almost (but not quite) Rincewind. No idea what Gytha Ogg is doing next on the list.  I particularly like the image that was assigned:

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Me and the FB

As a general rule, if there’s something ‘social’ going on, then I’m either avoiding it or somewhere on the fringes.  Not because I’m a psychopath or anything, I just don’t really enjoy it like everyone else seems to.  That and (get this!) I have little desire to do things that I suck at.  Unsurprisingly, I’ve never had any real interest in That Well-Known Scourge Of Mankind (aka Facebook).  And then a couple months ago I had to link an application to the FB.  The first step in attaching your application to FB is, of course, to have an account.  Thus was I dragged into the worlds largest social networking scam.

Once the application was deployed and the integration was working (something made considerably more difficult by the rapidly changing API) I figured I’d be done with it, but by then others had learned that I had an account.  And then I found that it made a nice IM application, just keep the window open and people who are looking for me can find me.  Much easier than running a real IM client.  And it was handy to be in on the group activity planning that is more and more often handled that way.

Additionally, I’ve been told that it’s been far too long since I made any blog entries, and the wife would like to read some more.  As soon as I’ve posted a new entry, it occurs to me that it would be handy if she (and of course anyone else who’s interested, at the very least I’ve got a sister who thinks I’m hilarious) got a notification whenever I post a new entry.  I’m not much for the self-promotion, so I’d rather have an anonymous service handle that than announce new entries myself as if it were a big deal or something.  Almost immediately, the thought comes to me: there’s GOT to be a FB app for that!  And, of course, there is.  After a minute of search (ph34r my google-fu!) I’ve found it.  5 minutes after that I’ve got it up and running.

So while I definitely still don’t like the FB, I still also (just as definitely) love technology. Overall? Well alright, we’ll call it a draw.


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Apparently I’m a Sorcerer

So I saw this website while I was surfing around: What D&D Character Am I?

It’s a sizable quiz, but I had a couple minutes and wanted to know just how well implemented it was.  Fairly well as it turns out!  It reminded me a bit of the opening of Ultima IV where they ask you a bunch of questions to determine what your class is, but on steroids.  Well thought out, good implementation.  I’m not so certain as to how correct their findings are (high Charisma? Me? I don’t think so!), but I can’t fault at all their method of reaching them.

Anyway, here’s my results for Posterity (no idea who this Posterity guy is, but he seems to be damn nosy):

I Am A: Neutral Good Human Sorcerer (5th Level)

Ability Scores:

Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

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Buh-bye NO, Ahma go home!

For my final night here, I figured I might as well check out the local shopping scene.  Just in case there was something interesting.  The entrance was kinda neat:

All lite up nice and colourful.  Besides that, it’s just a long straight mall.  Which is nice.  I don’t much care for those malls that are made like twisty passages everywhere, each one alike.  Then again, I don’t much care for malls in general.  This one isn’t huge though, so that’s nice.  And every now and then there’s a window or a door out to where you can see the river.  Which isn’t bad.  But as a “Riverwalk”?  I’m afraid the one in San Antonio totally kicks this one’s ass.  With both feet.  I didn’t find much shopping worth mentioning.  Did find a nice couple EB outlets with some good selection.  I guess that counts.

The main thing that’s really easy to shop for though is booze.  Every corner store advertises their low-low prices on “wrapped liquor”.  Which I think means “we put it in a bag so you can wander the streets with it safely”.  I’m not sure if I speak the lingo correctly, but I’m fairly sure on this one.

One Stuffed Flounder later (from a seafood restaurant, not any of the other local establishments, just to be clear) I’m totally done with this city.  The job is finally done.  I’m not exactly a “Miller” kinda guy, so I went with this instead:

The Bud Of The Holy

Now it’s time to get some sleep so I can get up early and get back home.

Oh, it’ll be nice to be home.

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More On Cosmetic Surgery And Lasers

Just in case you thought I was kidding last time about what Dermitology is all about, I wandered the floor today and took some additional photos.  First, Lasers!

Now Cosmetic Surgery!

Now Cosmetic Surgery AND Lasers!

And now some REAL WTF:

Laser and, uh, body art on tits?

Bwa-ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha-ha! Thank-you for breaking the pattern!

So yeah, medical conventions are VERY strange places.

Just in case anyone thought I was making this up.

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