29 September 2008

Phoning it in

Nice juxtaposition here:
“Some people have criticized my decision to put my country first, but I will never, ever be a president who sits on the sidelines when this country faces a crisis,’’ said Mr. McCain. And Mr. McCain, who spent this weekend in Washington working the phones, but did not actually return to Capitol Hill , said: “I know that many of you have noticed, but it’s not my style to simply ‘phone it in.’ ”

Why are we even having an election? It's not like there's a choice.

Roads to Madness

Yep, another Queensrÿche song title.

So now I'm running the scrum planning meeting, and the first point of contention - after me internally going "WTF?!" and trying not to show how pissed I was - was whether we really need to have the product manager at the meeting.

Yeah, let's leave the stakeholder out: that worked so well in the past.

27 September 2008

Last Time in Paris

I think I'll continue my new trend of song titles for post titles, this time a single from Queensrÿche.

I just read a great post on localization at the always-excellent Progressive Development blog with some good advice and a very nifty tip I hadn't come across before: use a pseudolocalized build for testing so you can tell
  • which strings are not still in resources and localized
  • which strings are clipped
This last item is incredibly useful. Thanks again, James (aka Maven).

25 September 2008

Working Man

So now I'm using Rush song titles for my posts: interesting...

Work has become very, um, challenging.

The first challenge has been the resignation of my boss, the director of software development and the person most directly responsible for me taking the job. After two years of struggling to get the software department aligned with a product development process that can best be described as chaotic, after telling senior management time and again that the demands placed on the software organization exceeded our capacity by almost 200%, even with the most optimistic estimates, I guess he got tired of pushing the rock up the hill.

With his departure almost three weeks ago now, I've been drafted to assist my boss's boss, the VP of product development, as we first try to figure out where we are with all the products - all 67 of them.

Seriously. 67 products.

You have to page down three times to get to the bottom of our CruiseControl page, and that's just for the products being actively maintained. It's insane.

We then have to figure out how to take steps to continue product development while also going back and fixing all the shortcuts and bandaids and just plain screwups we made getting the products out the door as quickly as possible. This week, that involved 4 solid days of meetings - 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM - with test-driven requirements, planning poker, etc. Grueling, especially since I had to lead all the meetings and I was the one standing at the board writing down all the use cases and leading everyone through this. Ugh.

I've also been going to way too many meetings with senior management, including some with the CEO. I now believe all the stories I've heard about people leaving meetings with the CEO's spittle on their face (from him screaming at them). The CEO hasn't screamed at me (yet), but he definitely has anger management issues. I want to get back to where I don't interact with him or any of the other senior staff as quickly as possible, but that may be a while: we have yet to interview anyone for VP of software engineering.

On the positive side, we finally got some C++test licenses, and it's a very interesting tool (not cheap, though). More on C++test later...

So, at this point, I'm hating on this job. I've got a couple of things lined up, including a company in Vero Beach which looks like a great fit if they pay enough and if they'll go for a couple of days a week of telecommuting. And yes, I do get work done when I'm sitting out by the pool with the laptop, thank you very much!

I'm also looking longingly at some jobs out in Reno (gambling systems) and in Grass Valley, CA (video, much better), but that's mainly to keep me sane. We just moved into a big house in Rockledge with an awesome pool, so Barbara and the kids will probably miss me if those turn out to be viable options, but still... Grass Valley is only a couple of hours from San Francisco, and Reno is an extra hour. Intriguing, and I've had this itch to go west for about 5 years now, and it keeps getting stronger.

Anyway, this is getting long, and I need to get home. I'd like to close with a shout out to my friend who cannot be named, and I hope this post gets him the review he's been waiting for. With that raise he's sure to get, he can probably afford to upgrade his monthly cable to HD and maybe have a little left over to buy some fancy treats for the dog.

I kid, I kid...

Breaking the Silence

References to Queensrÿche songs aside, it's been a while since my last post.

I was in the middle of composing a post, in fact, when I got the news about Angie, and we're all still dealing with the loss of someone who was - in every real sense of the term - a member of our family.

Three months later, it's still hard to accept that she's gone, but I'm very grateful for the time we did manage to spend together, and I'm especially glad she was able to see Nate grow up into a truly wonderful - although sometimes frustrating! - young man. I'm glad that she was also able to know Jen and Julianne and all the other members of this interesting extended family of ours, and we all miss her dearly.

One good thing, if one can say that, to come of all this is that we reconnected with Angie's mom Judy and were also finally able to meet her good friends Kyle and Kelly and meet other friends and family at the service. It was difficult afterwards being in this great little house she was living in at the time of her death, seeing all these traces of her, even catching scents which triggered memories, but although her life ended far too soon, she definitely was loved and will be for as long as we all remember her.

Life moves on, though, with no regard to whether you want it to, so don't take it for granted.

Angie, we love you and we miss you.