Life in a windows network

Is a lot like having your legs amputated. This is nothing scientific, it’s just an observation. They don’t help you accomplish anything if you’re not there. You need the ‘remote login’ tools and utilities to perform anything half complicated.


Almost everyone who has worked with programmers or mathematicians knows someone with at least a light form of Asperger’s Syndrome: the well-recognized symptoms include an inability to interpret peoples’ emotions from their facial expressions, incredibly logical thought processes that make math easy but human relations darn near impossible, and fear of physical contact with other people.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is quite possibly the best book I’ve read this year. It purports to be a novel written by Christopher Boone, a fifteen year old boy who suffers from Asperger’s, and it hits the mark spot on. Christopher finds a neighbor’s dog dead with a pitchfork stuck in it:

I decided that the dog was probably killed with the fork because I could not see any other wounds in the dog and I do not think you would stick a garden fork into a dog after it had died for some other reason, like cancer for example, or a road accident. But I could not be certain about this.

It’s funny, but it’s also logical, in the irritating way that so many programmers are logical beyond reason. Poor Christopher can barely take a train — the man behind the window asks him if he wants a single ticket or a round trip, which he doesn’t understand.

“And he said, ‘Do you want to go one way, or do you want to go and come back?’
And I said, ‘I want to stay there when I get there.’
And he said, ‘For how long?’
And I said, ‘Until I go to university.’
And he said, ‘Single, then’.”

Christopher numbers the chapters with prime numbers, and can’t resist including a mathematical proof as an appendix, but he doesn’t know when people are angry with him and hates being touched so much his parents can’t hug him. I must warn you not to start reading it before you go to sleep because nobody I know has been able to put it down without reading through to the end.

Pre Monday Bluuues

Well, it’s about 1am on sunday night and I can’t sleep. I have a course starting at 9am tomorrow so I need to make what time I’ll have available count. We’re going to be using proper machines so I can take advantage of the lull in the course.
It’s not like the project management course.
I’m still hungover from Saturday so I decided to not go out to drink with the wookie in the foggy. He’s not been in the country since the smkoking ban came into effect; I wonder how he’ll take it?

Food sick

I had some seafood last night. I need to be careful when I have it, though. I’m not supposed to eat shellfish – I get violently ill. Well last night there were some mystery spring rolls, and it turns out that they were laced with shrimp.
I did not have a good night’s sleep last night.


Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. I wasn’t feeling the best so I decided to head home; unfortunately my stomach didn’t want to last the entire journey so by the tme I got to Landsdowne station I needed to escape really quickly. I barely made it to a bin in time.

Leading Teams

Well I just had a tired half hour discussion about teams and what constitutes a good team and the various roles that are needed to allow a good team to function.
Of course what was missing was any mention of the general problems that tend to occur when the members are not in the same place, or even in the same timezone. I’ve been a member of a team that has always been a minimum of 8 hours from me. I recently got a change of manager, who is only 7 hours away. Normally it’s a struggle to talk to my manager before 5.30pm local time, which is a bit on the annoying side as my energy levels are really low, now I get to call him at any time after lunch. He’s in the office at a decent hour. I’m scared that I might have things to talk to him about other than the fact that I’m shattered from yet another long day of fixing problem.
One of today’s beautiful problems was the removal of a CD from the drive. It’s UNIX and you don’t want to do something stupid like reboot the computer. It’s teaching time. To find out what processes are using a file system issue a fuser command. You get a groovy output containing the PIDs that are using the mount point. You could check them using p(s)tree; just in case it’s something important (like vold :-). Then you kill them. But what’s best is that fuser allows you to do that by passing in -k, so if you didn’t care…
Tirivia about the fuser command. When you get the list of processes that are using the file system, it will indicate whether they are tied to consoles by having a c after the ID. Great, ahother thing that needs filtering, but no! all the non-pid information is output to stderr, while the pids are output to stdout so a simple 2>/dev/null filters out all but the process ids.
I’ve Ed Pil to thank for that piece of trivia which he informed me of while working on the layered driver effort for Solaris.