Friday, November 14, 2003


I’ve been in Durban for just over a year, now! The fact that I simply can’t believe this, has lead me to an interesting scientific discovery.
Time flies. If you keep in mind that Time = Money, you can conclude that you have a problem on your hands. Simple logic yields:

Time = Money (From this, we can also conclude that too much pride costs money!)
Time Flies
Hence, Money Flies

The problem you're presented with arises from the fact that flight usually has a direction. Money could fly either towards you, from you, or even just around you. I’m not going to venture into the depths of vector algebra here (mostly because I wouldn't remember how to!), but what is important is that you remember that it’s best for you to have it flying towards you. How do you accomplish this?

Now, it has been suggested that Time + Effort = Money, but from closer inspection, one can easily discover a flaw in this formula, which should actually be:

Time + Effort = Money + MoreMoney
Hence: Effort = MoreMoney

From the close relationship between MoreMoney and Money, we can see that MoreMoney must also Fly. (Some scholars suggest that MoreMoney flies More than Money, but this parable falls beyond the scope of this document).

Let’s regroup. We have the following:

1. Money Flies
2. Effort = MoreMoney

We can’t do much about the constant rate (constant for everyone on this planet, at least!) at which Time, and thus Money, Flies. But we can do something about the Effort-vector! According to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary:

\Ef"fort\, n. [F. effort, OF. esfort, for esfors, esforz, fr. esforcier. See Efforce.] 1. An exertion of strength or power, whether physical or mental, in performing an act or aiming at an object; more or less strenuous endeavor; struggle directed to the accomplishment of an object; as, an effort to scale a wall.

Do some critical thinking about it. Do some maths. Or, use your common sense. Either way, you’ll discover that in these equations, Effort is the only vector which you have control over. You have control over its Magnitude, as well as its Direction. Since MoreMoney is related to Effort, its direction can surely be influenced by Effort.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003


...could have saved me countless hours debugging today.

I recently had a call about a bug in a module I wrote. Now, and I suspect the same of most programmers, admitting to a bug in one's code puts a pretty big dent in one's ego. I wanted to fix this as quick as possible, and I wanted as few as possible people to have knowledge of its existence.

The pseudo design was fine. I couldn't see any logic errors at a glance, or even after a decent scan. I finally fired up the debugger, stepped through routines line by line. Nothing.
The error was impossible to reproduce where I debugged! I started losing precious time to this little annoying bug, and finally asked a co-worker to have a look.

Because he has never seen my code, or knows the logic behind my reasoning, he first asked me to explain something else, which immediately pointed out the reason for the error!
(By the way, my code *WAS* bug free!)

Under certain conditions, another library would create an inconsistent state in the database, which caused a routine in my code to raise an exception.

What I learned today: aside from making one act and look silly, too much pride costs time :)

Monday, November 10, 2003

End of the 2003-04 'Sugar Season'

Sugarmills will stop crushing cane from now on, and the last mill will shut down around 23 December. This means that we're entering the dreaded 'off-crop' period.
Mechanical maintenance on the mills take place now, but more importantly (well, for us softies): maintenance, upgrades, cleanups and the like take place on our software and databases out there.

A newer version of our system will be rolled out to seven more sugarmills next year, and we have the first of December looming closer and closer. The 1st Dec. 2003 is the deadline for our 'code-complete' milestone. Development should seize and code is assumed to be tested. All tests are assumed to be passed. I know: assumption is the worst thing to do right here, but *unfortunately* this word describes it best this time!

Boxes are placed on site next year, and tests will be run once again.
Due to the nature of the software, it is almost impossible to test anywhere else but on site.

Needless to say, these times are EXTREMELY busy for us!!! Amazing how it's still possible to find time for interesting discoveries, though :) This reminded me of those days back at varsity.

The next Sugar Season starts around April 2004.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?