Merrell Thermo 6 Waterproof (recommended)

thermo6waterproof.png Everyone once in a while I run into a product (that is, I wasn’t looking at the time) that turns out just great. The Merrell Thermo 6 Waterproof
is once such product.

It’s been very snowy already and all my boots and shoes are getting wet and ruined. They’re not meant for winter except for one pair, and I can’t wear them all the time (like to work) because they’re high, and lot of my pants don’t fit over them, and they’re not appropriate looking for work (that’s a whole ‘nother discussion).

I was returning a pair of gloves Noah picked out for my birthday (wrong size), and I saw the aforementioned boots. I saw that they were going to be waterproof, nice grippy looking soles, soft around the ankles, and insulated. Perfect! I tried a couple of sizes just to be certain, they’re really comfortable and warm (for the conditions in which I intend to wear them.)

I was out in them today with a few inches of snow, some sledding with Noah, and some shoveling and car clearing, and they were everything I expected at 14 degrees F.

So if you need a nice, not too costly pair of 3 season water resistant boots (but not just a membrane thing, but a “plastic” boot) recommended.


Practical Improvements

Practical Improvements: The result? A non-leaking, non-dribbling, non-spilling way to drink that Susan can easily find even in the dark. She doesn’t have to lift a bottle or cup, and can just let the bite valve fall out of her mouth when she’s done.

I believe this may be the best use of Camelbak technology, ever. I’m surprised that they don’t have setups like these in hospitals; they’re much easier for a sick patient to get to than a traditional cup.

[Many years ago (way more than 5, which puts its in the misty, hazy, time before my reckoning) my mother had shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff due to a fall. The confluence of “her side of the bed” and the shoulder surgery made it extremely painful to pick up a glass to have something to drink. So I grabbed my Camelbak, hung it over the post of her bed, and left the tube on the other side where she could reach it pain free. Not only is it easier to handle, but you can adjust the height easily. While Eldon was ingenious, he was not breaking new ground, as I doubt I was, even back then.]
Source: Fat Cyclist

Bike Network 2.0

Bike Network 2.0: Her team created a modified Google Map that enables cyclists to log on and trace the routes they ride every day. Watch the data pile up, and voila — sensible bike routes. “We found out where the actual desire lines are,” she said. “Using existing technology was great.” [Most excellent! Notes on how they did it here.]
Source: StreetsBlog

File sharing OS X Leopard (10.5.1)

It seems like some other folks (Hi Dave!) had some trouble with file sharing on Leopard, and so did I. I thought I would just write up what I learned, and maybe it’ll help someone else.

In System Preferences -> Sharing -> File Sharing, I added the disk I wanted to access. I looked at the default permissions and decided they’d work for me. Next, I clicked on the Options… button and clicked on Share files and folders using AFP, which was not selected by default (at least in my case). I clicked on Done.

Next, I went to the other machine that I wanted to aces the newly shared disk, and selected command-k, which has long been the Finder’s place for mounting network volumes, and browsed to what I wanted, and everything seems to work.

I had also set the Finder preference to show the disk on the desktop, but I’m not sure that’s necessary, it just felt all home-like to this old Mac user.

Anyway, with that out of the way, here’s the problem… the consolidation of prefs, removal of NetInfo, or whatever improvements were generated by the update are a good thing one there own. But if there is no clear path for older users, if expected behavior is not defaulted for upgrades, than how is someone supposed to know that buried in a optional sheet is stuff that’s been standard for ages? Now I’m sure that various combinations of stuff probably caused this stuff to be set the way I expected, but there was no magic playing for my wife’s iMac, so it comes at some surprise to me that this stuff wouldn’t work out of the box.

The flip side I guess, was how easy screen sharing was out of the box… for me anyway. I’ll bet others have different stories though based on the trouble I had getting something as easy as file sharing going. Something that should “just work” didn’t, and while it doesn’t annoy as much as it does Scoble, or Dave, who had the annoyance of having an app he relies on break (no doubt as he has already noted, a portent of things to come for that app sadly), it still is not what I expect from my Mac experience either.

Ruby stuffs

Two things worth noting:

def something(x = 0)

doesn’t ensure that x is set to a value of zero, because the method could be called with nil [something(nil)] so to ensure a default value of zero even in the face a call with nil

def something(x = 0)
  x ||= 0

would do the trick.

The second is that when adding text and an object’s property

x = 'some string'
y = x + something.description

that if something.description is nil, the addition will fail, but if you interpolate ala

x = 'some string'
y = x + "#{something.description}"

something.description evaluates to empty string and therefore won’t fail.

Two subtle regressions our tests caught today when refactoring, but were not easy to see in the code.

Luke on Chris Donnan on Agile and Humilty

Luke says:

At one point in his writeup, Chris notes that this was the “YEARS MOST IMPORTANT deliverable for many, many people”. This is a big neon warning sign. Part of the strategy of iterative delivery in Scrum is to avoid this situation. In a well-functioning scrum organization, releases are a non-event. In fact, Jeff Sutherland was recently telling Ken and I about his weekly releases at PatientKeeper, where there is little fanfare, just an automated deployment, and if the phone doesn’t ring from the customer, the release was a success.

There are plenty of reasons why iterative delivery might not have been viable in Chris’ particular situation, of course. Still, when a situation causes you to re-evaluate your approach to building software, it’s a good idea to look again at the decisions where you strayed from the ideal and ask yourself what you can do differently moving forward.

[My addition: One of the reason’s for “constant releasing” is because releasing is often hard. The only way (IMHO) to make hard things easy is to do them over and over and over again. You slowly (and iteratively) get better at them. In fact, it is a favorite technique of mine for places that can’t seem to grasp iterative development. Say something along the lines of “This is really hard and we’re not doing it well. We’re going to do it once a week (or whatever) until we have it down.” After that it’ll take care of itself… So while this may not have helped in this situation, which I know next to nothing about, stick in your pocket as a technique for when it can be applied. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get it workin’]
Source: Luke Melia