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2005-07-23
  It's Difficult to find great luggage
This post is only technical in the sense that a lot of programmers project managers travel and so have a need for excellent, durable luggage that will survive the madnesses of flying around and dealing with complex projects, clients, everything else.

I started travelling a couple weeks a year in 2003. Being a relative youngster my luggage was crap and I needed something new. I wanted 1) Something that fits as a carry on 2) something that will keep a dress shirt and pants relatively wrinkle free 3) lots of pockets and stuff 4) stronge and durable. This ended up being a bit difficult as I found the regular opinion sites (http://www.epinions.com) didn't help me out too much. I ended up getting suckered into an overpriced Tumi 22 inch "suiter" ballistic nylon packing case that will hold about 2 weeks worth of clothes if you roll. This has suited me well on 1-2 week trips to San Francisco, Florida, Bahamas, Frane, Italy, England, Denver, New York, Raleigh and a couple other trips. The thing is light, rolls well, sturdy. I really like it. The only downside was that it was $500. I guess it's not so bad to have that bag thing down. The salesperson assured me that it's the only bag I'll ever buy.

But now I'm going on an extended trip of a month (to India) and I need something bigger. I was just going to get the bigger, must-be-checked Tumi 28 inch packing case, but I ended up seeing a really cool case. I saw the Halliburton Zero line (no, not the Cheny Halliburton). They make a 29 inch aluminum cased roller bag that is really cool. I almost bought it but it was a little bit more ($1000) than the Tumi and it folded in half so you couldn't actually fit as much stuff into it. Oh well, I went for the big Tumi and I'm pretty happy. It has a good lost bag policy and a lifetime warranty. Plus it's study enough to sit on in an airport and I think I can fit my daughter inside of it.

I had this dream of buying a huge steamer trunk like in Joe Versus the Volcano, but couldn't find any place in Atlanta that stocks them.

Oh well, I bought the giant Tumi for $900 and I'll be packing it full of books (software and fiction) and hauling it across the world. I'll be checking out the new features in Eclipse 3.1 and comparing it to my new install of IDEA IntelliJ 4.5 on the flight and trying to refactor all the EJBs out of my company's architecture. I'm really trying to love Eclipse because of the whole open source thing, but IntelliJ is so freaking awesome.
 
2005-07-14
  Software Ownership
This post isn't about copyrights or patents or anything like this. It's about the bond between a programmer and the code they write. More specifically about how this bond is weakening, if not already gone.

When I started out writing code about 10 years ago or so, when I wrote something I supported it. So if another programmer or a user found a bug, they told me about it and I fixed it. I would feel bad if bugs were found in my program. I wanted to write the bug-free, excellent software. This was a pretty common characteristic of programmers way back in the 90s. Programmers who wouldn't test or fix their code were usually looked down on and fired. Plus they were usually really annoying.

Lately, I've noticed reams of software checked in by fellow programmers at my unnamed employer that is just terrible. Both by onshore and offshore programmers. The stuff either just doesn't run (throws exceptions on execution) or is terrible to the point that the features are just missing.

An example... We use Hibernate for our Data Access/ORM. Someone checked in Hibernate classes and mapping files and client code to execute it, but the query threw an exception. This means that they never even ran their query. This is pretty sucky in and of itself, but the worst part is that developers then claim they are too busy on something else and that the bug should be fixed by someone else who has more time.

So now the lesson is that you can write crappy code and then claim to be too busy. Then the project manager will assign the cleanup to another programmer. It's a terrible cycle that churns out terrible software late and buggy. It seems like a bad way to do business but I see a lot of it.

I'll be in India next month so my post will probably not exist or be posted at a strange hour.
 
Technical and personal notes from Brian Lee, technologist/enterprise architect/software developer/soa guy.

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Name: Brian Lee
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

 
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