Friday, 29 June 2007


I have just got back from the team dinner. Me and my roomie both grabbed laptops and are sitting on our respective beds "surfing" the internet. Gee, what geeks!

Some of us left work slightly early today, which really means about 6:30pm rather than 7. We went to a close pub for a drink before dinner. When the crowd arrived, they settled in playing a "pub quiz" game. Funny, but when there were "world" quiz questions, they related directly to either England or if you were lucky, Europe.

The interesting topics of conversation over dinner were games. We played two games over dinner:

  • What movie - given a quote or two from frequently obscure movies

  • Canonical trivia - like "who had their laptops stolen at the first sprint"

All in all a reasonably nice evening. The problem with the movie trivia game, is that you think you've watched heaps of movies, but when it comes to thinking of a quote that isn't immediately obvious as to which movie it comes from, your mind goes blank. Well mine did.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

The "Air Blade"

The Canonical offices are in a much nicer state now than when I first saw them at the start of April. Firstly the construction has finished, all the meeting rooms are finished, and the kitchen now has a fridge. There is even an espresso machine, although the coffee grinder is currently broken and they only have medium grind beans for the filter machine. Nice office though.

One really cool device that they have though can be found in the toilets. Not normally a place where you expect to find gadgets, but I include this device in that category. It is the Dyson airblade. This thing is a hand dryer like you haven't seen before. Surprisingly fast at drying your hands.

We seem to be spending very long hours talking about work stuff. In the office at 9 and not leaving until after 7 in the evening. On Monday it wasn't until almost 8. I did manage to pick up some CDs to pass around back home, and some ubuntu stickers.

Lots of planning going on, nothing that I want to bore y'all with.

Monday, 25 June 2007

Hotel Wifi

It is now 8:44pm London time and I am starting to get a fuzzy head. Internet access at the hotel is £10/day, but it was pointed out to me by my roomie that there was an open wifi access point. So I'm taking advantage of someone else's internet connection right now. They haven't even set an administrator password on the router! This is a first for me. I've heard about it, but this is the first time I've been tempted to use it.

The flight from Auckland to London was long and uncomfortable. A number of times I awoke due to my arms going to sleep from having pressure in odd places from the really uncomfortable arms on the chairs. I did however manage to get some sleep, and have kept awake until 9pm so far. I'm guessing that I'll be completely out by 9:30.

Breakfast is at 7, work at 8(ish).


Here I am sitting in Auckland International Airport slightly irritated that there isn't a Telecom wireless hotspot. There is an Auckland Airport hotspot, but of course they want their pound of flesh to use it.

I very nearly didn't make it this far today.

It snowed yesterday evening. As it was snowing I was thinking "well there it goes, should be gone by morning". I realised that there may be problems when I was up at 2am to see to Jessie, who had just had a bad dream, and I saw it snowing outside again. When I woke up this morning there was a good 5-7cm of snow on the ground. I know that doesn't sound like much to those of you used to a lot of snow, but in Dunedin everything stops.

As soon as I was up, I got on the web to see if I could get any information about closures for roads or the airport. I found the phone number for the airport, but no answer there. Any how, I had to get packed. These days I can pack for international travel in about 20 minutes. That done I thought it best to check with my airport shuttle. I called the shuttle number and talked to the lady at the other end. Before I got much out she said "If you are chasing a taxi, forget it." After a brief explination she said that there would be no chance of me getting picked up, but if I got to their depo, they would get me to the airport. My next thought was "who do I know with a four wheel drive vehicle?" Unfortunately the list was slightly shorter than one.

Walking it was. Dragging my suitcase, I started down the hill to the taxi depo. I only arsed up once going from Highgate onto Stuart Street. It was very icy there. I decided to walk down Stuart Street rather than some of the more direct routes down the hill on the off chance of hitching a lift. I was about 100m down the hill when I saw a van start down. As I was looking at it I decided "I'd rather walk than get in that on this ice." As they went past, a guy hung out the window and snapped a photo of me dragging the suitcase through the snow. The van went about another 20m and then stopped. It tried to reverse a little up the hill, but no chance, it just slid sideways. As I came up next to it they asked if I wanted a lift, and before I thought any more about it, "sure" came out of my mouth. They were just three guys out for a drive to look at other people in trouble. They had reduced the pressure in the van tires to 10 PSI and the driver seemed to know how to handle driving in the snow really well. Since they were just off for a drive, they dropped me off right outside the taxi depo. Here I was, nice an early.

The airport at this stage was closed due to ice on the runway. I had managed to talk to someone at the airport, and they said they were currently doing 360s on the runway, but he expected it to be OK within a few hours. My international flight wasn't until 9:45pm, so I though I had better get myself there.

When we finally got to the airport it was about 40 minutes before my scheduled departure of 11:20am. The queue was HUGE. London huge. Earlier flights had been cancelled, and as I stood there in the queue they let us know that my flight was cancelled too.

When I finally got to see someone on the desk, he looked at my tickets and said "Sorry, there is no way I can get you to Auckland today. You have to call 0800 737 000 to talk to Air NZ reservations. I can't help you since you have an international leg on the flight."

Dragging my bag I head up to the cafe to make the call. "We are experiencing heavier than normal call volumes. The current wait time is in excess of ten minutes." No shit sherlock. Anyway, I hold and finally talk to someone. "All the flights to Auckland are entirely full" she says. I ask about tomorrow. There was one space on a flight to Auckland tomorrow morning, but the international flight was full unless I wanted to upgrade to business class. "How much is that?" I ask. "£6000" comes the reply. Otherwise the soonest I could get a flight to London was Wednesday. Bugger. "The only option" she says "is to go and see if you can fly standby to Auckland somehow and hope you get there before you flight tonight." This did not fill me with excitement. However, I felt that I must do my best to attempt to catch the flights or I couldn't honestly say to the powers that be that I did my best.

I head back to the check-in desks. The queue is still really long. I completely ignore the queue and walk to the check-in desk for the Koru club members. I tell the guy there the situation, and that I had talked to Air NZ reservations and what they had told me. Clack, clack, clack, "this must be your lucky day" he says. Bullshit I thought. He managed to get me the last seat on a flight to Auckland via Christchurch. So here I am, just downed my coffee, and saving this in a text file to upload to the blog when I don't have to pay for it.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Ramping it up

Following the frustration at the end of 1.1.6, I'm ramping up for 1.1.7.

The major thing to think about here is not to commit myself to too much again. Hopefully I haven't done that this time.

Heading over to London on Saturday for a week of planning meetings. The only silver lining to 40 hours of travel to London is meeting some of the people that I work with. Chances are I'm going to spend most of the time completely jet lagged, and then get on a plane the following Saturday and fly back to little old NZ.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Missed it

Well the deadline came and went, and my major feature addition missed it.

And here I thought I had it all under control. The penultimate branch didn't get reviewed until Friday, and it brought up a couple of issues. One was insufficient test coverage, and while increasing the coverage, another ugly problem raised its head. It was at that stage I realised that I really had a problem. I agreed with the proposed changes that the reviewer came back with and that caused a problem. Here it was, around 11pm on Friday night and I needed to make some quite severe changes to the implementation.

While talking to the team lead I decided that there was no point landing the code as it was, and that the changes needed to be made. So I started writing them. At around 1am I realised that it was not going to be as quick as I hoped, and still had about another hour of work to fix the code, then I had to fix all the tests that I would have broken, then I would have had to go through the code and fix all the prose in the doc strings that would no have been out of date due to the changes. So I decided to head to bed.

Saturday morning and I called the project manager. It was still Friday afternoon for him. I talked him through the situation, and we decided to let the feature slide until 1.1.7.

I decided not to touch any code at all for the weekend, and step away from it all for a few days. I had been going hard out to get the whole thing written, and was quite gutted when it all sort of fell apart on the last day.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Pressure is mounting

With the deadline for having code landed looming this Friday, there is pressure to get the features code complete and reviewed ASAP.

I feel that I am almost code complete. Now to just get the code reviewed and landed in time.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Ability lost

Google has seemed to have screwed up my ability to edit in need of caffeine so I've started a new one.