…in the punchbowl


The power of photography

Filed under: Images — Matt @ 12:01

If you’ve ever doubted it, take a look at some 2007 Pultizer Prize-winning pictures by Renée Byer of The Sacramento Bee.



A mash-up for Dave…

Filed under: punchbowl — Matt @ 8:43

A favorite U2 song of Dave’s, with a twist


Latest Shiny Object

Filed under: punchbowl — Matt @ 21:12

Oh Erica…

Here’s the lastest shiny object to consume all of my time.

Think planner mixed with post-its, online.


Too many dependencies

Filed under: c++, nits, programming — Matt @ 8:36

At work I’m integrating a library from our new corporate overlords into an existing application. I use 5 (count ’em, 5) functions from the library. In order to work, the library, which I’ll call libsink, requires between 10-20 other libraries, most of which appear to have nothing to do with the purpose of libsink I am using. This, to use a technical term, smells bad.

I probably wouldn’t care so much if I hadn’t discovered a symbol collision between the libraries on which our application is newly dependent and another library (libgoo) we use. Two different functions, two different libraries, with different semantics, but the same signature — meaning libsink will happily try to use the function from libgoo. Unfortunately, this results in a core dump when the application unloads.

So, if you’re writing libraries (especially in C, where there is only a global namespace):

  • Please keep your dependencies to a minimum; why should I need code to perform higher order calculus in order to print something to the screen?
  • If you’re going to write utility functions that may have names other libraries may use (like, say print() or open()), prefix the function with a string to uniquely identify it and prevent users from accidentally using the wrong function.

Books read: 2006

Filed under: 2006, books, punchbowl, read — Matt @ 8:35

I plan to keep a running tab of books I’ve read in 2006 here. Why? Some sick vanity, probably.

Started, but did not complete: Mother of Storms, John Barnes

Read to date, in (roughly) reverse chronologicial order:

  1. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, David Sedaris
  2. A Pirate of Exquisite Mind: Explorer, Naturalist, and Buccaneer: The Life of William Dampier”, Diana Preston
  3. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion
  4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Mark Haddon
  5. On Bullshit, Harry G. Frankfurt
  6. Armaggedon’s Children, Terry Brooks
  7. Animals in Translation, Temple Grandin
  8. Silverlock, John Myers Myers
  9. The March, E. L. Doctorow
  10. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  11. Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis
  12. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
  13. No god but God by Reza Aslan
  14. Consider the Lobster: And Other Essays by David Foster Wallace
  15. His Excellency by Joseph J. Ellis
  16. Freakonomics by Steven J. Levitt and Stephen J. Drubner
  17. Alton Brown’s Gear for Your Kitchen by Alton Brown
  18. Driven to Distraction by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and John J. Ratey, M.D.
  19. Good to Great by Jim Collins
  20. The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century by Thomas L. Friedman
  21. Gods of Tin: The Flying Years by James Salter
  22. Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All Its Moods by Michael Wex
  23. The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun


(Corporate) Culture Clash

Filed under: work — Matt @ 15:16

Sorry I’ve been so quiet. My employer was bought out at the end of the year and I’ve been neck-deep in the obligatory transfer of benefits, new people to work with, etc.

The biggest thing we’re dealing with is major-league culture clash. We were small–at the end, just over 20 people. Being that small, corporate policy essentially amounted to “don’t f— up; do what you need to do to get the job done”. In that vein, most of us brought our personal PowerBooks into work; after all, we were most comfortable with them. All the developers had VPN access to the office so we could work remotely (which some did 3 or more days a week to avoid some truly hellacious commutes). In short, the company was flexible in allowing us to do our work and we were flexible in return when the company needed us to do something.

Not so now. Everyone at the new place runs the same operating system (not one most of us are all that fond of); other operating systems are allowed in the labs, but never on the actual business network. There’s a no telecommuting policy; we have VPN access, but it’s only sufficient to get to email and the corporate intranet. It’s a big, international company as well with pretty much all of the people we’re interacting with outside our former company in timezones up to seven hours different from our own.

It’s not all bad. Their medical coverage isn’t quite as good as ours was (ours really was good). They actually have matching in their 401(k) program. We’re actually getting a chance to develop a budget and we’ll probably get to spend most if not all of the money we’re allocated; that had not happened in a while at the old place.

Guess we’ll just have to see how things go, won’t we?


Mmmm, acidic water…

Filed under: Caribou County, eco, Idaho — Matt @ 10:07

This will stick in Bookman’s craw….

Looks like a little spill happened outside the old hometown. I believe the Agrium plant was at one time owned by Evergreen Resources, Nu-West, and Becker. If the berm is the one I think it is, the affected land may have been my dad’s once upon a time.

If so, it wouldn’t be the first time there’s been a spill there. There was one in the late 1970s that ruined our pick up and some of our equipment. It also left the ground there susceptible to saturation; we had to have a tractor pulled out more than once after getting stuck.


I must be nucking futs.

Filed under: punchbowl — Matt @ 10:56

I’m not going into details. Suffice it to say I may have started something this weekend that will generate a metric buttload of work for me and my lovely wife over the next few months.

Absolutely nucking futs.


How would you like to have this for a hometown?

Filed under: Humor — Matt @ 9:57

I’d be petitioning for a new name too.


Light a candle

Filed under: punchbowl — Matt @ 12:30

Happy Hannukah. Enjoy the holiday.

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