Two Vacation Days Wasted!

I've been on vacation for the last week and a half or so.  Since I spend all day on the computer at work, I told myself that I should stay off of the computer as much as possible.  That wasn't much of a problem when my wife and I were visiting family in rural Indiana (I'd forgotten what it was like to browse the web over a dialup connection!).  When I came back the first thing I thought of was that we needed to post our vacation photos to Flickr.  In addition to recent photos we've also got a backlog of shots going back since we got our first digital camera three years ago.  Several hours later, we'd commented a bunch of pictures in Picasa and uploaded a few batches.  The plan was to get up the next morning and start getting the next batch ready to go.  Sad to say, things didn't go according to plan.

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It's Cold!

I'm used to cold weather from growing up in the Midwest.  Temperatures in the 20s (F) were cold but never a good enough reason to miss school (to my continual disappointment). Now that I'm living in Austin, Texas, temperatures in the 20s take on a whole new meaning.  The entire city is shut down today due to a nice thin glaze of ice that has covered many of the bridges and overpasses as a result of freezing rain overnight.  It's a bit of a shock to the system given that just a few weeks ago we had temperatures in the 80s.  The temperature rarely gets below freezing in Austin, so in addition to ice on the roads one also ends up worrying about freezing pipes and dead plants if it stays cold for too long.

On the bright side, according to at least one newscaster kids will be able to have fun sledding on some of the icy hills around town... The guy who said this has apparently never lived somewhere that got real snow during the winter!

Is That Pain Normal?

As each of us goes through life we come across times where what we're doing causes us great pain.  The question we need to ask ourselves is, is that pain normal, or are ants eating away at your eye?  In other words, is the pain the sort of thing you should just learn to accept or would it be better to find a way to do something about it?

BTW... You might want to make sure you didn't just finish eating before reading the Reuter's article above...

Can't... Take... Much... More... Of... This!

My wife and I have been busy over the last couple of months trying to get our house cleaned up.  It's been a royal pain - we've only lived in the house for < 4 years and we've still chucked several bags of trash each weekend.  The whole process has been ripe for a blog post comparing messy houses with messy verification environments.  I was able to spend some time building up a mind map about it using Freemind this evening (thank goodness for the extra hour last night thanks to the end of daylight savings time).  I've also spent time over the past week trying to compose my thoughts about John Cooley's verification census.  And then there was that unfortunate incident earlier this week where I started some "minor" household repairs that are going to end up needing the assistance of a construction professional... Doh!  Oh yeah, and have any of you spent any time creating UML descriptions of your verification environments using tools like Umbrello or MonoUML

What's the moral of the story?  You might see a slowdown in the frequency of articles over the next week or so... rest assured I'm still here, just a bit busier than usual!

Oh Roomba, How I Love Thee

Earlier this spring I came across a news article about a company called iRobot.  iRobot makes the robots used by the US military in places like Afghanistan which look strangely like Number 5 from the 1986 movie Short Circuit. Packbotexplorerright

As it turns out, they also make something  slightly more useful to the average household called the Roomba.  The Roomba is a robotic floor vacuum cleaner which is supposed to relieve the average homemaker of the arduous chore of vacuuming the house.  The price?  A mere $300 for the top of the line model, within the same price range of a regular upright vacuum cleaner.  Could it be true?  Would the thing work as advertised? 

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Here Comes Rita

Wow... I've had my head down at work all week this week and have satellite radio in my car, so imagine my surprise when I turned on NPR this morning and heard someone talking about flooding and 50-70MPH winds here in Austin.  Since I've lived in Austin (basically the last 5 years) the worst any hurricane has done is to bring some rain.  I went to the grocery store this evening to grab some bottled water just in case things get bad, but as it turns out everyone else had the same idea and everything was sold out.  I think I missed the last jugs of water by about 30 minutes or so. Instead I bought 5 3L bottles of soda which I'll empty and refill with water.  I also grabbed an eclectic mix of non-perishable food items such as Triscuits, M&Ms, Tuna, Frito's, fruit cups, kudos, and an 8lb sack of potatoes.  We'll see if the storm makes it here on Saturday morning as promised or not. 

The last time I was in a hurricane was when I lived in Houston in 1983 and Alicia came through. It was pretty exciting when I was a kid - my family went over to a neighbor's house and I got to play with all the other neighborhood kids.  Only strange thing was waking up in the morning with no power, the streets flooded, and all the trees outside bent almost parallel to the ground with the wind.  Let's hope it doesn't come to that this time around.