austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

And I'm waiting for you to follow me

I had one of those weird weeks at work, in particular on Thursday and on Friday when I actually and verifiably did work. Like, for hours at a stretch. Over the course of Thursday I wrapped up the essential features of the project I was originally hired for long, long ago, and on Friday I was able to clean up some little nice-to-have side effects that should make it harder for innocent users to accidentally do something stupid-or-destructive-or-confusing by accident. Fortunately I have the second project I was hired for, a year ago, ready to not be worked on because I don't have the stuff I need to actually work on it.

The really satisfying part of this is the project required doing a bit of Ajax programming. Ajax is that thing web pages do when you have Javascript turned on where you pick an option from a drop-down menu or start typing into a text bar, like on Google, and it pops up changes and suggestions about what it thinks you might want to do. (It's the best way to handle some information distribution.) It's a tricky thing to learn how to program, because Ajax programming is done by creating a bunch of functions, none of which seem to be called by anything, none of which take any arguments, none of which seem to call anything, and none of which return anything, but if you change even a single line from the example you were given it stops working and won't tell you why it's wrong. Also all the introductory pages on the web will explain in excruciating detail a programmer knows as a result of having ever seen a program before, such as that you use variables to store values, and then cover all the hard stuff by osmosis.

Anyway, Thursday was a real breakthrough, with the shocking discovery that I actually got it more or less. I even got the interactions I wanted with no problems once I got silly typos out of the way. Even better, it handled automatically something I thought would need clean-up once I got the rough idea worked out. I'm stunned. I can't wait to start not working on my next project.

Trivia: When the schooner El Dorado came to assist the hurricane-struck SS Central America on 12 September 1857 neither ship had the lifeboats which could have made it possible to rescue those still aboard. (Survivors from the Central America had been picked up by the brig Marine.) Source: Forgotten News: The Crime Of The Century And Other Lost Stories, Jack Finney.

Currently Reading: Nanocosm: Nanotechnology and the Big Changes Coming from the Inconceivably Small, William Illsey Atkinson. Yyyyyyeah, I believe totally that nanotechnology is going to make sleeping an obsolete practice by 2015, as an odd little short-story insert puts forth. And then suddenly we get into a lot of mocking K Eric Drexler for his nanotechnology ... oh, let's call it predictions.

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