Related to my previous entry, is a little peeve about the MovableType API, or perhaps it’s just its implementation in Marsedit. Who in their right mind decided that the process for creating a new post via XML-RPC in this API should involve the following steps from the client software?

  1. send new post data. Don’t send category information. Set the publish flag to false.
  2. send the category information for the new post in a separate XML_RPC call.
  3. finally, send all the data from step 1 again, in an edit post function call, this time to set the publish flag to true if need be.

Kinda a silly and wasteful way to do things, IMNSHO. The standard MetaWeblog API (from which Movabletype’s is derived) does it better:

  1. send post data, including category information. Set publish flag to true or false, as appropriate
  2. that’s it.

Much simpler, with no wasted bandwidth or processing time.

I’ve spent the last two days looking at the same line of code, trying to work out why the fuck it’s not working right.

It’s one of those annoying situations where the code looks perfect for doing what you want it to do, yet for some reason, it refuses to play nice. There’s only a finite number of ways to write a conditional statement, after all…

Hrm. Perhaps it’s time to say “enough for today” and move on to something else. Fresh eyes always help solve problems. Maybe “third day’s a charm”?

I was having an informal chat with a former colleague1 today. After shooting the breeze about this and that, he announced how he had become a big fan of 37Signals’ Get Real methodology and was applying it to his own work. Fine, I thought… Until he started going on about how it allows him to start a project without much of any sort of planning. “Oh no it doesn’t” says I. You still have to know what you’re building and why, before you jump in and code. Without some sort of plan, you end up with a mess. A big unwieldy app that doesn’t focus on the job (nor do it well). You end up missing one of the big points of “Getting Real” – Lean Software

You Have to Know Where You Are Going, Before You Can Get There.

I never managed to convince my ex-colleague of this point, but the very article at 37Signals he thought was telling him to “dive right in” describes what he should be doing instead:

So what do we do in place of a functional spec? We write a one page story about what the app should do. If it takes more than a page to explain it, then it’s too complex. If it’s simple and it takes more than a page to write it then we’re not writing clearly enough. This process should take no longer than a few days.

Personally, I don’t even go this in-depth. A simple list of bullet-points describing what I need to achieve is usually sufficient. This then gets tape to the edge of my screen as a constant reminder.

1 He’s an ex-colleague because he left to try and cash-in on the success of Flickr and Basecamp et al. That was 9 months ago or so and he’s still not got anything to show for it.

I guess I should apologise – I was actually discharged a week ago (which was a week earlier than expected), but as I’m sure you can imagine, everyone has wanted to come by and see that I’m OK. This is the first time I’ve had a chance to sit at my iBook for longer than the time it takes to download (but not yet read!) mail.

Thank You All

I’d like to share my appreciation for all the get well soon messages and all the support. Thank you.

So how Am I Doing?

I’m doing good. Definitely not 100%, but I’m improving daily. Simple things still tire me out real quick, but apart from the small matter of my wedding in 4/5 weeks, I have roughly 8/9 weeks of nothing but recuperation to get back to full health and fitness.

I’m glad to report that I have nearly full mobility back, with only a small amount of strength and dexterity missing from my left hand and wrist. My Occupational Therapist thinks that typing is as good an exercise as any for fixing these – which I suppose is a good thing?

I have a heap of other exercises to do at home that the physios gave me. So by the end of it, I should be fitter than I’ve ever been! I’ve already dropped 2 stone (28lbs if my maths serves me right) in weight, which was a pleasant surprise 🙂

The War Wound

for those with a morbid fascination for such things, I present the lovely scar that now adorns the side of my head:

It gets a bit itchy and uncomfortble at times, but I guess I’m glad it’s there at the end of the day!

A lot of catching up to do, so I might go into post overdrive for a little bit.

While I was away, a mini-meme appeared where people posted pictures of their set-up/working environment. Prior to hospital, my set-up was simply my iBook on the kitchen table – nothing to write home about. One thing that my family did for me when I was about to come home, was buy me a proper desk. Over the weekend of my discharge, I set about gathering all the bits and pieces I needed to give myself the work environment I really wanted.

The Set-up

The new set-up is:

  • 1.33GHz iBook G4 with 768MB RAM, resting on a
  • Griffin iCurve and next to a
  • 17” Acer LCD screen, which I dual-screen thanks to this handy script
  • there’s also a 30Gb External USB2 disk connected to
  • a 7-port USB hub which also connects my
  • Apple keyboard,
  • 20GB iPod with colour screen,
  • an HP Deskjet Printer,
  • an HP Photosmart printer and
  • a Belkin Bluetooth dongle which lets me use my
  • MS Bluetooth Intellimouse

Much better than just the kitchen table, no? Plenty of cables though – I may invest in a couple of these sweet cable-tidies