Monthly Archives: December 2004

BME Mexico Shirt?

Not only is my brain about to explode from programming, but so far today I've personally read over 8,000 emails. That seems like a lot, doesn't it? I'm between a third and a quarter of the way through — much of it is spam, but because I get so much spam (about two thousand a day these days, which is a huge reduction from the past at least) there are enough false positives that I have to view them all manually periodically. I figure I can read at about 1,000 wpm (that sounds higher than it is, I'm sure many of you read faster) though so that's not too bad (and I'm just skimming).

The shirt design above is from the mind of jasonthe29th. I really like it, but I'm a sucker for anything that grabs my narcissism and gives it a good stroking (note the tattoos!). Anyway, if you like it, post in the BMEshop forum and let Ryan know he should run it (or not).

Let's take a look in the BME mailbag:

From: Paige
Subject: Penis

I hate penises! They are so gross! Especially when the balls are bigger than the penis. EW EW EW!!!!!!!

Aaaaanyway…. To keep people in the loop as to my update schedule, I'm not planning on uploading anything from here in the hotel, but I am prepping the update as I write this. We move into our new place on the first, and then it'll probably take me about six hours to write and test the second stage of my update software. Assuming the DSL connection is solid I anticipate starting to update the site again on the third… To those of you sending me hatemail about this, I understand your displeasure, but please try and cut me some slack. I haven't had more than five consecutive days off now in over seven years!

Living expenses and big bugs

I managed to take off twenty minutes and Rachel and I scootered down to our house (we don't move in until the start of the month). I didn't bring a camera, but I'll try and take pictures some time soon. I don't think I've posted a clear picture of where I'm staying right now though, so here you go:

That's a big fat grasshopper (or I guess sandhopper since there's not really a whole lot of grass on the Baja) and the resort we're staying at. As I mentioned before, we have a giant suite with a bedroom, living room, and kitchen/dining area (aka “office”). I'd say this would cost about $400 a night in Canada or the US, but it's a quarter of that here (we picked this place because it had internet access).

I'm mentioning the price re:BMEfest — supplementary costs like accomodations, food, and so on are low (this resort suite could easily be split between four people for $25 a night, and there are hostels and smaller places for a few dollars a night). My gut feeling on this is that these reductions would easily balance out the slightly increased travel costs and a BMEfest down here could be incredibly rewarding.

Oh, and yes, it's a giant pain in the ass to find flight booking and even good tourist info on La Paz online. It's not hard to do once you know where to look though… Rachel is already working on a website for that, so no worries — if we take that path we'll make it real easy for you.

Finally, earlier today I was thrilled to get the pictures above from Rafael at Symbiosis in La Paz, a short scooter ride from our house. I haven't had a chance to say hello yet in person but I'll stop in soon, but I thought people would be interested to see that “even down here” (that sounds a lot worse than I mean it to) there are studios doing interesting work. We're everywhere, you can't stop us!

I like this place more every day.

Compilers have expire dates? Ooops!

Sorry about that downer entry below!

The task I'm working on right now is truly mindnumbing and it's really hurting my brain to keep so much data in my short term neural buffers, and not being on my usual drug cocktail throws my game off a little. It's not that it's compicated in and of itself — in fact it's a relatively simple change conceptually — but it involves small changes across massive pieces of legacy code (which is very convoluted and spaghetti-like, and tens of thousands of lines long with many old versions commented out inside it), and to make matters worse, in order to make it work, I've had to port it to a new compiler.

I'd been using the same compiler I use for the IAM software because of its ability to create incredibly tight and fast code, but unfortunately this software has become so bloated that it won't compile any more. That's not an error I enjoy getting — it brought me flashbacks from 1992, when one of my companies essentially collapsed because at the exact moment we hit this same wall with our flagship product (an IVR system), Microsoft decided to stop supporting our compiler of choice!

It was insane; to fix a “bug” (compiler error) in one part of the code, I'd have to just flip random bytes elsewhere in the sourcecode to make it compile. Shockingly we kept it stable enough to ship, but it meant we couldn't effectively expand the product and had to freeze it.

Anyway… I'd say I have the transition to the new maintenance software about 65% done and anticipate completing it tomorrow.

Green eyed monsters

Ironically, the only thing that sucks about being a programmer in Mexico is being a programmer. In Canada it wasn't so bad working long hours. But watching everyone else getting to go and have fun and play and explore while I have to stay connected to a keyboard working on some of the toughest programming I've done in the last year just feels incredibly unfair — my life really has been a story of the harder I work, the less I get (though it dangles cloers, and of course other people both locally and on a larger scale get more the more I work). I'm not really complaining, I like my life and I don't think I'd want to not make the contributions I make, but sometimes I don't like the cost it comes at. I suppose I don't mind accepting some sadness if it brings far more happiness to others.

Anyway, I'm just online temporarily to email myself some test images so I'm out of here now…

It only counts if God gets angry

First (thanks to Phil for the tip), there's a copy of the first ModCon book up on eBay right now. It's an incredibly rare hand numbered edition (#371). The book is very dark, mostly full page portraits and then a color section, as well as a VCD (it should play in all DVD players) of the procedures.

Anyway, it's the first time I've seen it for sale for quite a long time (I only own two copies myself), so I figured it was worth a mention.

I'd also like to mention something about this latest Tsunami disaster around Sri Lanka. I've been seeing a lot of heart warming feelings on people's pages, calls for donations and links to sites happy to take your money. Now, that's all really really nice, but at the same time, somewhat sickening.

There are almost a billion people in this world living in deep enough poverty to have trouble even feeding themselves. With 35.9 million Americans living below the poverty line, and a million homeless (half of them veterans), it's not as if there aren't bigger problems, and closer to home as well if that's an issue. People don't just need help when some catastrophe kills fifty thousand.

Why are you getting all worked up about fifty thousand people dying from an earthquake? Every single day 25,000 children die from easily preventable diseases. Every single day 24,000 people die from hunger. Do they not count?

What does callous Shannon have to say about the Sri Lanka quake? Big fucking deal.

Natural disasters happen. We can't prevent them, and ultimately they kill very few people. Hunger and disease problems in developing countries? That one is directly our fault. We literally created that catastrophe with our aggressive foreign policies, thus we ignore it. If you want to actually help the world, don't waste your money on Sri Lanka. Focus on curing poverty and stopping our first world governments from continually kicking down any nation that tries to climb out of that poverty.