Monthly Archives: November 2005

What We Do at Work All Day

Cora is 3YO(3 Years Old) and her friend Sammy is 4YO. They were pretending to talk to each other over their toy phones. Drawing on what her mommy must sound like to her when mommy’s on the phone, here’s one of the things that Cora said:

Yeah, I’m in the office. I’ve got to put my bugs away.

I’d like to make a couple of comments about that.

First, Cora’s mommy — my wife — works in the software industry. She’s at a high enough level within her project’s technical hierarchy that all bugs are ultimately her responsibility. At the same time she’s low enough in the managerial hierarchy that she still fixes bugs by looking at the source code rather than by hiring and firing other people to look at the source code for her. So anyway, this means that Tina spends a lot of time in the office and a lot of time on the phone talking about bugs with both her managers and technical staff. That’s where Cora got the idea about being “in the office” and having “to put [her] bugs away.” I can only imagine that Cora takes the word “bugs” in the sense of the word “crickets.”

Second, the “toy” phones that Cora and Sammy were playing with weren’t really toys: they were old cellular phones that their parents had given them when their parents bought new cellular phones. If you own stock in whatever company makes toy phones, sell. Who wants a hollow plastic phone when you can have a shiny Motorola that flips closed and clips to your waistband?

What I Do Here

  • I’m not a good blogger as defined by quality of the content I produce or size of the audience that reads it. However I still like writing online because it gives me the feeling of having put my thoughts into the public square without the vulnerability that comes with anyone actually, you know, reading it.
  • I really enjoy playing with server-side goodies like CMS and PHP scripts. My interest in the technology side of the web is enough for me to justify having my own website, whether the content there is useful to (or visited by!) anyone else or not.
  • I write with my family and friends in mind, letting them know what I’ve been thinking lately.
  • I have a penchant for writing about photos I’ve posted to
  • Occassionally I’ll swing for the fences and write something topical that I hope will get read in the general blogosphere. Even then don’t expect too much from me because, like I said in the first bullet, I’m not a very good blogger.


Photo by fugo

This guy looks really shocked by the water coming at him. I guess I’m not used to a stick figure having a mouth, but I find something about this sign very funny. In my head I can hear his staccato squeal — à la Homer Simpson — saying, “Aah!”

Peanut Butter Fingers

Photo by jtcoleman

While it looks as though she’s trying to levitate a piece of bread off the plate using only the power of her mind, Callie’s actually showing off her peanut-butter-covered fingers. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have become a staple of toddler nourishment at our house since the toddler discovered that if she “helped” to make the sandwich then she’d probably end up covered in peanut butter and could lick it off of her fingers without getting into trouble. Licking peanut butter from your fingers when they’ve come straight from the peanut butter jar gets a fairly strong and negative reaction from bassdad. Helping to make your own sandwich — and getting messy in the meantime — well, who could blame you for that?

Callie waits

Photo by jtcoleman

Tina is up late doing work on her computer. Callie is up late because she couldn’t sleep and wandered from her bedroom into the kitchen.

At our house if a kid hasn’t fallen asleep after giving it a good try then she is often allowed to get back up. She may not bother the adults or get wound up — we still want our kid-free adult time! — but is free to float about the house like a little ghost until she’s tired enough to try sleeping again.


Posted by jtcoleman

Here’s Callie doing a somersault. Callie has just turned two years old. I don’t know what the pediatric progress charts say about when a kid is supposed to attempt her first somersault, but Callie’s been doing them now for a while. She got the idea from her three year old sister and has been doing them seemingly since she developed enough balance while upright to put her head on the floor again and flip.

I don’t know if Callie’s ahead or behind the curve on agility activities like somersaults, but I do know that I wrestled and played and flipped her big sister a lot more at her age than I do Callie. When Cora was 2YO Callie was just a baby who stayed right where you put her. Cora and I would roll around the floor, jump, throw, somersault, and cart wheel to her little heart’s delight. She got a lot of exercise and agility practice with her old man.

Callie hasn’t gotten the same treatment because her sister isn’t a stationary baby but an active and heavy 3YO. If I throw Callie then I have to throw Cora. That’s hard! If I bounce Callie on my foot like a horsey then I have to bounce Cora too. Feel the burn.

So I’m not sure how to resolve this: a strategy to find play time away from Cora or a balm to soothe my conscience about how differently I’ve treated them.

Funny and Useless Fan Site

Apparently this fan site for Star Trek’s Jean Luc Picard was quite popular a while ago and I missed it. Made me laugh out loud though.

Make sure your sound isn’t turned too high if you’re at work…the sound file they play on page load is a little loud but essential and otherwise safe for work.

Enough sites like this one have been created — featuring other actors and famous movie lines — that the Wall Street Journal wrote a piece about them.

Wikipedia has an entry about them too.

Textpattern vs. WordPress

Matthew 6:24 says:

No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both…

For over a year now I’ve been bouncing back and forth between WordPress and Textpattern as my preferred publishing platform for weblogs.

Actually, it really can’t be described as going “back and forth.” I’ve been using WordPress while dreaming of Textpattern.

See, WordPress is full of features, and everything about it is easy to use. Publishing a blog entry is easy and the online editor makes simple HTML formatting easy too; changing the theme of your site is as easy as adding a new folder to the themes directory and then clicking a button in the admin interface; adding a plugin follows the same procedure in the plugin directory. There’s even a plugin that integrates the Textile markup language into the WordPress editing interface. Textile is one of Textpattern’s biggest selling points! So why am I torn between WordPress and Textile if WordPress makes all of these things so easy?

The answer is execution speed. Or maybe — the more fundamental reason behind the difference in execution speed — design.

Robots.txt: a Bad Idea?

Here’s an interesting article about robots.txt files and perhaps an even more interesting discussion in the ensuing comments.

No Fishing – or – Why ‘robots.txt’ and ‘favicon.ico’ are bad ideas and shouldn’t be emulated. | 2003-10-14 | BitWorking

The article takes issue what the robots.txt file does and where it is placed. It raised some interesting points that I enjoyed thinking about in that part of my brain that spins off and thinks about things while the rest of my brain tries to stay focused. The author says that, since the Robot Exclusion Protocol requires robots.txt to reside in a hard-coded location with respect to your domain name, it basically requires all legitimate robots to fish for information from your site: before they request a single page from any site they must first request a robots.txt file that may or may not exist. They didn’t follow a link to the file, the way you get to all other files on the WWW. They simply reach out there to see if a particular file exists on your domain without any real reason to suspect that it does. That’s fishing. And it uses bandwidth even for those sites that have no robots.txt, because they have to return a 404 error page.

Now that in itself doesn’t strike me as a compelling reason to insist that the protocol specify a link-based system for robots to discover your robots.txt file if it exists, but it begs the question of how many files may eventually be placed in a hardcoded location and therefor require fishing to find them. Once we have 100 such files will we be tired of such bandwidth draining requests for files specified by protocols that we don’t support on our site and begin wishing for a link-y method for a robot to discover whether we have that file on our site?