Got a lot done over Easter but pretty busy.

Rosie was away at a Canoe Camping Club meet near Retford (Notts or thereabouts). We only have one car now so I drove over, camped for the night, drove back and then picked her up on Easter Monday. I managed to take a wrong turn and it took me an extra hour to get home on Good Friday – hey ho. Thursday night was really cold too.

Took Jon cycling at Delamere on the Saturday.  My poor old mountain bike is in need of some TLC and I had the interesting phenomenon of watching the front wheel turn one way when I’d turned the handle bars in another. This was going over a small jump. I was’t injured because us old folks take that stuff fairly easy y’know. Bit embarrassing. As the old guy I was supposed to be carrying tools. Apparently tools are an old guy thing. Another dad (surprise) lent me some alun keys he just happened to have on him, so I suppose the kids’ thesis is correct.

We went to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park on the Monday on the way to pick Rosie up. Only got about an hour in there and would have liked to spend quite a bit more time. Kidded D&J that one of the groups of sculptures was bits of an alien space ship and the big one by the lake was them writing “Help” but in odd letters.

I’ve been reading a lot recently. Still working my way through Living without Regret, (see end of last entry). Enjoying is not quite the right word, but it’s giving me a lot of food for thought. Ask yourself: what does mindfulness actually mean on a day to day basis? Can you remember what you had for breakfast? Your journey to work?

For my technical reading I finally succumbed and bought myself a copy of Martin Fowler’s Refactoring – great book. Read it over the weekend – I am that sad, sorry. I can read a big thick technical book in a few hours if it interests me. At least 2 ideas came out really strongly: the null object pattern, and the strategy/type patterns – as well as the interesting idea that a big comment is probably better replaced with a well-named method. Back to the defensive programming theme of the last blog entry he says it’s really important not to break your contract with the user and actually throw exceptions. I’m still thinking about exceptions and how to do it properly.

Saw some excellent code today – laughed my socks off:

if ( var == null || var.equals(“”) == true ) return ;

If you are a Java programmer and don’t know why that’s funny you need to get some more training. This was mixed in with lots of

if ( var == null || var == “” ) return ; 

Which is just wrong, assuming that var was passed as an argument and not initialised in the same piece of code. It really irritates me that I tried to find a job as a Java programmer for quite a while and here are these “Java specialists” writing such utter rubbish. Not to mention testing a private list variable that only has one access path to see if it had somehow got some objects in it that were’t the expected type – utter utter rubbish.

For reference the correct idiom is

if ( var == null || var.length() == 0 ) return ;

I also finally got the Ruby pick-axe book. Interestingly, I was choking a bit at the price Amazon were asking and found the Fowler book on The Register books  for 40% off, whereas Amazon were only offering 20%. The Ruby book was £5 or so cheaper too. If you’re looking for a popular computing book I suggest checking the reg out – just put the ISBN in and see. In essence I paid what Amazon were asking for a used copy for a brand new one, added in the Ruby book and got free postage. Good service, too.


Still trying to find 5 minutes to do something with this framework. Life (and selling a load of old crap on ebay) keeps getting in the way. I think Spring and Rails have a lot in common.

Archive Fragments

Got another section done – starting to get a bit knotty now. I’ve junked probably 50 pages of interesting but not relevant stuff. Need to get some head space and work on it a bit more. Problem is – I get home, I eat, I wrap ebay stuff I do blog entry because I think it will only take 5 minutes and suddenly it’s 10 pm and my 6 am wake up is looking very soon … work is getting in the way of doing interesting things … no change there then.

Foo Fighters

Been listening to In Your Honour almost constantly since January, particularly DOA. I want it played at my funeral, I’ll be laughing even if no-one else is.

When I can get the energy I’ll update this blog with some photos…