I’m currently working on a Ruby on Rails application for a client of mine. I hope to be able to write about the project, and the things I’ve learned, in detail once it’s complete; for now, I want to write about something I noticed yesterday.
The application involves camps for children’s and family camps. It’s useful to know the gender mix of the children’s camps so that accommodation can be arranged accordingly. Although I was already required to display the number of each gender, I thought it would be a good idea to provide a little diagram so that, at a glance, you could see what the gender ratio was.
It took thirty minutes to implement this, including all of the CSS and graphics. Those thirty minutes have arguably improved the usefulness of the application.
What I’ve noticed while working with Ruby on Rails is I don’t feel the same time pressures or mad rushes I’ve felt while using other programming languages or frameworks. As a result, I can afford to spend time adding in small improvements like this across the application.
It’s easy to dismiss these as relatively minor improvements. Maybe, instead of using this time to make many minor improvements, I should spend my time trying to add one or two major features? Surely this would make a better product?
I believe it doesn’t, and I think it all comes down to what makes a good day.
So that’s what days were like. A bunch of tiny frustrations, and a bunch of tiny successes. But they added up. Even something which seems like a tiny, inconsequential frustration affects your mood. Your emotions don’t seem to care about the magnitude of the event, only the quality.
And I started to learn that the days when I was happiest were the days with lots of small successes and few small frustrations.
It’s a view I completely agree with. It’s rare that anything particularly wonderful or disastrous will happen in a day, so most of the time it comes down to the little things.
The diagram might save someone two minutes of calculation. But as it’s something inconvenient, that’s two minutes of frustration. By getting rid of that frustration, I’ve made their day slightly better. On top of all the other “minor improvements”, I might even have been able to turn there day from a bad one to a good one.
And that’s got to be better than adding a possibly unnecessary major feature. And if it does turn out to be a good thing to add, then it’s best to leave it to version two, when it can be given the attention it deserves.
After much consultation with Des, and by consultation I mean listening to him complain about the missed opportunity that is my blog, I've decided to up the signal-to-noise ratio a bit here. But first, I'm going to hit a big three-bar solo of noise.
So, I quit caffeine. I did it cold turkey. I lasted quite a long time, though I did stumble a bit; I drank maybe eight cups of tea and two cups of coffee during that month and a half. I started to think I was safe.
Then this happened:
Starbucks have opened a store on College Green, one of the busiest places in Dublin and right around the corner from my bus-stop. I drank two large caramel macchiatos today, and they were good, but I think we can wave goodbye any notion that I'll be staying off the juice.
I am, unfortunately, quite self-concious about my physical appearance, but after seeing two photos today I am convinced that my glasses need to go. They make my eyes appear smaller than they actually are, which has a surprisingly large effect on the image I project.
Compare and contrast the images projected by the two photos below.
Fucking spammers. Deleted about 150 spam messages from this blog and others hosted here - some new spam, some old. MovableType's comment management, in version 2.661 at least, is retarded. I had to use SQL to catch the rest of it.
There is a bird or a mouse in the walls - in the fucking walls - of my house. It's movements are keeping me awake until all hours, and in general freaking me out. Bastard.
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