March 23, 2002

Another week, another lot of stuff attended to but still no coding done :-( This week was mostly spent doing computer work – my company needed a system to enter information about all their tape archives and guess who they turned to? Me, of course :p So I’ve been looking into the best method of achieving this – I wanted to go with Oracle and Jade, a rapid Java application development tool that I was pretty familiar with, but couldn’t find a copy of it around though I could swear I had seen it in a shop just a week earlier <g> So my second choice was Visual Studio .NET but I discovered that the cut down version of the database management system that came with it didn’t really suit my purpose … plus, I had problems getting the simple ASP database application I created to even work on my machine! So then I decided to give Oracle 9i a try but that meant I had to do a 1.5GB download over a 256k connection that about fifty or sixty people shared! It took me about three days to get Oracle 9i downloaded what with the power cuts and everything and once I finally installed it, I discovered that I needed Oracle Designer to do any development work. I started that download and it ended only today but I was too tired to do anything further …

So what was I doing at work today? I had organized a couple of workshops for people in my team – one on camera work and the other on editing – and it had somehow become a major political issue! I suddenly got queries as to why other people couldn’t attend and how people had been asking for training for ages. My response was that if people asked for training, why it hadn’t been provided till I came along? Nobody had an answer to that but what ended up happening was that it was decided that everybody who wanted training could attend the workshop and finally we had about forty people turn up today instead of the ten or so in my team alone. The workshops were pretty interesting but I was fairly tired by the time they ended and I got home.

I did discover that I could buy DVD’s here – and for fairly cheap too since they cost around US$ 6 :p – but there isn’t that big of a selection to choose from. The DVD’s are brand new (some are still in shrink wrapping …) but I’m told that they are all copies! I didn’t know that you could make copies of DVD’s but they seem to somehow do it because I played one of the DVD’s – “Collateral Damage” no less … I didn’t even know it was out on DVD … – today after I got back from the workshops and it looks pretty OK. I’m told that there are a few places around that offer these DVD’s and so I’m looking forward to extending my DVD collection since that is something I miss sorely from the US :p The other entertainment related thing that I miss is console games but now I’m not too sure that I won’t eventually find a place to get copied PS2 games as well <vbg> though so far I haven’t even seen a PS2 over here. Guess that doesn’t mean anything …

I ran into something which kind of pissed me off today. I heard from a new Blog user and in following a link from their site I ended up at a site of a user who had originally been a Blog user. She has written an app of her own since then and stopped using Blog but what pissed me off was her comments about Blog. She says that Blog didn’t have the features that she wanted but she never asked for any of it (as far as I can recall …) and then she keeps on going on and on about the popup that comes with Blog and how it is very irritating. As I’ve explained before, the popup comes from a shareware component that I use in Blog and since Blog itself is freeware, I see no reason to pay for the component and purchase it. If she’d found the popup so irritating, all she had to do was send me the money to get the component and I would have purchased it and got rid of the popup. It really irritates me when people whine about an app that they’ve got for free (and which I develop in my spare time and support in my spare time as well …) as if they were owed something. Ah well … guess that’s why more and more free stuff is disappearing off the web …

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Posted by Fahim at 8:16 pm  |  4 Comments

March 17, 2002

What did I say last time about it pouring when it rains? The latest happening was that our house got burgled!! Well, it’s not exactly the latest happening since it happened about two weeks ago but happen it did. I went for work in the morning, came back in the middle of a power cut and groped my way to a light and discovered that my whole room had been turned inside out! I checked room by room and discovered that everything had been ransacked and that somebody had come in after forcing a window open. The funny thing is that nothing much of value had been taken at all!! The police surmise that the thief (or thieves) might have been in the house when I came in … I’m not too certain that this is the case but in hindsight it is pretty funny to think of me and the thieves stumbling around in the dark and passing each other :p

Work has been extremely hectic as well. When I came back, I was hired to do administrative work and was put in charge of a team whose output was not meeting set quotas. I was supposed to speed up output but was not expected to get involved in production work – simply to do administration. Of course, as such things have a tendency to do, things have changed <g> I spent the whole of last week scripting, shooting and editing two episodes of the program that the team I manage produces. While they usually take about two weeks to produce one episode, I was able to complete a full episode in just four days and have a second episode all ready except for the editing. I’m pretty pleased at having got things done so fast though I have a feeling that this is going to result in my team having to do a lot more work :p

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Posted by Fahim at 7:57 pm  |  1 Comment

March 3, 2002

When it rains, it pours (but only figuratively since we really can use the rain in Sri Lanka at the moment … but more on that later …) :p I fell ill sometime last week and am still recovering from it. All the time I was in the US, I don’t think there was one instance where I was feeling as bad as I was during this bout of flu – I exaggerate, I can remember one instance where I felt as bad <g> but all in all, the four years in the US was relatively illness free. I think this was probably due to the fact that living in Sri Lanka exposes you to a lot of dust and fumes and it takes a while to get used to it. At least that’s what I tell myself :-) Anyway, I stayed at home for a couple of days and then went to work for a couple of days and have now had a further couple of days of holidays but I still don’t feel totally over the flu. Ah well … guess that too will pass …

As for the comment about needing rain, well, most of the electricity in Sri Lanka is generated by hydro power and the general lack of rain has resulted in power cuts that have gone on for months. Till now, the power cuts were only for two and a half hours at night but the situation has become worse now and they’ve extended the cuts to five hours – two and a half during the day and the same amount again at night. If this trend continues (and I have no reason to believe that it will end since there are no rains in sight …) then we are probably going to have to face further power cuts. It’s unfortunate that the country has to face this situation just as it looks as if peace might finally come to the island after decades of civil war. Plus, the power situation looks to have been created by the inefficiency and greed of politicians who just want to fill their own pockets instead of thinking of their constituents or the country. Ah, sometimes I wonder why we should have any faith in humanity at all?

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Posted by Fahim at 6:00 pm  |  No Comments