The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

July 9, 2010

Random Thoughts: No Pressure, and There Goes the Neighborhood

Filed under: Random Stuff — Brian Lutz @ 1:52 am

Finally I have a bit of time to catch up on my Blogging a bit after a rather busy week and weekend.  My 3-day weekend ended up being closer to a 1 1/2 day weekend as we hit crunch time on the latest big project at work, which finally got submitted to the App Store yesterday (more on that once it gets released.)   One of the curses that comes with a career in software quality assurance is the fact that it doesn’t really matter what you’re shipping, there’s a good chance you’ll never be 100% satisfied with whatever goes out the door, but you just have to ship the stuff at some point or you never will.  Still, even after spending countless hours tinkering with things in much-less-than-optimal conditions, every once in a while something goes out the door that you just think happens to be incredibly cool.  For example, even though I could probably still name half a dozen bugs that I really wish had been fixed before it went out, I have to say that I really like the way our team’s Colbert Report’s The Word for iPad app turned out.  Although the version of this app on the iPhone wasn’t really much more than a menu that could be used to play video clips on the device, on the iPad version our team’s local developer was able to put together a pretty cool effect with all of the various Words on the background floating around in 3D space that can be manipulated freely by the user.  To be perfectly honest I don’t care much for the content (it often comes across as more pretentious than humorous) but I still think the app turned out well…  Aside from the bugs, of course.

One interesting side effect of working with big media companies is that on occasion very high-level people in these companies take interest in our projects.  After all, we’re basically creating their mobile device presence for them, and they’re going to take notice of that type of thing.  Even so, it can be just a little odd to be busy testing something then have the boss walk in and say something to the effect of “oh, by the way, [Fortune 100 CEO] is going to be reviewing this build, so be extra-careful when you’re going through it.”  Not that this is exactly a new experience (after all, having worked at Microsoft, I suspect an exec or two has probably dealt with some of the stuff I’ve worked on at some point) but when you’re working in an office of less than 15 people and you’re basically being paid to mess around with phones all day, it definitely seems a bit incongruous to hear something like that.  I do suppose that if we pull this stuff off it’ll look really good on a resume later on (the Beavis and Butt-Head part might be a tad difficult to explain though,) but that’s not what you’re thinking at the time.  Usually, one’s thoughts when being informed of such high-level scrutiny tend to immediately look for every possible worst-case scenario (“Your app sucks.  Oh and by the way, we’ve revoked your gasoline privileges, you’re walking to work from now on kid.”)  but even if the whole thing completely bombs and it’s all your fault, chances are that you’re in an obscure enough position that you’ll probably not catch too much heat.  Unless the whole thing completely bombs on national television, in which case all bets are off.

Of course, having that stuff off my plate means I can turn my attention to other matters such as the fact that I’m going to be moving a bit more than two weeks from now, and I should really start thinking about getting stuff packed.  This isn’t to say that I’ haven’t been doing anything.  I have started going through my stuff and putting together a slightly more comprehensive than usual list of the items that I can probably live without.  An apparent water leak in the storage closet on my back porch probably actually helped, as it conveniently managed to only ruin stuff I probably needed to just get rid of in the first place, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to get rid of a lot more than that.  To be perfectly honest, I think the only item that absolutely positively can’t come along with me to the new place is the gas grill, since I have nowhere to put it (well, I do suppose I could hang it off the side of the building, but I suspect there’s something in my lease prohibiting that type of thing…  Gotta’ keep up appearances, you know.)  The big desk I have here is also a concern, but I think if necessary I can make it work in the new place by taking off one of the extensions.  There’s quite a few other things that I really should get rid of as well but haven’t quite figured out how to do so, and then there’s the stuff that seems too valuable to just toss out, but isn’t really doing me much good where it is.  There’s probably a good reason that you see people hire people to come throw out half their stuff for them.

Then again, even if I don’t do quite as much downsizing as I’d like to, I actually don’t think the move is going to be all that bad.  There’s no stairs involved on either side, and although I might have to get used to a smaller kitchen than I’ve got here, I think this should actually work pretty well.  I do lose the second bedroom I have here that serves as my den/office, but I do get a larger living room space that I should be able to use for most of the stuff that’s in here now.  It’s definitely going to take a bit of adjusting, but I guess that part just comes with the territory really.  I suppose that problem will work itself out one way or another.  It does occur to me as I go through this process that really if I wanted to, there would have been nothing preventing me from just staying put where I am and just avoiding the hassle of moving entirely, but as I’ve said before I really think I need to do something to shake things up a bit at this point, and although this move might just be going a bit overboard, it might also be just the thing I needed at the same time.  Now where was I?  Oh yeah, “Find yap dog and massage therapist”…

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