Monday, December 8, 2014

Day 61: Who's in the office?

The Countdown To Christmas has begun.

Last Friday we had every single one45-er in the office. All twenty four of us. From now until Christmas, however, it will be a revolving door of holidays and vacations until the office closes for a week while we all enjoy the holiday season.

Today there were four dev team members working from home and one on vacation. Meetings get pushed, the expected tickets completed each week shrinks, and we all wear lots of layers into the office. The sun rises at 8 am and sets just after 4. 

I can't wait to be in Texas! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Day 60: When can we start?

The Company Christmas Party was today!!

The festivities were to start at 3 pm with our Murder Mystery extravaganza. Everyone waited not so patiently for the hours to pass.

The murder mystery was a hoot. It was pretty much straight from Gossip Girl, which you won't hear me complaining about. Given that, I should have been able to predict the killer much more effectively than I did.

From there we went to the Top Of Vancouver, a revolving restaurant. The food was amazing and the view was even better! 

It was really great to meet all the folks who work remotely. Seeing them in person was different than the crummy webcams we all usually use.

Overall it was an amazing time! Everyone had a great time and made it home safely. That's really all you can ever ask for!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Day 53: Bueller? Bueller?

Anyone? Someone? Please help me with this ticket?

Sarah has been really busy for a couple of days and I've been really stuck on a ticket. 

So today during scrum we asked for anyone available to please pair with me and figure out what's going on.

Thankfully Tracy was free immediately afterwards. We scoured through javascript and php and used Firefox and Chrome and finally figured out which variable wasn't being set up correctly.

Figuring out why is still a mystery.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Day 52: Why? Times 5.

The 5 Whys of this Tuesday revolved around the typo I made that brought down the forms when we did our last upload. 

The "5 Whys" are a session we have during staff meetings to discuss things that have gone wrong during the week, but more specifically why it went wrong. There were a couple earlier on when Mike and I started, so I knew it wouldn't be the whole team tearing me apart.

They've built it as a very constructive session in which they analyze what went wrong midst the team as a whole for errors to occur. 

In my case, there were three code reviews, two very specifically on the line with the typo. There was testing that occurred as well.

I've learned a great deal from all of this. The testing and code reviews are in place for a very clear reason. It's important to make sure the testing is all inclusive and that the developer communicates very thoroughly with the code reviewer and the tester. There is a large amount of responsibility on the developer to ensure that every area of the code that they touch will be tested and evaluated.

It's an interesting thing working directly on a product that thousands of people pay to use. Even at Williams, the things my team developed were largely used internally, so if something went wrong, the clients usually didn't suffer

In the end that's all you can ever hope for. To be able to learn from your mistakes and not repeat them down the road.

How and where to change your name

This is not an easy process. The older you are, the more difficult it is. Not in any sort of "get married young" kind of way. When you're older, you have a job, you have your own insurance, credit cards, leases, mortgages, phone bills, lots of things in your name. When you're young, everything's probably in your parents' names, or you don't even have it yet. Either way, it's going to be a hassle. 

In a fashion similar to that of my wedding day emergency bag, I did a lot of googling to create a comprehensive list to meet my needs. The site I found most helpful was at The Examiner, and this article will be very similar.


The most important thing to note is that you will need the certified copy of your marriage license for most of these things. We went to the courthouse ourselves the Monday after the wedding. This took all of 20 minutes and we walked away with the certified copy. The other option is to hand it over to your officiant and they will mail it in to the court. It then takes 4 to 6 weeks for you to get the certified copy mailed to your house. If your documents are time sensitive (mine were), I recommend filing yourself. Otherwise, enjoy the honeymoon and don't worry about the paperwork until you get the thing back in the mail.



The obvious places

  1. Driver's license (and voting registration) - Go to a licensing office with your old driver license and your marriage license. Going to a less busy location, or during non-peak times will help shorten the trip. (Lunch and closing times are the worst.) You will be given a temporary license to show your new name, in addition to your original license with the top sliced off. Bars barely notice the sliced-off card, but if you are traveling, make sure to carry both pieces of identification to prove your new name is legit at the airport. Be sure to ask that a new voter's registration card be sent to you as well. This doesn't necessarily happen automatically, so better safe than sorry to verify. (This was extra fun for me. My new license mailed to my parents' house in Texas, and they didn't want to mail it to me. I was meeting up with them in Colorado in mid-September, but I had to rent a car on my temporary license. That is an experience I do not wish upon anyone!)

  2. Social Security Card - Take your marriage license and old driver license to a local social security office. You can find your nearest one here. If you don't have an hour or two to spend there, you can mail in your request. Wait until your new driver license arrives in the mail so you aren’t caught without one, then send your old driver license, along with your marriage license, and an application you can print off www.socialsecurity.gov to your local office. There are pros and cons to both options. If you mail in your marriage license, you won't have it for name changes in the mean time. The office in Dallas wasn't the most glamorous place, but the wait really wasn't so awful. Plus I got to keep all of my documents in the mean time. Bonus: Your social security number does NOT change when your name changes. That was a huge relief to me!

  3. Bank Accounts/Investment Accounts/Credit Cards - You will need your marriage license for this, too. Take it along with a piece of ID showing your new name in to your local branch. If you have a joint checking account (with a parent or with your new spouse), the other person (people) on the account must also be present. I know, this is a little weird. When you change your name on the account, you have to create a new signature card. Since that is a legal document, all parties must be present, with IDs, to sign it. This was a sticking point for me as I'm in Canada and my mom (who's on my US accounts) is in Texas. Don't forget to order new checks with Mrs. on them! For the credit cards, you might have to fax them a copy of your new ID and marriage certificate. If you're like most of the people out there today, you do not have a fax machine. Never fear, there are, of course, websites for this. Just scan/snap a picture of your documents and send them through a site such as this one.

  4. Work - This is a multi-part bullet point. Email your HR department before the wedding to ask what documents they will need. They might need a new piece of ID, your marriage license, and/or your new social security card. Don't forget to ask for new business cards to be printed as well. Some places will issue you a new email address as well, it depends on their system and how old it is. 
The less obvious places
  1. Insurance - This includes health insurance, auto, home/renter's, life insurance, wills or last testaments. This will be a similar process as changing the name on your credit cards. That online fax service is now your best friend. 

  2. Utilities/Monthly Bills - Electric company, water company, tv, internet, land line, cell phone. Some of them will want the copies of your documents, oddly, some will not. Another key thing to do here is update your payment information once your bank accounts and credit cards have been updated. Also, if you have any student loans, mortgages, or lines of credit, you'll have to contact those agencies to have them update the information.

  3. Your Lease! Car title, deeds to any property - These are very important! They are legal documents. Some will tell you that they regard the law as it existed the day you signed it, keeping with the legal name you held when you signed the document. I am on the paranoid side and would hate for my old name to be an issue at any point down the road, so it's better to take care of these things now rather than have to backpedal when something comes up.

  4. Passport - Some don't travel as much as others, and this is fine. Before you go anywhere, check this site for the forms you need. I needed mine immediately, which provided some difficulty. If you need same day service, here is what I recommend. Take your new pictures before the wedding. I went the week before so that I could pick them up before everything got crazy. I added them to my stack of paperwork for my Monday name-changing adventure. The tricky part is that the passport agency offices are few and far between. They'd only recently opened one in Dallas, which allowed me to get my new one. Check this list for the location nearest you. If you do not need it immediately, you can mail in your old passport with a copy of your marriage certificate. For a new passport, the process is similar, but it will take several weeks to be mailed to you.

  5. Accounts/Memberships - This is a very broad topic. It covers your airline and hotel memberships, gym memberships, Angie's List, any toll tag accounts for your car. This one will have additional things that pop up over the months as you remember the last time you logged in or booked a flight. For the airline memberships, you will need to send copies of new identification and your marriage certificate. Since they deal with travel and need your full legal name, they need to verify your identity.

  6. Social media accounts - This is the fun and easy part! Update your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn! A lot of them let you indicate previous names, which can be beneficial (particularly Facebook and LinkedIn, where people searching for you might readily know your old name).

  7. Email - In the same light, your email account now needs an update. If you feel so inclined, you can acquire an entirely new address to reflect your name. At the very least, update your email signature. If you go the route of a new address, you can send a mass email to all of your contacts to let them know. You can also port your existing contact list over to your new account and set up forwarding from the old account to the new one, so you don't miss any mail. If you get a new address, be sure to update that on any online accounts you have! Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, Netflix, rewards programs!

  8. Home address labels - Yay! Yall are now a pair! Here's Paper Source's site for getting a custom stamp. Their system is pretty neat. You can reuse the stamp apparatus and change out the actual stamp as you move or need to stamp something else!
There's always somewhere else or something else. Depending on who you are or the things you have, there will be something else. 

It's a lot of work. It's exhausting, since you just planned a wedding and got married, to now have to talk to tons of customer service reps and government workers. But you can do this. We all believe in you!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Day 51: Who's installed Mercurial?

The question of the day!

A while back we made a choice to switch to Mercurial. We're moving slowly and steadily forward toward the change over, and as such, it's time everyone installed the darn thing on their computers. 

Adam was the wring leader of the task, setting out specific things each of us should do. 

  1. Read an awesome tutorial on Mercurial. 
  2. Install Mercurial on your command line
  3. Test it out!
    • Push
    • Pull
    • Commit
  4. Make your own branch! Then merge it back in to the trunk.
This has been on everyone's to-do list all iteration. So, of course, on the last day of the iteration, no one has done it yet. 3 pm scramble! 

We are using SourceTree as our GUI to help make the branches, pulls, and commits easier. 

It was quite a day. Everyone getting so excited about how easy it was to create a branch, how clean and simple the interface is. Simply amazing!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Gotta catch 'em all!

Right after Candytown!

Candytown, hailed as a holiday festival, was somewhat less than that.

We wanted to go as it was largely the first "Christmas event" of the season. I was picturing elves and candy and Santa and reindeer and peppermint all around. I was greeted by food trucks and tent for a community college and one for bicycles. There was a Santa. We could not see him as he was swarmed by the line, hoard, of folks hoping to get a picture of their child on his lap. There were a few candy canes. All of them fake. There was popcorn. All of it fake. There was a sleigh. Made of ice.

Hrm.

We still had fun. It was really nice to get out. We hadn't explored Yaletown much, and it's definitely somewhere we'll visit again. Candytown, not as much.









 Also this hilarious sign.
 And this gorgeous little park



But then there was Pokemon to be played!!! They released two new games yesterday. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Ruby and Sapphire were both originally released in 2003, but they have redone them for the Nintendo 3DS. Quite exciting! 

So once we returned from the adventured in Yaletown (via Starbucks), we snuggled up on the couch to play some video games. Quite a great day.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Day 50: Why can't I find this table?

I think it doesn't exist. 

Today I'm working on a ticket that involves a permission. 

Yet I can't find that permission stored anywhere. It's not in the permissions table.

That seems wrong.

Tracy doesn't know where we keep it, either.

Oh, goodness.

Maybe next week.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Day 49: Where do I go now?

You always have to move forward in life. If I have learned anything in the last 3 years, it's that. Keep moving. Even slowly, just move. 

Yesterday was nothing compared to many things I've faced. Yet it was my first real mistake in the workplace. 

But today there are things to be done. So you have to set out to get at least a couple of those things done. 

The Technical Service Team officially kicked off this week. Sarah is leading Mike and I deep into the Ops queue to handle bugs and tasks brought to us by the clients and the customer service team. We have a goal for the number of tickets we want to close this week. 

Goals. I can move towards goals. Yeah. Let's do that.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Day 48: Do I write about the bad days?

I think I have to. Not all days are good. Most of my days at One45 have been great, or at least good, so far.

Today was my first truly bad day.

We released the first update since Mike and I started. This means code I'd worked on was live. 

Was. Was live. For about 20 minutes. Because there were problems. Something I had done was throwing fatal errors. Clients were unable to open any saved forms. 

Forms are a very key part of our entire system.

And I'd brought them down with a spelling error. Instead of "institution," the code had "instution."

Bah humbug.

We rolled back the release, I'd already fixed the bug and merged it to patch. We rebuilt the release and were able to push it a few hours later. 

I've been told that it's not the worst thing to happen. That there were no security issues or data issues caused, which means it really wasn't awful.

Yeah, but I'm the one that caused it. Weirdly, nicely, no one gave me a hard time about it. This all happened before scrum, so when we got to good news and I just said "pass," people responded with friendly chuckles. 

Yet, like so many, I'm my own worst critic. And I ruined things this morning. I made it through the rest of the day, just wanting to be home in the comfort of my big sweatshirt and Max's arms. 

I do truly realize that things could have been much worse. I have really learned a lot about checking everything I do, why we have the checks in place that we do. 

Tomorrow, thankfully, is another day.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Day 47: What does One45 do?

Tonight was the recruiting event! TechFest was hosted at Yaletown Roundhouse from 5:30 to about 9:30. 

That's a long time to be on your feet telling people what your company is. Especially when no one had heard of your company. 

It was tons of fun though! We met a whole slew of folks who were interested. I took multitudes of resumes and cards. Handed out even more (of Tracy's) cards. 

Our booth had Operation for folks to play, and Tina was baking fresh cookies in our toaster oven. Other people had a photo booth, cotton candy, all sorts of things.

It was really cool to be on that side of the recruiting event. I wasn't seriously pedaling my own resumes, desperate to talk to the right person at the right company to land the right job. I was on the grown up side. How odd.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Day 46: Is that ticket closed?!

Ah, yeah it is!!

The massive conversion ticket is finally code reviewed, tested, and closed!!! 

And today, that's all she wrote!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mom's Grilled Cheese and Passion Planner!

What a great weekend! The miraculously beautiful weather prompted us to stretch our legs and spend some time outside.

I had also stumbled across the Passion Planner earlier this week! They have a free layout of the weekly pages that you can download for free. I wanted to give it a shot, but didn't want to wait for the backlog to eventually get one in 2015. So I Excel-jigged a spread of the months and printed a whole calendar!

Yesterday I took the copies for Max and I up to Staples to have them spiral-bound. I also found a really cool drawn map of Vancouver at Granville Island. It has our actual building on it! I took that to Staples as well to have it laminated.

On the way back we stopped at the food trucks by the Vancouver Art Gallery. I have had my eye on Mom's Grilled Cheese Truck for a while now and finally got a sandwich! They also make a mean tomato soup. You can get a cup, or if you just want it for dipping as I usually do, you can get a shot of soup! 

I took my grilled cheese and we went to Chipotle. At least we're trying to eat locally.

I snagged a couple of seats while Max got in line.

A couple sat down next to us, and they were speaking Spanish! They asked if I'd gotten my grilled cheese sandwich from Chipotle. That's my in! 

No, from Mom's. Would you mind me asking where you're from?

The one gentleman was born and raised Vancouver, but his husband was from Mexico.

I'm from Texas!!!

They've been here about 14 years, and were trying Chipotle for the first time (it is rather new to the area) and weren't so impressed.

I asked where they frequented for good Mexican food. 

They recommended La Taqueria and The Mexican.

My goodness. I told them that Mexican food here is like Asian food in Texas, there's just something a little wrong about it.

I went back to Staples today to pick up our calendars. The laminating was going to take a little longer and won't be ready until Tuesday. I grabbed them and headed toward the Marketplace IGA for a few groceries. It's really a gorgeous weekend out! There hasn't been rain for several days!! That's crazy here!

I made it into the building to find both elevators working!! WHAATT?!!!? YAYYY!!!

Put away all the groceries and finally sat down to look at my beautiful Passion Planner.

And Staples put some of the pages in backward.

**UGH**

They apparently take small sections at a time off of my perfectly in order calendar to punch the holes for the spiral. They punched one of these sections on the wrong side. This meant January was followed by March and then February.

No.

Nope.

Wrong.

I spent an hour pacing around the apartment trying to figure out how much of it I could live with or what I could do about it. I am aware that this is the epitome of a first world problem. However, it was also something I was going to change.

I un-spiraled the spiral binding and removed the pages that were in the wrong spot. I then proceeded to reprint said pages. I took this with me and went back to Staples, hoping they could just punch the holes in them so I could rebind everything. 

They punched the wrong holes in it.

-_-

The nice man kindly said he would make a copy of all the pages and re-punch them. No, that's what I had already done. Alright.

HE COPIED THEM ON TO A HIGH GLOSS PAPER. THAT DOESN'T MATCH THE REST OF THE PAGES. I will survive this. Surely, I will survive this.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Day 45: Am I going to do that?

The conversion ticket I've been working on keeps expanding. Today Sarah and I identified things that should be made into additional tickets because it's work that needs to be done but is beyond the scope of the original ticket.

My goodness. This never ends.

Thankfully, Sarah told me I didn't have to take those tickets. It was time someone else get their hands dirty with the conversion!

Well thanks! 

Now to find the end of the original ticket...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Day 44: Should this be doing that?

I woke up early to drive mom to the airport. 5:30 am early! At least since we drove down to the airport I had two more hours of sleep after coming back home.

Then is was back to the daily grind!

I'd rolled back some changes that I knew were broken on Monday night before I left work. Today's goal was to figure out why and fix it. 

I tested everything by rerunning the unit testing when I got in. Things still failed. What?

I finally figured out that a method we expected to always return true was in fact not.

Not the end of the world. 

Ha.

Hilarious. 

This ticket keeps getting bigger and bigger. More areas keep popping up that need to be changed as a result of the old aspect I'm removing. 

Well, I at least made decent progress on it today. And got talked into going to a recruiting event next Tuesday night. Shall be an adventure.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Day 43: There are Belugas?!

Mom and I went to the aquarium today! 

We walked there, of course. Took about an hour and a half. It was a nice walk though. Over to Canada Place and then along the sea wall until we hit Stanley Park. 

I was oddly surprised by how many joggers and bikers there were at 11 am on a Wednesday, by themselves, just doing their thing. It was a gorgeous and very peaceful walk.

Then the aquarium!!! It was amazing!! 

It was the two of us surrounded by nannies and moms and toddlers. Until around 4, when the post-school rush hit! 

We were a little surprised when we arrived to learn that half of the exhibits are outdoors! The animals are naturally use to the colder temperatures, so they just built outdoor habitats. A little chilly, but fun to see. 

There were belugas that did tricks. A couple of port dolphins, some adorable sea otters, a pair of seals and sea lions! Pretty much every one of them knew a couple of orders. The team doing the shows were having the animals do body presents to check them for injuries. Mom bought memberships for Max and I as an early Christmas present! We're excited to take Michael when he comes up in a while. 

Mom wanted to walk home. I wasn't as convinced. It would have been a good 45 minutes, plus the sun had set and it was getting pretty cold out. Max driving up to get us was a much better option. Only about 5 minutes instead! 

We stayed in for the rest of the evening watching Downton Abbey. I got mom absolutely hooked on it!! We watched most of the first season! Then I talked her in to letting me drive her to the airport the next morning since we would be heading out before the sun rose! That meant we got to watch one more episode of Downton!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Day 42: Remembrance Day 2014

Mom's plane came in yesterday around 2! I met her at the airport and we took the train back to the apartment. Well, first to the gorgeous Waterfront Station, where we switched to the train line that runs by the apartment. Then up to the apartment! Thankfully there was one working elevator, so we didn't have to climb any stairs. She and I stayed in last night, made some grilled chicken and pasta for dinner, and looked through my wedding albums. It was a pretty perfect evening. Max had an evening class, so it was our ladies night of her visit.

This morning started much earlier for her than it did for Max and I. She usually wakes up around 5:30 am Dallas time, which is 3:30 am Vancouver time, which is four hours before the sun rises. She says she stayed in bed until about 6:30, which I found to be very impressive. Max and I, on the other hand, got up around 9. 

We went to Ricky's for some breakfast. It was beautifully sunny outside, but a little too cold to sit on the patio. From there we wandered over to Victory Square for the Remembrance Day Ceremony and Parade. 

Today marks 100 years since the end of World War I.

The War to End All Wars.

Sadly, this was not true. Yet the members of the Commonwealth of Nations still pause every year to remember those who lost their lives in the war, and those who have dedicated their service and lives to the armed forces since then. 

In the States the day still holds meaning. We don't wear poppies or sing the songs of the fallen. We don't consider the day a holiday, giving everyone the day off work to gather round war memorials across the country. We remember every person who has worn the uniform. 

Max, mom, and I honored Matthew. We honored grandpa, my dad's dad. We honored those we knew, those we never would. 

There were poems, songs, flyovers, and 21-gun salutes. It was spectacular and elegant.

From there we went down into Chinatown so that Max could show us his campus! I'd seen a very small part of it when we went to Jake's graduation back in July. Max gave us the whole grand tour though! Then we wandered back down Pender to stare at the outside of my office building because I didn't want to deal with unsetting and resetting the alarm. So that was nice.

The day was still young and there was much to see, so we decided to head over to Granville Island. Miraculously, Max and I had yet to make it there. We decided to take the Aquabus to get a nice tour of False Creek. Only, the closest Aqaubus stop to us was at Plaza of the Nations, down behind the casino. What an adventure. We took a wrong turn and wound up at some other docks that were not the correct docks. Back up and around the front of the casino and then we could see the plaza. Of the Nations. With tons of flagpoles. All flying the Canadian flag. They tried.

Our Aquabus took us to another Aquabus that took us to Granville Island. It was really cool! I can imagine it would be buckets and buckets of tourists in the summer. On this gorgeous Vancouver day that was still very cold, there were not as many tourists. Adorable children with their parents because everyone has the day off? Check. Adorable couples grocery shopping for their dinner? Check. We wondered all over the island. Through the market, past all the stores, all through the amazing toy store, by the concrete factory who paints all of their trucks and their massive silos, and around the nifty art University.

The sun started to set and it was only getting colder. We hailed an Aquabus back to the casino and traipsed back up the hill to the apartment, via the Abbott St. Starbucks of course. We warmed up our toes and then went out for dinner. Max and I had never eaten inside of Back Forty's before. It's shocking that we hadn't been since it was nice out! But it was a perfect atmosphere. Even on a game night, the place was spirited but not overcrowded or unreasonably noisy. 

A great ending to a great day. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Day 41: What's breaking the build this time?

Mom's in town!! More about that later. 

For now, I am tired. I had a late day in the office.

I'm working on removing an old part of the system. Part of doing that involves making your code updates as small as possible, so if something goes wrong, you know the most recent things that could have caused it. Around 4:50 pm, I did the stupid thing of making a commit. 

The build broke. Rats.

I knew which code changes caused it, but I had no idea why they'd caused it. 

Rolling back the code was easy, and didn't take very long at all. 

Waiting for the build to run again was another story. It was already after 5 and I had mom back at the apartment! Yet I was certainly not going to leave and risk having a broken build all night. 

Thankfully, I was correct about what caused the build to break. Fixing that part will have to wait until Thursday as I've got plans!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Day 40: Where do I start?

A while back the medical school process for accreditation changed. A concept that we'd previously had as its own entity now needed to be redirected as a sub-topic of another entity. For every school. Across the whole system. 

About a year ago the team did tons of work to retro-fit everything to fit the new style, and set everything up so that going forward would be correct next time around.

Now, we have to go back and remove everything from the way it use to be. 

That's the lucky ticket I picked up. Woot.

This is simply massive. I went through and read a ton of the old tickets and looked at some old code revisions to see why changes were made and what was changed. 

Whelp. Here goes.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Day 39: What's the decision?!?

We have been debating for a while now. The team is moving toward a continuous release model, and as a part of that, we want to move away from using subversion for our version control. 

This is a pretty good explanation of what subversion is and why it's used.

Essentially, we have an entire team of people all trying to work on the same documents. That can get tricky. We use a version control system to track the changes each individual developer is making and help merge those changes back into the large collection of files (the repository) that comprise our product. You can think of this as a tree. The main trunk is our most stable version of the product. When we want to create something new, we create a branch off of the trunk. It has all the same parts, but we can make modifications without effecting the main trunk. Then, once we are confident in the changes we have made, we can rejoin the code in the branch with the main code in the trunk. The trunk gets a little bigger, as trees do as they grow, and we move on up the tree, taller and taller, making more branches as we need.

That's a pretty simple view of it. We have been using a product called subversion to help us make all of these changes. The main theme of branching is that at some point you have to merge the files back in. You need a system that can compare the state of the files now, the state of the files when you created the branch, and the state of all the other changes that have been made since you created the branch, then decide how to put all the pieces back together. Surprisingly, subversion isn't very good at that part. 

So we went looking for something different.

Git and Mercurial are two very popular competitors of subversion. We have team members who have worked previously with both, so there were very strong arguments and very loud voices for both. 

We spent several weeks developing our acceptance criteria to detail all the smart, non-emotional choices we should make to choose between the two. The comparisons were made and we have made a choice! The team will be switching to Mercurial!! (A pleasantly graphical for being so technical description of Mercurial)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Day 38: What are the poppies for?

This was evidently the stupidest question an American can ask. 

During my further research, this does actually happen in the States. I, however, was unfamiliar with the practice.

Men, women, and children across Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland don poppy pins in the weeks and days leading up to Remembrance (Veterans) Day. 

The entire atmosphere here regarding violence, veterans, and paying homage to those who have fallen is very different than in the States.

On October 22nd there was a shooting at a parliament building in Ottawa. I'd heard about it on the news and from folks at work. One man, a veteran, died. The story was covered nationally for more than a week. Veterans were standing guard 24/7 at all war memorials across the country for the same duration. 

If a veteran was shot and killed in New York, the story would be on the third page of the newspaper printed in Texas. The story would run for one day. It might get mention on the broadcast news.

It's a very different atmosphere. 

Remembrance Day is still a week off, yet people have been wearing the poppy pins for several days already.

Things are different here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Day 37: Where is the mute button?

My question off and on all day long. 

I showed up at work today. Then started coughing and blowing my nose. Scott and Adam kindly suggested that if I don't feel well I certainly didn't have to be here today.

I am strong! When I was growing up, you honored your obligation unless you were vomiting or running a fever of 100 degrees. I could still stand, I could still think straight, I didn't have a fever, I was going to work.

Then Tracy sent me a message with a smiley face with the same theme. Head home and call in for the Tuesday meetings!

Well, alright. 

I packed up and traipsed home.

It wasn't all bad. I got to switch into the sweats and sit on my comfy couch instead of the board room chairs all day. Plus see the kittens and Max once he got home. Everyone else got to see Amelia and Loki, and there were smiles and laughs every time one tried to set up camp on my laptop. 

Lesson learned: stay home when I don't feel well. Just, stay home.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Birthday Weekend!!!

I'm 23 years old now!! Hurray!!

The weekend wasn't quite what I'd imagined, but it was still spectacular. My Maxwell was also feeling a little under the weather, so we largely stayed indoors. 

Friday night we were crumbled on the couch and didn't want to travel the 20 feet into the bedroom. That's when Max said we should bring the bed to the living room. This sounds amazing. We made space in the middle of the floor and pulled the spare mattress in. This is so snuggly, the grown up version of a blanket fort. 

Saturday we went outside!! We drove to the grocery store and shuffled through as quickly as possible. For the first time in our lives, we didn't buy anything NOT on the grocery list! Feeling crummy, wanting to be home quickly, and having no appetite can do that to you. 

We spent the rest of the day baking muffins and watching movies from our blanket fort. Quite splendid. 

Sunday was my birthday!! I made it out of the office as far as the mailboxes downstairs. However, I did watch two seasons of Downton Abbey! So, you know, trade-offs. We had leftover chocolate chip muffins for brunch and Max made me dinner. Really, a perfect day.

Day 36: Where do we keep the kleenex?

This was my first question when I entered the office. 

I made it through the shower and the uphill climb to the office in the rain. Then I needed a box of kleenex. My head is feeling much better, but I'm a nose-blowing fiend right now in need of my own box. 

I understand that the general unspoken office policy is don't come to work if you're sick so that you don't get anyone else sick. But I already missed Friday, and I'm still new and I didn't want to miss any more time. 

My coworkers were more concerned about my well-being, and started trying to encourage me home around 3:30. I figured I'd made it through the bulk of the day at that point, so I'd stick it out. 45 minutes later I was singing the same tune as them, and figured I could call it early without much harm. I'll be in ripe and ready for the meetings tomorrow!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Day 35: Where do we keep the Dayquill?

Because I need tons. 

I have finally caught the office plague. I had a slight sore throat when I went to bed last night, only to be greeted with a painfully congested head and impossibly swollen throat this morning. I made it into the bathroom, hoping to shower it off, and was too lightheaded to continue. This is a day spent in bed.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Day 34: Who broke the build?

Me, evidently.

Whoops.

Many, many things happen when you break the build. You get a personal email with the error output. The entire team gets alerted through the inner-office chat system. The siren goes off, alerting anyone who missed the first message.

Yipes. 

Thankfully, the error message emailed to me was actually super helpful. I'd modified a class to change the protected variables to public (for testing purposes while we also modified the reason the variables needed to be public so we could eventually change them back to protected). The unit tests I'd written depended on the variables being public. The problem, was that I forgot to recommit the file with the variable changes. 

Easy fix! I committed the proper file and executed all the tests to run once more. 

No more broken build!! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Day 33: Is this even broken?

This is the question I asked myself repeatedly all day while I worked on one of the tickets we created yesterday as a result of the issues I brought up.

Or, thought were issues. I'm still not convinced of what happened. 

When I initially ran the sort, the objects returned in a very clearly unsorted order. So I thought this was a problem.

Then I started looking into it and trying to trace it through and fix it. I moved some curly brackets around so I could read the code with more ease, and all of a sudden it worked. 

Hrmm.

I ran all of the other unit tests to ensure that I hadn't busted anything, and they all passed. Sooooo... I'll take it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Day 32: How do you make a ticket?

Work I was doing led to the creation of two tickets for the sprint! 

The product tickets I picked up last Thursday needed additional work done in a different area of the system in order to use those abilities in the area I was working on. This means we create a ticket to track the work done. It's a really slick, well-oiled and industry standard practice. Still, it's great to see that the company has it working so smoothly. 

Bonus - since it's still a small company, they work on their workflow and change it as needed, trying to find the best system for the team, allowing for small changes any given week. 

The meetings went well today. Lasted pretty much the entire planned time, letting out right around 3 pm, just in time to go for coffee!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Day 31: Why doesn't this work here?

The ticket I picked up on Friday involved limiting the number of objects pulled in a query. The second part is sorting all of the objects. This is the tricky part. 

I did something with our built in sorting functions a while back, and was hoping that would be the solution here as well.

Since it was hoped for, it of course was not. 

The sort method was not working. 

Bullocks. 

This is my whole day.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Day 30: Is that a puggle in the office?

That is absolutely a puggle! Topaz came to chillax with us this rainy Friday. 



Not the best photo of the darling, but she was very wiggly. Topaz helped us find the office mouse! Who has died in the spare tech closet somewhere. We will deal with that next week.

There were only 4 members of the dev team in the office today. We took nice coffee and lunch breaks while pushing to wrap up the queue. It was a nice day. Finished up the big product tickets I picked up yesterday and helped Tracy with some testing of a solution she'd worked on. 

But I have to go because we're going to Seattle this weekend to see Michael!!!

Term 1 is Over!

So I made it through my first term with minimal injury (and blog posts)!

It's kinda crazy to be done already. It seems like just yesterday I was writing down all my assignments on a calendar printout and saying "Jeez, that's a lot." I really had no idea at the time just how much it would be, and just how much stress it would cause.

The last few days of the term were filled with final projects, and almost all final projects at VFS include a presentation. They're really big on making you present over and over again to work up the skill. Thankfully I've had to do plenty of presentations in the past, so I was never too concerned about them.

But one thing I am NOT used to AT ALL is group projects and/or presentations. The computer science department at my university had one group assignment for the entire 4 years I was there, and it was poorly designed and executed. So going from that to almost every final assignment being group work was a test in patience. It's really easy for me to let go of responsibility during the planning phase and let others do the work, but it's even easier for me to think during the presentation "If I were doing this presentation by myself it would be a thousand times better."

And that's not really a good way to think about team work. My team members were there through the whole process (with only a couple frustrating exceptions) and they deserve to present our work just as much as I do, but I just wish they would do it BETTER sometimes.

Also, on the topic of frustrating things, it's hard to come out of the first term without much to show for it. Most other terms end in at least a video game prototype, if not the final product, but term one ends with a board game. Mind you, our board game was pretty cool. My partner painted up a board for us and it was ridiculously well done. But it's still a board game. It's not something I can easily send to my friends and family to check out, and it's not even something I'm particularly proud of either, as we definitely had to half-ass a few things toward the end. I think what I'm trying to say is that this term was cool, but I'm really looking forward to what's next.

But that's all negative stuff, there were so many other great things that happened the last 8 weeks. For example:

  • Made new friends!
  • Made new enemies!
  • Discovered an interest in 3D modeling!
  • Got a lot of A's!
  • Got a lot of feedback on how to make the not A's become A's!
  • Programmed a game in the Windows Console!
  • Made my first ever story board!
  • Had a panic attack the night before I presented my story board about having to show people my terrible art!
  • Did really well on the story board presentation!
  • Joined a VFS League of Legends team!
  • Played a single game on the VFS LoL team!
  • And generally learned a lot about brainstorming and presenting ideas!
Next term starts Monday. Get hyped!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

That date night

Max met me for dinner after I got off work. :)

There's an amazingly delicious restaurant, White Spot, one block down from where I work, on the way back to the apartment. I'd heard great things about it from folks at work and wanted us to try it. They have a great menu! Burgers, shakes, rice dishes, turkey dinners, everything scrumptious.

Max's first term finished on Wednesday, so he had the whole day off! It was particularly nice for him to take some of his time off to make my day!

Then we both started playing Hearth Stone, an online card collecting game Max has had his eye on for a while. A little bit of both of us for an evening together!

Day 29: Are you talking to me?

I've been called up to the big leagues.

The office was practically empty today, and it's going to be more so tomorrow. Between the plague and the weird fact that people just asked off this Friday, there will be about 4 members of the dev team working tomorrow.


Since there were several pre-scheduled out of offices for this week, the queue was filled less so that we could still accomplish the work we set out to this week. However, it was very product heavy, which makes things more difficult for Mike and I.

The ticket I was working on this morning was just a spike, meaning the CS team just wanted us to do some research into a solution or the efforts it would take for the solution. There was one more ticket in the ops queue after this one, and it's a big ticket that Scott had spent a week researching and theorizing on. Yet since he's out of office, he'd taken his name off of it. I was really hesitant to get into all of that. So I was trying to make the spike ticket last! 

All good things must end, and this ticket did as well. Oh goodness. What next.

Product tickets.

What?

Me?

Are you sure?

Yes. Evidently Adam and Tracy were sure. I was given two product tickets. They were tickets we had heavily discussed in Tuesday planning meetings and the architecture meetings. So I knew what was going on. Still, yipes. Big leagues Thursday for this little lady.

Also had just a great day with everyone in the office. Was very chill and almost eerie so empty. Tomorrow those of us who manage to avoid the plague are going out for lunch!! Whoop! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Day 28: Where do you go with a donut shirt on?

Cartems, apparently.

Cartems is a local donuterie, literally dreamt up by a local Vancouverite. It's the fanciest donut shop ever, and it's just around the corner from us.

Adam has a shirt with a large donut on it eating a box of policemen (which is a whole other box of topics) that he wore today. In spirit of this shirt, several of us took an after lunch adventure to Cartems!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Day 27: I just did what?

Meetings meetings meetings!!!

During sprint planning, we came across another ticket involving a grades sheet that had been mysteriously deleted. I had a slightly related ticket about a week and a half ago. This lead to the current ticket being handed directly to me. 

"Catherine, you just did one of these, right? Well, here, we'll just assign this one to you."

Um, wait, what, ok? I guess this has happened. Cool.

At least the school allows us to keep the backups this time, so I don't need a tunnel to the data to export an old copy of the grades sheet.

Ah, the up-sides.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Day 26: How do you catch ebola?

We are up to our elbows in ebola fear right now. For my colleagues, every story reporting more folks with ebola in Texas is just more cause to fear me. 

Not really, but they are mildly concerned about travel plans I might have back to the home state.

I had a really great day at work! The ops ticket I picked up on Friday took me most of the day. However, I figured it out all on my own without having to ask anyone else for any help!! It was an incredibly successful feeling! Plus I was able to wrap up all my tickets before the end of the sprint. Just, a really great start to the week!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Double dates all over the place

Excellent Saturday!!! 

First was breakfast as Ricky's. A new favorite place! It's like a really nice Denny's. It's reasonably priced (for Vancouver, which is not reasonably priced) and very delicious. Plus right across from the apartment! So, delightful.

Then we got Max a haircut!!! He was getting a little mountain man-y, and was long overdue for a haircut. He had it cut a lot shorter than usual, but it means he'll get to avoid the place for even longer this time around. Plus he looks really sharp :)

Max headed home for some work as his first term is wrapping up this week. I went for some shopping! It's been months since I'd gotten any new clothes, and I was feeling itchy. Plus it's getting chilly here and I am not prepared. I snagged a haircut as well. I was trying to remember the last time I had a haircut. I think it was around last Thanksgiving!! I didn't get it cut before the wedding since I was just doing an up-do. I trim my own bangs on a regular basis but it always becomes time for the rest of your hair to be trimmed up.

Dinner plans next!!! Max's good friend Taylor from VFS lives a few blocks over from us. We met up with Taylor and his girlfriend Marisa for some dinner and drinks. 

They laughingly told us they were taking us to McDonald's, weren't sure if we'd heard of it. We actually went to Elephant & Castle which has a couple of pubs around Vancouver and across the country. It was delicious food! The drinks didn't measure up quite as far, but still a great spot.

From there we headed to Granville Street for some crepes and people watching. Saturday nights bring out the best worst side of Vancouver all over Granville. There were street magicians, 3 cos-players (exactly 3, it was very odd), gals with large advertisement backpacks, folks on first dates and tons of locals hitting the club scene. The crepes were delicious though. Max and I split a cinnamon sugar crepe and enjoyed every last bit of that thing. 

It was great to be out with friends. That was the first thing we'd done together with folks we've met here. Quite the splendid evening.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Day 25: Am I qualified enough for that?

Today was a day of new experiences. The dev team is making some big decisions regarding the way they operate, deliver product, and work together as a whole.

And they want my input on these decisions.

What??

I've been here for all of five weeks! How am I in a position to answer these questions? They're at least not asking JUST me for input. Plus, I think what Mike and I input matters a little less than what all the 2+ year vets at the company have to say. 

It's nice, really, in the end. That i'm already considered an almost full member of the team. 

Today I ran into a completely empty ops queue with two days left until the end of the sprint. Sometimes on a Monday afternoon around 3, if I wrap something up, I'll just work on some general knowledge in the dev repository. However, two days makes that a little rough. 

So I reached out to Tracy to see if there was a cleared ticket in the ops backlog that I could pull up. I didn't want a repeat of two weeks ago when we pulled some tickets that weren't to be worked on. 

She also told me I could start testing tickets that other people are working on!!!! Whaatttt!? That's crazy, grown up developer stuff! I then even got two tickets from Sean to test! So that was super exciting! 

Now it's the weekend. Max and I have double date plans that I'll write about! Super exciting! Should be a great weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Day 24: What's next?

All week I've been wrapping up tickets and getting it done. It's been great! It does, however, mean I'm asking for more things to do on a pretty frequent basis. This is good and bad and leads to a lot of time just chatting with others. 

It's fascinating to hear about differences between the States and Canada. 

First of all, with the two national languages, folks are required to take French through most of their primary school careers, and many secondary education institutions used to have French requirements for entry. 

Then there's the co-op system. Many universities require their students to participate in a year long co-op program. They work full time and don't take classes during this. Your time at university is extended to five years because of this. That's nuts to me. Yet, having a full year of on the job work to add to a resume is quite something. It definitely has an upside. Plus you're getting paid a decent salary the whole year. 

It's different, the two countries side by side, almost overlapping in places, yet starkly different. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Day 23: Who knows how to work a computer?

All companies have technical issues from time to time. Even tech companies.

We have an architecture meeting every Wednesday morning to discuss approaches for new products we're developing. With some of our team working remotely, we need to conference call for the meeting.

Only, the management team was using the main conference room with the smooth running conference set up. 

We tried the smaller conference room. We couldn't hear the remote folks.

We tried the set up in the dev area, where we usually have our morning scrum meetings. We can't log in to the right accounts to view the documents we were discussing from there.

Oh it only gets better and better. 

Surely we can figure this out. You know, we only have degrees.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Day 22: Can I call dibs?

Each Tuesday we look at the tickets currently in the queue for the week. We discuss possible problems and where to start.

Most importantly, everyone scopes out what they want to work on for the week.

There were a couple of tickets this week that made me excited. They seemed like easy wins. Only, a couple of others were also intrigued.

Tracy has Mike and I's back though! She reminded everyone that the low hanging fruit should probably be left for the two of us to handle. Plus, we'd still need input from other members on the team, so it's not like they wouldn't get to work on them at all!

I grabbed one of them as soon as we got out of our meetings! I wrapped it up pretty quickly, and in that time the CS team had posted two more of a very similar nature, so I snagged those and closed them out before the end of the day! 

It was really great to be so highly effective so quickly. Three tickets is usually the number I might finish in a week. Now I just need to hope that more tickets become available and that I'll continue to have things to work on for the rest of the week.

Day 21: What do you eat at Canadian Thanksgiving?

Turkey, apparently. Similar to that of the American Thanksgiving. Though, there is less poultry-mixing (no turduckens) and a significant lack of deep-fried anything.

There was actually no work today. But I'm having a tough time getting off the beautifully clean five days a week numbering system.

We, however, did not have turkey today. 

Thankfully, Loki and I are both feeling much better after our rough and tough Friday. As such, I felt up to particularly special Thanksgiving dinner. 

Home-fried chicken sandwiches it is! Admittedly, not the best thing for me. But after three days of protein shakes, apple sauce and tomato soup, it sure sounded amazing! So far, the body is holding up fine despite the solid food interruption. Good news things. 

What else are we doing to celebrate the festive day? Why, watching all of the Harry Potter movies, of course! Man, things have really improved since 2001.

Burgess Family Infirmary

This weekend wasn't what we were expecting.

We had plans to go down to Seattle for the three day weekend. Visit Michael, see the Space Needle, visit the site of the World's Fair. All the Seattle things. 

But things were working against the Burgess clan.

I've been having constant stomach pains since Sunday night. They got worse at night, when I moved around or lied down. They got better when I ate. Sometimes the pain radiated through to my back. I finally gave in to go see a doctor on Thursday. He told me I have mild pancreatitis.

He then told us I should eat really gentle things for a few days to give my pancreas a break and let it heal itself. You know, steamed vegetables, bananas, mashed potatoes, rice. All of the things that I don't eat. Great. 

I did some internet medical research on my own and figured out that an all-liquids weekend was probably the best thing I could do for it. The doctor also gave me some pills that are essentially Prevacid to help calm down my stomach. 

After we got home from the doctor and propped me up with a heating pad, tomato soup, and tons of pillows, we noticed Loki was keeping his right eye closed. Because we weren't already up to our elbows in ailments. 

We called a vet to make sure there wasn't anything more seriously wrong with him. Initially we got the all clear, with instructions to bring him in if it didn't clear up. 

Friday night, of course, it hadn't cleared up. 

We'd already decided to stay in town for the weekend. My pain was getting worse, and walking around Seattle all weekend really wasn't in the cards. 

Loki had a trip back to the vet. He asked us a series of questions and we were initially hopeful as our answers were all "no." He hadn't been sneezing, or coughing, or itching at the eye, eating less or not drinking, there was not watery or gunky discharge. Evidently these were not the right answers and only made the vet more concerned. 

He gave Loki some drops to "freeze" the eye (still not sure what that was, but he said it would help with the pain he was having). Then he dropped in some dye that would stay in any scratches. Then he had to flush the eye with water.

Now, even with humans, flushing an eye with water is not an easy or pleasant experience. With cats, even worse. Loki hated every minute of this. The vet had a very large syringe without a needle so that he could repeatedly squirt the water at poor Loki's eye. 

The final step was to turn off all of the lights and use a florescent flashlight to look for any dye remaining in Loki's eye. To our horror, a spot the size of a pea shone bright green on his cornea. This is a corneal ulcer, one of the largest the vet had seen. Holy moly. 

He said the pain would be very harsh and it was odd that there had been no discharge. It would have started with a small scratch while he and Amelia were playing, or while Loki was grooming, or with a small foreign body, such as dust. The most important thing now was making sure that any treatment avenue we chose worked as fast as possible.

The vet brought in a gel-like eye drop antibiotic, dropping one drop into his eye and making sure it spread across the whole eye. This would need to be done every 2 hours for 24 hours, then every 4 hours for another 24 hours, then every 6 hours for 4 days. However, if there was no difference in the first 12 hours, we would need to switch to a stronger dose of two different antibiotics. 

Welcome to the long holiday weekend.