Where the words go
Two different days this week I wrote most of a post on my iPad during lunch. I got interrupted both times, and closed the app. I had expected the draft posts to be saved, but it appears the app doesn’t work that way. Which is an extremely poor design decision1.
But enough critiquing of other people’s software design decisions2.
It wound up being a very odd week.
We both took Monday off as a day to recover from the con—a day to sleep in, do laundry, unpack, and ease the transition back to work. I was having an extra strong hay fever day, so was glad that I didn’t have to deal with an avalanche of email and such. I knew that at least two fires would be waiting for me to fight when I went in3, so an extra day of rest was much appreciated. We drove up to Everett in the evening to meet J’wyl, Sky, Anthony, and
Jerry Jordan Jared4 at the AFK Tavern for a dinner in honor of J’wyl’s5 birthday and return home. It was a very nice evening.
Tuesday morning my hay fever was much worse. I woke up several times in the night extremely thirsty. I was afraid that it wasn’t hay fever, but that I had brought home the dreaded con crud6. My work laptop refused to boot up when connected to the dock, so I had to run it on it’s own for half the day. I was still trying to get the computer up an unexpected chainsaw was thrown at me. I had barely got the computer up and obtained my first cup of coffee when another chainsaw was thrown at me. These were in addition to the two I knew would be waiting for me.
The two unexpected problems and the expected one took me all day to deal with, plus a bit. I was really dragging at the 9 hours mark, but couldn’t leave until I had at least handled a teeny part of the fourth chainsaw, plus handled a few routine things. And my sinus headache had resisted all the cold meds (on top of my usual allergy medicine) I had taken. Since Monday a single cold tablet had gotten me through most of the day, I was having a harder time convincing myself I wasn’t sick.
I don’t remember the trip home from work. I think I beat Michael. I remember discussing with him whether we ought to go to the house concert/birthday party for Jeri Lynn. He had also worked an extra long day, with a lot of physical rushing around, so was it pretty bad shape. And he was running a low grade fever. So we decided not to go. I took a nap.
Wednesday is my normal work from home day, so I slept in before setting up my computer and logging in. The sinus headache was nowhere near as bad as it had been Tuesday. The optometrist called to say my much-delayed new glasses had arrived, so at lunch time I ran over to pick them up. At the end of the day, I picked up Michael and we stopped for sushi7.
Thursday began as a joy. My sinuses were only normal-springtime-hay-fever stuffy and sore. The moment I walked in the doors at work, I heard my boss’s laughter coming out of the kitchen. So after four months, she was back. Hurrah! Unfortunately, she got some bad news regarding her daycare arrangements midday. She had to leave early. It was a productive day, with significant work on two of the chainsaws. For TV night only C.D. attended, but I think we had fun.
Then Friday morning when I arrived my boss’s office is dark. There was an email from her sent the night before. Her four-year-old had a fever over 100, so she was working from home as well as taking her daughter to the doctor. All four of my chainsaws (as well as the three batons) were still in the air, but every single project was in a “waiting for information/a response” mode. One co-worker was in the same state, and came over to find out if I needed help on anything. I laughed and said that I had been thinking of asking him the same thing. So I worked on doing a bunch of file tidying in the main source repository. Not exactly stimulating work. I was really happy to finally call it a day and leave to walk home in the pretty sunshine.
It was so nice, I sat outside on the porch enjoying the sunshine waiting for Michael to come home. The breeze was more of a light, cold wind, and though it seemed too pretty to go inside, I compromised by moving inside but leaving the door open. Once Michael was home we went out to dinner and did some browsing at Barnes & Noble. As if we needed more books. We did not come home empty handed.
Saturday Michael had to work, because during the period around Earth Day there are many, many recycling events they have to go staff. Besides having to work on what ought to be his day off, he had to go in early. I had to hang out at the house awaiting a UPS delivery, so I put off doing errands. I did get some housecleaning done, though.
Today was Michael’s only day off. I had planned to spend the day doing laundry, writing, and maybe do some work in the flower beds. Wound up spending more time shopping for plants. Brought home three tomato plants and a lot of flowers. Michael wanted to go look for a specific something at Best Buy, so we headed out. They didn’t have the thing he was looking for, but we wound up buying a new stereo tuner8. We had dinner10 at California Pizza Kitchen, then we walked through the mall past all the closed stores to see whether Toys R Us was open later than the other places. Turns out that sometime since Christmas, the Toys R Us at Northgate has closed down completely.
I had thought I’d spend the rest of the evening potting the violas and pansies and fuchsias I picked up11, but it took us a couple hours to get the old cables labeled, unplugged, then de-tangled, then the new tuner in place and connected. Then I had to figure out the oddities of the programming to get our home spun surround sound working.
The sound quality seems an improvement over the old system. Until I get the universal reprogrammed, I’ll still be juggling multiple remotes, but at least it’s a simpler system than before11. Of course, since the fancy programmable universal remote is not as programmable as we need, and is clunky to program, I always have to do multiple remotes, anyway.
But now we’re back to talking about poor design decisions, again.
1. In fact, as far as I can tell, the only way to save a local draft in the iOS app is to press the cancel button, then on the confirmation screen, select Save Draft. That design decision goes beyond poor and into “criminally stupid.” Please note: having Save Draft as an option on the cancel dialog is an excellent idea. Not having any other way for a user to save a draft than to first Cancel is the stupid part.
2. Since user interface design is one of the things I do professionally, I probably overreact to such decisions, particularly when they inconvenience me, as this one did.
3. In the past I’ve used the metaphor of juggling chainsaws, but saying “two chainsaws were waiting for me” didn’t seem right.
4. Jared sometimes complains about customers who look at his name tag, see the word “Jared” and still call him Jerry. Sky usually commiserates by mentioned clients he has worked with for years who call and ask to speak to Scott. I have been known to attempt to commiserate by talking about one co-worker who always addresses me as Greg both in person and when replying to emails. Jared then pointed out that I have misspelled his name in meeting minutes. He did not seem to take comfort in my pointing out that I’ve misspelled my own name in meeting minutes.
5. She spells her name J’wyl except in those cases where an internet service won’t accept the apostrophe in the name. I find it amusing that the live spellchecker does not call out Jwyl as a misspelling, but does object to J’wyl.
6. The phenomenon whereby when returning home from a conference, convention, or other confabulation of a bunch of people from many places, you find yourself coming down with a cold or other viral ailment, and hear reports of many other people from the same event reporting similar symptoms.
7. As previously reported.
8. Our old one, purchased about 10 years ago, still produces good sound, but it doesn’t support any digital audio formats, and we’ve had to use ever more convoluted patch cord systems to get sound out of all the other devices into the speaker system. Michael has been showing me more modern tuners for some time, pointing out how many of our devices output with HDMI, now. So we’ve been thinking about it for a while9.
9. We quickly settled on the same Pioneer model as our first choice, and other than the shelf model, they were out. It is also a discontinued model. However, our second choice (another Pioneer) not only was in stock, but they had an open box model for about a hundred bucks less than the sale price, so that’s the one we got.
10. It was the first real meal either of us had. We’d both just been snacking all day, unwilling to decide on anything more substantial.
11. In the store, I said, “One advantage to doing this is that I won’t be the only one with a mind map of our entertainment system.” Michael said, “Yeah, and I won’t have to try to figure out that I need to set the TV to input one and the stereo to input three and turn on one of the other components that isn’t the one I want just to get pass the signal I do want into the speakers.” To which I replied, “That’s what I just said. In fewer words.”