In the groove.

Yesterday was one of the most productive days I’ve had in ages. I did some huge revisions to CONGO‘s appserver (the core application that holds all the business logic).

After being sick for a day, and having a tooth extracted earlier in the week, I was feeling edgy about the amount of stuff getting done, but yesterday’s 4-6 hour burst of code updates really helped.

For those into the geekier details, read on!

Continue reading “In the groove.”

Blog design changes.

Well you’ve probably noticed that Planet Geek is going through some changes. The original layout and design I had was aging, and my CSS-fu has improved greatly, so I’m taking a stab at building my own look and feel. The first couple changes are in place, and I’m going to continue tinkering over the next few days. Feedback is always welcome, but comments in particular regarding the wicky-cool tabs for the date headers will be given the most lavish attention. They were rendered in The Gimp and laid into the stylesheet. GEEK GEEK GEEK!

A very good coding night.

Wow, what a great coding session.
I’ve been continuously frustrated with the look and feel of the web client that goes with CONGO. The client is called “Coconut” (special thanks to Mister Privacy for coming up with that one), and has been slowly expanding into a system that lets you do all the functions that CONGO can do.
The problem? It was UGLY. I mean really ugly. I couldn’t use it for advertising, and even though it ran beautifully in text mode for use at events, it just wasn’t nice to look at.
I even got a poke in the side from a friend who said “Nice product, nice web site, but what’s it look like? There’s nothing for folks to see!”
Well gawrshdurnit she was right. So today and this evening I sat down and learned something that I’ve been avoiding, namely how to set up nice looking webpages using cascading stylesheets. My blog uses them extensively (course, I didn’t -write- my blog), and I’ve edited other folks’ code, so I had an idea what it was like, but it was still a challenge.
All you old HTML geeks. Remember learning all the tricks and tweaks to get a table element to line up right? That is -SO- 90’s now. Go CSS. This stuff rocks.
I worked out a design, built my new stylesheet, and converted all of the Coconut pages over to use them.
Check them out here, here, here, and here.
I actually feel like I can take these and put them on the business site, and NOT die of embarrassment at how ugly they are.
Go me 🙂

Coding Nirvana!

Okay, maybe not quite nirvana, but I had a couple hours tonight to continue working on some code I had started yesterday. I’ve been so bogged down in dull aspects of the business, it was nice to actually -create- some stuff for a while.
Many new functions added to the CONGO appserver and client libraries that’ll make things like Coconut (the PHP client class) a heckuva lot more useful.
Yesterday (and I mean Friday with that) – my chosen work environment was the Wendy’s near where I picked up my car. Not too bad actually, foundan outlet, put the headphones on (music of choice was Pink Floyd Wish you were Here), and got the basic changes in place.
Tonight I went through my normal library, then settled into Beethoven’s 9th symphony. I tell ya, that’s one seriously powerful piece o tunage. Hard to NOT focus on the music and get the coding going – but somewhere through the third movement I totally clicked into Flow mode, and cranked out the last couple modules I needed. Committed them back into the repository, and started testing. Twuz great.
Denoument is accomplished with Delerium – Poem, another fantastic piece of music, and great for working – a nice wind down from Ludwig’s bit o fun.
Anyway, I’m feeling pretty accomplished. Off to bed now.

Work and Music.

With Cat in Chicago for the week, I’m taking care of Zach and doing lots of my own stuff. Part of this is taking him to school and back every day, which takes up some serious hours in the day, making it hard to get a good long set of work done.
So today I took my laptop with me on the morning drive. After I dropped him off I drove to Burlington, where I was going to meet a friend for lunch, and parked in the Barnes and Noble next door. I took along my new set of Koss Portapro headphones, (which was a replacement for a set I hard worn out) and sat down in the B&N coffeeshop.
After finding a power outlet and settling in, I jacked in the headphones, set up the laptop, and worked about 2 hours on some design documentation and other bits. I designed an entire new module for CONGO, and fixed a lingering logging bug in the code. Very nice. This sort of work groove is what I enjoy the most. The best situation is when I’m writing code – I can get into a sort of fugue state, being totally focussed on what I’m doing, ignoring everything around me. In this case it was design work and documentation, but it still gave me that sense of productivity and accomplishment.
By the way, there’s a book written about this state, called “Flow – The Psychology of Ultimate Experience“. I read it once a long time ago.
But here’s the question for the masses. I was listening to Afrocelts’ third album , ‘Further in Time’ at quite frightening volumes. It’s a remarkable album, and I’ve found most of their music is -fantastic- for coding or concentrating on work.
So what do YOU like to listen to when working or thinking hard?