Catch Up (once again) and What's Been Going On Recently

So I am once again, playing catch up for the last two or three weeks since I last wrote something for my blog. On the bright side this is probably the longest period of time that I’ve managed to keep a kind of semi-regular blogging behaviour going, so it’s not all that bad I guess.

As part of writing this entry I’ve just installed Byword and some markdown related TextExpander snippets, so we’ll see how they go. I’ve only just barely started using Byword but I have to say that, so far, it looks quite nice, but from an appearance point of view, and the nice simple functionality that it provides. Only time will tell, but I think I could totally see myself spending a decent amount of time in Byword if I continue to so much writing. I’ve just enabled the paragraph focus feature and it looks nice, though I’m going to need to spend some time experimenting to find out what really works for me. I’ve never really bothered trying to get into the “fullscreen, not distraction” kind of writing, but if my initial impressions are anything to go by, I think I’m going to like it.

Huh, what do you know? I just realised that some of the reviews that I’ve read must have been for older versions of Byword that had different functionality, as this version doesn’t seem to have the option, to configure the number of lines that are included in focus mode. Instead I only have access to Paragraph mode and Single Line mode. This isn’t a huge loss, but it would have been nice to have the flexibility to experiment and see which suited me best.

The Textexpander snippets I installed were developed by Brett Terpstra, and nifty dude who tends to make some quite useful stuff. You can find them at this url if you are so inclined.

Recent Goings On At Work

So what’s been going on at work? Well, we had our performance appraisals last week, and I seemed to get through that without any negative feedback, which is always nice. Granted out reviews are fairly informal, but still, it’s nice to think that you’ve performed well enough that your superiors don’t have anything negative that is worth mentioning. I’ve finally checked in the CIG work for sending request forms from Karisma to iSite via a combination of HL7 messages and DICOM messages, and it’s great to have that burden off my shoulders. Initial testing indicates that it works as expected, so hopefully the roll out will go smoothly.

Last friday was the first of our new HQ Friday’s, where the developers get to spend some time working with HQ and the new C# code base. It made for a nice diversion from the normal maintenance related tasks, and it’s something to look forward to each week. Also, now that CIG is (hopefully) out of the way, I have the opportunity to get started on some newer more interesting tasks, one of which is to spend some time getting the Karisma code up to snuff so that we can potentially move to using Delphi XE instead of being stuck with Delphi 5. D5 has served us well, but it’s around 14 years old now and I think everyone would be happy to be able to move to a newer IDE and the benefits that come from doing so. The main initial thrust of getting the code to work with the newer IDE and compiler will be making all of the string related code work safely with the new unicode strings. That won’t be too hard, hopefully, but there will definitely be a number of places in library code that will need to be fixed. On the up side, with access to some of the new language features such as Generics and (if memory serves) ForEach, it may well be possible to make a larger number of places in the code a bit simpler and easier to read. Generics especially should provide the option to get rid of a large number list classes that only exist in order to provide a strongly typed list for each type of object that we deal with. Not all list classes will be able to be cut because of Generics, but I’d be willing to be that at least 50% of them could probably go. I’m not sure that would affect the compiler performance in a positive manner, but it isn’t likely to hurt and less code to maintain is always a good thing.

(Wow, would you look at that. 788 words and I’ve not really gotten into the personal side of things just yet, or even finished with the work stuff. I guess I really do have a bunch of words bottled up inside me at times. Perhaps with some time and thought I really will be able to make a go of starting a blog at work.)

And speaking of blogs and works, Callan gave me the OK to make a start on a work blog, so I’ll have to spend some time trying to get that up and running at some point. Putting a blog in place is easy enough (I’ve already got a Wordpress installation up and running) but the real challenge will be getting people to pay attention to it and coming up with suitable content on a sufficiently frequent basis to keep people’s interest. I had some ideas on the type of content to post about, but I’m having doubts as to whether I’ll be able to have enough of right stuff to make it worth while. I’m going to have to sit down and have a serious thing about it at some point. I should probably also try to get at least one person from the support team involved. Having involvement from the two major teams will likely make it easier for everyone to take it seriously once it’s up and running.

Things In My Personal Life

As to the personal side of my life…hmm, what have I been up to?

Movie Night

I went and saw the finally Harry Potter movie with doug last Tuesday. We just saw regular session, no Imax or 3D, and it was fine, though the film had a rather noticeable set of “run lines” on screen for a good chunk of the movie. I’m guessing they are the result of the film having been shown a lot, and it wasn’t really a problem (they were restricted to running down the left of the screen, rather than in the middle), but it would have been nice if the screen was clean the whole way through. Since I shouted Doug for the meal and last movie that we saw (Transformers 3), he shouted me this one. We ate dinner at a sushi (kind of) place that have the conveyor belt of goodies. We ordered a main meal that didn’t involve the conveyor belt, but we did end up grabbing a few things from it. I hadn’t eaten at a place like that before and it made for an interesting change. I’d do it again, but if I was going to go back to the same place, I think I’d like to do so when the weather was a bit nicer. It was a cold and wet day, and the restuarant had had some issues with a leaky roof, and because it was kind of outside the cold breeze was a bit annoying. Still, a nice meal and a positive experience all in all.

(phew, and now I’m up to 1283 words and counting. That is quite probably a new record for words written in a single sitting. Maybe I’ve written more at some point in the past, but it isn’t likely. This would certainly be the most that I’ve written for a blog entry since I started back into the recent series of blog posts.)

Well, bugger it. I’ve just discovered that my TextExpander snippets seem to have disappeared at some point. If I had to guess, it was probably something to do with upgrading to Lion, though who knows, as I don’t use them that often. Hopefully if I start writing some more I’ll have an increased reason to use them, especially if I end up doing much writing for the work blog. There should be enough repetition and annoying to type words while doing that kind of writing, that I might finally have a real reason to take some shortcuts with the typing that I need to do.


I filled out my census form today (2011-08-07). I did it online and it took less than 15 minutes. I think they really nailed it for this one. The presentation on the web site was fairly clean and easy to use, and it sure as hell beat having to do it on paper.

The End

It’s probably time to call it quits on this particular, as I’ve just crossed the 1500 word boundary. It looks like I’ve had a quite a ramble this time, so I might have a quick read over it and get it posted.

Until next time.

Craig Reynolds @wyldphyre