The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Just how many engineers does it take to solve a simple geometry problem?

Two months later and we're still waiting to install updates to “Project: Sippy-Cup” into production. We were finally given the “okay” this week, but have twice scrubbed the launch deployment because … “reasons.”


So there's very little for us (the Call Processing team at the Ft. Lauderdale Office of The Corporation) to do this week. And because of that, I've started back to work on a small geometry problem that floated around the office some time last year—find “x”:

[Note: it's not to scale. And no, circling the “x” and scribbling “Found it!” is not the answer.]

I can't be that hard, right? All you need to solve it is geometry. You know, the interior angles of a triangle sum to 180°, what constitutes congruent triangles, all that stuff you should have learned in the 10th grade but have probably forgotten by now.

Um … yeah.

[Sure, ∠CEA ≅ ∠CQB, but where does that get us?]

Fellow cow-orker T didn't solve it (and took a copy home for his son to work on). T2 solved it by using trigonometry. And it took a few hours of hashing it out between myself and R to get a purely geometric solution to it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

This isn't at all about replacing waitrons. Not at all. Nope. Nothing to do with the bottom line or a naked grab at more money. Nope. It's all for the customers' convenience.

One of the things my dad comments on these days is the preponderance of restaurant patrons peering into their smart phones or tablets, ignoring everyone else, which is okay, because everyone else at the table is peering into their smart phones or tablets. Even though they're eating together, they are still eating alone.

One of the things that still gets me is the preponderance of televisions in restaurants. I find them terribly distracting and very hard not to watch. I can somewhat understand a sports bar having them to show sporting games, but McDonalds?. The worse offender I've found is The Flashback Diner which has a television per booth!


So what do Bunny and I find tonight at Olive Garden?

[It's the bastard child of a television with the downside of excessive advertising plus a tablet with the downside of pay-to-play click-games with the hassle of a restaurant trying to run an IT department.  That it has not ended well, much less ended, is beyond me.]

A Ziosk on every table.

Apparently they've been around for a few years and so far, Bunny and I have managed to avoid the restaurants that have the darned devices.

In theory, it seems like a Good Thing™. You can place orders for drinks and desserts through the device. And you can signal for the server (I presume some sort of signal is sent to the kitchen or the server lounge or something but all we noticed is a red light flashing on top of the unit when we did this) and pay the check (the previous party at our table still owed 7¢—how I do not know). But the incessant advertising for food, drinks and “pay-for-play” games just got to be too much (even though the unit itself was thankfully quiet).

We ended up turning the device to face away from us.

I don't know. It just bugs me on some level. Do we as a nation have the attention span of a rabid ferret—oooooh! Shiny!

Friday, May 06, 2016

Notes on an overheard conversation at a local BBQ restaurant that plays both types of music—country AND western

“Oh no!”


“Now I'm earwormed!”

“With what?”

Save a horse, ride a cowboy.”

“Wasn't that the plot to ‘Brokeback Mountain?’”

Friday, April 22, 2016

… aaaaaaand we're back!

It's night. It's more a monsoon than a heavy rain. The thunder is deafening. There are lightening bolts slamming into the earth every few seconds. I'm driving in a construction zone. And every other driver out there is an idiot with their hazzard lights blinking.

I'm having way too much fun for the driving conditions. What a blast!

We're home now. The drive was pretty uneventful until Jacksonville. As I was filling up the car, some guy in an unmarked white van tried to sell us frozen steaks (no, really!). But despite the lack of good steaks recently we decline to buy any.

We then hit very heavy traffic through downtown Jacksonville and by the time that cleared up, we were in the middle of a monsoon for the next eighty miles. After that, it was clear skies all the way to Chez Boca.

Now we collapse.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A quiet day on vacation

This is our last day in Brevard and we took it easy. We had lunch with an old friend of mine who lives in town. For dinner, we went to Binion's Roadhouse, a place we liked last time we ate there.

I'm not sure what's going on in North Carolina, but it seems we cannot get a good steak in this state. Ribeye. Medium rare. It shouldn't be that difficult. Tonight, shoe leather—twice! At least the second one had a bit of medium on it.


Tonight we pack and then tomorrow—driving! Lots and lots of driving.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A sooperseekrit blast from the past

While at Black Dog Salvage I came across this:

[... and the Harmonic Llamas, chanting “Emmit with the hemmit and the shouldama pads.”  Only two other people are expected to get this. The rest of you will just have to keep scratching your heads in puzzlement.]

It obviously stands for “Black Dog Salvage” but it caught my attention because it has another meaning to me (yes, this is an inside joke from a long time ago).

Black Dog Salvage

Bunny is a fan of the television show Salvage Dawgs and since we were in “the neighborhood“ (for medium values of “neighborhood”) of Roanoke, VA we figured we would drive on out and check out Black Dog Salvage.

[I think they'll need a bigger rocket if they want to beat Andy Griffith to the moon.]

It's not a bad place if you are into architectural salvage stores. And it's huge. A ton of stuff for sale, from tiles to columns (Corinthian, Ionic and Doric), doors, and even stairways. It's all for sale.

The main cast members were not there as they were out salvaging some more stuff, but Bunny did recognize one person who has appeared on the show.

We had fun.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Extreme drive-thru, Winston-Salem edition

Bunny and I stopped in Winston-Salem for dinner on the way back to Brevard. Inside the restaurant—

[It's a pan-dimensional drive-thru, which is fine if you're Buckaroo Bonzai. But I'm not, so that's why we didn't notice it at first.]

We didn't realize it was also a drive-thru restaurant. And upon leaving, we realized we should have driven through and not stopped at all (the staff was wonderful, unfortunately, the food wasn't so wonderful).

Driving to China

Bunny had this large china dinner set she wanted to sell, and given that we would be in the neighborhood (for medium values of “neighborhood”) we drove to Replacements, Ltd. in the small town of McLeansville, some three and a half hours from Brevard. It's not a small operation:

[No need to dig to China when there's a metric butt load of china right here.]

And not just limited to plates. They have crystal; they have figurines; they have … lots of stuff.

And for those of you who are not in the “neighborhood,” they ship as well.

Obligatory Picture

[Don't hate me for my sock monkey headphones.]

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

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