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Started: 2005-11-20 20:28:47

Submitted: 2005-11-20 21:39:07

Visibility: World-readable

When Kiesa and I got married, we had to figure out whose parents we were going to spend which holidays with. We ended up spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with opposite sets of parents, and switching every year. This year we're going to Longview for Thanksgiving, and Norman for Christmas. (Sing "Norman Oklahoma" as if it were "Gary Indiana".) We're flying Frontier direct from Denver to Portland on Wednesday evening, 23 November, and returning Sunday night, 27 November. (That's flights 799 and 798, on an A32x.) Our trip through Will Rogers World Airport is another direct flight via Frontier, flying out Thursday night, 22 December, and returning Tuesday afternoon, 27 December. (Flights 4182 and 4186, on a Canadair Regional Jet 700.) I have enough PTO accrued to take the rest of the week after Christmas off, and if I don't use it by the end of the year it evaporates.

Friday evening I drove down to DIA to see Bethany and Willy as they flew to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving. (United now has a direct flight from Pasco to Denver, which makes getting to Oklahoma City a bit less painful.)

Since I'm the only engineer at my employer who groks the entire software task necessary to finish an important update to one of our standard products, I ended up as the project manager. I've never done anything like this before; since my previous boss left this summer, I've done my best to manage myself when projects were on fire, but now I have resources to marshal -- people other than me -- and coordinate, and I hope I'm up to the challenge.

All was good with my schedule for almost two weeks. Then the schedule stalled when our print head electronics failed. The best information I have now is that the RMA'd electronics were sent -- from the UK -- on Friday, a week after we knew the old electronics were having issues, so we'll probably end up with the replacement early this week. That's a week and a half turnaround, and the supplier assures us this is an "expedited" RMA. The mitigating news is that the supplier is really our customer (although it's a different division).

So with a week-and-a-half delay in the schedule, that pushes shipment back until after the new year. I don't yet have a good feel how management feels about this, but there's really only so much I can do.

The curious part is that the simple act of putting me in charge of the project means I now care about it more than I normally would.

(To avoid invoking Brooks' Law -- adding more engineers to a late project makes it later -- I put all the engineers I could get on the project in the first week. Now that the project is officially late (according to the original schedule) reclaiming those engineers won't make the project later. I hope.)

Kiesa and I drove up to Greeley last night and played Settlers of Catan until 0130. In between our two games, we decided to test a hypothesis: our host recalled reading a study in which people were given three samples of Coke and Pepsi, two of one and one of the other, and the person is asked to correctly identify each one. (Apparently doing three samples instead of two makes the whole thing harder.) Most people couldn't correctly identify the colas, but another guy and I thought we could. This required a late-night trip to Walmart to acquire the colas in question. Both of us who took the challenge correctly identified the sodas. I even managed to figure it out before I actually drunk the samples; I correctly identified them by smell.

I got to sleep in until 1130 this morning, but Kiesa wasn't quite as lucky.

Being a visual person, I'm obsessed with maps and I like to see where geocaches I might find are. The official website doesn't believe in giving out large, scrollable maps unless one pays, so I got myself a Google Maps API key and put together a Geocaching with Google Maps demo. It's still in beta; it needs front-end work, but so far I'm pretty happy with it.