Flushing my system

Now that the launch pressure has evaporated, I’ve been blissfully resting since Friday, splitting my time between Terry Pratchett’s hilarious Thud, watching TV and puttering about the site doing minor fixes.

That included adding a ‘People Using This’ section to netgrowl.py, which, considering I got half a dozen e-mail messages about it in the past month alone, means it’s probably a lot more popular than I realized.

And I badly need the rest – I feel like I was run over by a herd of stampeding lemmings (got these little irritating aches all over, surely the result of accumulated stress), and the rainy, humid weather is giving me sinus trouble again (always a major nuisance, especially considering we were supposed to be kicking off Summer now).

Still, there are some things that I’d like to get out of my system before going back to not writing about work, though, and the first is that Scott Adams needs to stop doing this to me:

The rest is mostly about the fun aspects of being an engineer in Marketing, and cannot really be posted here – maybe I’ll save them for some sort of memoir, but it boils down to this: you occasionally get to pull some stunts that people would never expect from your ‘average’ product manager.

The really fun thing, though (and that is something I can write here) is to have a Mac along for the ride.

As it happens, I borrowed a G4 PowerBook to do some testing throughout the project (remember, I practically never take my Macs to the office), and it turned out to have a lot more uses than we bargained for:

  • as a fallback machine when Windows Update struck my laptop (I just fired up Citrix and kept on working)
  • as a generic, all-singing, all-dancing, file format viewer/converter/slicer/dicer
  • as a web test machine, letting us fire up four different browsers to test web forms and sites
  • as a localization aid, using Hex Fiend and TextMate to look at and tweak strings on firmware
  • as a UNIX box, sniffing at stuff with Wireshark and poking it with wbox
  • or (my personal favorite) generating call tones with Audacity

This kind of versatility is something a lot of people don’t value, and most of the things I pulled off on that G4 will be forgotten in the fullness of time (plus I’ll have to return it, since Macs still aren’t “standard” gear at the office).

But yes, it made a substantial difference (at least to me).

Thanks, Apple.

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