Douglas L Perry, The Author blog

June 15, 2011

Bugs in your software

Filed under: Thoughts — douglaslperry @ 2:26 am
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I’m working on a new piece of software and had been having the normal issues with debugging. Variables that haven’t been initialized, logic that is wrong, and syntax errors. These don’t really bother me as they are pretty easy to find and fix.

Today though, I came across one that just made me mad.

I had used the same piece of code on another module, so I simply copied in the appropriate changes and thought I would be off and running. But no. It not only did not work, but had the wierdest behavior that I have ever seen.

I pored over the code, looking at every line, trying to figure out what could possibly be the problem, but I couldn’t find it. I even slept on it, thinking that I’d figure it out in the morning, but when I woke up, it was still there.

Finally I thought I’d try something, and saved all the files once more. Sure enough, one of the files had been changed, but not saved, and therefore the change I made hadn’t been reflected. That turned out to be the cause of the problem. The change had been to remove a trigger event, and that was what was causing the problem.

 

After the steam out of my ears finally subsided, I took some solace in the fact that the bug was fixed, but am still kicking myself for the stupid mistake.

Save early and save often is my new policy.

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February 14, 2011

Writing Patents

Filed under: Thoughts,Writing — douglaslperry @ 4:12 am
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I’ve been meaning to write a post about my trip to the Philippines, but patents have been taking all my time recently. If you check my youtube channel, I do have a few videos of traffic and some of the crazy things I saw, but no time to post up some of the best of 600+ pictures that I took.

Most of them are of the wedding I attended, but there were a number of Baguio, and Tagaytay, two interesting places that I visited besides Manila.

 

December 17, 2010

Turn your *$%^ phone off

Filed under: Thoughts,Writing — douglaslperry @ 8:38 pm
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Went to Starbucks this morning for coffee and had to stand in line behind an annoying woman talking on her cellphone. Not only was she talking loud enough for everyone in the place to hear, even over the noise of the espresso machines, but it was one of those annoying conversations about nothing.

As she got to the front of the line to order, the cashier had to ask her three times what she wanted because she didn’t have the decency to stop her conversation and listen to what the cashier was saying. After the order she couldn’t figure out the change that she was given, thinking that somehow she got screwed, because she wasn’t listening to the cashier count back the money. After another couple of minutes she finally realized that the change was correct, but still didn’t move out of the way to let the next person, who was me, put in my order. I nearly had to elbow her out of the way to get to the cashier, who’s now waving me forward, and nearly getting upset with me because I’m not putting in my order.

Meanwhile it’s cold outside and the line is now extending out the door.

And she’s still talking about nothing.

And the people behind me are becoming restless.

And the drone in front of me feels like a mosquito buzzing next to my ear.

It took nearly every bit of control for me not to say something to her, or punch the little blue button on her headset, but I knew she wouldn’t have understood what I was saying, and probably called the cops on me or something.

I gave her the stink eye as she finally moved out of the way, but it was as if nothing else in the world around her existed except for the phone call about nothing.

Rude. Just plain rude.

 

November 30, 2010

Uptight Rejection Rejection

Filed under: Thoughts,Writing — douglaslperry @ 1:24 am
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This post by literary agent Janet Reid really made me chuckle. Apparently an author submitted something to said agent, and received an immediate rejection letter for their work. They were so enraged that they ripped it into pieces, and sent it back with a carefully personalized note that not only derided Ms Reid for the rejection, but insulted her with profanity.

Smooth move moron.

Not only will Ms Reid never represent you, (and rightly so), but using that type of tactic is going to give you a bad reputation among the agent community at large. You’ve just signed your own death warrant among any agent for quite a while.

Of course this kind of behavior also speaks volumes about the character of the author. Anyone who feels so strongly that agents should be lining up to fight for their debut work obviously doesn’t understand that publishing is a business and rejections are how it works.

I don’t know if the work was any good or not, but based on the speed of the rejection, and the behavior of the author, I suspect it was crap. I’ve been known to make mistakes once in a while, but I doubt that I’m wrong on this one.

Read a few books about how to write, follow the discussions on writers blogs, and write a few books before you get all full of yourself and make a mess in the process.

November 22, 2010

Food Drive Picture

Filed under: Thoughts — douglaslperry @ 8:32 pm
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Well it seems it is that time of year once more, when the food drive barrels are in place at Silicon Valley companies. Given the current economic conditions, it seems this year more than ever they are needed to help those who cannot provide food for their families.

I question why they seem to show up only once a year around the holidays, I mean, people are hungry all year right? But overall I don’t mind helping those less fortunate as long as I am not forced to do so.

What struck me as strange this year, was the image that the food drive organization decided to use for their posters.

It shows a young man, presumably a father, smiling up at his child, who looks to be about a year old, held using his right arm. In his left hand is a plastic food container, the kind used to hold fruit such as strawberries or blueberries, etc.

But the container doesn’t contain those types of fruit, in fact it has no fruit at all, it’s full of artichokes. For those of you that are unfamiliar, an artichoke is a spiny vegetable that can barely be consumed by adults, let alone a small child.

Yes you can argue that the artichokes are going to feed the parents and the parents will buy other food for the child, but it just seemed like a strange image to use when you are trying to solicit food for people in need.

Me, I would have had a picture of a young kid holding a sandwich with a bite taken out of it, cracking a huge smile with great big gobs of peanut butter stuck to both cheeks, but then again, what do I know?

 

September 24, 2010

Dancing with the Stars

Filed under: Thoughts — douglaslperry @ 11:24 pm
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Who knew it would last 10 seasons… I thought it was doomed from day one. I simply couldn’t figure out the appeal. I mean, who wants to watch supposed stars fumble around the dance floor looking like idiots for an hour.

Well, as it turns out, lots of people.

It’s no secret that the average amount of fabric per participant is close to zero, and the quantity of silicone shaking is about the same as stored on the shelf at your local Home Depot, but that can’t be the main attraction. That’s mostly for the male viewers.

It’s probably also true that the female viewers (which I assume is most of the audience) probably enjoy some of the fantastic costumes, the crazy hairdoos, and the over the top jewelry, but that still can’t be what has kept the show going on this long.

Nope, I figured it out.

You see, Dancing with the Stars, is like a living, breathing Star magazine.

You’ve seen them at the supermarket. There is always the fantastic headline such as “Elvis has alien baby”, or “Angelina and Brad donate both kidneys to science”. Yeah, pure, unadulterated drivel….

But you see what’s appealing about these, right? These kind of stories knock the superstar off from their ivory tower. It brings them down to the readers level. After reading one of the stories the customer snickers and thinks “Ya see… they’re no better than me.”

And that’s exactly what Dancing with the Stars is all about. When the audience sees the star fumbling in practice as if they have three left feet, or storming out of the studio like a spoiled brat, they have the same reaction. “I told ya…They’re no better than me.”

September 15, 2010

Reader Comment

Filed under: Books,Writing — douglaslperry @ 7:52 pm
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I just got a message from a reader who was pretty upset. Not for my fiction book, but for one of my computer language textbooks. It wasn’t about the actual content of the book, but the way that it was printed.

By the indignant tone, it seems the reader must think that I have have a set of quill pens in a backroom where I hand print each page, carefully glue them together and give each one a final hug, before they are sent into the wild.

Let me give you a hint. I don’t do that.

What I actually did was type a bunch of characters into a word processor and emailed the files to the publisher. A little while later, I received some galley proofs, which I looked over, and waved a rubber chicken over them to bless them for publication. That was it. End of story.

I had no input on the cover image, the margins on the page, what type of paper was used, what color ink was used, what font was used, the line spacing, whether or not it was translated into Swahili first, nothing else. So to complain to me that the printing looked of inferior quality, doesn’t really help all that much. Yes, I can and will complain to my editor, but at the end of the day, I’m not really expecting that my comment will go very far. It won’t be for lack of trying, but honestly, I’m pretty far removed from where those type of decisions are made.

Given today’s economic woes, I can imagine that publishers are trying to cut costs, and maybe the quality of the printing is suffering. If so, I’m not happy about that and I will do my best to fix it, but at the moment, I’m feeling pretty powerless.

I don’t fault the consumer for complaining if the product is substandard. I would do the same. But talking to me about it is like telling a musician that his CD sounds like crap. It doesn’t really help. Once he plays the music, it’s pretty much out of his hands.

If you don’t like the quality of a book, CD, or other manufactured product you should complain, but complain to the guy with the printing press, not the artist.

September 11, 2010

When you’re right, you’re right

Filed under: Thoughts — douglaslperry @ 8:44 pm
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On the upcoming anniversary of one of the most deadly attacks on American soil, this post made me smile and nod my head. Tam always has that effect on me, but today I nodded even harder.

I have no idea why 9 years after the attack, we are just barely seeing signs of life at the site. I went to the NY Trade Center site in July and was amazed at the lack of progress. What I expected to see was a gleaming new building that epitomized the spirit of the American people after such a tragedy. Instead, I saw only the beginnings. You would think that 9 years would be plenty of time, but I guess a few people had to talk about it for a while, or 9 years or so.

September 7, 2010

Call of a Lifetime

Filed under: Books,Stories — douglaslperry @ 12:41 am
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I got to talk with a real live Hollywood Producer about my book the other night. I wrote about it here. Go check it out.

August 27, 2010

Scary Thanksgiving

Filed under: Stories,Writing — douglaslperry @ 4:52 am
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A few years ago I was in LA for Thanksgiving at my, at the time, sister-in-law’s place. It was the night before all the food, and we were sitting in the family room watching TV. I don’t have a clue what was on, but all of the sudden I heard a helicopter come over the house very low, and I saw a bright light through the windows.

At first I didn’t think much of it, but then I heard it go by again. I immediately knew what was happening.

I jumped up, shut off the TV, and ran around the house turning off the lights. I ran to each of the doors and made sure they were locked. I told everyone to be quiet and we sat in the dark watching the helicopter trace back and forth across the sky.

It was erie hearing the whop whop of the blades increase in tempo as the chopper flew towards us, then slow again as it went past. The searchlight looked like something from an alien ship as it traced its beam back and forth from above.

A few minutes later we heard police sirens, lots of them, and a few moments after that, they suddenly stopped. I stared out the front window not sure what I would find, but I saw nothing.

After 15 minutes or so, the helicopter flew off, and the neighborhood went quiet. We sat in the dark for another half an hour or so, until it finally seemed like everything was over. We went to bed, and wondering what the heck had happened.

The next morning I went out to retrieve the paper and there it was on the front page. The police had been chasing a suspect on the street near my sister-in-law’s house, he had lost control of his van and crashed into a light pole. He exited the vehicle, jumped over the fence in her gated community, and ran down her street. He entered a house just down the street where they had a party going on. The fugitive entered the house, went to an upstairs bedroom, pulled out a handgun, and shot himself.

Needless to say, we were shocked. I knew when I saw the light, that the police were looking for someone. I wasn’t sure that he was in our neighborhood, but I thought we’d better be careful just in case. I’m not sure if our efforts prevented him from coming into my sister-in-law’s house, but I’m sure it didn’t hurt.

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