Jeff Geerling's blog

Time Refines Code

Smooth stone

Legacy code—warts and all—isn't such a bad thing.

If it's built well, and maintained well, it probably takes care of the hundreds/thousands of edge cases with which your beautifully-rewritten new codebase doesn't yet cope.

Unless it's not well-documented (or self-documented), or incompatible with modern systems, it's often a better idea to refactor and clean up old code than to scrap a system entirely and rewrite from scratch.

Image from Thinking Through.

Tolerating the Hatred

If you accuse someone of hating you (or someone else) for simply disagreeing with you (or someone else) on an issue (whether it be the best baseball team, iPhone or Android, the best candy bar, or—gasp—same-sex marriage), please look up the definition of hate, and its synonyms in a thesaurus.

Disagreement ≠ hate.

The Story of the PING Program

I love finding little gems like this: The Story of the PING Program.

The best ping story I've ever heard was told to me at a USENIX conference, where a network administrator with an intermittent Ethernet had linked the ping program to his vocoder program, in essence writing:

ping goodhost | sed -e 's/.*/ping/' | vocoder

He wired the vocoder's output into his office stereo and turned up the volume as loud as he could stand. The computer sat there shouting "Ping, ping, ping..." once a second, and he wandered through the building wiggling Ethernet connectors until the sound stopped. And that's how he found the intermittent failure.

This Bud's for You, Grandpa

My Grandpa Geerling was a very ordinary man. He lived in a simple split-level with a loving wife, and raised nine children while working at a union job.

He loved golf, he loved tools, he loved his children, grandchildren, and more recently, great grandchildren. He had a strong faith that he proclaimed in word and deed throughout his life to all his friends and family—even especially when they needed it most.

He drank Bud Light, and always had golf, racing, football, baseball, or hockey on the TV—unless his team was losing.

His name won't be in any songs, nor will he have a page remembering him on Wikipedia. The world won't remember him—but he didn't have his eyes set on worldly recognition.

My grandparents, dancing

He devoted his life to his wife and children. He was always happy when someone would visit and talk sports, religion, politics, or kitchen remodeling. He was glad to loan out his tools to anyone who asked (and boy, did we ask!), and was always generous in sharing the modest possessions he had.

Last October, I noticed that his entire family—my aunts, uncles and cousins from out of town, his brothers and sisters, his wife, his many grandchildren and great grandchildren—came to support him in his final hours on this earth. He couldn't make his holy hour of adoration, so one of his sons made sure to go and be with Jesus in the Eucharist during that time. He couldn't speak the words of the Rosary audibly, but that didn't mean his family didn't.

He couldn't tell his wife, his brothers and sisters, his sons and daughters, his grandchildren and great grandchildren, to come together and visit him, but also connect with each other one last time before his death. But we did.

At the funeral, as I looked around, I saw doctors, musicians, programmers, writers, members of the armed forces, beautiful families, and many precious children (one of them my own, inside my wife's belly). And I know that my grandfather wasn't a 'great man' of worldly acclaim. But his legacy will make this world a greater place.

He and his wife have spent their lives devoted to their faith and family, and their family was there at the end to support him, as he went to visit God. I pray that he will join the choirs of angels in Heaven, and be united with God eternally. He was a humble man, and he would want me to tell you to pray for him, too. Nobody can pass judgement but God, and nobody can know a man's soul as God did. Everyone needs prayers after they die, even a man of great faith like my grandfather.

On his deathbed, one of my aunts asked him if he wanted anything—something to drink or eat. One of his last words to his children, "I'll take a Bud Light."

Dear Grandpa Geerling, this Bud's for you:

Bud Light for Grandpa Geerling

Taking Twitter by Storm: Let's get #ThanksPontifex trending on Feb. 28

Pope Benedict Greets the Youth - 1

Matthew Schneider is spearheading an effort to get the hashtag #ThanksPontifex (and it's multilingual equivalents) trending globally on Twitter at 07:45 Rome time, in February 28. On his blog, he offers further details, and gives local times around the world for when you should tweet using this hashtag.

For those of you in St. Louis or otherwise in CST, tweet around 1:00 p.m. on the 28th.

Also in the post are a bunch of sample tweets you may post, in addition to links to services that will allow you to schedule tweets in case you can't tweet during the appropriate time (due to work or some other circumstance).

Obviously, this isn't limited to Twitter; if you're on Google+, go ahead and use the same hashtag and see if you can get it trending there too!


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