Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   responsible for the whole stack
Tuesday, October 12 2010
In the recent past when I've done web development, I've only had to work over a narrow range of the web technology stack. I'd have to design the database (though, depending on other people on the team, I might not even have to do that) and my responsibility would be the backend: the administrative tools, the tricky database queries, the business logic, the login and registration functionality, and perhaps some complicated javascript. But on these recent web development jobs I've been in charge of the entire technology stack, from the configuration of Apache to diagnosing vexing Internet Explorer CSS compatibility issues (thanks a lot, Bill Gates, would-be dominator of the web!).
Being in charge of the whole technology stack is a much bigger and more complicated job than that old job, and I haven't yet figured out how to price the work. I do know this: I should be charging at least twice what I have been. This becomes apparent when long lists of little tweaks come in, particularly when they come in by telephone. I've realized something about white collar work: unless you are working tech support in Mumbai, you should probably be earning at least twenty dollars per phone call on top of whatever else you are earning. Phone calls are the worst kind of distraction for the person who is paid for using his mind. The ringing of the phone yanks you out of whatever thought you were in the middle of and it takes time to get back into that zone. This why, people, when you communicate with a professional programmer it is best to use a non-interruptive medium like email. That way your programmer can deal with your issues when he has already landed his brain from its complicated mental ærial acrobatics. The alternative, dialing him up on the phone, is akin to making him eject and parachute to the ground. There's the smoking hole where his mental plane used to be, and he's surrounded by cords and parachute and understandably grumpy. If his attitude is "What the fuck do you want," this is why. Whenever I'm in my zone and I hear the phone ring, my first question is an enraged, "Really? But the thing is I'm busy!" If I'm lucky the call will be from Bard College and will be for Gretchen, but lately it's all been for me.
Even if I don't answer the phone, the distraction of the four rings, the answering machine, and the message have the same effect. And if I don't answer, I still have to return the call. The only thing worst than answering a call is having to return one. And, by the way, if you ever decide to call me and leave a message the contents of which are simply, "Can you call me back?" well then fuck you asshole! If you leave a message on my machine, you can at least go through the trouble of preparing me mentally for the matter your distraction was all about.

Gretchen hadn't taken the dogs for a good walk this morning, so this evening I took Eleanor for a long walk down the Stick Trail and then home along the farm road (Sally chose not to come).

Eleanor along the Stick Trail at about 41.924568N, 74.10274W looking south. This picture was taken very near where this picture of Eleanor was taken seven years ago. The duct tape on her body is to secure a bandage holding in place a flap of skin that had come loose after a recent injury. (I'd tried to superglue the flap back in place with mixed success.)

The sun gets in your eyes in the place where the Stick Trail travels through a forest of small trees on a south slope at about 41.91856N, 74.102526W (on protected Catskill State Park land), looking southwest.

Near where the Stick Trail crosses a gulley at about 41.92013N, 74.105744W (on protected Catskill State Park land), looking west. This is where Eleanor rescued Ray and Nancy's dog Suzy that time back in June.

Along the farm road at about 41.926931N, 74.10892W, looking north.

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