Wednesday, June 16, 2004

More Stuff

Let's go over what I've packed. I've got Tylenol PM packed. I also have a few yards of twine and about 7 feet of duct tape. 5 boxes of crayons and two bags of candy to give away to kids. Bug spray, Wet Naps, hydrocortisone, Neosporin, band aids, Pepto-Bismol and toilet paper. Malaria meds, "Third World Travel Formula," probiotic, Imodium and a follow-up antibiotic if Imodium doesn't do the trick. Enough clothes, socks, underwear, flip flops, running shoes. Some meal-in-a-bars. A flashlight. Three books. A map of London, all my flight info, printouts of some key emails and a notebook for journaling. My camera and extra batteries. All the regular toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, floss and deodorant. Passport, proof of yellow fever vaccination. Feels pretty thorough...but what am I forgetting?

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Too Much Stuff

We spend our lives working so that we are able to acquire stuff so that we can eventually die and leave all of our stuff for our families to clean up.

Monday, June 14, 2004

No Private Methods

Jaybaz writes about a programming concept that intrigued me: no private methods. If you ever need to encapsulate something into a private method, you should make it an object instead with a public interface. He describes it as performing Extract Class until there are only public methods left. Private fields are okay, but methods must be public.

It's intriguing.... It would be a little bit of overhead, extra work, sure, but it leads to some cool ideas. It pushes the idea of design encapsulation. It should lead to better code reuse. And better reuse means less bugs over time: you fix it in one spot and everything that uses that object is fixed, too.

Of course if you define your object boundaries poorly, refactoring might become a nightmare. But if they're defined well, refactoring might become a breeze.

I haven't made up my mind on this yet. I want to try it and see if I like it. Will I stick with it? Will the overhead and extra work be outweighed by the encapsulation and reusability prospects in that code? Will it be an end to or a cause for refactoring?

Thursday, June 10, 2004


This weekend, I spent time with my family for an early Father's Day celebration. Here's my step-nephew, Jack. I should mention that my sister made it officially know this weekend that she's expecting. I'll be a "real" uncle around Christmas time! Near the end of the night, a few of us sat around a fire.

Today I cut into a PureHeart seedless watermelon. It's great. It's a honeydew-sized watermelon with more meat and less rind. Official homepage.

We've had some crazy weather today with plenty of thunder and lightning. Lightning is incredibly hard to capture on film. I only got this one picture.

Friday, June 04, 2004

New Lens

After a week in San Diego, I decided that my 18-70mm lens wasn't quite enough for me. I want to be able to get even closer to safari subjects...without endangering my life. I set out to get a new lens. I found Ken Rockwell's site, and he reviews (and uses) Nikon lenses. He spoke favorably of the Nikon 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens. I like that the lens is mostly made from metal (not plastic like most newer lenses). As someone who is used to how rapidly computer technology becomes obsolete, I'm fascinated that this lens, which was introduced in 1989 (and discontinued in 1999), works with my camera. In fact, it supports every function except 3-D matrix metering (but supports color matrix metering).

I won an auction on eBay to get this lens. I think I got a good price. I actually computed the average price of all of the (still visible) completed auctions for this lens and made sure I paid less than the average. I got it today.

I took an extended lunch to meet the UPS guy. At about 1:20, the truck pulled up. I was sitting there waiting and, ten minutes later, the truck pulled away. I was thinking to myself, Is this a joke? I check out the tracking online and it said that the package couldn't be delivered because no apartment number was specified. What the hell. I looked at what I sent them and, sure enough, my apartment was given. I put on my shoes, grabbed a pop and left to go back to work. But just for the fun of it, I decided to drive around a little bit and see if I could catch the UPS guy. I went around the next block, and as I was heading back up a street (completing a U), I saw a UPS truck stopped and delivering a package to some house. I put the car in reverse and then headed down to meet the UPS guy. As he walked back to his truck, I asked him if he had just been unable to deliver a package because there wasn't an apartment. He asked me my name and address. Yeah, he had it. I asked him if he wanted to see my driver's license or anything and he said no, if I knew that much about a package he believed me.

After that debacle, I went to work. When I got home, I was finally able to try it out. the subject matter here is pretty boring, but it illustrates the point quite effectively. The top two pictures are at both ends of the lens that came with my camera, the 18-70mm. The bottom two shots are the opposite ends of the new lens. All of these pictures were taken at f/6.3 for 1/1250 of a second. As stated on the image, none of the images were resized, only cropped. If your web browser automatically resizes images, you may want to view it at full size. So far, I'm happy!

Thursday, June 03, 2004

2 Weeks to Africa

You know what's crazy? 14 days from now (to the hour), on the 17th of June, I'll be departing O'Hare on my way to London. Three days after that, I'll be on my way to Tanzania. I can't believe it will happen so soon!