Joe Ganley
Writing code since 1979
I have been a professional software engineer for over 10 years. I have written many kinds of software, but my particular strengths are interactive graphics applications, compilers and interpreters, and algorithms.

I also enjoy writing, woodworking, and home improvement. Also this.


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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

More reading

I finally read
The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time, and while it was quite good, it wasn't as good as I'd been led to expect. Particularly, I enjoyed the first half much more than the second. Also, forgive me for being so ethnocentric, but I find reading British English quite irksome: Every time I read dustbin or biscuit or boot it just stops me dead in my tracks. Still, I'd recommend it, if only because the narrative perspective is really fresh.

I also read Real Simple: The Organized Home, and was a little disappointed. I love the magazine, but the book seemed much higher-level, and most of the good hacks were ones I'd already seen in the mag.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Reaching the Dark Tower

I finished The Dark Tower a couple of days ago, and Cory beat me to discussing it. By and large, I agree with all he said: It's far from perfect, but I was happy with the ending, and satisfied that it's over. I still think The Stand is his best work, but this series is certainly second. Unfortunately, I thought the earlier books of the series (and, for that matter, of King's career in general) were the best ones. Finally, a couple of non-spoiler nitpicks: (1) Was Insomnia a total red herring?, and (2) At one point the text reads, "Susannah leapt to her feet." Um, Susannah doesn't have feet, at least not at that point in the story.

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I wonder... (#2)

Eight years ago, when we were in the hospital giving birth to my first daughter, I noticed that all of the electrical outlets were mounted "upside-down," with the ground on top. Since then, I've noticed that they are this way in every hospital I've visited. I always wondered why, and recently I learned that it's a (marginal, IMO) safety feature. With the normal orientation, if a plug wasn't quite plugged all the way in, and a metal object fell on it, it could bridge the hot and neutral and cause a short, or worse, touch just the hot and create an electrocution hazard. Apparently it recently became code in Virginia for commercial construction that the outlets be mounted "upside-down," though it is still not mandated for residential construction. Fact is, I think they look awful upside-down; I can't decide if this is just conditioning because I've seen them the other way all my life, or if there is a real aesthetic imbalance going on.

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Monday, October 04, 2004

I am not Ian Fleming

I just ran across this hysterical thread on some James Bond website. Apparently someone there found my How to Write a James Bond Movie essay and somehow got the impression that instead of being a joke, that I am an actual screenwriter giving real advice. There follows a lot of really in-depth discussion about how Bond movies are so much more than formula, blah blah subtext, and how some of the recent movies succeed or fail in that regard. It circles back around to who am I, anyway, and eventually concludes, "So basically, this is just some random guy's blog." Bingo. Rule of thumb: On the web, assume an author doesn't know what they're talking about unless you have good evidence to the contrary.

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