Some adventures in road and trail running.
For Running stuff click here. For Eclipse stuff click here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Book review: The Imperfect Board Member

The Imperfect Board Member by Jim Brown.

Nice, light, interesting read which I would recommend.
And not just for board members. I think anyone who has to interact with other people to accomplish their job should plow through this book on the beach, during a flight or while watching the New York Marathon this weekend. I read this book while on vacation in Florida. :-)

First lets all agree that being an effective board member is hard work. The book points that out in spades.

What I found interesting was how much of the insights and advice in the book can be generally applied to both my role as a board director for the Eclipse Foundation and in my other life as a software engineer as part of a globally distributed development team (where I happen to be working on Jazz and Eclipse).

Perhaps a few too many of the problematic situations presented in the case study / story seem to easily and conveniently resolve themselves once (a few) changes are made. I mean, do we all have the privilege of always working with logical and reasonable people? Anyone who works with me is at a disadvantage here :-)
But the presentation is well meaning and does ensures you consider the intentions, actions and interactions that you can control: your own.

So check out the Secret Formula and the GEM (Note: both are trademark of Strive! Inc. ... the book says so).
And if every meeting started exactly on time with no re-hash...that makes the book golden right there!
You might even learn how to better manage teenagers and be a proactive tipper ;-)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Florida 2007

We have had the privilege of vacationing at Indian Shores, Florida for a week in October / November for the past several years. All started after an OOPSLA trip in 2001. Man, was nice again this year! We were glad Grandpa was able to join us.

We traveled down on Southwest (CHEAP!) and arrived late Friday. We stayed again with Kat at Sand Glo.

Saturday...slow morning after not much sleep. The kids were not tired enough from the plane ride on Friday.
Hit Costco to stock up on groceries. Rest of the day out on the beach. Hot and muggy but cloudy which was quite a nice change from Portland :-)

Leah was sick many helpings of cake? So Sunday morning was nice and slow getting out to the beach by 10am.
We then hit our perennial favorite: the Seacoast seabird sanctuary. Leah kept asking to go to the bird cemetery. Cute in a morbid kinda way :-)

Walking back the kids pretty much swam back the whole half mile. Bait fish everywhere. Leah was hit in the head twice by the jumping fish. Cole got tagged in the back. Fun all around.

Monday was really hot and muggy so we went indoors to the Florida Aquarium in Tampa.
Kids liked playing in the water features out in the back after touring all the tanks and exhibits.
I loved the huge Great Tank...23 ft by 3 ft about 1500 gallons fresh water. Cool.

Tuesday was another hot and muggy beach day.
Lots of time out in the surf and beach combing. We had to work hard not to get sunburnt...near record temperatures (90) for this time of year out on the coast.

Wednesday we had planned to do the tourist thing and hit Busch Gardens. But the weather was really crappy so we hung out for a day and then went into Tampa for fun rides, food and animal exihibits on Thursday.

More storms overnight made for great beach combing on Friday. Swimming scallops, clams, hermit crabs and even a really cool little octopus. Home schooling right on the beach. The kids had no idea we were sneaking in so much biology :-)
We ended the day with our traditional mini golf game at Smuggler's Cove. How can you beat golf with a ship and live alligators?
We also tried out a new hamburger joint: Five Guys. Kindof like the In-N-Out of the east. Highly recommended.
Cannot wait for next year!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Deadlock Detection with Eclipse

Recently I was working away developing and repeatedly kept having Eclipse lock up on me via a deadlock. Annoying!

Since I have the privilege of working both on and in Eclipse I had the tools at hand to diagnose the problem. Since your CPU is not doing any work whilst sitting in a deadlock you may as well invoke the debugger and log the bug to save yourself and others future pain.

Of course I knew the problem was not in my code :-)
But I had no idea where the bug might be hiding.
So I launched a debug session of the Eclipse application and performed the steps I knew would lead to the deadlock.

Once in the deadlock I went to the debug view, and set it to show monitor information via the view menu.
I selected the debug process and clicked "pause".
This will pause the JVM and suspend execution of all threads (not like they were doing anything anyway!).

The Eclipse debug framework will make it easy for your to diagnose and report the problem.
Within the view, the threads that are in contention will be indicated in red. The monitor(s) that a thread is waiting for and/or owns are indicated.

In the simple example shown below we have two threads that are deadlocked
Even better when you log the bug report you can provide stack traces pointing right to the problem.
Happy debugging.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Teach them in the way they should go

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." --Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

Quite possibly overstating getting the kids to enjoy and participate in their annual Jog-a-thon but hey, I think running is important :-)

Both Cole and Leah ran their little hearts and lungs out in the Mary Woodward annual running event to raise money for the school. The event was for a total of 30 minutes and the kids ran around an oval marked out in the school's playing field.

Trisha volunteered and marked off the kids as they completed each lap. I had the opportunity to run with and pace our kids.
We started out slow and measured. Cole and Leah did amazing. Most of the other kids raced past on the first few laps. But then slowly, steadily we started to pass people. And then more people. Soon it seemed almost everyone was walking except us. Not that there was anything wrong with walk breaks...we took breaks to reduce a cramp or take a water break. BUT we always kept moving. It was great to see all of the school out exercising.

Cole has also been making great strides in his soccer endeavors: learning the skills, sportsmanship and how to have fun while working the body hard. Leah's gymnastics continues to make her strong physically and mentally.

I am really proud of both of them and their accomplishment of running steadily for 30 minutes and logging 24 laps. Yes, both kids did the same number of laps. sibling rivalry there :-)