Nov 222009

Tonight, we all went out to Chili’s for dinner. It was an… interesting experience. We went in, got a table, and all that, no problem. Then our server came around and took our drink order. No problem. While he brought drinks, I debated back and forth between a burger, fajita quesadilla, or fajitas, but finally decided on the fajita quesadilla.

Then it was time to place our order.

Sarah ordered first. Oldtimer burger with American cheese and mayo, nothing else, and onion straws instead of fries.

Sophie ordered next, asking for a grilled cheese and cinnamon apples. We had to repeat “grilled cheese” a couple of times because the server had a hard time hearing it. He joked about it even, laughing about being 60% deaf.

Then I ordered my fajita quesadilla, asking for steak instead of the usual chicken, and some beans, with no guacamole or sour cream.

A couple of minutes later, he comes back and confirms that Sarah wanted her burger with the mayo on the side, which she did, and asks if we’d like Sophie’s food to come out early, which we said would be very nice.


A few minutes later, he comes out with Sophie’s meal: grilled chicken and cinnamon apples.

So we patiently explained that we’d ordered the grilled cheese, and he apologized and took it away to swap it out. He returned a few minutes later with the sandwich.

Shortly after that, he arrived with the rest of the food. For Sarah, a burger and fries. For me… steak fajitas with beans and extra guacamole. Since I was thinking about the fajitas anyway, I was okay with that, and was able to overlook the guacamole since it was on the side.

Sarah pointed out the fries and requested that he get her onion straws, which he left to do. While he was off doing that, Sarah opened the burger and discovered it had no cheese on it. So when the server returned, she pointed out the lack of cheese and asked him to have them melt some cheese on it. “Swiss?” he asked.

“No, American,” Sarah reminded him. So he headed off with the plate, returning a couple of minutes later with a cold slice of American cheese on top of it. By this point, the comedy of errors is such that she decided not to say anything.

A few minutes later, a manager came along and apologized for the incorrect sandwich (Sophie’s) and the fries thing. We said we understood about Sophie’s meal — “grilled cheese” and “grilled chicken” sound similar enough. But she apparently didn’t realize my order was wrong too. I mentioned that, and that it was okay, and at that point she comped the meal.

There were so many mistakes that we couldn’t be angry about it — especially since the guy was so apologetic about it, and was quick to respond to each mistake. Now, sure, we only tipped him $2 on what would have been a $30 tab, but still…

 Posted by at 8:32 PM
Nov 102009

Happy the gerbil was running around in his exercise ball tonight, when she hopped from the tile to the slightly lower wood floor in the living room, and the lid popped off his ball.

Before we knew it, Happy was on the move, exploring the living room. I got down on my knees and tried to catch him, but of course he was too quick for me. So I got some food and put it out, and he ignored it, and started checking out under the couch, over by my chair, and so on.

So then I tried putting some food in my hand and waited, and while he came and sniffed around my hand a bit, he didn’t climb onto it, so I wasn’t really able to snag him.

Finally, I had a brainstorm. We just got Happy a new, larger cage the other day, and the old one (also glass) hasn’t been put away yet, so I had Sarah go get that while I kept an eye on Happy.

She brought it to me, still empty, and I set it down on its side on the floor, then placed inside it Happy’s food dish with a little food in it. Then we waited.

It only took a minute or so for Happy to notice it, sniff around a bit, then crawl inside. A quick tipping up, and Happy was recaptured and transferred back into his new cage.

Watching Happy explore the world while dodging my attempts to grab him was actually sort of fun. But in reflection, it also makes me think about how tricky it can be to document moving targets like the open Web. Stuff changes, and it changes fast — sometimes so fast you can’t keep up. Seems like every time you reach out to start writing about something, it either changes or gets made obsolete by something newer, better, or faster.

But, just like trying to catch a runaway rodent, documenting the open web is a lot of fun, in a strange, giddy sort of way.

 Posted by at 10:57 PM
Nov 032009

I just had a meeting with assorted people related to the Mozilla Developer Center work that’s ongoing, including reps from MindTouch and our own IT team. I figured it would be good to summarize what’s going on.

The test server for MDC that we’ll be using to check out updates before actually installing them is expected to be ready today. I’m working with IT and QA to schedule testing work on that, so we can roll it out as soon as possible.

We’ll also use the test system to try out the new reCAPTCHA plugin; once that’s confirmed to be working for us, we’ll be able to re-activate user registrations on MDC, which will of course be a huge win for both openness and my sanity.

The 9.08.1 update will not, unfortunately, resolve all of our problems. However, it should make restarting the site rather more reliable than it is now. We do expect to continue to have to restart periodically due to memory leakage by the Mono runtime on which MindTouch is based. The Mono team is aware of these problems, and they’re working on an improved garbage collection system, but that’s not looking like it will ship until sometime in the first half of next year.

The next major release of MindTouch, code-named Noatak, is tentatively scheduled to ship around the end of November (it’s slipped from its original November 12 target date, which I expected). MindTouch intends to resolve all of the non-Mono-related issues we’re having with reliability by that time. In addition, they plan to offer support for CKEditor 3.0, a much-improved editor that we look forward to being able to use.

Plans are starting to formulate for the features we intend to implement once stability is addressed. Hopefully the reliability problems will start to ease up significantly over the next month to month and a half.

 Posted by at 4:38 PM