Or I'm a dinosaur. Or I'm a Perceiver. Or I'm a senior software development manager who's sick of changing technologies.
My current drama is between continuing to use Mercurial on one hand, and switching to Git on the other. Both are distributed version control systems, so both enable a load of flexibility in single- or multi-developer workflows. I know that sounds like jargon, so let me explain.
No, there is too much; let me sum up: If you don't have to share every little change you make to a software project, everyone is better off.
The cold war between these two products has created two problems that appear to have nothing to do with each other:
- We have multiple software projects that we have to continue to support in production while we build entirely new hunks of them (which will take months); and
- All of the cool tools for integration and deployment work with Git, while not all of them work with Mercurial.
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. I chose Betamax and Laserdisc as well. I have a real weakness for the best technical solution, even while the popular solution takes the lead. (Both Betamax and LaserDisc had superior audio and slightly better video than the products that defeated them. At least I held off choosing between HD DVD and Blu-Ray until one of them was cold and dead in the ground.)
I'm annoyed that Git is moving so far ahead of Mercurial that it's becoming an argument to use Mercurial. I assert this is an argument to popularity, not to logic. But I also get really tired of swimming upstream, and if Microsoft, Bitbucket, and a bunch of other companies are pushing a technology, who am I to blow against the wind?
A conclusion, to the extent possible, will follow shortly.
Yesterday I wrote that I'd spend this morning setting up the Inner Drive Website as a continuous-delivery application running in Windows Azure cloud services. Well, that was a bit optimistic. Here's what I did instead:
- Shook my head sadly that the last time I published the site at all was last March. That's a little dis-continuous, I think.
- Upgraded the application to .NET 4.51, the Azure SDK 2.2, Azure Storage 3.0, and the latest Inner Drive Extensible Architecture build.
- Moved the master code repository to my real provider.
- Upgraded an administration feature to a new database schema.
- Created an entirely new copy of the site's database to accommodate this, because other applications are using the old database schema.
- Beat Web deploy into submission to avoid the 30-minute Azure publish time. (Why 30 minutes? Because I have a slow DSL and because the site has about 30 MB of SDK files (register!).
- Corrected an idiotic mistake that prevented people from resetting their forgotten passwords.
The total time for this mishigos: 5 hours, including 6 minutes for the last bullet point.
So I haven't actually converted the repository to Git, let alone set up a CI server or anything like that. And now, I will go walk the dog, and work on this no more.
The worst winter in 30 years continues in Chicago. This morning we woke up to another 50 mm of snow on the ground (fortunately light and fluffy) and -12°C cold. The good news: today the forecast calls for a seasonable -3°C. Then, starting around 3pm, this happens (click to expand):
If you compare that forecast to the one on January 4th, you will see that today's has a lower bottom.
Yes, not content to give us the coldest temperatures recorded in Chicago since 1995 already, this winter is about to give us, quite possibly, the coldest temperatures recorded in Chicago since 1983. (In fairness, January 1994 sucked.)
I have lived through the coldest day ever in Chicago, 20 January 1985, when the ambient air temperature bottomed out at -33°C, but the howling winds gave us a flesh-stripping -51°C. Tomorrow won't be like that. But it won't be like mid-June, either.
This is just a note to myself, really. Last weekend I spent an hour setting up continuous deployment of an Azure website using Git.
At work, we're moving towards doing the same thing with Azure cloud services, which has a different set of problems to solve.
I'll have more to say about this once we've done it. Meanwhile, here are a few of the resources we're reading to get started:
This weekend I may move Inner-Drive.com to CI/CD as well. It'll be my Sunday Morning project, possibly.
Briefly, overnight, the temperature at O'Hare hit 1°C before beginning its slow slide to -9°C just now. And it's getting colder, with a forecast -18°C tonight, then a spurt up to -2°C tomorrow afternoon, then an inexorable slide all day Monday to the depths of hell. Between dawn Monday and noon Wednesday—60 straight hours—we'll have temperatures below -18°C just like two weeks ago.
Of course, two weeks ago, it got a little bit warmer on Tuesday. Not this time. And yet, it still won't be as bad as Christmas 1983, when we spent 100 hours below zero Fahrenheit.
We're creeping toward another awful record, too. The greatest number of days we've ever had in one month below zero Fahrenheit was January 1977, when we had 17. Tonight's will be 12. Monday, Tuesday, then possibly Wednesday and Thursday...that will be 16. Can we do it Friday, the 31st, and tie the record? I hope to dog not.
For some reason, we're unusually sick of winter this year.
I've said it before: In Chicago, you're not allowed to complain about the cold until it's below 0°F. If you're too cold, you're just dressed incorrectly.
Well, we've now had 16 days that cold this season (including 4 in December), tying the horrible 1978-79 and 1976-77 winters for third place. Only two winters, one of them in the 19th century, had more days this cold.
To add insult, yesterday Anchorage, Alaska, had record-high warmth (9°C), and most of the state was warmer than Chicago. The dome of hot, high-pressure air over the North Pacific, probably caused by anthropogenic climate change, has been driving this.
So, when we have the coldest winter in 30 years, and when it's 28°C warmer in flippin' Alaska than in Chicago, we get to complain. And next week they're forecasting even colder weather for us.
Twelve days until I'm on a small island...twelve long, cold days...
Edited to clarify the record period.
Why? Because as the value of currency goes down, it becomes easier to pay off fixed debts. As a compensation, interest rates tend to rise with inflation, because the cost of money—if I give you a dollar today, I want more tomorrow—goes up with it.
The flipside is that creditors hate inflation. Raising interest rates kills inflation dead. In fact, raise interest rates at the wrong time, and you get deflation, which makes it harder to pay off debts.
This tells you everything to know about why the very, very rich want to raise interest rates right now, even though we have the lowest inflation rate in history. Paul Krugman fills in the lines:
Keynes describes...a condition of secular stagnation — of persistently low returns on investment, in which there is a chronic oversupply of saving. He believed, in 1936, that this would be the state of affairs in the decades ahead, and was of course wrong in that belief. But he wasn’t wrong about the possibility of such a state of affairs, and since Larry Summers came out as a secular stagnationist, the view that we may well be there now has gone mainstream.
[L]ow rates of interest, he suggested, "would mean the euthanasia of the rentier, and, consequently, the euthanasia of the cumulative oppressive power of the capitalist to exploit the scarcity-value of capital."
What Keynes didn’t say, but now seems obvious, is that the rentiers are unlikely to accept their euthanasia gracefully. And therein, I’d argue, lies the ultimate explanation of the persistent clamor for monetary tightening despite weak economies and low inflation. I’ve described on a number of occasions how tight-money advocates are constantly shifting their arguments — it’s about inflation; no, it’s about sound market functioning; no, it’s about financial stability — but always with the same bottom line: rates must rise now now now.
This is why don't we have higher employment, more growth, and rising standards of living right now. And yet mortgage rates are going up—in a housing slump. At some point, the bottom 99% are going to notice, don't you think?
Today we might get up to -10°C, but even though this part of January is normally the coldest bit of the year, it might continue to cool down over the next couple of weeks. The 8-14 day look-ahead suggests below-normal temperatures through the beginning of February. This winter is already 2°C below normal on average.
Plus, with the 150 mm of snow we got last night, we've now tied the winter of 1977-78 for third-snowiest-ever with a seasonal total of 1138 mm. It could be worse; parts of Michigan have gotten over 2540 mm of snow this year.
More snow is forecast for this week, too.
Two weeks to a little Caribbean island...two weeks...I can make it...
Cranky Flier explains:
You might think that airlines hate when they have to bump people, but that’s not really true. They hate when they have to involuntarily bump people.
These are bad. If the airlines can’t get enough people to volunteer to take a later flight, they are forced to bump people against their will. Naturally, that means that there are going to be some angry people who don’t get on that airplane.
[T]he penalties for involuntarily bumping someone have gone up a lot.
Not only can the penalty now be 4 times the value of the ticket, but the cap has been raised to over $1,000 (and rising). With the potential cost going up, airlines have had to get more conservative on how much they overbook.
He lays out some more details about how airlines work it out.
As feared, Montreal-based Bixi, who supply many cities including Chicago with bike-share systems, has filed for bankruptcy protection:
The development was announced Monday by Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Company and the Montreal Gazette.
Three years ago, the Montreal City Council rode to the rescue of Public Bike System, also known as Bixi, by approving a $108 million bailout package.
It included a $37 million loan to cover the company’s operating deficit and $71 million in loan guarantees Bixi hoped to use to expand into other cities.
On Monday, the CBC quoted Coderre as saying his city would seize control of the troubled company’s $11 million in local assets, rather than sink even more money into it.
Peter Scales, spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation, said in the statement: “Divvy, Chicago’s bike share system, continues to operate as normal, and current operations will not be impacted by the announcement that Public Bike System (PBSC) has filed for bankruptcy.
The Divvy Bikes website has no information yet.
Oh, don't die, Divvy. Don't die.