Journal: 2004-03-04

Whew. Just finished rolling out some more instrument service fixes. I think this might acutally be the last shake-out bug on the server side. This week has been all about instrument service. I put it out there because it needed the exposure, but I hadn't finished all the unit tests. And what do you know, there were bugs! The unit tests would have found many of them, so it just reinforces to me how useful they are. Of course, the unit tests wouldn't have caught all of them, because some of the problems I had not thought to test for. The nice thing about unit tests though is that, when you write them to expose and repro a bug, not only do they make it easy to confirm that your changes actually fix the bug, but they also leave a permanent record and regression test so no one else will be likely to make the same mistake again.

I sat by the window today flying home. I usually end up in the aisle seat, so I took the opportunity to look out the window. Unfortunately, it was cloudy the whole way so I couldn't see the ground much to track where we were going. On the other hand, I love, absolutely love the colors. The sunsets are amazing. There's a band of yellow, orange, and red across the horizon, with shades from light blue to dark blue to black going up into the sky. And the greens! I rarely see green in a sunset from the ground, but I almost always see vivid green bands when I'm flying. And today, below the horizon there were boundless waves of puffy, intricately detailed clouds in every color of blue, teal, blue-gray, and dark blue imaginable. Wow.

Another interesting tidbit: On the plane, I was reading the guidebook for our upcoming trip to Japan. There's a section in the back with names for some places written in English and Japanese characters. I knew that at least some Japanaese characters are syllable based, so I had fun trying to match symbols to syllables and even built up a little table in my notebook. Later, I happened to be looking at some Japanese movie titles and realized I can still pick out those symbols! From what I can tell, Japanese has "word" symbols and mono-syllable symbols, and you just throw them together until you get the string of syllables to produce the sentence you want. Yeah, I know this is crude and probably way off and I could learn much more by looking it up online or in a book. But's it's neat to suddenly realize, "Hey, I can actually pronounce some of these words and I figured it out all by myself!" For example, one of the easiest to recognize is "no", which kind of even looks like the international "no" symbol (a circle with a diagonal slash).

OK, so I spent a little time looking up info on Japanese. Wow. I think this quote sums it up:

"Japanese orthography is so highly irregular that it can be considered, without the slightest fear of being accused of hyperbole, to be a couple of orders of magnitude more complex and more irregular than any other major language, Chinese included."

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