Unshelved comic strip for 10/8/2005

Maintenance Mode

I’m now in a funny mode where it comes to our website.

On the one hand the holiday season is fast approaching and there are updates and improvements we need to make so that shipping doesn’t require my hands-on attention. We expect this to be our biggest holiday season ever, and we need to make sure it goes smoothly.

After the holidays we have lots of other excitement planned. I have adopted the “underpromise and overdeliver” model of software development, so I won’t go into details. But if we do even a fraction of what we have planned it will be cool and help grow our business.

On the other hand, I have decided to port our site over to a new language and framework, Ruby on Rails. This sort of thing is not for the faint of heart. It is not a simple operation and it will take time. My calculus is quite simple. The amount of code I’ll be adding in the future dwarfs the amount of code I currently have. So given that I expect a significant boost in productivity from RoR (that’s why I’m switching), it makes sense. Also, some of those new features will require rewriting old code anyway.

So as of right now I am in maintenance mode with the existing codebase. Where I must write new code for something that cannot be delayed, I will. But the balance of my development time – which is really quite small – will be spent planning the new site. It’s very exciting. I am such a geek.

I Love my Laptop

It’s been over a year since I bought my laptop. I actually bought two laptops before this one. The first was a Fujitsu P5020D. I loved it, but at that time in my life I didn’t really need a laptop. So I returned it. Almost a year later, when I started traveling for Overdue Media, I bought a Toshiba M205, figuring that being able to draw strips on the road would be an advantage. But it wasn’t a very good drawing solution for me, so I sold it and bought the updated Fujitsu P7010D.

I love it.

Because form factor is so crucial to a laptop decision it’s important to really analyze one’s lifestyle. How often will I be carrying it? Where will I use it – on a desk, in a bus, on a plane, outside? What will I used it for – coding? Photoshop? Reading email? Writing?

In my case there are several issues that made this the best choice for me and still do:

  • Weight. I carry this to work and back every day, to almost every meeting I attend. The light weight means I never think twice about it.
  • Dimensions. That it fits in a small bag is great. But the fact that it is a widescreen means that it can easily be used on the most cramped of busses or airplanes. As a result I am productive whenever I want to be (and the rest of the time I watch movies).
  • Resolution. When I’m coding on the road a 1280-pixel wide screen is the bare minimum. There’s simply a lot of information to convey. If I could get more I would.
  • Battery. The fact that I can reliably get seven hours out of this thing, more if I’m very miserly, means I never carry a charger at work. And I can use it nonstop on a cross-country flight with layovers. To get that duration I had to pull out the DVD drive and replace it with a second battery, adding to the weight. But since I watch movies in ripped form (which also saves battery life) it’s no problem.
  • Screen. The wide-angle ultrabright display means I can and do use my laptop outdoors. And indoors there’s never any need to get the screen just right – it’s always visible. (I may regret this one day if I’m writing something confidential on a plane).
  • Performance. The processor speed is fast enough for everything I do. More importantly it takes standard 2.5” laptop hard drives, so I was able to opt for a full-speed 7200k drive. Your hard drive is the slowest thing about your computer, so this is a key point.
  • Sound. It’s not the most important thing, but I really appreciate that the built-in speakers are good enough to watch movies with a friend.

In many ways this computer is the best I’ll get for a while. Fujitsu is competing with Sony for the smallest-ultreportable title. This is a shame because they’re making sacrifices – the smaller, slower hard drive being the most notable. But that’s okay, because for now my litle Fuji meets my needs just fine. Big kiss.

This Unshelved strip

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