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Basil seems to be getting used to the place. He still spends a lot of his time playing "invisible dog" hiding in little niches around the house (quite the opposite of Dog-Or) but when I walk into the room he'll come out and say hello, and accept pats and scritchies for as long as I'm willing to give them. He seems to have hurt his foot somehow, so he may be in for a vet trip tomorrow.

Dog-Or is learning to live with him. He's been an only dog for eleven years, so I can't blame him for getting a bit jealous, but I think he'll get there. They both love w a l k s and that should help them bond a bit.


One of my side projects at work has been writing a guide to effective programming. Most of the people in my division come from a mathematics background, which means we have a good grasp of logic and have probably written some programs for uni projects, but we've never really studied programming as a professional skill - so we end up with clever and elaborate programs that are a nightmare to maintain or modify and prone to dying horribly if something minor changes upstream.

So I wrote this guide, general advice on things like modular programming, DRY, etc etc, along with specific examples of SAS implementation and some of the pitfalls that commonly hit mathematicians-who-program (like forgetting that (x+y)-y does not necessarily test as equal to x). It's strongly influenced by 'The Pragmatic Programmer' but tailored to a different audience. Then I posted it up and went through the usual 'impostor' angsting - are the real programmers going to mock this? Have I just been wasting time pontificating here?

And yesterday I got a lovely email from somebody in Tasmania telling me how useful it was - "I hope this is used as a resource for a long time, it deserves to be". Warm fuzzies!

Work has been very busy lately - lots of personnel changes, and I'm starting a major new project in a couple of weeks so I need to wrap up and document most of my existing ones while managing a vacation student, handing over a supervisee who's just gone on paternity leave two weeks early (inconsiderate baby!) and handling an operational trial that's been unexpectedly disrupted by much of the trial area being underwater this month. And applying for an interesting-looking outposting later in the year. Also, handling unexpected info requests from On High.

So, a bit stressed, but at least I'm feeling valued. My new supervisor seems enthusiastic and impressed by the list of things I'm working on, and my boss sent me a couple of film tickets as a thank-you for giving a prompt and detailed response to On High. A lot easier to put up with pressure when people appreciate my work.

That said, I'll be glad when I can tie up half a dozen of these loose ends and move on to the new project; I prefer 'focus' to 'juggling'.

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