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April 30th, 2013

Foreign language fail

Today at work we were supposed to have a long-awaited class by Automation Guy to teach us the basic syntax of the tcl programming language. It took him almost an hour to get the projector and slide show set up, and when he did, instead of it being about learning the language, it was about learning how to find and implement the commands he has written, for people who already know the language. Half of us have no background in this language at all. It was like taking a kid out into the middle of the lake in a rowboat and tossing him overboard and saying "you know that I can swim, now you try it!"  He may as well have been giving the class in Urdu.
When it was clear he was not prepared to start from zero, I left. I downloaded the nutshell tcl book, and browsed through it, but unlike most nutshell books it had no examples. It was mostly an intro into the history followed by a glossary.

He had set up a directory in a share folder for us to put our scripts, and I looked at several of them, but all of them were bound to fail because right at the top it gathered six variables from the command line, then tested to see how many variables there were. If it was <5 the whole script would stop. I also tried to run them on my machine, but they all failed to start. Something wrong with the way I was calling the scripts, but no clue what.

So it was a FAIL day for me, I was so looking forward to learning enough tcl to write my own automation scripts.

Lunch was at Starbucks, it was 90° out so I ate my hot dog croissant in their outdoor seating area.

Back at work, kept trying and failing. Two of the team tried inviting me back in, but no thanks, that's not the way I'm going to learn. And now that I've seen how convoluted tcl is, I don't want to. Most languages I can figure out from the examples, but not this one.

After work I went home to wait for traffic to die down, then headed back to Ford. The guy I was talking to Sunday was starting to sell a car to someone, so he found another guy to help.  Other guy was pretty good too. We looked at the Focus, and I torture tested the voice recognition system. It had trouble with recognizing words which were displayed on the screen (neither of us could get it to respond to "burgers" when it was displayed on a "type of food" list). But whe I said "find me Chinese food it listed 5 nearby places and mapped out the route to #5 when I told it to.

One thing I don't like about the Focus which I also didn't like about the Chevy Cruze is the speedometer is not centered. In the Cruze nothing is in the center above the steering wheel, but in the Focus they have a readout mini-screen for nav directions. Inconvenient.

Maybe I need to re-think Toyota.

Nah.

After that I went to Palo Alto and Piazzi's, got frozen matzo balls, Scharffen-Berger chocolate was on sale, also got some sheep and goat cheeses, and Ivar's clam chowder. And paid too much for olives.

Plans for tomorrow:
Not sure about work. We'll see if Day 2 of the class is worth going to.
Replacement replacement microwave is due at UPS
Take the whites out of the dryer and put them away

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