When Is It Time To Say “Sayōnara”?

July 23, 2009

There are times in our lives when we are filled with exhilaration because of an opportunity to be involved in a project that seems to have real meaning for us.  Those are great times.  They make us feel like we can contribute, like we can make a difference, that what we think and know matters.

But, there are also times when the exhilaration has left us, when we seem to have lost our joy – even direction – in a project in which we have become involved.  The processes frustrate us.  We feel depressed about it.  We know others are depending on us, but we have lost our ‘spiritual connection‘ to the project.  Those are tough times, and leave us wondering whether we should stay or leave.  When do you know it is time to leave a project? to say “Sayōnara” and move on?

Well, there is no tried and true formula to answer that question.  But, if your values aren’t being met by the way the project is being run or the internal culture it is adopting, it may be that time. Maybe the project’s vision is out of sync with your own or it’s ethics conflict with your own.  Either way, you will have a hard time giving your best to the project and feeling fulfilled by it.

Perhaps the people you work with on the project are condescending and no one asks you your opinion or pays any attention to it when you offer one.  In such a situation, it may just be time to begin to consider other options.

And certainly, if your friends and family begin to notice that you’re “not acting like the same person they know you to be“, or they become concerned that something is ‘bothering‘ you, it could be a major indicator that the project is making you unhappy to the point where your mood and your health are being effected.

Finally, if your family circumstances have changed – your personal life (marriage, having children, problems), it ‘may‘ make it necessary for you to leave the project in order to better deal with family and personal issues.

Whether it is one or some of the above reasons, or even another not referenced here, the time may come when you ‘have‘ to ask yourself that question:  “When is it time to say “Sayōnara?”  And when that time comes, it is probably your time to make the break.

It surely won’t be fun, but you will feel a breath of fresh air in your life when it’s done – when you finally face up to and make that decision.  Don’t be afraid to do what is right for you.  You are the only ‘you‘ you will ever get.  Sayōnara!

–Theoden

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Getting Tired Of An Old Iceweasel In Lenny?

July 20, 2009

Arguably, one of the most heavily used applications on any linux desktop is the web browser.  But sadly, if you are a user of Debian Stable – ‘Lenny‘, and you run their version of Firefox Browser – which they call Iceweasel – you are way behind latest version.

Now normally, that might not make too great a difference to you, but when there is a ‘major‘ upgrade of Firefox such as the Firefox 3.5 upgrade which contains many really nice new features, and is way faster, you really suffer being stuck at 3.0.6 (the latest version of IceWeasel in Lenny at the time of Firefox 3.5’s release).  And the Debian Project is really slow at bring the latest version to the ‘stable‘ release.

The reasons behind this have to do with a disagreement between the Mozilla Project and the Debian Project regarding Debian’s patched version of Firefox.  The result has been that Mozilla won’t let Debian call their patched version ‘Firefox‘, so they renamed their version ‘Iceweasel.’  The whole thing has been argued ad nauseum.

But if you are getting tired of being behind the times with your Iceweasel web browser, like I was, you can change to the latest Firefox very easily.  Here is how I did it:

First, I downloaded the latest version of Firefox from the Mozilla website. – http://download.mozilla.org/?product=firefox-3.5.1&os=linux&lang=en-US

Second, I created a new folder in my home directory named .mozapps:

~$ mkdir ~/.mozapps

Third, I unpacked the Firefox package into that .mozapps directory.

~$ cd ~/.mozapps
~$ bunzip2 -d ~/<path to Firefox Package>/firefox-3.5.1.tar.bz2

This will put a folder called ‘firefox‘ in your ~/.mozapps directory – this is the new Firefox program directory.

Fourth, create a menu item pointing to ~/.mozapps/firefox/firefox.

You are now ready to the new Firefox.  It will auto-magically use your old profile, extensions, themes, bookmarks, etc., just as they were in Iceweasel.  You can then choose to keep Iceweasel installed (yes, it will still work), or you can remove the program from your system.

– AND –

If you use Icedove (Debian’s version of Thunderbird – yeah I know, same reason), you can install and use the latest version of Thunderbird just like you did with Firefox.

First, I downloaded the latest version of Thunderbird from the Mozilla website. – http://download.mozilla.org/?product=thunderbird-2.0.0.22&os=linux&lang=en-US

Second, I unpacked the Firefox package into that .mozapps directory you created for Firefox.

~$ cd ~/.mozapps
~$ tar -xzvf ~/<path to Firefox Package>/thunderbird-2.0.0.22.tar.gz

This will put a folder called ‘thunderbird‘ in your ~/.mozapps directory – this is the new Thunderbird program directory.

Third, create a menu item pointing to ~/.mozapps/thunderbird/thunderbird.

Fourth, there is one more step necessary.  Icedove uses ~/.mozilla-thunderbird to keep you email, profile, themes, extensions, etc., in, but Thunderbird us a folder called ~/.thunderbird.  To fix this, simply rename your ~/.mozilla-thunderbird directory to ~/.thunderbird.  And Bingo! – You are now ready to the new Thunderbird mail client.  It will auto-magically use your old profile, extensions, themes, email, etc., just as they were in Icedove.  You can then choose to keep Icedove installed (yes, it will still work but you will have to change the ~/.thunderbird directory back to ~/.mozilla-thunderbird), or you can remove the program from your system.

It’s all really that easy.  I am now happily running the latest Firefox and Thunderbird on my Debian ‘Lenny‘ system and enjoying my web experience again.  You can too!

–Theoden


QA – An Often Misunderstood Process

July 17, 2009

QA – standing for ‘Quality Assurance‘ – it a vital part of any project in commercial or open source software and services.  But it seems to me that it is often a misunderstood process by many in and out of such projects.

By definition, ‘quality assurance is any process that is systematic in checking to see whether a product or service that is being developed meets specified project requirements. A quality assurance system increases customer confidence and the credibility of the project’s developers. It improves work processes and enables a project to produce better results and compete more successfully with other projects. Quality assurance systems stress catching defects before they get into the final product.

I am very involved with the QA process for the new Unity Linux Project located at http://unity-linux.org/.  Our goal at Unity is to make sure that bugs get found, reported, assigned to a dev, followed up, and fixed.

I encourage all who become Unity users, or branch developers, to report bugs to our Issue Tracker site at http://issues.unity-linux.org/.  We pledge to you that we will chase those bugs and do what is needed to verify and fix them.

I also encourage all of Unity’s developers to understand the QA people when we come nagging a bit and doing what we have to to move things forward in bug chasing.  We want the Unity project to be the best it can be!

Quality Assurance – it’s what makes a project successful.

–Theoden