Busy times

It has been a very busy few days around here.

Since last Friday, it seems that I have not been able to slow down. There has been a whirlwind of activity here, including lots of development and testing, as well as some personal time that did not involve relaxation.

On the development end, we shipped four and a half products in a 27 hour period from Friday through Saturday evening. The impending general availability of Windows Vista has required several product updates. Individually, these are not loads of work, but when one piles several together, multiplies the effort by 4.5, and completes them in just over a day, there is definitely something of a camera blur. Granted two of the updates were for the same title, one a scheduled marketing upgrade that had been in development for a while and the other the Vista compatibility update, but it was still an accomplishment.

Half of a product, though? It turns out that as we shipped one of the “final” release updates for a title, we inadvertently cross-shipped with a specifications change. We had to make an update to the update before it ever got prepared for public release. The change was a protection improvement that took little effort, but required the full deliverable preparation again. Imagine that we figured out a way to feed the voltage from a computer power supply back through the mouse of any thief who enters an illegal registration code, giving the crook a very nasty shock. (ObLegal: This is a joke, stemming from my frustration at having our intellectual property, and my livelihood stolen. Even if this method were possible, which it absolutely is not, we would still never use such a thing.)

After the flurry of deliverables, my attention turned to a different type of flurries, the snow variety. Winter finally set in here, when it looked like it had forgotten us this year, so it looks like we will actually have an ice racing season in 2007. Therefore, I made arrangements to go pick up my new ice racing car, although it is funny to call a 16 year old beater, with no interior, that one can buy for a couple hundred bucks “new“. I had quite an adventure, including a roadside battery change at well below freezing temperatures and a brake failure in city traffic, but ultimately made it home safely and, importantly, ready to race.

Monday brought more testing, as one of the titles (and I will leave it to you to guess which one) was being prepared for final release. The first installer candidate failed to install properly under a limited user account on Vista, so we spent a few hours going back and forth, testing different installations until we had one working exactly as intended. Trust me, I am getting very tired of Vista right about now. Fortunately, there was no major drama, and we finished in time for my previously scheduled activity.

The personal activity for yesterday evening was another taping of QuizBusters. This time it was my son competing for East Lansing High School, one of four starters, in the division quarterfinals. They were matched against cross-town rival, Okemos, which was one of very few local teams that has beaten them in quizbowl league play this year. It looked likely to be a close match, so it was very exciting, but not relaxing.

My prediction for a close game was not realized, however, as East Lansing tripled up Okemos by a score of 630-210. It was a truly phenomenal game between two great teams, though, as there were only a handful of wrong answers given during the entire contest. There has not been official confirmation, but it is believed that a combined score of 840 is the highest in 17 years of QuizBusters competition. My son was quite proud that he “powered” an answer off of the clue “Feathers McGraw in Wallace & Gromit in the Wrong Trousers“: Penguin.

It looks like the frantic activity is destined to come to an end today, though, as it feels that I am starting to get a migraine as I am finishing this post, and migraines are never conducive to productivity.

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