November 3rd, 2001


(no subject)

I regret that I haven't been posting more this week.

I keep thinking of things to post, particularly while I'm driving:
- "I've had this sense of deja vu before"
- Halloween and Zombies
- Clockwork
- The library
- Toilet repair
But I haven't been posting.

What's been going on has been this: During work hours, I've been working very hard on debugging my current project. I've been so strongly in a work groove that I haven't taken the time to post there.
And then, when I come home, I feel so tired. Often Lori has been using the computer for her schoolwork, and I've been watching TV or perhaps blearily reading. When I do get the computer, I'm more likely to play monotonous computer games than to post.

My current project at work has been one of getting the document scores generated by two very different processes to match up properly. It has been a Sisyphean task. Or perhaps Zenoesque is the better word. Whatever the word, the long form is that there's always one more bug to track down, one more discrepancy to explain.

The test data I've been working with is pretty massive; it takes over an hour to run one of the processes, two or three hours to run the other. So I've been starting a run before leaving work at night and coming back to check the results in the morning. In the morning, I look at the discrepancies, and find a small test case that I can replicate. I debug that and fix the errors, and then I say "This time, for sure!" and start another run before leaving for home.

Today, I traced a few bugs to the use of the working set in retrieval, and I implemented an option to not limit retrieval's working set at all.

Then I traced another set of difficulties to a problem in query parsing that I had introduced months ago when I was starting this process of getting scores to be consistent. (Without going into detail, I was handling unknown terms in such a way that they weren't being properly normalized. "Leak" and "leaks" should be the same term, but they were not.) I had known this was a problem--I've apologized for the warts it causes several times. But it's biting us again, and it's time to fix it right. Fortunately, we have some ideas on how to fix it properly--the down side is that it will require some real addition of code instead of just debugging.

So I've brought my computer home to try to work on that this weekend. Sigh. I'd love to take a break, but I so want to get this done.

I will be taking a break tomorrow to work on a different sort of leaks; Lori's father and I will be working on the drainpipe. I feel both happy and sad about this.

I am very tired. Good night.
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