3 things you never knew before you had kids

Here’s three things I never knew before I had kids:

  1. You have to practice bookmarking.  Not the computer bookmarks, the old fashioned kind.  You do this by crawling around the house and pulling the bookmark out of every book you find.  You then try to insert the bookmark back in the book.  Pull out and repeat.  If someone is holding you and a book at the same time … well, that’s the perfect opportunity to practice your bookmarking skills.  (As a side benefit, you get to watch them yell too!)
  2. Corn kernels can go in your mouth and come out the other end without
    changing at all.  You can eat a whole cup and a whole cup comes out in
    the diaper.  What a diet plan!
  3. You will go to the doctor more in the first year of life than all of the next 30 combined.  Even if you only go for the regular, suggested appointments.

Got any others?

Does your doctor take your concerns seriously?

As I said in my last post about choosing a new doctor, we’ve seen a lot – like really a lot – of medical people this year.  I’ve really come to appreciate medical people that take my concerns seriously (all of those visits but one were very necessary) and I’ve become really annoyed at people who don’t take me seriously or don’t believe me.

Today, before the doctor even looked at Caleb she was already trying to tell me there was not much chance of him having an ear infection because he didn’t have a fever and he wasn’t fussing with his ears.  I felt myself getting defensive – and a bit worried that she might not even look at his ears!  I think I stayed civil and calm.  The minute she peeked in his ear, she said, "Oh, that’s definitely infected!" and I didn’t even say "I told you so!" 

In contrast, I took Caleb to the ER a couple of weeks ago and they made me feel believed, trusted, knowledgeable, …  When all of Caleb’s terrible choking sounds stopped when we got there,  I was so worried they wouldn’t believe me!  But they went out of their way to listen to me and to check him.  They even took xrays!  (Turns out he had a throat infection and his throat was swollen so much that when he cried his vocal cords would hit the sides of his throat and it sounded terrible!  It got Frank and I out of bed faster than I think we’ve ever moved before!)

Does your doctor believe you?  Or do they take a "I’ll be the judge of that" attitude with you?

When do you need a new doctor?

When do you decide you need a new doctor?  In the past year we’ve been to the hospital once, the ER three times, urgent care twice and the doctor’s office countless times!  That’s a lot of medical care – and all of the visits except one justified some type of medical treatment.  So today when I called the doctor’s office to ask a nurse a question – to see if we needed to see a doctor – and she told me there were no doctors or nurses on staff and I should go to urgent care … well, I decided we needed a new plan.  So I called a pediatrician who works in an office of pediatricians.  Because of their large staff of doctors they were able to fit Caleb in right away.  We had to jump in the car to make it in time.  (Instead of half a mile away, they are 15 miles away.)

So while I really liked Caleb’s small town family doctor – he always took the time to sit down and answer all my questions and he had a very matter of fact, no worrying way of looking at things – I really needed a doctor we could see on short notice.  One that wouldn’t constantly refer me to urgent care and the emergency room.  When your kid has an ear infection, you can’t wait till next Tuesday.

Someone who is happy with their job

It’s nice to hear from someone (famous) that they are happy with their job and not looking to climb any corporate ladder or start a company. Finding something you love to do and then realizing that you love doing it makes for the perfect career and a much happier life. There aren’t too many people that realize that society’s call to climb the management ladder or start a company might not be their dream.  This is Linus Torvalds:

First off, I’m actually perfectly well off. I live in a good-sized
house, with a nice yard, with deer occasionally showing up and eating
the roses (my wife likes the roses more, I like the deer more, so we
don’t really mind). I’ve got three kids, and I know I can pay for their
education. What more do I need? 

The thing is,
being a good programmer actually pays pretty well; being acknowledged
as being world-class pays even better. I simply didn’t need to start a
commercial company. And it’s just about the least interesting thing I
can even imagine. I absolutely hate paperwork. I couldn’t take care of
employees if I tried. A company that I started would never have
succeeded — it’s simply not what I’m interested in! So instead, I have
a very good life, doing something that I think is really interesting,
and something that I think actually matters for people, not just me.
And that makes me feel good.

For those that haven’t heard of Linus – he’s the guy that originally wrote Linux.

Hachiko, the loyal dog, is one of my favorite stories

One of my favorite stories is the story of the dog Hachiko.  Hachiko was an Akita who lived in Japan with a professor.  Every day he walked the professor to the Shibuya train station and every evening he met him at the train station to walk him home.  After the professor died, Hachiko continued to go to the train station every evening to wait for the professor.  He went every evening for 11 years!

There’s now a statue called Hachiko at the Shibuya station and two children’s book about the story.  I read one of the books, Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog (Bccb Blue Ribbon Picture Book Awards), to my son last week and then a wikipedia article showed up about Hachiko.  Hachiko’s story is truly an amazing story of friendship and loyalty.

Picture from Wikipedia.

7 of the most common open source myths

Here are some of the misunderstandings around open source software that I hear every day.  Feel free to add your own!

  • The most important thing is whether you modify the code or not.
    I keep hearing from people, “we’re ok because we didn’t modify it.”  Or they create a policy that doesn’t allow anyone to modify open source code because then they think they are risk free.  I agree, modifying open source software may cause a support problem, but it isn’t what triggers anything special in the license.  The GPL says that if you make modifications to the software, you have to distribute those modified source code files with your binaries.  But it is the distribution that triggers that clause, not the modification.  So if you distributed the binaries unmodified, you’d have to distribute the source code.  And if you linked statically to those GPLed binaries, you’d have to distribute your source code as well.  But only if you distributed your product.  If you are using it in house, it really doesn’t matter whether you modified it or not.  Except from a support perspective.
  • If you modify GPL code, you have to give the modifications back to the project.
    I highly recommend you do give your modifications back – it’s the nice, neighborly thing to do.  It also makes your life easier to be using the standard version and not your own forked version.  However, you don’t have to give those modifications back.  You only have to give the
    modified source code to anyone you give the binaries too.  Now note that they can give that modified source code to anyone they want, which brings me to the next point.
  • Distributing GPL code under an NDA does not count as distribution.
    I’m not an attorney, and it hasn’t been taken to court yet, but I think most attorneys would agree with me that distributing GPL code under an NDA not only counts as distribution but the recipient can give that GPL product to anyone they want to under the terms of the NDA regardless of what your NDA says.  It’s not a risk I would take.
  • If you are only using open source software internally, you don’t have to worry.
    First I’d argue that nothing used internally stays internal – what if you share with a partner or sell a group to another company or … That said, many licenses have clauses that trigger on something other than distribution.  Sometimes they are simple, sometimes they aren’t.  For example, one says that you have to buy a copy of the book for every developer on the team. Regardless of whether you redistribute or not.
  • Anybody can sue me for using open source wrongly.
    Only the person that owns the copyright for a piece of software can sue you for violating the license.  Typically, the person that owns the copyright is the person that wrote the code.  They can however give that copyright away.  They can even give it away and keep it for themselves so that two people hold the copyright.  The copyright holder is also the only person that can change the license on a piece of software.  (Note that this is why SCO lost – in the end the court ruled that SCO didn’t hold the Unix copyright.)
  • There is no support for open source. First off, lots and lots of products are open source.  The support options vary widely from the do it yourself variety to multiple companies competing for your business.  The problem is you have to do a lot of research – the products’ name doesn’t give you a direct clue to the company that supports it.  And you might come up with more than one name and have to compare several companies.  But there are lots of people and companies out there supporting open source software.
  • Freeware and Shareware are open source. Freeware and shareware are not open source.  All things free are not open source.  Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean it’s open source.  The freeware and shareware licenses are very different and do not meet any of the traditional open source guidelines like providing source code, allowing modification and redistribution.

Got any others?

Book review: Old Man’s War

If you like Heinlein, you have to read Scalzi’s Old Man’s War.  I really enjoyed it.

Amazon had been recommending it to me for some time and I kept skipping it because I’m not a big fan of military fiction – although I don’t mind an occasional military science fiction book.  I finally decided to try Old Man’s War when it came up on Paperbackswap and I have now added all of Scalzi’s other books to my wishlist!