ignored but essential
Tuesday, November 28 2006
I was up in the hemlocks again today, increasing the size of the window out to the winter sun's track across the sky. Something about me being outdoors and at work gave Sally the Dog license to roam about freely and do the things she would normally do when walking with me in the woods. Mainly this amounted to her venturing a short distance down the Stick Trail and mining for chipmunks. It's odd to me that she almost completely ignores me when accompanying me in the forest, but my presence is nevertheless essential, because she never goes off to do things in the forest on her own. Her behavior today is as much independence as I've ever seen, but still it required that I remain nearby.
I spent most of the day in my occasional capacity as a web development subcontractor, making a series of movies in Flash. Because I was inheriting the job from someone who had started on it, been overwhelmed, and quit, I found myself having to come up to speed in an archipelago of ActionScript sprinkled throughout these projects. Flash is a difficult environment to inherit work in (or to return to after months away) because the code that drives it can be hidden away in an infinite variety of places. The environment resembles a house in which every room is a set of Russian nesting dolls in a universe where the physical laws are such that space is never a restriction. On top of that, Flash is buggier than most programming environments of its age. I had its development system running on my computer today and periodically it would refuse to accept my command to "test movie." I'd have to shut down some other program to free up system memory, and only then would it let me test. But some time later it would refuse again and I'd have to shut down some other program. It got to the point where Flash was the only thing running on my computer and still it was complaining. That has all the hallmarks of an serious memory leak. (I'm used to Firefox exhibiting the same behavior, but for Firefox a leak takes weeks to become troublesome, as opposed to hours.)
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