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Workplace thrills and skills 
2nd-Apr-2014 11:56 am
For the past couple of weeks, a big chunk of my time at work has been occupied by doing a review of the user interface text strings for a new product that I'm working on. I have mixed feelings about these reviews. On the one hand, there are few things more mind-numbing than methodically trawling through pages of disembodied text correcting grammar and style. On the other hand, it's a chance to very directly affect the user experience of the product. And on the third hand, I get to work really closely with the developers and the source code, which is always fun.

With this being a new product and a new team, I get to figure out a whole new process. For ages, I have been struggling with the fact that I work on Windows while most of my developers work on Linux. So far, I've been able to use a series of kludges to be able to do what I needed to do, while always saying to myself that "some day," I'd set up a Linux VM and get plugged in to the build and source control tools the same way my developers do. I put it off, because I assumed that, like the process for getting all this stuff working on Windows, it would take a couple of days to get it all configured and running correctly.

Yesterday, after burning a day fruitlessly trying to get make to play nicely on my Windows machine, I bit the bullet and built an Ubuntu VM. Total effort involved: installing from a pre-built image, running a script to mount the build tools, a bit of dinking around to get the right 32-bit support libraries, and boom: I ran 'make pkg' and built my product from source. Holy crap. If I'd known it was actually this easy, I'd have done this years ago.

Also, I feel stupidly badass for having built the product from source, even though this is something that every new developer probably does in their first week.
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