I’m not an inventor, I just play one on TV!

I’ve been way too busy doing actual, real work to blog these days. The Co. is in heads down mode, we’re cranking along at mach 10 trying to make a product deadline. So as a dev manager I’ve been split in 30 different directions, none of which points to this blog.

The other day I was discussing a way to get a sequence ID back from Postgres with one of the senior devs on the team, who was pretty convinced it couldn’t be done. I was pretty convinced it could, but I didn’t really know why. On my bike ride home fighting headwinds and rain on I-90, I realized it was because I had actually tried to do it once before, in slightly different circumstances, and was actually told it wasn’t possible. However, in typical Arun fashion, I had forgotten reality and imagineered a successful outcome, in which I had triumphed over adversity. I tend to do this a lot, particularly on hard crack climbs or brutal bike rides but that is a survival mechanism worth another post.

The realization that I had been down this road before was a bummer, because the other solution was to make one call to the sequence, and insert the record using the result of that call. This, in the middle of a headwind and rain filled commute, really killed whatever buzz I had left that day. However, some quick googling showed that Postgres has extended SQL by adding a ‘returning’ clause to insert statements. So, victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat, at least for that day, along with a sobering realization that it might be good to google myself every once in a while just to make sure I havent asked the same question before. Hmmm, OK, I’m apparently old enough to start repeating myself professionally. Is that an accomplishment? Still not sure.

This brings up the other thing I found out about myself — a patent I had actually filed in 2002 has gone through. I’m not sure if this is something to be proud about given the unclear benefits and/or validity of software patents. The actual patent has to do with modeling mathematical operations in XML — an idea that I actually feel kind of embarrassed about because it’s pretty basic in nature, nothing super clever/elegant about doing basic math in XML, but it was an attempt to solve a use case that had to do with allowing network operators to mod the raw statistics and assemble meaningful graphs, while persisting the mod operations in XML. Well, the next time I have an idea, I guess I’d better make sure I haven’t had it before. Because apparently that happens 🙂

In any case, I think it’s telling that I find out about things I’ve done and forgotten about on the internet. It has in effect become an extension of my brain — the destination of a lot of pointers that allows my local wetware to focus more on knowing how to find information than on retaining the actual information itself. Damn. Here’s hoping the power never goes out.

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