Friday, June 13, 2008

Offline Translates Into Higher Productivity

I have been doing some work from home.

On one such day, my Internet access was down. Troubleshooting with the provider was no help. It will be 24 hours before they can send out a technician.

This means no E-mail, no web, no IM, not even telephone, since I am with Vonage. My means of connectivity with the outside world boiled down to a cell phone. Sure, I can walk/drive and go somewhere. But I am supposed to be working.

Great. What to do?

I had been meaning to write better tests for a Rails application. You know? The whole test-driven thing. But, that's like boring work. I mean, it is a lot more interesting to whip together a mash-up using any number of Web 2.0 APIs, reading reviews about them online, browsing through documentation and cool demos. These work great, assuming you are connected to the Internet. Which I wasn't. Oh well. Writing tests it is.

A couple of hours went by. I was done with a good suite of unit tests and a basic suite of functional tests. While everything seemed okay with my unit tests, the functional test uncovered a couple of bugs. And I think I uncovered a flaw/weakness in Rails 2.1's fixtures.

Wait a minute. I had been struggling to get this stuff done for a few days now. I would start, then move on to something else. Come back. Stare at the code and not being too productive, think of something else I need to do, and hop on that one.

But now, a couple of hours without Internet access, and it is done! All right, time to move on to integration tests. I reached over and picked up the AWDR book to refresh my memory about them.

In doing so, I glanced at my modem. The online light is solid. I quickly Cmd-Tab'd over to Mail and clicked Get new mail. It works. Woohoo! I am back online.

It hit me. I had been rather productive while I was offline. Sure, I moped at first, wondering what to do. Then I called customer support. Then I moped some more. But then, I got to work, and was productive. I focused well, by default, because there was nothing else to do.

Boy, gotta tell someone about this. Are my friends on IM? Let me go online and look!


Joao Costa said...

internet is evil ]:)

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