Archive for May, 2010

On the same day that Liam was born, I received news that one of my two papers published at the ICSE 2000 conference has been given the International Conference on Software Engineering’s Most Influential Paper Award for its impact on software engineering research over the past decade. The paper, A case study of open source software development: the Apache server, is co-authored by Audris Mockus, myself, and James Herbsleb. The MIP is an important award within the academic world; my thanks to the award committee and congrats to Audris and Jim. I wish I could have been there in South Africa for the presentation. This year’s award is shared with a paper by Corbett et al. on Bandera.

Interestingly, my other paper in ICSE 2000 was the first conference paper about REST, co-authored with my adviser, Dick Taylor. That must have caused some debate within the awards committee. As I understand it, the MIP award is based on academic citations of the original paper and any follow-up publication in a journal. Since I encouraged people to read and cite my dissertation directly, rather than the ICSE paper’s summary or its corresponding journal version, I am not surprised that the REST paper is considered less influential. However, it does make we wonder what would have happened if I had never published my dissertation on the Web. Would that paper have been cited more, or would nobody know about REST? shrug. I like the way it turned out.

The next two International Conferences on Software Engineering will be held in Hawaii (ICSE 2011), with Dick as the general chair, and Z├╝rich (ICSE 2012). That is some fine scheduling on the part of the conference organizers! Fortunately, I have a pretty good excuse to attend both.

Roy in Day t-shirt holding Liam in hospitalAfter years of planning and hoping and preparing and learning and worrying and just getting on with life, I became a Daddy in March. It came as a bit of a shock, in spite of the eight months of watching the ultrasounds and taking classes and helping Cheryl as the little pod grew. We had just moved to a bigger place, still had dozens of boxes left to unpack before the weekend’s baby shower, and I had only been asleep for a few hours when Cheryl woke me up with the news: Hospital, now!

Three weeks early. Twenty-two days early, to be exact. All the books say that the range of 38-42 weeks is “normal”, so he was only eight days ahead of the curve and (thank goodness) beyond the stage of preemie health concerns. 2600 grams (5.732 lbs.) of joy, and a healthy Mommy as well. Woohoo! Of course, that also meant we were tossed out of the hospital about 40 hours after birth, thanks to our wonderful US healthcare system.

Liam on his side with fist toward cameraThe staff and facilities at Hoag Hospital were excellent, but the whole experience was marred by the rush out of the hospital and then a corresponding rush back to the hospital three days later after a test for jaundice turned up in the critical range. We really weren’t prepared for that one; I am still peeved that the test wasn’t automatically scheduled for day 4 (instead of waiting for our pediatrician to see him on day 5). However, a night in the ICU tanning bed, with extra feeding to help evacuate the bilirubin, was enough to get him back to a safe zone and he was good to go home again.

Twenty-two days early doesn’t sound like much, but it is huge. Most of our friends went long for their first baby, so I had this schedule in the back of my mind of all the things that I was going to finish by April so that I could take a long, relaxing break into parenthood. Bzzt! The Anaheim IETF meeting was being held the following week, just twelve miles from my house, and my fellow HTTP standard editors had planned a whole week of editing httpbis at or near my place. Bzzt! We had delayed buying a bunch of baby things until after the shower. Bzzt! We had all these classes on what to expect in terms of sensing the arrival and onset of labor. Bzzt!

Liam sleeping on his dad's shoulderNone of those plans truly mattered, in the grand scheme of things, but it taught me a quick lesson about my limitations as a working Daddy. At least some of my planning worked out, such as saving my vacation time so that I could spend the better part of six weeks at home. He is almost at two months now and still has to eat every three hours. I usually take the night shift and catch up with email while he sleeps on my shoulder. This weekend I discovered that I can actually type this way, with Liam sliding down a bit to warm his legs on my laptop, though I have to watch out when his little feet brush over the multitouch trackpad.

I’ll be catching up on the backblog soon. Now, if I can just get him to sleep long enough to edit a specification …

BTW, Liam is his nickname.