Day Two At the New Job

Well, this morning marked the second day, and start of the first “real” week of work at my new job at Left of the Dot.  So far so good, though not without some griping and minor failures on my part.  The latter mostly came this morning.  See, right now I have no shower (another long story there for another post) so my brilliant plan has been to wake up in the morning the same time I did for the old job (with the earlier starting time), go to the gym (yay fitness), shower there, then catch the later train out and show up in the office at the required time, everything happy happy.

So this morning I got into a panic at the gym seeing that I was majorly late, and raced like a maniac to shower and get home, then back down to the train station just in time to catch the train, only to realize (after some time I’m ashamed to admit) that I had taken the train in that I did normally, which got me into Vancouver an hour and a half earlier than I need to.  I guess my brain is so programmed to be at the train station at a certain time that it needs some serious re-training to get my timing down with the new schedule.

The rest of it is good so far.  There was the “getting to know you” and “here’s how stuff works” day, and now we’re getting to the point that myself and the two other newbies are able to start looking at how to get some actual work done.  Exciting and new.

Read More

Wrong Day To Wear Shorts

Got in the office a bit late this morning (had to hit the bank) and found that the back half of the room with the scene laid out below.

bad day at the office

Seems a pipe burst on the floor above us and the back half of the office got flooded (and the travel agency on the floor under us as well), so they have been wet-dry-vaccing and have the fans blowing and the heat cranked. A nice break from the over-aggressive AC they have, but now I’m sweating my bits off in jeans.

This morning I even thought about wearing shorts but said to myself, “no, I’ll be inside a cold office for 8 hours a day and only really have the opportunity to be outside for 1, there’s no sense in freezing my legs all day for just not being too hot for that one lunch hour.”

Oops.

Read More

Excitement At Work

Test of posting with a new app called LifeCast. I give it a 5/10 so far though.
Things happening at work were just a false fire alarm, someone saw smoke in the elevator or something so everyone had to truck around the corner until the FD got there and cleared things up for everyone to go back.

Read More

Merry Christmas Eve

I did try to get to work today, I really did! I have (some) legitimate work to do, and a bottle of rum just waiting to be mixed with a drop of eggnog in my drawer (to make the day for the poor schlubs who are in on a Christmas Eve that much easier), but no go :( Got up as normal, it had snowed overnight but I figured I could make it.

Never got out of the driveway. 10cm of snow on top of a sheet of packed snow/ice let me get about halfway up the hill before I’d slide right back into the carport. Ah well, I hear from a coworker that the train is broken down at port moody and “transit is universally f–d.” The translink transit alerts confirm this in less colorful terms. I guess the real test will be if Firefly’s 4WD can make it out for the Christmas party this evening…..

Here are a couple of shots of what I woke up to:



Read More

Florida Trip

FootprintsSo long time no blog, again… Not a whole lot going on lately, other than a couple of notable exceptions. Got sent down to Florida a few weeks ago for work. They needed me to train a couple of techs at a company we’re partnered with so we can make shipping within the states faster (and cheaper) by not having equipment shipped back and forth across the border.
Next time I’ll either have to say “no” or look much more carefully at the travel itinerary. Apparently horribly early mornings, long days, and late nights are “normal” for business travel, but not for me again thanks. Originally the plan was I go down Monday, do the training on Tuesday, and fly back Tuesday night. I convinced them to let me go down a day early to have a day of recovery and sightseeing.

(more…)

Read More

Headache Day, Apple’s New Toys, and Misc

While today’s utter hell had nothing to do directly with the 6 hours of training in a small stuffy room with a guy talking really loud so one other guy at the other end of a conference call could hear, it certainly didn’t help. The painful migraine that started early noon-ish and continued until about the time I got home at 7 was the main hell, though the short snooze on the train (helped along by a handful of super strength Tylenol I’m sure) helped. I’ve still got a bit of it hiding in the back of my head still.

Holy rain batman! when I got home I had to practically swim home from the train station! I’m glad it was decent this morning when I went on my run (yay me). I’m going to go for the mon/wed/fri run and just waking up the same time tues/wed and shifting my hours back. That’s the current idea anyway.

I was excited about the Apple WWDC keynote today, where they announced (finally) the 3G iPhone, available (early July) in a bunch of countries, including here (through Rogers, another plus for me) and you no longer have to pay $700 for it, but it’s a far more reasonable $199 (8Gig version) or $299 (16Gig version). I’m not 100% sure if I’ll get one yet, that will be decided by the data plans that Rogers comes up with. Their current offering of 25mb for $97/month (and no doubt crazy expensive overage fees) just isn’t going to cut it. I have a 16Gig iPod Touch already and I’m fairly happy with it, but if I can get rid of my phone, combine it with my iPod and get always on internet through it…. suddenly that looks really attractive (again, with decent data rates).

The online description of the keynote sounded fairly boring though, I have to agree with Paul Thurrotte’s assessment, at least based on what I read. And reading through a live keynote blog and going “this sounds kinda boring” is saying a lot, especially for an Apple keynote.

A lot of the things they highlight are pretty lame too….. contact search is worth a mention at a keynote?!? Ditto with the now non-completely-stupid-and-sucky fix of the headphone jack now not needing special headphones to work?!? Demoing medical imaging software?!? I’m sure that now iPhone is “business friendly” this applies a bit, but the attendees are no doubt not caring much about this. Lifehacker has another set of thoughts that fairly mirror mine.

Course, it all means nothing until things actually show up here on (I presume) July 11 or so.

Looking forward to an early night and lots of sleep tonight. Kitten pics posted soon!

Read More

New Phase in the ArcterLife – A New Job

So after working for 1-3 years (depending on if you count mergers and acquisitions) and my previous job, I put in my notice and resigned, starting the next segment of the ArcterLife. I’m now an employee of Layer 7 as a “OS Developer”. L7 does interesting things with XML firewalls and gateways, and it is definitely something different and definitely something interesting.

The saddest part is leaving the guys at my last job. The best thing about working there (and I’m not alone in saying this) is the people. B and L were awesome and kept me sane (and I hope I did a bit of the same for them), the girls from marketing and finance were great, not only for not filing multiple complaints against me and the guys for…. well, being ourselves, but being fun to hang out with and bring an aspect outside the geek lives of boys. Everyone else as well, H and boss-J, were great to work with. I also appreciate those that I talked about this. It was a very hard decision, especially the prospect of leaving people you spend 8+ hours a day with!

In the end though, I decided to move on. Today was the first day of work, and it definitely came out in the “not-awful” category. At my previous job I was stuffed at a desk in between two other people, had no phone, and no computer my first day there. This was totally different…. well, kinda. No phone still, no desk (only an empty area with a large collection of desk chairs in it), but I did have a nice desktop computer to work with. I actually had to carry a spare desk through the office with the new boss to get a place to work until the nice cubical desk setup is brought in and setup by the building people. Not bad considering.

As with most new jobs, the first day (actually probably the first few at least) will be spent setting up, getting used to things, finding the URLs for the company mail/wiki/bugtracker/etc, getting mail and IM setup, configuring my workstation just so, and so on. This isn’t to say I haven’t been thrown into the fray a bit already of course! The new boss man keeps on mentioning things and following up with something like

“… and that’ll be yours now.” or
“… you’ll own that part of the system.” and
“… that part I’m getting to hand off to you.”

I’m only mildly petrified of course 😉

The new format of work means that (for now anyway) my hours are shifted a bit. Instead of getting on the 6am train in and the 4pm train out, it’ll be the 7:30 in and the 5:30 out, meaning I get back home at around 7pm, but on the other hand get to wake up a glorious 1.5 hours later than normal. In a fit of “go-getter-ness” I am even going to be going out running in the mornings to take advantage of a body that’s used to getting up at 5:15am!

That’s the theory anyway.

So, that’s what’s new. In the giant timeline of Alan this will be marked with a small note that says something like “June 2008, resigns from job for only the second time ever and starts working at Layer 7”. Sadly the historical and archaeological value of this will probably go mostly unnoticed by everyone but me.

Read More

Every User Lies…. How True!

Speaking as someone who spent four years in a Hell described as “Tech Support for Realtors” back in the days before the internet was big and before there were high speed connections (read: we were configuring modems for a big dial in BBS) I can surely agree that All Users Lie.

It’s interesting that Heidi used the hedge phrase “may be different” when her own study data showed that users’ aspirations and reality were almost always different. Maybe she aspires to live in a world where aspirations and reality aren’t so wildly divergent. I don’t blame her. It’d be nice.

I remember being amazed at the people I used to support on the phone’s lack of knowledge or just lack of understanding! I could go through 10 minutes of walking them through a procedure doing some sort of configuration and at the end they tell me to ‘hold on for a minute, I need to write this down,’ and then I find that the entire time they haven’t been at their computer. sigh

I’ve talked before about the need for a secret tech handshake. The assumption that the person on the other end of the line knows nothing is always a safe bet, unless of course it’s me calling in get support I wonder why people are always asking me stupid questions….

Read More

Mac Switcher…. Kinda

So I’m now a mac user….. kinda. Only in the work sense though. At the office Christmas party I asked the boss if when the next new hire is in the office they could get my current work laptop (an Acer somethingorother) and I could get a new low end Macbook. Mostly I spend my workday in either a browser or an SSH session, and both of those are easily available on a mac (some would argue they are more available with the build-on-BSD thing).

Anyway, so Friday the new 2.2G MacBook Pro came in. My boss apparently loves me. Or it has something to do with the whole “standardized on MacBook Pro” thing he’s got going. Either way, I’m in heaven.

So there are both good things and bad things. Read on for more.

(more…)

Read More