curveball

Apr. 30th, 2009 10:13 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
This afternoon I sent out an email to let people know that I would not be in the office tomorrow. Boss replied back to me via his blackberry, that he was in a meeting, but did need to talk to me yet today.

So we chatted a bit - he indicated that he spoke to both the CEO and the VP of Engineering and all have agreed that it's not right that all the hard technical problems are left to me to troubleshoot. Engineers will be told that they need to pitch in more on support tickets and support staff (my minions) will be given instructions to go directly to engineers for help instead of coming to me for everything all the time.

He also reiterated that I'm to hire an IT person to take on lots of stuff.

I said that sounded promising but would be difficult to implement because engineers would be out of their comfort zones and minions are comfortable not just coming to me for answers, but also to make decisions about how to proceed with things - which we don't want engineers deciding :)

I said, half jokingly, "as long as I'm 10 feet away, it's very easy to just come run things by me".

oohhhh I should have kept my mouth shut.

The next thing he said was that "Qualcomm wants you back". Last year, I spent a month in San Diego working on a project for this customer - it was interesting, and the theory was that, while I was away, everyone would figure out how to do the stuff that I normally do - in reality, they figured some stuff out, other stuff they panicked and I did remotely in the evenings, and other stuff they just put off till I came back.

Yesterday, apparently a new group at Qualcomm decided to move forward with a project, and want someone onsite. My name was apparently volunteered. The project is scheduled for 2 months, but will likely be more like 4 months.

I am slightly panicking - first off - this project already has parts to it that we have no idea how we can implement. Secondly, I haven't ever actually done a full customer implementation where I do the project management, configure the software and architect and write the custom code. I've done pieces, I've brainstormed with others on their projects, I've helped out - but never been the sole person responsible.

So there's that part. The other part is that I don't really want to be away for months - I'm planning on going home in June to visit my mom - although it seems like it's good that I haven't yet bought plane tickets.

On the other hand, realistically? Being away for a couple months right when management is open and promoting the idea of real change to make my life better - it may possibly work. Maybe. Except - when do I interview and hire the IT person? I have to order new memory for the database server - who will install that? Who will install php/mysql/apache/drupal and the backup stuff on the production servers so we can implement the new web page? I just sort of said to boss "I do have a list of stuff that needs doing to get the next *hugely important* release out the door asap". He just looked worried and said "I realize that"

Then he suggested that he, coworker who is up visiting from San Diego, and I go out to dinner. Dinner was really good, and then CEO joined us later for dessert. Talking to coworker afterwards - he may even be more broken than I am - to the point where his girlfriend is seriously suggesting that he might be better off quitting and moving back to Canada, even though it would screw up his green card application and his ability to be here with her.

Sooooo, we shall see. Meanwhile, tomorrow, I'm sleeping in, taking some books back to the library, going to file some papers away, shred some garbage and generally do nothing particular. Because last weekend? I didn't get a Saturday.

Life is certainly interesting.
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we shall see

Apr. 29th, 2009 10:24 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
So, after half a week of awkward conversations, boss finally came over today and said "let's take a walk".

We wandered over to the coffee shop and made light conversation about random things, until he finally said "sooo...things aren't good"

Long conversation, not, as usual, one that solved any immediate problems. He did confirm what I've been thinking, which is that the plan for moving all our hosted servers into the domain of an external service provider, while attractive, is much too large of an investment for us to make right now - we'd be going from $48k a year to host the servers, to $45k up front, plus nearly 40k per *month* to host...it's a huge number, comes with a 2 year commitment, and we can't really justify it based on our customer base right now. He's not tossing it completely out the window, and wants to revisit the concept in a year or so.

Meanwhile, we have to find a new plan. He did agree to hire an IT person to take on the day to day management of the hardware and hosted facility, including 24/7 on call stuff that I've been doing for years and years. Our goal is to find someone who knows more than me (shouldn't be hard!). So I have to write up and post the job description.

I did manage to convey some of my biggest issues - when I brought up the current crisis which really brought all of my pain to a head and caused my breakdown last week, he said that he and the CEO are stuck in some ways because we can't fix all the problems immediately. I *totally* understand - it's obvious - we don't have enough people and time and money - but I pointed out that it puts me in the completely unfair situation of having the customer call me weekly to say "it's still broken, and it's critical to us, why hasn't this been dealt with" - when I *cannot* get anything done about it. I think the word I used was "exhausting" to continuously have to try (and fail) to escalate a major problem from one of our largest customers to the CEO and CFO of the company and not have it either fixed, or removed from being my responsibility. He did agree that exhausting was probably the perfect word, and that it's not fair to me.

By the end of the conversation, he is going to talk to the other manager-level people and make it clear that when it comes to support issues, the support staff are going to be given instructions to ask *other* people first, and not always come to me for assistance - and those other people are going to be told to provide that assistance, even if it would be *easier* to ask spiffikins.

The next release, I'm going to walk minion #1 through building the release package and databases and explain what the concept is, and let her figure it out.

It's actually quite funny - nobody realizes that when engineering and QA say "build 40 is the release" - what needs to be done to make it available to customers. I'm the only person who has done it, and nobody told me what needed doing - I make it up every time, and so far nobody has complained and said "no that's not right" so I keep doing what I *think* we need...and it's all in my head, and it's not particularly well defined.

Actually, a good chunk of my job is like that - "here's the goal, get us there" - like - "we want to start using drupal for our web page and documentation - go set that up" or "we need to be able to ship software to customers - figure that out" or "we need to be able to convert customers from one kind of database to another"

Today we interviewed 2 engineers - I was late but came in for the group interview - my goal was to mostly just sit and listen, not because I particularly have a say in the hiring, but also because I like to see how interviews are conducted so I can learn how to do my own hiring. Both times, the VP of Engineering introduced me as the "Software Operations Manager who is our DBA and basically is the person who gets things done around here" - which I found kind of interesting - especially since over the past year I feel more like the person who keeps having to say "I can't get that done, I don't have time".

I'm planning on taking Friday off, but that means I need to get a whole bunch of stuff accomplished tomorrow, and so far my day looks like a mess...so we'll see.
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update!

Apr. 26th, 2009 06:00 pm
spiffikins: (daisy)
meme )

state of the spiffikins )

I did manage to move all my files off my desktop drive and onto the TERABYTE external drive that I bought - sooo much room!! I cleaned up all the wires and plugs and organized them into some sort of order although it never lasts. I have to get rid of the desktop carcass - I keep hearing about "green spot" recycling centers so I'll need to look that up.

Went to the store today and picked up some more plants - every few years I get into a mood where I want plants around - bought some bigger pots and some soil and repotted them all - so now I have 5 eight-inch pots with some nice sized plants, and 4 six-inch pots with some smallers ones. I've put them all on the windowsills of my bedroom window and we'll see how that works. It's light in my room, but only the window really gets direct light in the afternoon. Looking at the plants, makes me happy - I hope I can keep them alive :)

Even though I'm swamped at work, I offered minions the option of doing a training class on SQL - they both jumped at it eagerly, so we're starting on Monday at 11am - we'll try to do 30-45 minutes of basic SQL - I find this quite hilarious, because I'm not sure how I became qualified to teach, but I know more than they do, so it's a place to start :)

housemate arriveth )

I need to start looking for flights for June - I'm going home for a few days to visit my mom. My brother is going home next week, and my uncle is visiting at the end of May some time. My mom asked me, very tentatively, "when were you planning on coming out?" When I said June, she was all "oh thank god". I guess she was concerned about having visitors *all* of May but didn't want to say "no don't come home" :)







Despite having to spend 7 hours yesterday working on stupid dead server and recovering, I did get some time off today, and feel slightly better than I did on Friday.
random stuff from the past week or so

Very windy last week - to the point where we lost power here - sort of. The stove had partial electricity and would blink "--" and then "F6" at me, angrily, when I attempted to turn on the burner. The kitchen lights worked, as did the lights and outlets in the 2nd bedroom upstairs. But my bedroom had no power - from about 6:30pm Tuesday through Wednesday around 6pm. Thank goodness the fridge had power!

Wednesday at the Dev meeting, they announced that we are looking to hire an Engineer - and that they had called G who was laid off in September and told him that the job was his if he wanted it. This is good - when they did the layoff, they said that all the decisions were purely business only, and that they had full intentions of trying to hire people back if they could, when things got better. One Engineer did come back in January, and now they've made the offer to G.

I went over to G's house Wed night and we talked about it - I told him that I would be thrilled if he came back, as I miss him - but that I completely understand if he doesn't. He's moved on - found a new job that, while it has some downsides, has enough upsides to compensate - and as he put it, even if he came back, he would never feel *secure* again.

Friday I was pulled off my planned work to do a prototype for a demo on Tuesday - the prospect wants to see a list of 31 things - each of which is weighted identically in terms of importance, and some of which are really quite random. Case in point - they've decided they want to see a "live chat" feature where end users can type into an IM-style box and talk directly to someone. So my job was to find one of these widgets and plunk it into our product to show that "it can be done". I used one called "meebo" - it works fine for what it is, but if we were to do it for real, we'd really want to integrate it better into the product - even just capturing the transcript and putting it into the ticket, would seem to be useful.

New roommate was supposed to come over this weekend to bring some more stuff. She called and made a point of saying she would be here to move some kitchen stuff in, and where can she put it, and she doesn't want me to come home to a pile of boxes in the living room...but she never showed up. I wasn't hanging around waiting, but still, it's becoming odder and odder. I sense that this roommate is going to be Drama, personified. I shall make popcorn and prepare to be entertained.

New laptop is Very Nice. Desktop appears to have succumbed to a fit of jealousy - as soon as I unplugged the monitor from the desktop to attach to the laptop, the video card on the desktop seems to have gone on the blink. I had to connect the monitor back up to the desktop - but no signal is received. Have pilfered a spare video card from work to see if I can get desktop up and running long enough to set up shares and enable remote access so I can get my stuff off of it.

It was in the 80s yesterday and the 90s today - Much Too Hot for April. I have to look at the weather report, but I recall hearing that it's supposed to cool way down later this week - I'm all for it.

Coding this week - writing an integration between our tool and something called "Novo" - a ticketing system that the customer uses for another purpose. Web services!! They did all the hard work wrapping the crappy crappy Novo API into web services and cleaning up the methods - I've got all the logic written today and tomorrow is cleanup and logging so that when I send it over, and it fails, we'll hopefully have enough information to figure out where I went wrong

(no subject)

Feb. 26th, 2009 10:00 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
So my housemate is officially moving back to her mom's - she drove down Saturday morning and came back this evening. Her mom is in good spirits, but isn't really able to be on her feet for long at all - so housemate is doing *everything* - laundry, cleaning, cooking, errands, changing bandages, driving mom to doctors and appointments.

Housemate figured out right away that someone needs to be there with her mom, so she called our landlord Sunday to give notice. Our landlord is a friend of mine and she's being very cool and not making housemate pay rent for March even though she didn't give 30 days notice.

I've put up an ad on craigslist - there are a TON of rooms available for rent right now - it's crazy. Over 150 ads have been posted since Sunday morning when I posted mine, so now I'll have to be posting it every day or so just to keep it visible.

My desktop at home was overheating again over the weekend - I have a monitor tool that sits on the desktop and tells me the temperature of the CPU - when I turned on the box it would start at 65C and just go up - it hit 75C and I'd frantically fan a large notebook at the box (I have the side of the case off to try to let the heat dissipate a bit) and the temp would go back down to the high 60s. Then it would jump up to 88...and then the machine would turn itself off.

Monday I brought home a can of compressed air from the office and pulled the machine up and cleaned it out thoroughly with the air and just using my finger to get the dust out of the heat sink. I also brought it up off the floor, and put it up on a box. It's better, the temps sit around 39C-49C, but if I run Windows Media Player to play music, it can jump up to 72 really quickly. All the fans are running, but if I recall correctly, this is a Prescott chip, and they're apparently known to "run hot" and I probably need to doing something with the heat sink and new silver paste stuff (which I don't know how to do) - but my friend says that given this isn't the first time the machine has gone on an overheating cycle, I've probably damaged the chip and motherboard at this point...so I'm not sure how much money/time I want to put into this 4 year old box.

I have been planning to buy a new laptop and use that as my primary machine - but I missed out on a really good price in December or January and nothing else has come up with the specs I want, for the same price point. The closest in specs that I found was $1100 and this weird bronze/chrome snakeskin pattern...ugh. Hopefully I can keep the desktop running for a while yet until I find something I like.

Yesterday a bunch of coworkers and I all gathered at the local bar to meet up with G. who was laid off a few months ago. I wasn't excited to go, because I don't like bars as hangout spots - they're rarely set up to actually sit down and have a conversation with more than one or two people at a time - so a group of 8 or 10 people can't actually all hang out easily. I've kept in contact with G., so I also felt like I didn't need to necessarily take up any of the time he could be spending with people he hadn't seen in a few months - but at the same time, I thought he might be upset if I didn't show up.

I ordered a drink because I figured I might as well - someone suggested a Tequila Sunrise - it was alright, but I can take or leave alcohol - I was trying to figure out the last time I had anything other than a half glass of wine with dinner - probably over 10 years ago now, might even be closer to 15. Not sure if it was the liquor, but I ended up feeling really sort of out of it, and left after about an hour - had dinner, and felt really, really tired - ended up going to sleep by 9pm.

Plan for the weekend: figure out how to get everything but the furniture up off the floor of my room, so that I can see about having my landlord take a swipe at the carpet in my room while she has the hallway and the other bedroom done after Housemate moves out.

end of week

Jan. 30th, 2009 10:23 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
weird week - today I didn't get to spend more than an hour, tops, at my desk - spent most of the day being pulled hither and yon by minions and random folk who Needed Things Immediately. Managed to solve all problems, solve all problems and/or get the appropriate people working on them, soothe jangled nerves, act as a security blanket, *and* get my bug fixed by 5pm.

coding stuff )

Tonight, I met up with some friends and had some wine - good end to the week!
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(no subject)

Jan. 22nd, 2009 07:37 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
this week has been exhausting for some reason...I'm burnt!

Monday - we lost the T1 at the office around noon, and I spent the rest of the day playing "call the verizon people to get updates and try to jostle the ticket along". Determined that despite the fact that we send *verizon* oodles of money every month for the T1 line, the physical hardware and lines in our area are owned and maintained by AT&T - so verizon spent most of the day trying to coordinate with AT&T playing the "not our fault, is your fault" game. Also spent the morning fixing bugs in my code, and the afternoon, when I ran out of "things I can do without internets" was spent archiving mssql databases - something that is has been on the list for... four years...but really wasn't a priority.

Tuesday - still no internets, and I have a dentist appointment. Dentist appointment was ok - a chunk of the grafted bone in my gum from the implant several years ago, apparently *broke off* and was working its way out of my body. He verified it was indeed a broken off piece and offered me two options - let him stab me with a needle, freeze me and pull it out or I could go home and worry at it like a loose tooth, and it would come out on its own. He gave me a month to work on it, and if it wasn't out by then, he would freeze me and do it. I had it out by lunch time. The only reason I didn't get it out over the weekend when I first noticed it, was that I was freaked out and not sure I was supposed to *touch* it. T1 came back while I was at the dentist.

Tuesday evening, I spent a good chunk of time on the phone with my boss who is in Japan at a customer site. Debugging and troubleshooting over the phone with translations! Till 11:30pm! fun!

Wednesday - don't really remember. there was a dev meeting... Oh! I tried all afternoon to get to the results of the troubleshooting from Japan, and had just begun, at 3pm, when my boss called to say "so why didn't it work?". I told him that there was nothing obviously misconfigured, so my only theory was to do all the things he had done in Japan over the course of the whole day, in the next hour, on our Windows 2003 server - which is to say, install apache, java, 2 tomcats as services and use *his* config files to determine why loadbalancing wasn't working. Went through that whole process, and found we had a single extra line in one config file that apparently doesn't work with the older version of tomcat they are using (which is why I had to install everything identical to the customer in japan). Figured that out, and spent the next 40 minutes trying to get a tool to do a java threaddump in windows - none of the free ones seemed to work with the configuration they have, so found a trial version of a commercial tool.

Wednesday evening - more troubleshooting - this time I set up a webex meeting and took remote control to fix the problems instead of trying to work through my boss and the japanese customers.

Thursday - who knows, I give up - finally was able to reproduce the 2 remaining bugs that QA kept giving back to me, insisting that they kept happening - turns out that if you send an email from gmail's web interface, the email contains nested multiparts. I didn't handle that right - now I do.

Tomorrow? Apparently I have to try to get ahold of verizon to renegotiate our T1 pricing and get a quote on a bonded T1 - my boss is tired of us all whining that the office internet is too slow. Not sure why it's now in my job description...nor why it's suddenly a higher priority than anything else on my list...but that's why he writes the cheques.

Want weekend.
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I have many things I meant to write up, but never got around to them, and then *did* write up a long post, and lost it while I was at my mom's house.

Following up my post from before Christmas - on the topic of company Christmas parties - I count myself lucky that I look forward to spending time outside of work with my co-workers and bosses - at this time of year, I hear/read of many people who feel obligated to attend their company party, and don't enjoy it at all - and I'm fortunate that I'm not in that position.

With respect to vacationing at home - even my mom admits that my brother and I really shouldn't come home for as long as we did - we get bored because we have nothing to do. This, of course, was exacerbated this year by the Great Snowfall of 2008, but in general, I always talk myself into staying 7-10 days when I really should only go home for 3-5 days at a time.

Even with all of the bad weather and horrible airport delays reported - both my outbound and inbound flights were on time! I had no delays, did not end up stuck in lengthy lines or even have much trouble getting to the airport. My poor mother ended up parking in a foot of snow at the Vancouver airport to pick me up, and trekking cross country through unplowed drifts - the first thing she said to me when she got to the terminal was "we have to find a *different* way back to the car". We did, and the roads back to her house weren't bad - Vancouver got a lot more snow in the first dump that we did - our road was clear up until the 23rd, when we got 10 inches overnight. The morning of the 24th was a scary concept, given that I had to go pick up my brother at the airport on the 25th.

Per usual, Sat, my Polish "brother" (he has no siblings, and he was good friends with one of my brothers in high school, so we "adopted" him) was a flake, and his suggestion was that my brother "take a cab" from the airport - that would have cost probably 200$ - assuming he could even find one who would agree! His next theory was that he could go in to Vancouver, but he'd have to come to our place to get my mom's car - since the whole reason we wanted him to go, was that we weren't sure we could get my mom's car *out* of the cul-de-sac, that wasn't a useful idea either :)

But, I shovelled the snow, we got the neighbour to drive back and forth on it with his SUV, and my mom used her ninja snow-driving skillz honed by growing up in Saskatchewan, and after only 40 minutes we made it the FORTY FEET between where I shovelled and where the snow plow had gone by on the crescent outside our cul-de-sac.

Honestly, it might have been easier for me to just shovel the cul-de-sac :)

Was supposed to try to meet up with my friend in Richmond, after failing to do so in November when I was last home. Unfortunately, she had a major water problem - 2 floors above her, the sprinkler system broke and water was coming in her walk-in closet. That was on the 29th, she finally got someone out on the 2nd to get fans and dehumidifiers in place to dry her out - they were understaffed over the holidays, but it looks like things are moving along now.

The downside of being in Canada for Christmas is that I missed out on the Boxing Day sales at Target :) I wanted to pick up some more ornaments - I did get a bunch of the flat silver metal snowflakes on sale for 30% off before Christmas, but I was going to pick up a few more if they had any left. Boxing Week sales in Canada were meh this year - no good ornaments at Zellers, Walmart, London Drugs or any of the other places I checked. Seriously - Zellers had a whole WALL of *pink* ornaments with *feathers* and *pearls*. And everyone had a ton of cheap ornaments covered in glitter - I'm not a fan of the glitter.

I did stop by Target on the way home Wednesday from the airport, since I was on that side of the hill - no more snowflakes, but I did find 5-6 boxes of glass icicles on for 75% off - score! I also picked up a container of metal Christmas cookie cutters, which has all the key ones - candy cane, gingerbread man and woman, star, tree and bell. In addition it has a snowflake, holly leaf, reindeer, mitten, snowman, angel, sleigh, santa hat, wreath, gift box, and ornament - all for $3. Strings of lights for $0.49, plus I got 3 packs of blue replacement bulbs ($0.12 each) which I will use to fix the string of lights that I bought this year - it is blue and white lights, but there are 2 white lights for each blue light, and I find it to "white" - so I will replace a bunch of the white bulbs next year and tone it down.

Work was *quiet* during vacation - no crises, no panic - just a couple of minor things to keep up with. It was very nice!

I am ready to go back to work though - if only to keep me out of the stores - I'm *done* shopping for bargains now - time to save save save.

I started feeling sick on Tuesday and it developed into a full-fledged cold complete with nasty-sounding cough and a stuffed nose. So I didn't go into work on Friday - I napped instead. Hopefully by Monday the worst will have passed and I'll feel better.

I bought a ton of veggies and chicken and am planning on taking lunch to work again - I do much better at saving money and eating better when I take food to work. I bought chicken breasts on sale for $1.88 a pound, and cooked them in the crockpot today with a half bottle of salsa - pulled it all apart and now I have delicious, moist chicken to put on salads, or wrap in tortillas with some veggies and cheese.

As for resolutions? I need to cook more and eat out less. I am going to keep a journal of what I eat - it definitely keeps me on track for making healthier choices - haven't decided yet if I'm going to do it on paper, the way I did it before, or if I'll do it on lj with filters, as it's seriously boring :) I might set up a different journal on the south beach forum, but that's two places to go read and post in...so we'll see.

My other resolution is the same as last year - work less, take better care of me - I did *better* this year - I took a lot more time off, and went home a lot. But I still have a ways to go, although it's harder now, since we have fewer people to share the work, but I need to keep at it.
What a difference a year makes - last year, we flew all the remote people into town for a week of training and meetings, culminating in a big party in a private room in a restaurant in town. Everyone got an itouch from the company and we all drank and ate and had a grand time!

This year, in light of the fact that we laid off 1/3 of the company a couple of months ago, and are counting our pennies to keep the remaining folks, it was determined that it would be in bad taste to have any extravagant party this year. So the CEO decided to host a modest get together at his house - there was lots of food, some nice wine, and the gift from the company was a gift card to Starbucks :)

It's the thought that counts, and it's very much appreciated to be able to spend time together outside of work, and to have an enjoyable evening. It's also good to be able to meet the spouses of my coworkers - although, it's sort of sad that we only usually see some of them once a year

Dinner was mexican - beans, rice, tortillas and tons of chicken and pork to make your own burritos. Afterwards, the hostess was bemoaning the fact that she "has an entire pig" in her oven - we barely made a dent in the masses of food provided by the caterers. There were about 20 of us, and they had told the restaurant they wanted food for 15 people or so - and we probably only ate about 1/4 of it - sooo much food.

I made out like a bandit - I have a ziploc freezer bag full of pulled pork - just divine!

I have more to write, but I'm tired now :)
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(no subject)

Dec. 11th, 2008 09:14 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
must. not. quit. my job.

it's really fucking frustrating to be made *responsible* for something, but not have the right components to do it right, *and* have other people just declare that such-and-such a thing must happen, when you've spent the last couple of years trying to convey the fact that the whole damn thing is held together with twine and chewing gum, and *that* thing? that's gonna take the whole fucker down.

but of course nobody believes that it's as fragile as you claim, because you manage to keep the sucker running and limping along.

but there's times, like today, when I can't see any way to win - all roads lead to disaster, no matter what I do.

and those are the times when I am *this* fucking close to walking out the door and not looking back.
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(no subject)

Nov. 30th, 2008 07:32 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
Holy mini-vacation!

I *like* this 4 day weekend thing - definitely something I want to do more often.

4 whole days of not working, not thinking of work, not talking to co-workers - that never happens.

I feel sooo relaxed right now - I'm even ready to face the world tomorrow.

crazy.
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update time

Nov. 23rd, 2008 11:15 am
spiffikins: (Default)
Feels like I haven't updated in *ages*

vacation != work )
coding! )

I have no idea how people wrote code before there was the internets. I guess there were books? I have no books, I have google.

Although I'm not supposed to use google any more - my boss is on a tear about how google has a monopoly on search and therefore it costs our company *way* too much to advertise on google. He wants us all to use other search engines, to break google's monopoly so that they are not able to charge so much for ads.

I'm not sure I fully agree with him - I've never once clicked on a google ad - when I search on google, I don't use the advertised links.

But I tried yahoo search for a while - I just didn't find my answers.

housepainting FAIL )

My DSL saga, I will document another time - suffice it to say, even though I have serious reservations about switching to cable broadband, I'm getting to the point where it may be my only option. AT&T can't fix things, and every person I speak to there, gives me a completely different phone number to use to call back and find out what's going on - half of them do not work. Hello - phone company!

Today I have been productive - I have laundry in the dryer, and food in the slow cooker!

I may buy some yeast and bread flour and try the bun recipe that I saw on lj last night.

news

Oct. 15th, 2008 09:52 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
good news and bad news and other news

other news - we went back to the townhouse to take pictures, and the neighbors had their music cranked up - all through the house you could hear the bass pounding. I find that I'm especially sensitive to that type of noise, so now I'm freaking out and have to go back a few more times to see if I can deal with it, if they won't agree to turn it down :(

good news - home and pest inspections done, no real issues to report - the roof is old, but in good shape, termites have not eaten the building and fumigation was actually done a year ago, due to the other end unit being infested and badly in need of fumigation. My 3 big things are 1) standing water under the house due to lack of air flow - solution is to install some small fans apparently. 2) gutters are blocked and need cleaning and 3) chimney cap needs replacing - apparently $50 or so.

bad news - work laid off 6 people today - about 1/3 of our staff. 2 of those to be let go were surprises to me - one is my best friend, and one is probably my second best friend and adopted family here in California. The rest were more obvious as they were some of the newest hired. Completely due to the mess the economy is in, and the fact that everyone is *stopping* - orders are on hold, nobody is looking to buy or replace any software, and we have no idea how long it will be before people start feeling more confident.

I feel completely battered and bruised today - I'm sure they feel worse.

catching up

Aug. 31st, 2008 10:42 am
spiffikins: (Default)
got back from vacation )

Amazingly, I only had one phone call from work - and that was on my first day - after that, they actually left me alone! When I got back, I mentioned this to my boss, and he was all "well you had sort of said you wouldn't be available, so we just sort of suffered and waited till you got back for stuff".

Now I know the magic words!

Thursday, D. and I caught up - he comes out to the office when I'm away, but we arranged for a day of overlap. Went over to the colo facility to do some maintenance and had lunch across the street. It was all good, until I found a tiny shard of *glass* in my coleslaw - well, I found it in my mouth :( As terrible as that sounds, I was so relieved - I thought I had broken a filling or a crown

Friday was catch up day, and I'm planning on taking at least part of Monday off, then back to the grind on Tuesday - my new server is here and I have to install the O/S, and Oracle so I can get back to setting up the standby database test stuff.

Yesterday I went to look at more houses )

(no subject)

Jul. 26th, 2008 11:55 am
spiffikins: (Default)
The chaise fits perfectly by the window in my bedroom - this is going to work wonderfully!

Of course, being the stupid person that I am, I decided to bring it upstairs myself - I figured if I tipped it up on the one arm, I could go up one step at a time.

Yes, it worked, but it was a lot heavier than I thought, and I got halfway up the steps and realized that I was not sure I would make it up. But I had no idea how to get *down*. I was a bit worried that each time I had to take the entire weight of the piece on me, to lift it up one step, that it would push me back down the stairs...not smart.

Note to self - make friends with young, strong males. All my male friends are gimpy and old.

work stuff )
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still alive

Jul. 9th, 2008 10:50 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
Back from vacation

family stuff and vacation )

unix crashes )

Other than that, I need to buy groceries, do laundry and in general catch up on life. A friend of mine has her birthday this week, so we will shortly be coordinating schedules for a group of us to go for dinner - I have a couple of partial gift certificates left for a lovely restaurant, so I'll contribute those, and we'll have a smashing time.

In other news, Northern California is having a heat wave - over 100 degrees in San Jose etc. This time, however, Santa Cruz has so far not been affected - fog is LOVELY.
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Craziness galore!

technical gobbledygook )

in minion-related news... )

pointy haired boss...no wait, he's bald... )


So, fly to San Diego Sunday evening. Training Monday. Dinner with the two guys who are onsite there, with possibly Much Drinking. Training Tuesday, then flying home late Tuesday night. Back in the office Wednesday and Thursday part of the day. Fly to Vancouver Thursday night. Take the public bus to some random art gallery in downtown Vancouver late Thursday night/early Friday morning, to meet my brother, who is having an art show that night. Wait till art show ends at 2am, and then brother will drive me home to my mom's house. Spend next week ignoring email and phone calls because Dammit I want a Vacation. Marred only by 2 chemo treatments for mom, but whatever.

When I get back in July, I'll probably have to decide what to do about Minion number 2...not looking forward to that at all.

Can it be vacation time now plz?
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the insanity

Jun. 7th, 2008 07:10 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
To everyone who has responded - thank you for your good thoughts - it helps a lot.

I went home last weekend for a short trip - Thurs-Sunday. I hadn't planned it, but it turned out that Friday was the first day of my mom's chemo treatment. I drove her in on Friday morning and sat with her while the IV dripped 2 different drugs into her. She was so tired - she hadn't slept much the night before, so she actually slept through most of it.

So far side effects have been pretty mild - some muscle weakness in her legs, and just extremely tired and sleepy. They apparently have Really Good Drugs now for anti-nausea, because she never had any - so that's wonderful.

This week she went back in for the second course, and the nurse quizzed her on how it went. They're concerned that she is dehydrated - not drinking enough liquids, and they think that maybe the dosage is too high, if she is so tired.

My one brother who moved home, is doing a lot to help out - he's making sure there is food in front of her when she's awake, and changing sheets etc. My other brother who lives with my mom is being really good about responding to the weird stuff she asks for - we gave her a bell, so she can ring it from wherever she is, and he can hear her from his room. So he does things like open and close the curtains, get her something to drink, get her socks, water her tomatoes, etc.

My other brother is flying in next week for a few days, and then I'm scheduled to be back at the end of the month - this time for a week or so.

She is doing better now though - the last day or two have been much better, and today she was planning on going out and running some errands - which is great, seeing as yesterday was the first day in a week that she got dressed

work drama )
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(no subject)

May. 19th, 2008 11:05 pm
spiffikins: (Default)
today was a tough day at work - I'm feeling like I am stuck between 2 giant rocks - one that is just sitting there and one that is moving closer and closer.

my boss is relentless in his quest to get me to give my work to other people. he doesn't have a lot of practical steps on how to accomplish this, other than to say "just go for it"

D on the other hand, is adamant that 90% of what I need to give away, is not Operations work - and basically says he won't do it, and the people we hired are not the right people to do it. He feels that Engineering should do it.

For a variety of reasons, I think that there are many benefits to Operations keeping this stuff, but at the same time, it's pretty obvious that nobody else in the group can take it on. I have very little faith that Engineering can successfully take it on (nor will it be easy to get them to accept it) so I'm stuck - I'm told to have "someone else" do it, but don't have any valid candidates...

I do see D's point - much of what I do is interface between Engineering and Support - when it got to the point that we had to label it (there were more than 2 of us) we called it Operations. It's not *normal* Operations for a software company - it includes normal Operations, but it's more than that.

Unfortunately, it's the piece I'm good at, it's the piece I enjoy, to a point, and everyone seems to agree that if I stop doing it, the company and all the employees will suffer to some degree as whoever ends up taking it on, figures out what's needed.

On the up side, my boss recognizes that this is difficult, and said to me today that he will keep pushing as long as it takes, to get this accomplished.

It may take longer than he wants, but I'm sure it will be faster than I'm comfortable with :)
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