June 21st, 2007


chutes and ladders

+ I got a new job in January
+ the interview process was great for my ego
+ the pay is good
+ the benefits are even better
+ they sponsored Arisia
+ I have a nice computer on my desk
- I have a tiny shared office
- there aren't enough conference rooms to be able to make private phone calls
- there's no wireless infrastructure to be able to work in any of the nice large open spaces
- the project is huge
- the project is written in Ancient Greek
- the project is out of management's control
- the methods I know to bring it under control don't apply to huge projects written in Ancient Greek
+ there was a smaller project in a modern language which needed someone with my skills to kick its ass
+ I got up to speed very quickly
+ I kicked a lot of ass in a very visible way
- there's no more ass to kick there for at least six months
- there aren't any other projects here like it
- most of the other projects here are sufficiently out of control that adding people to them won't help
- changing projects here is mired in bureaucracy, even if a good project could be found
- overall, I am down enough on my job to be willing to say that I'm thinking of leaving in an unlocked post
+ I have a job interview at Vanu on Tuesday
+ they want me to give a presentation
+ this is an excuse to write up some stuff I did on the rally app a while ago
+ a presentation-based interview process is more likely to result in a company that can see the big picture than a coding-puzzle-based process

+ I learned a lot about how hotel room blocking should be done at the last Arisia
+ I've come up with a really good new blocking scheme
- it's still not quite clear where the open parties should go in this scheme
- I got pretty far behind schedule on getting reservations open
- our rep at the hotel has left, which will delay it further
- people are starting to ask when we'll be ready
+ we're still a long way ahead of last year

- my laptop died two weeks ago with swap file corruption, and then wouldn't boot due to corruption in a system file
- Norton Ghost's bootable recovery CD couldn't see the drive at all
- I hadn't made a backup in over a year
- I couldn't find the recovery CDs, and my subsequent backups were of personal data only
- this happened a month or two before the likely release date of a couple of very sexy new machines that I would have liked to have an excuse to buy
- the next revision of my old laptop dropped a feature no one but me cared about, but which I cared about very much
+ the revision after that has the feature again
+ it has a bunch of other features I like too, and only one very minor negative change which turns out not to matter at all
- that revision has been discontinued
+ I found one refurb for about a third of what the price was before it was discontinued
+ the new machine takes all the same peripherals including the port replicator and extended battery
+ the new machine is handily capable of the one or two CPU-intensive tasks I had been frustrated at not being able to do on the old machine
+ USB disk enclosures for the drive in the old machine are fairly cheap
- UPS took five days to deliver one sent by air from Connecticut
- UPS tracking tells you where the package ought to be, not where it is
- it was the wrong enclosure when it arrived
+ I found this out in enough time to have a new one shipped out that day, from California this time
+ it arrived in time for the very next chance I had to play with it, without paying an arm and a leg for shipping
+ GetDataBack could see the drive no problem
+ GetDataBack doesn't make you register before you can tell whether it will be useful or not
+ GetDataBack can be used for small collections of files without registering at all, and only insists on the registration for a bulk restore
- GetDataBack is kind of pricy for shareware
+ I like supporting shareware authors (as you might have guessed by my naming the piece of shareware in question four times in this post)
- I now have two restores, one complete but possibly slightly damaged, and one old but intact, and will have to sift through it at some point
+ that task can be deferred because the new machine has plenty of disk
+ it doesn't look like very much of the data is damaged at all

+ we found a great contractor to do our front porch
+ he came highly recommended from previous customers
+ he was obviously very knowledgeable about old houses and gave us some advice of the "we'd never have thought of this obviously correct statement" variety
+ he wasn't out of line in cost
+ he was available in only six weeks
- he sent some email around the scheduled start date saying that he was behind schedule
- then he want completely dark
- it has been a week since the revised start date and still no sign of him
- he has a large deposit from us
- one of his buddies thinks he has absconded
+ there is a state fund paid for from license fees for reimbursing people in this situation
+ it will actually cover us, since he was licensed when we signed the contract with him
- it takes a while and involved jumping through enough hoops that you really need a lawyer
- the fund won't reimburse legal fees
+ we found a great lawyer (turns out Bill White, who we already knew was great, is taking clients)
+ he's reasonably affordable for a lawyer and can get us through this process without spending so much money that it's not worth it
- this pretty much kills the idea of doing the porch this year