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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Greetings, all...

So, I've been working like a mad man the last month or so. 60+ hours a week on a "project" defined as so only by a study that the project manager and execs refer to as a spec. The group I've been working with complained at a meeting that we'd be much better off on these projects if we actually had REAL specs (implying that ALL projects are coming in only as studies), to which the "project manager" replied that there was too much multitasking going on with him and the other managers to do what we were asking.

Of course, that leaves us piddly developers to basically figure out use cases, functional specifications, the data schema, and (much less) develop and troubleshoot the project, all while getting new "features" and complete changes to the project thrown at us basically every other day. Oh, and about 5 weeks to deliver what was officially to have been started in December aught six. But, that's not really multitasking, just our job.

If we hadn't used netTiers and CodeSmith, we'd have been kaput, methinks in hindsight 20/20. ZedGraph and Microsoft's Smart Client Software Factory also came in very, very, very, very handy.

Needless to say, Uncle Simon here has been a tired boy. Joey finally dragged me out of the house today to go do something (other than lie around the house, which I kinda really wanted to do). We ended up going out to Mt. Lebanon to Little Tokyo for dinner, then Jernigan's Tobacco Village for some smokes and wine. I had to admit to her that it really is nice to get out of the house every now and then. Little Tokyo would be maybe a 6.5 out of 10 for me, a 10 being Takahashi in Portland. Jernigan's was a cool place, but not like what I'd thought it would be. Again, Portland's Rich's Cigar was a fantastic spot. This was really only my first run out, though, investigating some of the city and it's surrounding area.

In my spare time lately (what little I have), I've been doing a couple of things. One is playing around with SQLite and System.Data.SQLite. I like it. I'm going to try getting the netTiers wrapper for it from the CodeSmith site soon, and my little creation I'm making should fly.

Also been reading Dreaming In Code. This is an excellent book so far. This is not a developer's book per se or something specifically for the software engineer, but rather does for software design what The Code Book did for cryptography.

I have also very recently been directed to and become enormously addicted to Puzzle Pirates. I will be playing this again tonight, like I did last night until 2:00am. I wish a very long and horrible curse on the man who introduced me to this (and you know who you are!). He has also gotten me semi-addicted to going to the Google Products page and refreshing the screen to see what the latest searches have been. I showed him the Trends from Google Labs. He immediately rushed back to his desk, put in "sporks" and I think "mullet wigs" and got Portland, OR back as the hottest city for this "trend". Little does he know, I have a titanium spork for camping!

A quick update. Next time I hope a have a link to my SQLite creation, as well as some more pictures from around here in Pittsburgh. This town's pretty cool so far.



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Monday, May 07, 2007

I Just Titled This Post in May 2009...and Me...

What a time, people...Lemme tell ya...

So first of all, I haven't posted since February. A tiny re-cap: Joey and I trying to move back East. We sold our house in December, right about when I "finished" a .NET project for my (ex-) work that sync'd an old optical reader Scantron machine to a SQL 2005 database server for student evaluations AND created web front-ends for the evaluations and online reporting AND the database design and tuning. Meanwhile I was also trying to move a state contract over from Access to said SQL 2005 server, as well as assist with 10+ (mis-) managed servers and many many classroom labs having new setups seeming to occur on a bi-monthly basis. Also snuck in teaching the 2541 ADO.NET class (this was actually interesting, as the curriculum was new and delivered as Virtual PC files; too large and memory-gobbling for the classroom we were using, so I pulled them out of the VPC images using RIS...mind you, it worked pretty damn well.)

So we actually make it out of the house to my momma's, and as Joey and I are planning our next step, they tell me at (ex-) work that they no longer want the Scantron evaluations thing on the SQL 2005 server using ASP.NET, etc. They want it open source. PHP. MySQL. Linux. And they want it all done before I leave.

Little did they know in my spare time I'd (thank dear God and baby Jesus) been playing around with BSD on Virtual PC. I could get all the basics set up fine (basically just using the ports), but trying to do things like get MonoDevelop and a few others built (much less working) on there taught a LOT. So I told them, Otay, but I can't be dicking around with these classroom loads et al. I was slated to leave in February. That'd give me Christmas break (which I worked solidly on it through) through to beginning February to get it "done" and test it for maybe two weeks before fleeing.

My (ex-) job was a state job working at a community college. I have never met greater slackers in my entire life. These fucking people would literally come in, play Solitaire for 8 hrs and go home. Not a second longer, but perhaps 30 min to a hour shorter. That left anyone who at least enjoyed working on computers stuck with all their work, too. Then, we were a school. You'd think there'd be SOME pride in trying to give our students a quality product. Oh no. There, you were ENTITLED to your job. Bunch of lame fucks...

Sorry about that. Anyway, I barely managed to get all that done, plus handle getting a rental trailer, get my taxes done, purge most of our shite, etc. We went down I-5 to Sacramento, then down I-99, then along I-40 to the Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon = amazing, BTW. Stayed there for three days camping, then continued on I-40 to Tucumcari, New Mexico, where we angled up I-54 through Wichita and connected with I-70, through St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Columbus, to here: Pittsburgh, PA. (I will be editing this area later on to add pictures, etc. so if you're interested in this shtuff, visit my blog often for constant updates [right...]).

I am now living in Pittsburgh, PA on the South Side and working as a Contractor / Developer for an inventory logistics company doing a butt-load of C#. Oh my God am I happy as a clam. No more managing servers while building complex classrooms while doing database, web, and applications development all at the same time with no one prioritizing any of these tasks but myself (and getting in trouble for any way I organized them). Now just coding. Have had to gobble up CodeSmith / NetTiers, NUnit, MS Enterprise Library and Composite UI / Smart Client in the last two and a half weeks, but at least my focus is in one area. Plus a big grin for the extra $$$. As a gift to myself for all this change, I got myself this bad boy:

Working in the public sector's for chumps...

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