Category Archives: My Profession

Rambling thru August

I’m not a huge Windows user, except at work. 85% of my work days are spent using Visual Studio doing something with C#. Coding, fixing bugs (usually other peoples in some legacy app), enterprise back end stuff. Rarely UI/UX unless it’s a bug in something.

(I’m actually working on my first new coding project of the year. Heavily UI based, though I’m following a design by someone else. Fun stuff. CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, etc. things I don’t get to do very often for work projects except when bug fixing.)

The rest of my time is spent in Outlook or other office tools. With the occasional foray into things like Balsamiq or LinqPad.

At home? I’m heavily invested in the Apple ecosphere. I’ve been a Mac use for over 2 decades. OS X user since 10.0. And an iOS user since it became available.

I’m not looking forward to Windows 10. I don’t have any issues with Windows 8.1 (at home) and Windows 7 ( at work). After all… Visual Studio works just fine on them. I can just ignore the minor  nits in 8.1. Why change now?

One of those days

Ugh! Office politics!

Ever have one of those days where you do your job as requested, but someone else above you or in  a different department thinks you shouldn’t have done it that way? Maybe you inadvertently stepped on some toes you didn’t know were there? Because this job ‘task’ intersected with their ‘spear of influence’ ?

And now, you wonder if you’ll have a job the next day? And should you be polishing your resume, after 20 years working for the same company (in assorted roles) ?


That as me when I got home from work yesterday. Feeling the unemployment avalanche headed my way.

Not a good feeling. Maybe I’ll win the lottery and it won’t matter? I’ve got enough in the bank right now that I could spend 6 months job hunting. Not that I want to. I like what I do, just not the politics than I’m suddenly running into (The tech lead in my group left a couple months ago, with no replacement in sight, and now I’m getting hit with their stuff in addition to mine. Maybe this was why they really left? Office politics making it impossible to do their job? Just a wild guess.)

And sometimes we get bagels.

We’re not a big company. And the branch office I work in? We would probably fit into a small corner at Google, if they weren’t afraid of getting tainted by our old school software products.

But we always have coffee. And bottled water. And at least once a month it’s someone’s birthday so we get a treat then. And occasionally lunch – for assorted reasons.

And sometimes, like this morning, we get bagels.

Life is good. 🙂

Busy, busy, busy…

My plans for the fall just got torpedoed this week. Due to a project at work ( it’s been on the maybe someday list for a while but last week someone finally said “Do It!” ), it looks like I won’t have much time for any serious fic’age for the next week/months. Instead, I get to become the local expert in something so I can work on this project.

Granted, that’s actually how my job works – learning a new ( to us) software platform in a horrifically short amount of time and applying/integrating it with one of our products. If one were to read between the contract lines. It can be exciting, once the initial panic at the scope of the project and what I need to know to do it wears off. And I might even get some prof. Certs. out of this one. If I survive.

But it doesn’t leave much brain power for non- work things.

Although I do plan to finish a couple story parts that are mostly done anyway over next couple weeks, unless I need the stress relief don’t expect to see much from me until at least Christmas.

Miscellaneous News…

  • Gas for the red buggy is now $4/gal around here. Yes, I know it’s more expensive elsewhere in the USA. But that first tank of $4 gas was a shock to the system.
    I’m checking into getting a car with better gas mileage but since the red buggy is paid for and car loans for used BMW’s are hard to come by… I’m not sure what I’ll find that will be worth getting. Especially since I want manual transmission and that’s rare in the model I want.
    Not sure about the color but this is the basic model and price I’m looking for:
    If they still have it in late June I might have to take a trip there…

  • I’ve paid the site hosting fee for this blog for another year. Assuming “Userland” is still hosting/supporting “Radio” blogs for the next year.
    Next year… I’m thinking of finding a different web host — one that lets me do more than a basic blog.
  • I’m swamped with work… a project I was hoping to have done has gone seriously over time (For assorted reasons — only 1/4 of which I’ll take “credit” for myself. It was a pick-up because the client wanted it done sooner than the original project owner could get to it and I was “free”. Unfortunately, it turned out to be much more complex than I was told/expected and since I’m not the one who did the time estimate on it and I didn’t have anything to do with setting the deliverable date…
    ARGH!! Unhappiness in Mudville….
    And a learning experience… to say the least…

Almost there…

Unleaded premium… $3.49/gallon today.
So… my monthly fuel costs… almost double what they were a year and a half a go.
Starting to get painful… but still less than it would cost me to get a new car with better gas mileage (Now that the red buggy is paid for.)
With my current salary… I can take it going a little higher… though I’m not happy with it. Especially since the rising gas prices are not because of a gas shortage but are caused by commodities traders getting rich.
And McCain things repealing the Federal gas tax for the summer is going to make a difference? He’s out of his politically addled mind!
Not that the Democratic wonder twins (Obama/Clinton) have any better ideas…

Thank you sir, may I have another!

Two weeks into the new year, and what do we have?

  1. My cable (Comcast) bill increased $6/month – most of which was for my HD/DVR services. I actually wandered over to the Comcast web page and… if I tried to put together the current cable services that I have now as a new subscriber — it would cost me $20/month more than I pay now. (Ala-carte channel selection would be nice. I watch less than 1/5 of the channels I get on a monthly basis.)
    Yikes! Not that I have any other/cheaper options since I live in an apartment.
    Oh well, at least I have decent cable service and decent cable internet service.

  2. Gas is $3.08/gal today for the 93 octane stuff my car is supposed to have. And that is with that nasty ‘almost’ 10% ethanol stuff that drives my car’s engine electronics crazy.
  3. The country is apparently Recession-bound, though supposedly we won’t actually know that until it’s over. Or so say the economists.
  4. It’s primary season. Don’t expect any endorsements for a specific candidate from me. Not here anyway. I expect it will be fairly obvious who I might vote for.
    TN’s primary is on “Super Tuesday”.

  5. Apple released an upgrade to the iPod touch firmware on Tuesday to go along with Macworld 2008. The Techno-nerd Entitlement Brats are up in arms because Apple wants $20 to add some new applications to the Touch (ones that came with the iPhone) BUT new Touches will get these apps automatically. I think they’re out of their entitlement-addled minds.
    I could say more – lots more – but why bother.
    Sure, using Google maps, and doing e-mail with my Touch is fun (Yes, I did pony up the $$ for the upgrade) but it’s a PMP (Personal Media Player) not an iPhone or web tablet (like that Nokia thing). Sure, there’s a lot of potential in it but potential != ‘has to have’
    Of course, I also actually pay for software I use. I pay for movies. I pay for other media I consume. Maybe it’s my age?

    TANSTAAFL baby!

  6. One bit of good news :-). I found a $20 bill when I stopped to fill up the tank and get my bi-monthly Powerball ticket (Someday I’ll win!)

Playing hookie

Okay, not really. But the 4th of July is tomorrow – a Wednesday and it feels odd to take off a day from work in the middle of the week.
I don’t have any real plans for the day…


Someone figured out how to sign an iPhone up for a pre-pay plan with AT&T (Not sure of the terminology). $40/month (approximately half the minutes of the 2 year/$60 plan but basically the same (aka unlimited data). You just have to pay in advance every month (in some auto-pay kind of way (credit/debit/checking account).
The key point being — you aren’t locked into an AT&T plan for 2 years. You can cancel at any time. Even before you use it.
Drawbacks (as I see them):

  • The phone is still only useful as a phone with some kind of AT&T/Cingular calling plan.
  • What happens if you cancel? The iPhone has to be activated initially but it works as a wireless “internet tablet” after that. The concern is — will future software updates work if your non-Plan’ed iPhone doesn’t have a current calling planof some sort?

I’m tempted… it would be expensive still but without the 2 year lock in?
However… I then went and looked at national AT&T coverage… AT&T has almost no/weak coverage up where my mother lives and other places I might travel and need a phone. So I would have to keep another phone for those times if I wanted to use an iPhone as a phone.
We’ll see if I can hold out until the Fall… maybe Apple will come out with something less phone-like but with all the other features.

Just what I needed…

an excuse to procrastinate with the doing of taxes.
This year, due to several factors, US Federal taxes are due on April 17th, NEXT Tuesday. I’ve had this years TurboTax sitting on my desk for 3 weeks now. Maybe I should install it on a computer? Before Tuesday?

Okay. I did them. e-filed it. Forgot about the 24-48 hour delay before you find out if it actually went thru (If you use Quicken’s e-file service). Oops.

Look what I found…

(Working from home today… hence the afternoon blogging)
Emptied a few boxes at lunch… desk stuff from the last time I moved a couple years ago (We all have boxes like that… don’t we?)
Lots of things…
Found a couple Apple window static cling decals – the old rainbow ones… wonder how much they are worth on eBay? I see only the white ones. No big – I needed to replace the one on my car – it sort of melted after 3 years of TN sun.
A bunch of swag from computer companies/show (Mostly Digital/DEC)
The ALL-IN-1[tm] label from the first ALL-IN-1 system I managed (It was an integrated e-mail/word processing office tool running on VMS – mini-computer based. there are probably systems still out there running it – I think the White House even used it in the late 80’s – very customizable – I wrote a Call tracking system in it in about 2 weeks.)
Some Lego characters/figures (pirates, Harry Potter, etc) and similar things…
Now I need to DO something with it… can’t leave it out on the floor.


Okay… not really… but my receiver (the part of my stereo that gives me true Dolby surround sound, a radio, and a switch for a A/V few things (except HDMI – that didn’t exist in cheap receivers when I bought it 3+ years ago)) just gave up the ghost… not smoke but the smell of electronic components melting (and the sound died completely this time.)

Now I need to find a replacement… maybe there’ll be a Christmas sale somewhere? Under $300??? (I was looking a couple weeks ago…. everything that had the minimum of what I really NEED (enough digital audio in, Component Video out, etc.) was $300-400.)
And the Chinese company that made the one I had (which had enough ports for everything for half the price of SONY or other brands)… doesn’t seem to sell around here anymore..

Going parallel ?

I’ve started playing with “Parallels” on my mini.
It has its quirks. Mostly with devices. And how it will occasionally change the screen resolution (or at least it did that when I first started.) of the Windows instance…
The annoying part is really with Windows and how you have to “activate” it. I pay $300 for a piece of software (It has to be a Full licensed copy of Win XP Pro (No Upgrade copies.) to work with Apple’s BootCamp sofware) and AFTER I enter the license key it THEN expects me to “Activate” it? Or it won’t run in 30 days? Phooie… so I have to decide if I want to use Parallels or do a straight boot on the hardware (BootCamp) since I apparently can’t do both.
But in order to experiment… I have to install Windows XP twice!!!!!!
It’s gonna take me a couple days just to set things up to test… to see which does Visual Studio .Net better (which is the whole goal)… Dolphin 6 (Community version) seems to work fine under Parallels (so far… didn’t do much with it yet)
It should work… it’s all a matter of which “feels” better (And which one works best with my favorite keyboard (An LK450 on a USB keyboard adapter…) if at all.)

Well… who’d a thought… a mini and me…

Okay… I just got one of those little Mac mini’s… the ones with the Intel chip inside…
It isn’t a replacement for my PowerBook. My primary personal computer has been an Apple laptop of some sort for over 10 years now and I’m not about to change…
I bought it for 2+ things…

  1. to run Windows at home (my poor little Thinkpad at work has finally run out of steam and is being replaced by a Dell desktop thing (actually, it has the same Intel chip as my mini (a Core Duo) — except it might be faster… and it has 2 monitors) so I won’t have that to bring home when I need to do work at home…))
  2. To play with the whole multi-media entertainment center idea… if I can get it to work with my tv…
  3. My mother is getting one to finally replace her 12 year old PowerMac 6100 so I thought it might be good to get basically the same thing in case she needs help. (And I already have too many laptops as it is so no MacBook — at least not until they get all the kinks out.)

So… first step is to set up Mac OS X on it the way I think is appropriate…

  1. There were 13 updates to the Apple software/OS… took a while (tonight) to download and install.
  2. Any bundled software will need to be updated (It came with Quicken 2006 — wish I hadn’t bought that a few months ago)
  3. Any software I want to copy over
  4. Assorted other stuff..

And then for work stuff…

  1. Need to get a copy of Windows XP Pro (I bought Parallels – the software that lets you run Windows inside of OS X and I also plan on trying BootCamp (which basically turns an Intel Mac into a Windows box))
  2. Need to install software I need for work related stuff on it (Visual Studio and Co. mainly… anything else I can Remote Desktop into work and access for the littel I need it.)

That’s it so far… I don’t think I need to document the steps so far…
And I really need to get a printer… hmm…

One of those days…

One of those ‘running errands after work’ kind of days… (groceries, tank of gas, lottery ticket, haircut (a little on the short side — not a bad haircut but so short I think it makes my head look too unbalanced (kind of egg shaped — oops — gonna take a couple weeks to even out…))
Then I ate dinner/watched the Australia/Italy World Cup) game (I’ve been recording them — wander over to my LiveJournal for details of the whole OOC sports watching thing) and fell asleep, waking up around 11PM. And now I need to go back to bed so I’m coherent at work in a coupe hours…)
And no writing… I’ve got a couple hundred words of “The Two” to move from paper to here and the next TtH100 installment to straighten out (three+ paragraphs covering the same ground that need to be merged – it’s a mess right now.)
And “Radio” has been a little flakey since I moved it from one volume to another on my powerbook. Maybe I missed a directory reference somewhere? How did I move it last time? Hmmm…