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Sunday, December 9th, 2007
5:57 pm - "He still has an LJ account?"
Yes he does! I haven't actually logged in for about 6 months, so I've missed quite a few 2007 updates, but I will try to be better for 2008.

This year has been monopolized by the Customer From Hell, and it still isn't over. However, I realized that the biggest difference between employees who don't get raises and those who do isn't as much the luck of getting the good customers, but how they handle the bad ones. I spent this year being the former, and need to become the latter. That's my other 2008 resolution, to work at making lemonade instead of vinegar from the frustrating situations.

Dr. M.D., M.D. has been very helpful - I still have a while to go, but there is progress being made.

My niece continues to get older, at a rate of approximately 1 month/mo, and the cats remain as cute and annoying as ever. Three of my friends have appeared on Merv Griffin's Crosswords, and MythTV watches for their appearances dutifully.

My bank and Becca's bank both changed ownership starting last month. This was unfortunate, as it means both our ATM cards stopped working at around the same time, as did our electronic bill pay. This means mailing out checks, and invariably missing a few.

Anyway, I'll try to be better about keeping up with current events coming up. Watch this space for details on Becca's birthday.

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Friday, July 20th, 2007
1:42 pm - D'OH!
assert(x) only evaluates x in DEBUG mode. In release mode it does NOTHING!

/me smacks self in head repeatedly

current mood: embarrassed

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Thursday, July 5th, 2007
6:35 pm - I can't say for sure yet, but
I think I've solved the Customer from Hell's problem! Yayz0rz!

current mood: optimistic

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Sunday, July 1st, 2007
2:23 pm - Multithreaded programming in C++ 101
If you have a class which will have instances shared across multiple threads, and you oh-so-cleverly add a mutex to it, you want to make sure the mutex is a static member, so all the threads lock the same mutex.

Otherwise, you'll still see the same bug you thought you'd fixed, and spend the weekend poring over thousands of lines of spaghetti code, trying to find the other object that's not being sync'd properly and drink way too much Soju at dinner, which will interact with your prescriptions and give you a nasty headache the next day.

Tomorrow's lesson: printf() for fun and profit.

current mood: groggy

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Friday, June 29th, 2007
9:37 pm - Debugging on WinCE
Wow, Microsoft Windows CE is a very hard platform to program. First, you have to deal with the fact that ActiveSync, which connects you to the device, will lose the connection at random intervals. Then, even if you can stay connected long enough for a meaningful debug session, Visual Studio will crash when you try to retrieve the value of certain variables. I haven't quite figured out under what circumstances this will happen. Then, if you've run the program long enough to hit an actual program bug, of course WinCE has its own builtin Abort handler, so if the platform you're debugging doesn't have Exception handling built in, you simply lose the Aborts, even if you surround them with try/catch.


current mood: frustrated

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Wednesday, June 27th, 2007
3:43 pm - Hai Id like to buy a intarweb plz
A dialog between me and the Whiny Two-year-old Customer (W2YOC) who subcontracts to us via Big Company, with fanciful reformatting...


Me: Okay, send me the code that is attempting to dial out, and the RAS (Windows Dialup Networking) configuration you're using. BTW, what do you get when you try to dial that connection directly?


/me += excedrin
Me: The code and configuration look okay, what happens when you try to dial out??


Me: Then you need to contact whoever gave you the dial up information and make sure it's correct. It's not the application.


/me += booze

current mood: amused

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Wednesday, June 20th, 2007
9:18 pm - When the sh*t hits the turbofan
We had a conference call with The Great Big customer in SoCal today. They were very nice, and backpedaled about fire drill mode, and assigned a project manager between us and the whiny 2-year-old customer. They resolved to communicate priorities and expectations better, and asked politely that we do the same.

I found out later that when our CEO flew down to meet with them this morning, he suggested that they use more respectful language with his engineers, lest they no longer be our Great Big Customer, as we have other smaller customers who can generate enough contracting revenue for us to pay our bills no problem.

I love my job.

current mood: satisfied

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Saturday, November 4th, 2006
8:33 pm - State of the Rob, part 2: The not-so-good news
Things are going really well with Dr M.D., M.D. One of my "homework assignments" is to get back in touch with my father, and ask (nicely!) about the crap that went down when I was a kid. We had a good chat, he does feel guilty about stuff, but he's not ready to open some of the Pandora's boxes quite yet.

Unfortunately, a few days after we got home, he was tutoring at the kid's house and had chest pains. They went away relatively quickly, but fortunately his wife called 911 and convinced him to get in the ambulance. Turns out he had had a mild heart attack, and needed a quadruple bypass. That was completed yesterday, and he's recovering very quickly - apparently they're only keeping him in the ICU because they didn't think he'd be ready to be moved out so soon. We Diamond men are pretty tough, apparently :-)

I'm taking this as a major Reality Check. I'm minimizing my fat intake, and upping the oatmeal and low-dose aspirin. I also made an appointment to get my cholesterol checked, and will proceed to make an appointment with the doctor to discuss strategy.

More later.

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7:51 pm - State of the Rob, part 1: The good news
The week before last, badiamond and I went to Long Island to visit my brother and our new niece, Jeanette. She's the cutest thing ever! Amazingly well behaved too. There was a baby naming ceremony at my father's synagogue, which was the main reason we came to New York.

As an aside, while we were there, we filled out some paperwork. We consider our true wedding to be 5 years ago, but some think otherwise, and that's okay too :-)

current mood: happy

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Sunday, October 8th, 2006
11:01 am - Maggie
Omicron started acting a little lonely, so we've been looking for a companion for him. Yesterday we went to Petco while they had Furry Friends Rescue there, and found Maggie. They're still hissing at each other, but we're hoping they'll be friends by the end of the week.


P.S. No hot tin roofs here :-)

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Tuesday, September 19th, 2006
10:00 pm - Ahh, the joys of embedded linux
I can't say much about the project I'm working on, save that it involves embedded linux on a mini-itx motherboard. It boots off a compact flash card, so I'm going to learn about initrd and a bunch of other stuff. I got a very very basic version going today, to the great pleasure of the management (it's been at least a year since I got a compliment from a manager, wow!), but there's a big gap between working and Production Quality, which I now get to spend the next month or two scaling.

At home, I adopted a foundling PC off the street - it has a 667Mhz pentium 3, and the latest date on any part is 2000, but that was enough to decode .mpg files, so it's now a satellite mythtv box. So now it records downstairs, and thanks to the Magic of Ethernet I can watch upstairs!

badiamond is still Away. She comes back in a week, or approximately 25,200,000,000,000 nanoseconds, and I'm counting each one, believe me. No really dear, the house is as clean as you left it! Ow, just banged my nose on the screen; I know what I'm doing this weekend :-)

current mood: missing badiamond

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Thursday, August 31st, 2006
5:04 pm - Back from my weekend
Went to LA and gave up the Saturn, met up with dmk and whc and drove up to Paso Robles. Also went to Pismo Beach and had dinner at Steamer's, which wasn't bad.

We went to Tobin James, Meridian, EOS (Arciero) and Eberle, and refilled the wine cabinet. Also suckersigned up for the EOS wine club, which had nothing to do with how many tastings we'd already been to ;-)

We all then drove up to Sunnyvale, where I refer you to badiamond's latest entry.

On the job front, went to interviews at two companies. I thought I'd screwed up the local one (as in right around the corner) by not remembering as many details about SQL as I'd hoped, but got feedback that they liked me. The other company, in San Mateo, made me an offer which was a bit below my expectations, and then the first company said they couldn't get back to me for another week because it was down to me and two others, so I accepted the first offer. It's okay, since it's a 6-month trial basis 1099 contract, so I can push for a good conversion offer when the time comes, or move on without penalty. They've already purchased tickets for me to go to San Diego to meet the people I'll be working with for my first assignment :-) They encourage working on outside projects and open source, so I'm hoping to get back on track on a few things I'd put on the back burner.

Best of luck to deyo, who's at an interview now. I hereby transfer my remaining job karma to you, since I'm done with it :-)

Also starting brain care - I think I'm in good hands with this one, thanks to a friend's recommendation.

current mood: anticipatory

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Thursday, August 24th, 2006
8:34 pm - Interview Update + puzzle
Today I had a really good interview up in San Mateo - I'm almost certain to get an offer on Tuesday. Haven't heard back from the local company, I might call tomorrow to see what's up.

Interesting interview problem, probably not interesting to non-geeksCollapse )

current mood: geeky

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10:53 am - Words of Wisdom
Ariya Hidayat
's (KDE developer) blog.

Be who you are

Be who you are and say what you feel,

because those who mind don't matter

and those who matter don't mind.

-- Theodor Seuss Geisel

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Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006
5:25 pm - Interviewing is hard work
Unfortunately, the company I interviewed with twice last week decided to go with a more junior (I think the word they were looking for was 'younger') engineer. Oh well, life happens.

I had a pretty good interview today, though it's a good distance away in San Mateo. I don't think it's too terribly far by Caltrain. Update: it's almost exactly a 1/2 hour train ride, so the total commute would be 45-50 minutes.

I have another interview in San Jose tomorrow, but I think the job is in Palo Alto (it's a recruiter prescreen).

What seems to trip me up most is the test and puzzle questions - I seem to have less attention span when it comes to sitting still and reading through long tracts of text. Must be the vision, yeah, that's the ticket :-)

current mood: tired

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Monday, August 21st, 2006
3:02 pm - Interests Collage
Via most of my lj friends:

My Interests Collage!Collapse )

current mood: mimetic

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Sunday, August 20th, 2006
12:55 pm - Star Trek Character Meme
Your results:
You are An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
Geordi LaForge
Deanna Troi
Jean-Luc Picard
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
Will Riker
Mr. Scott
James T. Kirk (Captain)
Beverly Crusher
Mr. Sulu
Since your accomplishments are seldom noticed,
and you are rarely thought of, you are expendable.
That doesn't mean your job isn't important but if you
were in Star Trek you would be killed off in the first
episode you appeared in.

Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Quiz

current mood: nerdy

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10:09 am - Dear Miss Manners...
Under what circumstances is it appropriate to bite houseguests?

Only when said guests are invited for the purpose of being the entree.

current mood: amused

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Friday, August 18th, 2006
10:41 pm - Free At Last!!
Today was my last day of work. As my severance agreement includes a non-disparagement clause, I can't really discuss what it was like. I will say that I tried to do the right thing, and stuck around for a week and a half to close things up, and that I felt certain people weren't very appreciative of my efforts.

I applied to a few jobs, next week I'll start checking Dice and Craigslist in earnest. I applied to a job in which the manager was concerned that I was overqualified, but the truth is that if I could be guaranteed a low-pressure, low-stress environment I would gladly take a pay cut, and promise to stick around for a long time.

I'm not saying I'm not willing to work hard, and I certainly want to be challenged at work, but for once I'd like to work for a manager with realistic expectations. You want it tomorrow? Fine, don't expect the full feature set. You want it to have no bugs? Fine, give me the time and resources to adequately develop and test it.

I had a fairly good second interview yesterday, I'm hoping to hear from them next week. If they aren't interested, I'll probably take it easy for two weeks or so before really going whole hog on the search. I won't do anyone any favors if I'm burnt out when I start the new job.

current mood: cranky

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Tuesday, August 15th, 2006
6:34 pm - Way cool
I think deyo is right, the market just heated up! I came upon a Craigslist job posting, and while poking around the company's website, discovered that one of my co-workers from a previous job is a VP there! I called and spoke to him, and when he discovered I was looking for a job he was ecstatic. He told me to submit my resume posthaste, and he would tell the VP of engineering right away to look for it.

And this is someone whom I worked with for several months, so I can't rationalize that I BS'ed him into thinking I was a good programmer. Yay!

current mood: hopeful

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