What I was doing at age 18

I recently realized that a very important aspect of what I have done for the past year in my day job is echoing how I got started in my career. That is, I spent a bunch of time last year and this year justifying a large technical project — in writing for a less-technical audience — and then working with other people to get it organized and deployed. I’ve also recently in my work gone back to that project — documenting the project so that other folks could finish it, and a non-IT PM could manage it — so that I can get back to programming.

Realizing that, it inspired me to see if I still had the documents I’d written for that original project. It turns out, I did — both the original proposal, and a mid-year budget for the actual ordering once we got the project approved.

So, what was this project? Getting my high school computer lab on a LAN, and on the internet — the latter isn’t mentioned in the original proposal, so I guess it was scope creep, but it was awesome. The project lead to my first full-time summer job and my first full-time job when I took my break from Dartmouth (both doing Novell server admin work plus some desktop support) and I’m pretty sure the project itself — still underway — made a difference in my college applications.

A PDF reconstructing the original documents is here: Networking Computer Resources for Hunter College High School: A Modest Proposal Below the break, reminiscences and a text version of the document itself.

Continue reading “What I was doing at age 18”

I’ve got a new job.

I will be starting shortly at Guidewire, in San Mateo.

It won’t be for another few days (*) , but except on the level of exactly which day next week I start, plans are settled and I am looking forward to getting back to a relatively “crunchy” programming position; it seems like a very cool place. More details to follow later.

(* it’s Saturday as of when I’m writing this, and I have to go on Monday to either do Jury Duty or get it rescheduled having missed my original day due to an earlier interview somewhere else…)

The shortage of posts lately… (and a recommendation)

The shortage of posts lately has basically come down to three things:

1) I’ve been busy with the job-search.

2) My home page has been getting a lot of hits from my craigslist resume, and while I’m too lazy to look through the referers, I have to assume some of them are coming here. I don’t feel comfortable blogging about my job search when prospective employers might be reading here.

3) I’ve been kind of reluctant to take up either too much fun stuff, or anything too controversial politically, because it might seem unprofessional. Now, I grant, pretty much this entire blog is “unprofessional,” and it’s unlikely I’d get hired someplace too hung up on such things. I have no idea if political opinions a “protected category,” but I suppose it’s a moot point, since I pretty well broadcast being some variety of liberal/leftist here. But in any case it’s a point of first impressions, and I’d like to avoid making a bad one.

That said, I have been having SOME fun lately, and two of them merit a quick note here.

First, I discovered Questionable Content last night via Steve Jackson’s recommendation in the Daily Illuminator a few days ago. He described it as a “a modern-day romantic comedy,” but I’d call it Soap Opera for the 20-something set. Without any spoilers, if you’re a Robotech fan, think about the Lisa-Rick-Minmei triangle sans any of the action or sci-fi elements (except a single few non-giant robots, one of them taking the obligatory talking-animal role.)

If you check it out, do yourself a favor and start from the beginning; the art does take a while to evolve, but the character development is the fun part – there aren’t nearly the same sort of random digressive plotlines or degree of geeky weirdness that Sluggy Freelance or GOATS have, so I’d imagine it would be hard to truly pick up from the middle.

One warning: there is some minor profanity at times, so depending on your sense of propriety it may not be work safe.

Second, the link I’ve had for a while for the Space Moose mirror seems to have died; fortunately, there are now several findable on google, one of which at “spacemoose.almostdead.net” had a cool URL and appears to have dropped the substitution of the author’s name with a weird one that the old DrunkAndDisorderly site did. While Space Moose uses quite a bit of profanity (and very frequent attempts to be offensive, with or without profanity), it’s really funny most of the time. Do consider yourself warned before following the link, though.

I’m looking for a job.

As of Friday, February 10th, I am no longer working at my old position at USF.

I was am actively looking for a new position – preferably in the San Francisco Bay Area – and appreciate any leads. My resume is available as a pdf
or as html.

There are more versions available here, and further information on my job search and professional interests will be available in a few

This post will remain “sticky” until I’ve gotten a job. In any case, to all friends reading here, please wish me luck, and I will probably keep you all posted about my job search in this space.
Update as of 3/11/2006: This is no longer sticky, as I’ve gotten and accepted a job offer. The resumes are about to be updated but I’ll leave a version up for the curious.

Blogging and the Academic Job Search

From The Chronicle of Higher Education : Bloggers Need Not Apply

What is it with job seekers who also write blogs? Our recent faculty search at Quaint Old College resulted in a number of bloggers among our semifinalists. Those candidates looked good enough on paper to merit a phone interview, after which they were still being seriously considered for an on-campus interview.

That’s when the committee took a look at their online activity.

In some cases, a Google search of the candidate’s name turned up his or her blog. Other candidates told us about their Web site, even making sure we had the URL so we wouldn’t fail to find it. In one case, a candidate had mentioned it in the cover letter. We felt compelled to follow up in each of those instances, and it turned out to be every bit as eye-opening as a train wreck.

If I head back to grad school, I will take this seriously into account in terms of whether to keep this site live. As long as I’m in IT, I don’t think it matters. Heck, some eccentricity is expected.

(Passed on by an friend.)

I am at once saddened and amused.

As I noted on Tuesday, I am leaving my present position to start at USF, and gave notice that morning.

Today, my company announced layoffs… and I’ll be terribly surprised, having already given notice, if I hear one way or the other about whether I’d have been laid off otherwise. I’d like to think that my leaving voluntarily has saved someone else being laid off… and leaving certainly feels better than being laid off myself. From a purely personal perspective, I cannot help but be amused.

The economy here in the valley is certainly a lot better than it was during the bottom of the bust when Kana was having its big rounds of layoffs, and I am not nearly so worried for many of my coworkers as I was for various folks at Kana at the time. Still, these are never a good thing and I’m sad for both my company and for those coworkers who are being let go.

If you need it, this is the coolest tool ever

We had a partition table wiped at work last night, and I had a hell of a time finding a tool to recover it.

Well, TestDisk does it, and it’s free/GPL. The commercial tool I sometimes use for partition stuff DID have the ability to recover deleted partitions or reconstruct the whole table but didn’t support ReiserFS.

The only downside is that the first version I tried (4.0) while it came on Knoppix (which was very handy) didn’t support current ReiserFS either (it did support Reiser 1 and 2). But the current version (5.5) does, along with a plethora of other file systems (but not XFS, at least not yet.)

Very much worth adding to your toolkit.

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