Category Archives: work

What I have learned so far at my new job

I have been at my new job for about seven weeks now, which is about when you really get settled in, the honeymoon is over, the productivity is up, and the bitching really gets ramped up. Or at least that’s how it has been for me. And so I present, in no particular order, what I have learned, so far, at my new job:

  • What bash stands for, and how to use it a bit.
  • That I can never escape Japanese translation, not ever.
  • Strategy games mean board games with dragons on them.
  • What the malloc function does.
  • Process: I didn’t really appreciate it until it was gone.
  • Illy coffee doesn’t upset my stomach like most brewed coffee.
  • Marketing and sales people do exist, and they really are quite different than engineers.
  • There are worse source control systems than CMVC.
  • That I have more skills, experience, and talents than I realized.
  • Working in San Francisco really is awesome.

New job update

Since I realized that I probably have new readers (Hi coworkers! Hi family!), I thought I better put up a quick update now that I have started the new job. So…

  • Caltrain is working out well so far, except that the drive to the train station sucks and I think I am going to take the light rail instead starting next week.
  • New job is good so far. I haven’t really done much yet, but I think that will quickly change.
  • I am exhausted from getting up early. I am on day two and haven’t overslept yet (thanks to setting two alarms), but I am still staying up too late at night.
  • And dude! Remember how sick I was last week and how I thought that I got a nasty spider bite or something? I was talking to my sister in law and we realized that I have shingles! Seriously. I finally made it to the doctor today and she confirmed it. But sadly, there is nothing that can be done about it. I just have to wait it out. At least I am feeeling way better compared to last week. If you are running to WebMD right now, chill out. It isn’t a big deal when you are young. I’ll be fine. No, you didn’t catch it from me.
  • Working in San Francisco is great!

Wrapping up and getting healthy

DSC05001This week was supposed to be full of lasts for me: last time volunteering, last time at my step class, last time tutoring. But then…I got sick. I hate that. I never get sick. Or at least I live in denial and think that I never get sick.

Wednesday, I was sicker than I have been in years, with the flu or something. Who knows. I thought I was getting better, but I had to miss most of work today too. I think I am finally starting to get better, but I thought that last night as well.

I have pretty much wrapped up my work at IBM. I had my exit interview, my office is mostly cleaned out, and I have finished most of my projects.

I have also been saying my goodbyes, and it has been sad realizing that I won’t be seeing these people everyday anymore. Everyone has been incredibly encouraging with my new job and have said some really sweet things. And driving home tonight, I noticed this note on my windshield. I’ll miss everyone at IBM too!

Tomorrow is my going away lunch, and then I turn in my badge and computer! And that will be it!

Today’s internal debate

Do I use the bathroom around the corner from my office that is almost identical to my old high school’s bathroom? Or do I use the newly discovered super-fancy bathroom next to the Executive Briefing Center that is one story up and down some hallways, but complete with granite, fancy tiles, touchless faucets AND touchless soap dispensers?

Tough call.

Challenges at work

I am having some challenges here at work today:

  • Document management. Why is it that something so basic to my job is so difficult? My old group used too many, and my new group uses too few (read: none) systems. Lots of content management systems and version control systems out there, but nothing that seems to work for us. I was hoping that Slashdot would give me some new ideas, but no.
  • Articulating strategy when it seems like old news. I am having trouble putting together some information on strategy that now seems so old and obvious to me. I thought it would be easy since I have explained this stuff so much over the past few years, but now I have gotten to the point where I am like, 'That's just how it is so deal. Trust me. It is the right thing to do.'
  • Trying to care about this stuff enough to focus and do a good job with it.
  • Getting rid of my old work from my old job. It is my fault because I just can't seem to wrap it up.

Just what I needed

Thanks, Khan, for pointing me to this about IBM's death spiral:

Here's how one IBM employee put it recently as he resigned: "Unfortunately, I see IBM as a place run by salespeople and project managers with a sell and install mentality, even in services. There is no technical leadership, innovation or proper understanding of our customer's needs and requirements. The architecture profession is dysfunctional and cannot remediate itself. These factors may change, but not in the short term and when it does it is likely to be brutal, and I'm not patient enough to wait around until it does."

When your QUALITY is crap, your costs increase. You compensate by throwing more and more people at the problems that result from poor quality. When you try to cut costs, the problems increase and the quality suffers even more. IBM is in such a death spiral, and it is a direct result of a management decision to sacrifice quality…

Just what I needed this week to cheer me up. horray me.

16? I really have 16 installed?

This afternoon I was trying to find the right version of an Eclipse-based tool that I have installed, and it occurred to me that I must have a million instances of Eclipse installed on my machine. So I did a quick search and found out that I over estimated by just a bit. I only have 16 instances. That's still a lot, right?

How did I get so many? First of all, we deliver our documentation in information centers, which are built on Eclipse. So I have various information centers installed that I built and use for testing or whatever. Also, I discovered that I have some apps installed that, even though they aren't Eclipse-based themselves, provide an Eclipse-based information center. Every time you install an information center, you get Eclipse.

Then I have all sorts of different builds of the various Eclipse-based products that I have documented over the past few years.

When I first heard about Eclipse, I imagined that I would have one instance of Eclipse, and then I would just plug in all of my different applications into the single IDE, and everything would all be right there for me. But no, that's not how it works. Each product has its own separate Eclipse base, and I have to go figure out which product I want to do what task. It gets really confusing because you can do slightly different things with each product and they all look slightly different. I have to think that this must get confusing to customers too.

IBM’s Google trends

Rob just sent me a link to Google trends about IBM. For different searches, Google shows the trends: volume, cities, regions, and languages. IBM's volume trends aren't very interesting, other than that the trend is slightly downward. The interesting part is that 9 of the top 10 ten cities that are seaching for IBM are in Asia. New York barely makes it in at #9! The top languages are really crazy:

  1. Chinese
  2. Japanese
  3. Danish (huh??)
  4. English (only 4th?)

You can also compare trends, and IBM and Oracle trends are weirdly similar.

Other random things I learned:

  • The top language for the search "google"  is Turkish
  • The top city for the search "internet" is Mexico City
  • The top city for the search "RSS" is Tokyo (SF is #3)
  • The top city for the search "pizza" is Austin
  • The top region for "porn" is Australia

I’ve Been Moved

Yup, months before my 5-year aniversary, I am now sitting in my fifth office.

Let's review:

  1. Inside office that shared with a co-op. Plus side was that it was big and I had someone to answer all of my newbie questions. Plus it was right next to the printer room, so there were always people stopping by to say hi. Downside: it was next to the old secretary office, and so people often mistook us for administrative staff.
  2. Corner window office. I had it to myself for 9 months inbetween co-ops in my department. Plus side was that I was sitting with a bunch of old-timer developers and not all of the other writers. Downside was the red glow that reflected in from the building next door. Even though the view wasn't great, I loved it. I think I was in that office for a couple years.
  3. Corner window office 2. A new manager decided that my officemate and I should sit with the other writers. The view of hills and cows improved muchly, but the volume of our gossiping had to be decreased muchly as well.
  4. Corner window office 3. I switched departments, and so I moved to a new tower with a view of the plaza. Plus side was that I could watch all of the exciting plaza action. Down side was that the afternoons got hot as hell.
  5. Inside office. I now have my own inside office that I share only with a server. It will take a lot of work to fix it up and make it livable. I hope my plant doesn't die. Already planning with new teammate how to kick out some co-ops in a corner office and move over there.