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Updated: 11 years 13 weeks ago

Why I hate IT

February 21, 2005 - 11:21pm
As you may or may not know, I left the IT (aka "Information Technology") business in 2003 to go back to school to finish a Physics degree. It was the best thing I could have done for myself, and I have no regrets about it (aside from regretting that I no longer make large amounts of money. sigh.)

Lately though, I've been "reintroduced" to the joy of IT by both my significant other and a friend. They both work in IT, and they both like to bring their work home with them and share it with me. This does not amuse me, and I find myself losing patience with both of them whenever they start to talk shop.

I left IT for a number of reasons. I found that many of the people I worked with were just there to make a buck and had no idea what they were doing (with certain exceptions, beware the "Business Analyst", for they are incompetence incarnate). I got tired of having to bring out hand puppets to explain simple concepts to middle management. I grew weary of begging for cash to build proper backup systems, and being denied each time ... then being hauled out on the carpet whenver a serious failure occurred, and the half-assed backup system didn't work. I hated the business-speak: "touch base", "mission-critical", yadda yadda...

Worst of all, I hated feeling as though I was swimming against a very, very strong current and losing.

Now both my girlfriend and friend are going through the same things I did, and feel the need to share their experiences with me. I'd like to "be there" for them, but the problem is that whenever they bring up work, I feel as though I'm the one working there, and I get stressed. Odd, huh? Issues? Oh yes, obviously I have a few.

*sigh* I hope they both smarten up and bail before the heart palpitations and panic attacks start...
Categories: Attendees

Powerbooks are addictive

February 21, 2005 - 11:04pm
I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed working on a Powerbook.

Several years ago I owned one of the original 400 Mhz Titanium Powerbooks. At the time, I couldn't get over the gigantic screen. Nowadays, just about every notebook manufacturer on the planet sells a model with a 15.4" widescreen. But only Apple makes a notebook as solid-feeling as a Powerbook.

I switched to an iBook two years ago - it was actually an upgrade in a way, since it was 900 Mhz. Despite a backwards step from a G4 to a G3, the iBook was a faster notebook. Unfortunately, the iBook died an untimely death a couple weeks ago, so I found myself ordering a new Powerbook (I still have to take the iBook in - it might be covered under Apple's logic board program, so I might get it repaired and sell it).

But man, do I ever love working on this notebook. Our poor 20" iMac is going unused!! It seems like such a crime. We've definitely turned into a Mac household here. To think that there was a time where we had a ton of PCs running Windows and Linux.... *shudder*.

Did I mention that my Airport Express showed up today? I can now stream music from iTunes (on either Powerbook or the iMac) to our stereo in the living room. The Airport Express also acts as our firewall/wireless router, and I might hook a USB printer up to it too. The best part is that everything works seamlessly with no configuration to futz around with.

I've also been playing with Salling Clicker, which allows you to run your Mac from your bluetooth-enabled cell phone or Palm PDA. This is pretty sweet - I can sit in the living room and use my Palm T3 PDA to call up playlists on the Mac upstairs, and direct the audio to play downstairs on the stereo via wifi.

I like this convergence stuff.
Categories: Attendees

Saskatchewan pirates and Objective C

February 21, 2005 - 10:32pm
I'm listening to The Last Saskatchewan Pirate by Captain Tractor and trying to teach myself Objective C and Cocoa. Strangely enough, the combination seems to be working. I've made it 1/3 of the way through Cocoa Programming for OS X and things are actually clicking.

I've tried delving into Cocoa before, but something about the Objective-C syntax kept putting me off. Maybe listening to a sea shanty about a Saskatchewan farmer-turned-pirate is helping this time. :)
Categories: Attendees

Living vicariously through flickr

February 20, 2005 - 11:00am
.flickr-photo { border: solid 1px #000000; }.flickr-frame { float: left; text-align: center; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; }.flickr-caption { font-size: 0.8em; margin-top: 0px; }
Northern Voice - Julie Leung's talk - 1,
originally uploaded by roland. Well, since I couldn't make it to Northern Voice this weekend, I thought I'd take a peek on Flickr to see if anyone had posted photos of the event.

At last count, there were over 430 pictures online. Looked like I would've enjoyed myself had I managed to make it there. Oh well, judging by the photos I'd have to say it was a success, so maybe they'll have another one next year.

(poster photo courtesy of Roland Tanglao's Flickr photostream)
Categories: Attendees

AWOL from Northern Voice

February 20, 2005 - 12:46am
Well, I ended up missing the Northern Voice blogging conference entirely. Nat was definitely not up to the drive, and I would have felt more than a little guilty if I had gone by myself.

So, it was a pretty quiet day here in Kamloops. I tried to brush up on some Objective-C and Cocoa programming, and otherwise generally just puttered around the townhouse. Nat did some digital spring cleaning and freed up nearly 12 gigs (!!) of space on the iMac.

We also got to talking about the state of affairs of our Home Entertainment System, and came to the conclusion that with the arrival of the new Powerbooks, we're likely going to redeploy the 20" iMac as our primary television/DVD player ... not that we plan on wasting all that wonderful computing power - it is also our file and print server, and even helps out during code compiles, thanks to Xcode's distributed compile feature.

Yup. This is one geeky household. :)
Categories: Attendees

This does not bode well...

February 17, 2005 - 11:22pm
With less than 18 hours before we are to leave for the Northern Voice blogging conference in Vancouver, Nat's cold has come back with a vengence. She's upstairs hacking away right now, and I know that neither of us is going to get much sleep tonight.

Which is doubly bad, since I have 2 quizzes, two midterms, one lab, and an assignment on my plate for tomorrow.

Ugh. Reading week can't get here fast enough.

On a positive note, the keyboard on this Powerbook is freakin' AMAZING. I might have to blog more often, if only for the sensual pleasure of typing on it. Did I mention that the keys are backlit via fibre-optic too? (yeah, I think I did... but I'll mention it again for good measure!)

Now, the question is should I go back to the books once I post this, or try and catch some sleep tonight and get a fresh start early tomorrow? I still need to make up a formula sheet for Mechanics. Formula sheets!! Back at Waterloo, we weren't allowed such things. These UCC / TRU people have it *easy*. I overheard somebody today saying that a class average of 67% in Differential Equations was too low. Oh. My. God. If they only knew...
Categories: Attendees

One midterm down, two to go

February 16, 2005 - 8:27pm
I wrote a linear algebra midterm today, and I think I may have managed 100%, barring any silly little math errors (they usually seem to creep in no matter what I do). That just leaves Mechanics and Electricity and Magnetism midterms on Friday. I think I need to dig into some books tonight.

It's been a very, very crazy couple of weeks academically-speaking. I found myself quite sleep-deprived last week, and wondering whether I was really cut out for all this university stuff. But things have turned around quite nicely and I'm feeling much more confident about my academic performance now.

In other news, only 2 days to the Northern Voice blogging conference in Vancouver. I'm really looking forward to getting out of Kamloops for a couple days. I've got next week off actually (reading week), but unfortunately Nat works on Monday, so we only get to play in the big city for two days.
Categories: Attendees

The Powerbook arrived!

February 15, 2005 - 7:25pm
Whoo!

The Powerbook finally arrived this morning. The funny thing is that the courier's "tracking" site still shows "no info" for my package. Oh well, I'm happy. Now I have to get around to moving all my junk over to it.

It's shiiiiiny!
Categories: Attendees

Right away... if only.

February 14, 2005 - 11:10pm
So my new Powerbook and assorted equipment are being shipped by a company whose name implies quick, speedy and efficient service.

Why then, does the tracking number that Apple gave me still not work on the courier company's website?

I also ordered an Airport Express, iWork, and a new iSight mount ... I wonder what will get here first, my Powerbook, or the accessories that I ordered a week later?
Categories: Attendees

Updates complete: Home office v2.0, Education v2.1

February 13, 2005 - 12:27am
It's been a busy weekend so far, and it's only half over.

Nat and I have been looking for a filing cabinet to help us manage the sea of paper that flooded our office a few months ago. We finally found one we liked at Staples last night, and picked it up this morning.

It's a nice little maple cabinet ("some assembly required") that seems a lot sturdier than its showroom competition. It apparently accepts both legal and letter sized documents, so I think we've finally got a place to store all our documents. Now it's just up to us to organize them.

Of course, once we got to assembling the cabinet, that was it. We both entered Organisation Mode (I was also trying desperately to avoid working on an E&M assignment). We spent the next few hours moving furniture, sorting through old receipts, disassembling / cleaning computers ... the net result is that our office is unrecognisable now ... and so is the bedroom. Somehow, by adding a single piece of furniture (the filing cabinet), we've increased the amount of apparent space in both rooms. Go figure!

As for Education v2.1: I've been doing some reflecting lately on what I want to do once I finish my physics undergrad. I've come to the conclusion that I'm just not geared for higher maths. I can do it, but it doesn't come naturally for me, and I don't particularly enjoy it. On the other hand, I enjoy working with computers quite a bit, despite having left the industry after spending nearly 9 years as a system administrator.

Lately, I have been thinking about dropping my plans to do a math minor, and do one in computer science instead. My rational is that I've always wanted to work in the gaming industry - possibly writing physics engines for games. There is a not-so-little voice inside me that thinks that doing so would be a frivilous waste of my time, that I could be doing something "more important" instead. "Stick with your math minor" it whispers. Should I listen?
Categories: Attendees