personal comments edit

We had an “all hands” meeting today. This is a once-a-quarter occurrence where they take an hour or two, feed us donuts, and then try to re-sell us the jobs we already have by putting up colorful slides and throwing out statistics that must mean something to someone.

Frankly, I think it’s fucking boring. I mean, I work here already. Don’t sell me on our “potential opportunities” and all that - isn’t that what we pay some of the folks here for already? To figure that all out and get us going in that direction?

Plus, I don’t think it should take an hour to explain where we’re going

  • cut to the chase already. The only thing I’m getting out of this is a glazed look and a loss of my will to live. Tell me what I need to know, and let’s move on. I got shit to do.

I was actually discussing that a bit with my boss today. How I’m really sick of working on the project I’m on right now (and have been for the last eight months) and now I look for little things - anything - to do instead of working on the project. He says it’s a “grass is always greener” sort of thing - that any other project is going to be a better thing to work on, but then that’s still not as good as the next project… I think it’s more of an “attention deficit” sort of thing - I don’t like working on huge projects for extended periods of time because I lose interest. I like to do a variety of things. The spice of life and all that.

Oh, and I have a problem with the “employee recognition” program they’ve got set up. Maybe not a problem, but an interesting observation. I’ve noticed that the people who primarily get recognized are salespeople. I think it’s great that they’re selling the product (isn’t that their job?), but I don’t think they’re the only people working here, you know? Today we actually had a couple of folks recognized for doing some legitimate above-and-beyond stuff, and that was cool. But I’m starting to think that this place works a lot like a stage production - the actors and folks on-stage get a lot of credit and come out for the curtain call… yet there’s a whole crew of technical folks, makeup artists, propmasters, and so on that keep the production rolling that don’t get all that much credit. I mean, what about the guys in my department who keep the systems up and running daily with less than the requisite staff? When things go right, nobody cares. When things go wrong, we hear about it until the cows come home. Irritating.

Subject change: I brought home a bunch of my class books to review while I study for my next test. It’s a good thing I did - some of the stuff I reviewed last night was stuff I didn’t remember too well, and stuff I had seen on the practice tests I’ve looked at already. I have a lot more work ahead of me. I can’t wait until this one’s over.

sharepoint, net comments edit

I’ve started studying for the next test I have to take, MS 070-320, which is entitled Developing XML Web Services and Server Components with Microsoft Visual C# and the Microsoft .NET Framework. what it should really be called is Everything You Don’t Know.

I mean, I’ve taken loads of classes, including the classes that they recommend to prepare you for the test. I felt that I did pretty well at them. I feel like I remember the stuff, and it all seemed pretty reasonable. But I’m looking at the practice test, and I’m wondering if the people who came up with these questions realize that I’m human. It’s nuts. Like if you took a Spanish class and on the final they start asking you what the Latin roots of certain words are. Pretty ridiculous.

So I’m taking home my class materials from those classes and will re-read them (because either I’ve forgotten stuff or they really didn’t talk much about this stuff), and then will continue working on the practice tests. Crazy.

I’ve decided, though, that if/when I pass this thing, I’m going to reward myself with some better earbud headphones because the ones that I’m using right now (the ones that sit sort of precariously and sometimes painfully toward the outside of your ear canal) are, well, not so comfortable. I want to get some of these Sony ones that actually go in your ear. From what I’ve seen, they’re pretty awesome.

I’m still working on SharePoint Portal Server version 2 stuff here at work, which is getting older than I can possibly explain. It’s review time at work, and one of the things on the review is to determine what your goals for the coming year are. I have one goal - to not work on SharePoint Portal Server. I’ve been working on the same stupid project for like eight months with no help and no light at the end of the tunnel. Every time I think I’m getting near the end, there are more “enhancements” or there’s something else that gets “included” in the project. I mean, what I liked about my job before was the variety of different stuff I got to work on. There ain’t no variety anymore, folks.

Speaking of which, I should probably get back on that. There’s a lot to do and I found out today that I don’t have as much time to finish as I thought I did. Which figures.

By the way, I got this shitty little digital camera that I can take pictures with to post up here. It’s not great quality, but something is better than nothing. Now I’m almost hoping that my stupid neighbors park in the fire lane [again] so I can show you how ridiculous it is.

humor comments edit

The company has decided that they not only need to have me on call 24/7 via phone and throw requests at me constantly via email, but now I need to be bombarded by “real-time spam” via Windows Instant Messenger.

They’re putting in a Real-Time Communication Server (or whatever Microsoft is calling their IM server nowadays) and we all get special IM clients to log into this thing.

The problem I have is that whenever I have my Instant Messenger logged in, everyone sees that I’m marked as online and as soon as I sign on, I get accosted by thirty bazillion messages. The thought process I’m sure goes something like this:

Hey! Travis just logged on. Obviously he has nothing better to do than to answer my questions or respond to instant messages. I wonder how he’s doing? I’ll just send him a quick ‘Hey, dude, what’s up?’ style message to let him know I’m here. He’s obviously too stupid to look at the list of his contacts and see that I’m online.

It’s pretty ridiculous.

The other thing I notice is that if I leave the thing logged in (as I am wont to do because logging in and out is just one more thing I don’t want to deal with), it could be, like, 1:00a and people will see that my IM is logged in (even if the status is set to “Busy” or something) and will send the ol’ “Hey, Dude!” messages. I’ll come in the next morning and see a load of messages cluttering my desktop from the insomniacs in my life.

And then they complain that I never responded to their messages. Bah.

The answer is that they need to add one more status to the list of possible statuses. See, “Busy” doesn’t work. “Appear Offline” sometimes works, but defeats the purpose of presence information. I need something that says… “I’m online, but I sure as shit don’t want to hear from you.” Something like this: The Ultimate IM Status (5k
image)

Until then, I think I’ll just skip the whole IM thing. It’s more trouble than its worth.

personal, movies comments edit

Life is just a roller coaster ride, isn’t it? I mean, yesterday started out rockin’ with me passing my test and getting my site moved over to the new server, and then I got home and got the mail.

Remember a while back I tapped a lady’s bumper? Well, I got my insurance bill. It went from $800 every six months to $1300 every six months. That’s right, nearly doubled. Fucking ridiculous, that. I’ve got a totally clean record except for that one incident. And, of course, the insurance company’s got me over a barrel on that one for 36 months from the reported time of the accident, so I’m looking to be paying out the ass for the next three years.

You know that thing where they say your insurance goes down when you turn 26? Mine didn’t. No change. God forbid these assholes give me a break.

On the other hand, I can’t complain at all about the service. If I need anything, they’re on the stick. There’s never a time where I have to wait a day or two to hear back from them (the way it’s been with other insurance companies I’ve been with) and they’re always open and let me know what the status of things is. Plus, they’re cheaper than the rest of the places out there.

Of course, now they’re gouging me.

Such is life, eh?

My boss had me schedule a meeting today to “open communications” between the project team (me) and a couple of the people that are being impacted by the project I’m working on. I already know the questions they’re going to ask me, and I don’t have (what I would call) satisfactory answers for any of them. As far as I’m concerned, I’m implementation, man. If they want to provide requirements, they need to talk to the requirements people, which isn’t me.

Bah.

I watched The Original Kings of Comedy last night on TV. I hadn’t seen it before, and I like Cedric the Entertainer and Bernie Mac, so I thought this would be pretty good.

Eh.

See, I’m all about talking about “the differences between people” and “the battle of the sexes” and all that sort of thing, but when a comedian harps on one particular thing over and over, it gets old. It’s called variety, people - look into it. See, on their TV shows, Cedric and Bernie have a good variety of humor topics - kids, men vs. women, black vs. white, common problems… all sorts of things.

Not so in their stand-up.

In their stand-up comedy, the only topic available is “black people vs. white people.” That’s it. And let me tell you, while I enjoyed about 75% of it, it got old pretty quick.

The same thing happened to Ellen DeGeneres when she first came out of the closet. Her show was really funny, then she came out and every single joke on the show was a gay joke. Yawn. Variety is what keeps folks entertained. Without it… disappointment.

So, disappointment.

Finally, I printed off the practice test questions for my next test and looked them over a little bit.

Whoa.

I’ve taken a lot of Microsoft classes and whatnot, but I don’t recognize shit from these practice questions. Seriously. At least with the other tests, I pretty well recognized some stuff but had a difficult time with a few of the key areas or technical details. I don’t recognize any of this stuff.

Which brings me to another interesting insight I had. Before, when I was taking my first test, and most of the way through the second test, I was very much in favor of knowing exactly how a given technology worked in order to understand why test answers are what they are. I was all over that - sort of like knowing how to do math before you get a calculator. Looking at this new set of questions has changed my opinion. You can’t possibly know everything there is to know about any given technology. You work with about 30% of a technology - the common parts. The rest, if you need it, you look up in the documentation or check out code samples. There is never a time you’ll be stranded without any resources and have to have everything memorized - there’s just too much. So now I’m starting to see the merit of learning the technology you’ll use and learning the answers to the test questions so you can pass. I don’t honestly see any other way around it. Does that make me feel good? No. Will it help me to pass and get on with life? Yup.

movies comments edit

I saw a preview this weekend for a movie called The Underworld. It looks like Interview With The Vampire meets The Matrix, which is to say, fucking awesome. Vampires vs. Werewolves in a dark, digitally-enhanced action flick? Count me IN.

Jenn’s like, “Eh. Whatever.” I’m like, “I’ll be the first person at the first damn showing!”. Some people just don’t get it.