Status Update

So, I had a job interview recently at this place: Netsmart. It is possible that I applied at this place just because I feel the name settles in nicely with the likes of TruSecure and Cybertrust, which are company names already on my resume. If I get hired there, it will be like I have collected a set of something, like a trilogy. Or an evolved pokemon.

In related news, I am no longer working at Cisco. I was unhired due to the recent workforce restructuring. Not to worry though, the job offers are already rolling in.

I freaked out for about five minutes when I got an email from my boss saying she happened to be in town and wanted to take the opportunity for a face to face meeting – historically this is the sort of thing which precedes a firin’.

I didn’t really feel much loss connected with leaving the job itself, and I have to wonder if that has to do with the way I worked. I did not go to an office very often, as Cisco is good enough to allow employees the option to work from home. Pretty much all interaction with my co-workers was via email and chat. So not a whole lot has been different, except I have 10-12 hours a day free that I did not before. I have become quite skilled at Starcraft. And by skilled, I mean competent. I’m not ready for the Korean league or anything.

Also, a fat severance package has a somewhat calming effect on the nerves.

I saw a couple of articles like this one encouraging former employees not to sign the general release required for the severance package:

” . . . the severance amount may not be sufficiently paying you for what you are releasing. Consider the resources, the lack of work life balance, the time you have dedicated to Cisco. Is the severance fair?”

Maybe I should have sued?

What would I even do for a year in Canada?

No, probably not.

While there was often a lack of work/life balance, I imagine there was at least a chance that I could have alleviated that had I bothered looking for another job. I doubt being too lazy to explore career alternatives is reasonable grounds for a lawsuit.

Anyway, job searching is on hold for the week for jury duty, since a job interview is not a valid reason to miss a day. That seems reasonable if you have already been selected for a case, but thus far I have just been taking up space in the jury pool. So, instead of going to a job interview this morning, I watched half of a shitty movie that kinda looked like a remake of The Great Outdoors. It had Adam Sandler and the fat guy from King of Queens in it.

My old phone contract went away with my old job. This required a new number and fresh 2 year commitment to Verizon. It also provided me with an opportunity to snag a new phone. However, any phone that looks even a little bit like it might have a touch screen requires a data plan at this point – except this one:

Everyone seems to hate this phone – and as it was originally marketed, that’s totally understandable. It’s a phone with no apps or other significant smartphone features, but they tried to attach the same data plan required for say, a Droid. It was billed as a smartphone for teens, and so was not supposed to need all the apps. It was instead meant to integrate with social sites, such that you would more often be checking your friends’ Facebook status and uploading pictures with this phone, rather than texting or calling people.

I would not have paid $150 plus data plan for this phone. It did seem to be a pretty excellent deal at $0 and no data plan, so I think they have found the sweet spot, pricewise. And the phone itself has a decent amount of hardware features, it’s just that they are not used for anything in particular. It has wi-fi, which was the biggest reason for getting it. It also has a GPS chip (used for geotagging in one iteration of the OS). Here are the full specs, if anyone is interested: KIN Hardware Specs.

So, it’s like they’re basically expecting you to install a new OS on it, right?

It may be possible that I occasionally overlook some details.

Yesterday we got our new bed delivered – something of an event, as both John and myself have grown accustomed to sleeping on third or fourth generation hand-me-downs so compressed by time and use that they only barely presented a footprint in the third dimension.

We also decided to move the computers to the larger bedroom, as I have been wanting the space to set up a proper workbench. I have already scorched the dining room table in two places with the soldering iron, and shouldn’t like to further mar one of our more presentable pieces of furniture.

In my defense, that only happened because some solder had dripped onto the table and cooled, and I was trying to remove it.

A condition of swapping the rooms around was ensuring that the new bed would fit into the smaller room. We set about measuring everything, and I busted out the graph paper to make scaled sketch of the room layout. I even used (sort of) proper drafting technique after being overcome with the anxiety that the professor from my engineering drawing classes might somehow find the paper and scribble all over it with red ink if I did not. I’m certain the man has a preternatural sense which alerts him when an arrowhead is not filled in.

This also marked the first time in my life that I have ever actually used this skill outside of the classroom in which I learned it. I now feel the hours of drawing perfectly weighted lines and thousands of dollars of crushing debt incurred in the acquisition of my first degree to be completely justified and worthwhile.

Not really.

Anyway, if you look at the drawing, you may note that it is for a king size bed. Would that I had first thought to make such a sketch detailing the clearance in the hallway and stairs through which the bed had to pass. Such remarkable forethought would have illustrated the fact that there was actually no way to get a king size mattress into either bedroom. We figured this out when the mattress and two delivery men became wedged in the stairway, with the mattress already bending perilously close to a warranty voiding angle.

Once we accepted the obvious, they dislodged the thing, told us we could just change the order to a queen and we’d be refunded the difference. We would probably get the adjusted order delivered in a week or two. So we watched them carry away our ginormous new mattress and restore the old one, which had just moments before been dragged through slush and tossed in their truck to be hauled away. Stepping down a size was a little disappointing, but new bed is new bed. Also, sleeping on a dirty mattress on the floor for a week offered a bit of perspective.

As an added bonus, we arranged the room so that the bed is surrounded on three sides, making it quite cozy and nearer to my ideal home design.

My car got mugged.

Saturday afternoon I walked outside and discovered my car sitting amidst the glittering confetti of its own busted window. Apparently someone saw that I had a couple of phone chargers and an auxiliary cable plugged into the dash and simply couldn’t resist such a bounty.

I console myself with the knowledge that the cracked out fuckwit that stole my stuff was probably unable to sell it for much, and still had to blow some dude in an alley to support his habit. Fingers crossed that he also had to to endure the ordeal with a bunch of safety glass embedded in hands.

I Love Alaska.

For anyone that doesn’t know, AOL committed a minor business faux pas in 2006 by making a file containing three months worth of user search history publicly accessible. One of AOL’s employees posted the text file containing the search keywords for about 650,000 users, so that it would be available for academic research on user activity. He doesn’t work there anymore.

Search histories were attached to a numeric user key rather than a name or social security number to protect privacy. However, the searches themselves were uncensored. So, if you searched for your own name and then went on to look for your child porn and pipe bomb recipes, there are some rather official looking gentlemen that would like to have a word with you. You can still probably sue AOL though.

As you know, if something posted somewhere on the internet, it’s basically out there forever. AOL didn’t take the file down in time to prevent it from being mirrored elsewhere. A couple of guys obtained the file and put together a mini-documentary using about a month’s worth of search terms for one user – I Love Alaska.

The episodes are all available on youtube as well – here’s the first to get you started:

I’m not entirely certain this woman has a solid understanding of how the internet in general or searches in particular work. Her searches are conversational, as though Internet is her close friend that she shares all her deepest secrets with.

There are thirteen episodes in all, each about 5 minutes long. I assumed that knowledge of this would be far more pervasive than it is, but every time I ask someone if they have seen it, the answer is no, and that is unacceptable.

** EDIT **

When I went to fetch the first episode from youtube, this was at the top of the featured videos list:

It’s not so much that this was on youtube that bothers me. It’s that it was in the featured videos list. Really? There’s really nothing more deserving of that spot than a dude putting toothpicks in his beard? It is also worth noting that he is attempting to put 3000 toothpicks in his beard in order to trump the guy who put 2000 toothpicks in his beard, who overcame the previous record of 1600. I’m assuming the guy who managed 1600 was the pioneer of the beard full of toothpicks field, but in fairness my research on the topic has been rather superficial.

I has a brick.

I should be playing this right now:

I should be indulging my asiaphile predilections to the extent that my loved ones become concerned. I should be sitting here on my couch amidst 36 flavours of pocky, guiding my race of tiny ocular savages through their musical rise against oppressive potbellied dragons and trees that vomit axes. Instead, I am left staring resentfully at my shiny paperweight. I think perhaps if make my displeasure at its behaviour obvious enough, it will be given over to contrition and show a menu screen once again.

I looked around for any information on “unbricking” a PSP. Mostly it’s just a bunch forum dwellers saying “LOL – way to go dumbass. You’re screwed, shouldn’t have tried to downgrade your firmware.” Thanks a lot for the help, you judgemental shits. I didn’t even screw around with the firmware. I picked the thing up to install the Patapon demo, and it just wouldn’t turn on anymore.

I’m going to go set up an ebay auction for PSP parts. And leave my monitor right where my fussy little handheld can see it. Its fate is in its own hands at this point.