drwex: (Troll)
I was settling down to do a long LJ update because here it is the end of Tuesday and I'm kind of mostly caught up on things my friends have written and I want to write my own BIG update but I look at the clock and it's nearly five so I'm not going to start that now. Instead a small thing here and there will have to do. Forgive me if I turn into Posty McPostALot.

I'm leaving at (near) 5 today for the first time in who-knows-how long. Most of the working late has been due to taking on a project attempting to teach the developers at my place of work something about design - what it is that I do. Note I did not say I was going to teach them to be designers. That's a lot harder. But right now we have a recognized situation where I am a bottleneck and one way to relieve that is to have more people with some of my skills around. Since we're not hiring more of those, we'll try to grow them organically.

I wrote and delivered six lectures in three weeks. Doing these things is mentally and physically exhausting for me. When I teach this kind of a course it's usually three hours a week over a semester (15 weeks or so). It is, as I explained, a very lossy compression.

Still, I think it has gone pretty well. Feedback is generally positive and I managed not to make an utter ass of myself more than twice. People reported being both informed and entertained, which is about as good a compliment as I'm likely to get. As to whether it'll have its intended effects of lightening my overall workload by having more people around here doing design things we shall see.

Now I just have to catch up on the backlog of work-things-that-were-not-on-fire I've semi-ignored for the last 2.5 weeks. I put out a couple of things this afternoon that had caught fire while I wasn't paying attention and now I'm going to LEAVE WORK after a mere eight hours.

I really appreciate the privilege I have in working this kind of job. I see so many people who don't have this kind of privilege, who have to work whatever hours their boss says, or who are working for themselves and "leave work" means "take home less money." I look back on the long road of privilege I've walked to get here and try to hold in my mind the idea that I couldn't do this without the privilege and yet I'm also busting my ass (my shirt is damp with sweat and I'm mentally drained). I think about this kind of stuff often as I'm pushing Thing 1 to try and get something like a realistic summer job this year.
drwex: (WWFD)
http://www.varidesk.com/

I think this is what I've been looking for - a device to convert a desk from sitting to standing and then back again. I should do more standing - I do it in a lot of my meetings - but I don't think I could have a full standing workspace for an entire day. At least, not at the start.

Most of the other things I've seen have been either clunky-looking to assemble or designed to go in one direction (standard to standing) not convert back and forth.

I'm blogging this in part so I have a reminder and can look back on it but comments and shared experiences are always welcome.
drwex: (Troll)
Monday: fly to Houston. Turns out that it's not 100% true Logan has updated its security theater. Last two times I got to keep all my clothes on and just had a swab. This time it was the idiot strip just like you've been subject to countless other places and times. I need a pair of slip-on shoes just for going through airports. Somehow I set off their alerts - I think it's the metal hair clip. Need to remember to take that off each time.

Arrive in Houston (for usability testing of software for work) and things are in surprisingly good shape. Unfortunately my watch band broke so between that and the time shift I spent the week feeling strangely outside of time.

To most everyone's surprise and relief there's a meeting called for end of day Monday at which it is announced that the company has decided to do something actually sane. Mind you, had they taken this decision a couple weeks ago I would not have had to make this trip, but at least they made the right decision. It could have been SO much worse.

Tuesday get there early to set up only to find that participant #1 has failed to show, so how about *I* do that role? Um, sure. Fumble through, make changes, it's all good. Tuesday is tiring, but basically OK. Three user testing sessions and a meeting. Also, I have to crisis-manage a personnel issue remotely in six minutes while trying to get lunch. At least I'm enjoying being in Texas in December when it's dry and mild. Sorry to everyone who was freezing in the slush up here.

Tuesday I still haven't heard about the award presentation I'm supposed to give on Friday, for which I have changed my travel plans. Write to boss saying "hey, what's up with this?" Team dinner Tuesday is nice - we have margaritas and bitch about work, rather a lot. I discover that my polite Texas female counterpart can curse up a storm when she wants to.

I lived in Texas in the era of Ann Richard and Molly Ivins. I learned long ago you do not mess with Texas women. Iron fist in a velvet glove, let me tell you. Except maybe it's calf-skin, this being Texas and all.

Wednesday we do the first actual customer sessions, which go remarkably well. Have to take customers out to dinner, which means we get nice food on the company dime, but also means I have to be "on" later than I'd like. Go back to hotel room and pack and crash.

Thursday, did I mention I still hadn't heard about the thing I'm supposed to do Friday, for which I'd changed my travel plans? Yeah, Thursday I get told it's not happening. Try not to be too overtly ripshit about it. Am reminded that genteel Texas lady can in fact curse like a sailor.

Hustle to the airport to be early, which is good because United decides not just to change gate, but actually move us to another terminal on approximately the other ass-cheek end of the airport. I make it, with time to get froyo on the way, because I am that level of paranoid. Flight is PACKED but at least we make it. Bus is late but at least I'm not driving (because 93S in the morning during rush hour would likely make me homicidal). Get home, fall down.

Friday I miss the end of our debrief meeting so I can drive up to Nashua and be pissed off in person. Then drive back and decide "frell it, I'm not going into the office for two hours" and go home instead.

Saturday up early, on the road around 9 for a meeting north of Hartford at 10:30. Mind you, this is voluntary, unlike the past week. It's the Ingress event called an anomaly which involves crazy people walking around in groups playing a game on their phones for four hours. By the way, it's COLD in Hartford in December. Just noticing. Lunch at Rein's beforehand to fortify and a handwarmer in my gloves during didn't quite make it tolerable, but I met some new people and gamed with some I've known for a while. Also we kicked ass, which was necessary payback for getting stomped last time in Cambridge.

Leave Hartford around 5:30 to head up to Amherst and pick up Sariel for the drive to Waltham and a party. Good company for the drive - I can't remember the last time we had an hour+ just to chat and we certainly could've filled twice that time with things we didn't have time to get around to. Still, driving. (I'll leave out the comedy of errors around getting to leave; suffice it to say that the gremlins were out.)

Got to the party around 8:30 to discover that, as Pygment had warned me, it was LOUD. My social spoons were nearly gone by that point and I lasted barely until 10 and found I needed to flee in order to be safe driving home.

Sunday was supposed to be visiting a party - but that got postponed - and a friend's crafting exhibit. I passed on the latter so that Thing 2 could make his class that he didn't want to give up. The recharge time was much needed. Now to get through this week, then I can go away for the holidays.
drwex: (pogo)
Dog: excellent. She's been with us a month and fits us quite well. She's learning more of what she needs to know; Pygment completed one set of classes with her and will do another set to work on additional things. The kids adore her and she is getting used to being with a family. Pygment thinks it's hilarious that I'll (sometimes) let Holly lick my face, which I generally don't let humans do.

Job: Good. We had a group reorganization that included a virtual promotion. My part of the group (the design team) is largely unaffected. The scattered development people have been coalesced into a group headed by an experienced dev manager. The company had a senior VP leave - he was buddies with the recently retired CEO - and promoted to the SVP spot someone whom I've interacted with tangentially on a few projects. When I stopped by to congratulate the fellow on his promotion he mentioned that he found me to be "a good listener". Unexpected kudos about things I have had problems with = win.

House: is. Projects are mostly on hold or done. Going to use the "wallet" tool to solve the yard mess problem. Party season is upon us and that makes me like my house more. We do have to solve the problem of party noise keeping the kids awake, though.

Car: I've largely settled on the VW (diesel) Jetta SportWagen. I'm a little concerned about the lack of diesel filling stations near me, but I'll cope. I'm wrangling with the sales people this week to get numbers I like. The 2014 model is not a big improvement and they admit to having 2013s they'd like to move; also looking into a low-mileage used. If this falls through the Prius V Hybrid is my backup plan. The V series is larger and has a wagon-sized model with quite respectable mileage. It has approximately zero acceleration, though, whereas the Jetta has torque that makes its small engine perform. Either way I'm looking forward to 500+ miles per tank range.

Family: mostly mending. Thing 1 is finally past whatever triggered his massive asthma setback. Thing 2 has finally kicked whatever persistent eit he came home from summer camp with. Unfortunately he gave himself a major case of sinusitis and is now under care of an ENT to get that dealt with. Pygment's various issues are varied - ask her for details - but nothing immediately crisis-forming. My mother continues to... well, vegetate. Which sucks, but doesn't suck more than it has for the past couple years and the intensive attention from hospice seems to be good for her.

Details on request.
drwex: (VNV)
I'm feeling sort of pleased with myself for coming up with an answer to a problem at work. The challenge? How do I teach this kind of thinking to anyone, particularly my kids.
Set up and knock down )
Comments, thoughts, share-your-own-story all welcome.
drwex: (VNV)
My friends often tease me about being a literalist. It is not, so far as I can tell, a voluntary activity. It's just the way my brain works.

For example, in World of Warcraft there's a monster I call Tautology Demon because part of his dialog is to yell "All mortals will perish!"

Well... duh.

And today my workplace sends out its annual EEO policy, which starts with:
"$EMPLOYER are committed to maintaining a work environment free of discrimination and illegal harassment."
and it's just impossible not to respond with the question "Wait, you mean there's legal harassment?"

I can, with conscious effort, stop myself from externally expressing these sorts of things. But I promise you all I do not expend any additional effort trying to think this stuff up; it's just the way I see the world.
drwex: (Default)
Let's say that you have a template-like thing (if you use Word or similar you might be familiar with what they call "Template documents"). When you 'open' that thing in fact what happens is you get a copy of the thing. You could open it many times and have lots of copies.

When you make a change to the thing you have open in front of you it ends up that you change just that one. You don't change the original (template) nor do you change any of the other copies you opened. That's good if you just want to make one change, but it's a royal pain in the ass if you want to change the same thing everywhere.

So imagine that I'm going to give you two capabilities, one to save just what you did locally and one to make what you did on this one be a change for all the others. The first one is pretty typically called "Save" or "Apply" and most people seem to be OK with that.

But what would you expect the other one to be called? I can't very well make a button that says "Make this change here and also to all the others" because it's too long and people will laugh at it. I can also thinks of a few techy ways to say it, but mostly what I want is a concise way to express that thought which will make sense to non-computer geeks.

What would you call it?
drwex: (VNV)
I'm doing training videos for work and running through some basic vocal warm-up exercises, which include repetition of simple phonemes. You know, things like "po po po" and "ti ti ti".

Inevitably I get to the point of doing "ah ah ah" and cannot resist then segueing into "... oh, Superman. Oh, judge. Oh, mom and dad."

I can't tell which of the two activities causes more odd looks from cow orkers.
drwex: (Python)
Since I can't do anything about my mother's situation I'm trying to work. And one of my cow orkers uttered this line this morning. I laughed so hard my boss had to come see what was up:
"Just give me a moment to read over the emails so I'm not trying to think and talk at the same time."

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