Saturday, May 14, 2022

For a while now, I've resisted Disney+. Often, just barely. I kind of recognized immediately when it launched: if my mother had been alive there would have been no choice in the matter from the beginning. With Star Wars and Marvel joining the house of mouse, that beelines it straight into my interests. I already grew up in front of Disney's content library being the son of Disney fanatic. Throwing in the franchises that most interest me: that just makes a dangerous recipe for a streaming service, lol.

The way I've largely resisted is the notion that I have enough of my budget devoted to such subscriptions, and don't need another. Less about the cost, more about the principal.

And then I notice how cheaply this can expand my existing Hulu package....and darn it.

For bonus points, not only does this allow me to catch up on recent SW/MCU series, it has quite the back catalog. Including filling in the gaps in my Blu-ray collection. Seeing the back catalog has the old ewoks movies and Spiderman and His Amazing Friends series from the '80s listed, somehow just makes me feel old more than tempted. But I'm pretty sure we've long since passed the point of "Pass the popcorn". Sigh.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

 Famous last words? "Damn it, Amazon. Don't show me coffee makers!"

Friday, May 6, 2022

Reflections upon my career

For the most part, I've never been a big believer in bucket lists. At least not the kind you wait until you're dying to start checking off. In thinking recently, I've come to realize that the work I've done over the years probably checks those kinds of boxes on my career in software engineering.

Over the past 16½ years of programming: I've ...

Followed as part of a larger group where the big picture issues were someone else's problem, been the mythical programmer doing it all, led small groups where the big picture is my domain, and been the contact point for small groups.

Learned that I like design and architecture. Both creating them anew and studying existing projects.

Somehow ended up the guy everyone asks when they don't know the answers.

Gotten to enjoy coffee machines that may have had more moving parts than my car.

Worked on traditional application and system level software, but also many other pieces that were off the beaten path. Kernel level drivers that needed porting, microcontrollers that drive hardware interfaces, developed libraries, tools, and frameworks.

Discovered those are all less magical than you think when you're a young padawan. It's less that it's drastically different from normal software development and more that it's important that you not screw up, explode, or paint yourself into a corner.

At times been both the smarted and the stupidest person in the room.

Made features people loved that were based off my ideas. Especially the curious ones when I wanted to know how something worked, and then found an imaginative use case for what was learned.

Made features people loved that we based off other people's ideas. Especially the ones that made the product better for the customer.

Been one of the engineers that gets called when a customer goes down on a Sunday.

Been deemed the expert on some problem domain. Actually, I don't want to know how many times that's happened.

Seen code that I worked on make the magic happen and seen the results on a scope, even though I'll never be able to spell oscilloscope from memory!

Been grateful for hardware engineers and technicians and their skill sets. As well as gladly working alongside them.

Had my hands in more than pieces of internal infrastructure than I can count. As a coworker recently pointed out, while "IT guy" has never been my job title at any of the places that I've worked, he noted that I could probably run an IT dept it I had to. The part of that bugs me, is he was serious, and others agreed.

Been a webmaster, not that I miss that job.

Gotten to work with equipment that I always thought was so expensive that I would never be allowed to touch it.

Seen more than one 8-inch floppy diskette.

Oh wow, satellites!

Been one of the guys who knows too much about what needs doing after the power comes back on.

Both saved the day like Mr. Scott and reminded people that I am not in fact Scotty.

Quoted Jurassic Park more times than I ever thought possible.

Had to wear both my red shirt and my brown pants.

Kept working on a problem everyone else gave up on, and actually found a solution.

Written code to handle parsing existing formats and data streams, including at least one parser of MPEG2 Transport Streams and various propriety things.

Written code, specifications, and documentation for formats and data streams I've created. Sadly, more often for propriety things.

Debugged more than a few weird problems.

Been the guy that gets to solve a problem because the team that should fix it in their project decided it's too much work to do the right thing.

Solved problems at both ends so a system is tolerant if only upgraded one end.

Will probably forget more about the X Windows system as I get older than younger folk will ever learn.

Will never forget there was a character encoding named EBCDIC because test equipment was so much older than I was, defaulting to EBCDIC rather than ASCII made sense when it was manufactured.

Worked on existing and developed new products that actually get used and deployed.

Never got to go to tradeshows and conferences related to my fields but was the chief code monkey on a product that got an award at one.

There will probably be at least letter from a customer in my keepsake box.

Ahh. I've got to admit, it hasn't been a dull career to date.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

It’s been an unusually full weekend. A couple friends were in Atlanta making for a nice chance to hang out. As someone that already passes for a potato during my time off, this was probably the most time out I’ve spent since the pre-COVID age. Between work and medicine schedules it’s been difficult to get very far on the weekends, even after being vaccinated.

I’m also reminded that driving in Atlanta isn’t quite as bad as I remember, thanks to it being the weekend. But I’m still going with the accurate statement that Atlanta is a gravity well where cars go and pedestrians can walk faster 😅. Driving on the interstate doesn’t bother me, it’s just a case in methodical driving and trying to avoid the psychopaths. It’s more specifically the metropolitan gravity well that sucks.

Oddly the thing I’m most looking forward to about the coming week is coffee. I’m able to be a fully functional human being without caffeine, and did so the first twenty or so years of my life. Yet, I’m still in favor of an IV drip of espresso given how little coffee I’ve had this weekend.

As a side note, a entry in embarrassing life moments: wondering why the parking machine refuses to acknowledge my credit card exists, and then noting the machine is too old for chip cards which meant my mag strip was therefore on the wrong side. Or as my brain’s internal monologue phrased it, “Damn, I shouldn’t have skipped coffee”. Yes, never skip coffee. Something, something. Mm, coffee.