July 16th, 2007


Between Jobs Again -- briefly.

The three-month stint with the Civil Engineering firm got extended by two weeks, but finally wrapped up on Friday (the 13th, dun dun DUN).

Kvetching: 'Tis a poor worker who blames his tools, but my (brand-new) work machine was frankly a lemon. It started with it showing up two weeks later than it should have (delaying my start date and forcing me to spin wheels in a different office), and culminating with it being replaced entirely a bit more than halfway through my time there. Without all that disruption, I think I'd have been a lot farther along on the project at the end.

Still, I gave them a solid basis that they can work from.

I learned a lot on this job -- not just the nitty-gritty of converting CAD to GIS (a skill in some demand, it seems) and the general basics of water and sewer utility mapping, but also how to operate in the private sector. Definitely time well-spent -- and money well-earned.

My boss at the civil engineering firm got me in touch with someone doing bathymetry mapping of San Francisco Bay, who needed a GIS monkey to help put a model together -- alas, the gentleman assumed that I could provide GIS software of my own. Unfortunately, my own dubiously-licensed two-versions-old copy of the industry standard software crashed every time I tried to fire it up. Even if it had worked, the project required extension software that I never had available.

I shall be e-mailing my regrets later today.

(Those regrets are few in number, but proffering my "wistful shrugs" to a prospective employer is rather less politic. I'm no fan of telecommuting; it's too hard to convince one's family you have a Real Job when there's no obvious difference between Sitting At The Computer Working Hard and Sitting At The Computer Goofing Off. Worse, it feels like homework that never ends.)

I do have other prospects; the half-a-dozen or more job sites I signed up with back in the spring continue to flood my mailbox with jobspam, and several local GIS positions have popped up lately. Better yet, every single one of them is coming through the headhunting firm that contacted me while I was still in negotiations for the civil engineering job, so I already have a contact in place. I will be telephoning him later today to inform him of my availability.

Last night, we grabbed some dinner from Panda Express. I forgot about my fortune cookie until this morning -- when I cracked it open, the fortune read:


Well, then, I guess it's settled.

All in all, I'm treating this week as "a few days off" rather than "ZOMG UNEMPLOYED AGAIN WOE WOE WOE".
  • Current Music
    Alan Parsons Project, "In The Real World"
weird science, Eye: RCA Magic Eye, tech

Closing Windows 001: Whoa.

Through my college years, I ran Windows because all of the applications that I needed for school would run under it, and there were a few vitally important applications that would only run under it. I disliked the Microsoft monopoly, and I disliked the ever-more-intrusive "features" they were including with each subsequent "upgrade". I liked the open-source philosophy, but at the time, Linux, BSD, and other open-source OSs were difficult to install. Applications were few and far between, and their compatability with The Stuff I Had To Use was questionable at best.

After I graduated, my first couple of jobs involved extensions of my college capstone (that's basically a "Bachelor's Thesis", for those who weren't reading this journal back then). I needed MS Office to make sure that my Office-generated documents didn't lose any vital formatting, and I had a legacy copy of the Industry-Standard GIS Software that, again, was a strictly Windows application.

Over the years, OpenOffice became increasingly adept at opening MS Office documents, and more than one open-source GIS package has emerged. The one thing keeping me in Windows was that Industry-Standard GIS Software; map files created in it are notoriously twitchy about migrating even to other copies of the same software.

Well, as I mentioned before, that application has completely given up the ghost.

There is now nothing that I do with this system that I cannot do with Linux.

It's time to seriously look into migrating.