Just a heads up for everybody that follows me on Twitter. I will be winding down the @systemwidgets account. I'm moving away from software development as a career, and moving into SQL\Data Warehouse development.
The new Twitter account is @Datasome.
I rode the Frontrunner train to work today. I got to the Frontrunner station in Provo (700 South University, just before the bridge going north). I bought a round trip ticket. It cost me $10.20. The round ticket gives me the right to use all forms of transportation for the day. This includes Frontrunner, TRAX, and the bus system as part of the pass. The actual pass looks like a bigger movie ticket. Interestingly enough, nobody checked that I had actually purchased a ticket.
I went to http://www.rideuta.com to check out what the itinerary looked like. The instructions there were fairly clear. The routes were clearly marked with numbers and colors for TRAX routes. The bus routes were marked with route numbers and addresses. The one confusing thing is that the routes do not say if they are TRAX or Bus. I had to click on the link in the web page, and even going to the second page, it was not clear which one was what.
The train shook a lot less than I expected. The only part that had a lot of vibration was the segment between South Jordan and Murray stations. I rode on the second floor of the train car. I sat at one places that had a table. There were quite a few people with laptops. The free WiFi was actually pretty good. I was able to browse my email and websites on my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 without any issues at all. The cabin was a bit cold at foot level. Make sure to stay way from doors, until you get to your destination. When the door opened at Murray station, I got hit with a freezing blast of cold air. I imagine that it would be miserable for those seating by the doors.
The seats were not all that comfortable, but they were bearable for the time I was on the train. I felt that the seats were made with people smaller than me in mind. They were quite narrow. It felt like a coach seat in an airplane. There are pods of 4 seats, 2 facing the other seats. There were single seats in several nooks in the first floor of the car.
The driver announces the stop clearly. The stop names matched what was on the UTA's website. The northbound route on Frontrunner is called Route 750 FRONTRUNNER, Provo.
I got off the Murray station, right behind the IHC hospital campus. I walked towards the campus, and was quickly on the island for the TRAX tram. I figured that was where the TRAX station would be. Indeed it was. I needed to get on the Blue line going southbound. It was marked clearly on the end of the island's roof. There were large red and blue dots with the destination printed out. There was also a digital display showing when the next 3 trains would come by. It was extremely cold on that platform. I ended up zipping up my coat, putting on my hat and gloves.
The TRAX tram shoot violently at times. Reminded me a lot of metro cars I've ridden in the past. The ride to the Winchester St. stop took about 3 minutes. Nobody checked my that I had a ticket.
The announcement for the station that I needed to get off was rather confusing. It is a good thing that I know the landmarks around where I work. I heard "Fashion Place Stop". I was expecting Winchester Street.
The marked route on the itnerary was Route 701 BLUE LINE, MURRAY.
The buses where clearly marked and I was able to find it quickly when I got off the TRAX tram. The itinerary said that I needed to get on Route 209 EAST, Murray. There were three 209 buses. I got on and asked the driver if this one would stop by the Fashion Place Mall. He told me yes. A few seconds later, he told me that the bus behind him was leaving right now. He signaled the other bus (don't know how he did it), and the other bus stopped paralell to the one I was in. I got off, and onto that one. I was impressed with the bus driver. That's dang good service!
The driver on the new bus was extremely cheerful and helpful. He cracked me up! I had forgotten that there was a stop right in front of Fashion Place Mall. The driver asked me, worriedly, if I was getting off, and I told him that I was getting off the next one. He smiled, and we were on our way. We got to my stop, and I wished everybody a Merry Christmas.
I walked to my office, which was just about 3 to 4 minutes from the bus stop. The total time was around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Now to see how the return trip goes this evening...
Been limping along on the programming front. I've gotten to the point where I have burnt out on programming. It took me a while, but I now understand what makes me tick, what makes me burn out.
My main love in programing are desktop clients. The area I live around has basically moved to web applications. I really dislike web programming. I find it tedious and infuriating. It's just not my cup of tea.
My last job search was pretty intense. I'm not in a postion to move (nor do I have the energy at this stage in my life). So I did what any good Borg would do. I adapted. I moved into the database world head first.
I've been doing SSIS as my primary duties, and maintenance programming as my second duties. This has helped immensely. I feel like I want to program again, but not for a living.
I have a lot of little projects that I'm in the process of updating. My current goal is to learn Caliburn.Micro with WPF.
I'm getting out software development as a career. I still wanted to stay in Information Services. Fortunately, I found my new home in Business Intelligence. Specifically, I'm working with SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS).
Staying competitive in software development has become harder and harder each passing year. By competitive, I mean being able to have a job to practice the craft. My commute (45 minutes each way) and my energy levels have caught up with me, so I can't stay competitive (in the context of this post). The churn is crazy high, and requires even more increasing time outside of work to stay relevant. It used to be that you could concentrate on specific technologies, but that's no longer the case.
I've found that Business Intelligence is a lot more sedate when it comes to technologies, and it's much easier to stay competitive. This means that my focus will be in data warehousing, and Microsoft technologies related to this. So far the main technologies are SSIS, SSRS, and SSAS. I can still use my development experience to deal with custom and edge cases.
I'm much happier with this transition. I can truly feel that my work-life balance is back to where it needs to be.
So effective immediately, I'm cutting back on my development pet projects. I'll update a few tools here as time permits. My main efforts will be directed at getting WheelMUD to version 1.0. Then, I will retire from development in the public eye.
I've spent the last few months fighting hackers, heat, and the recession. I got laid off from my daytime job in March of this year. I was fortunate enough to find a new job in April. I had to take a paycut. I'm thankful that I have a job to pay for bills.
We bought our new house, in September 2009, without central cooling. My layoff put a crimp in our finances, so we were not able to put central cooling until about a week ago (September 2010). My new home office has been extremely hot, and haven't been able to spend much time in it, until the central cooling was installed.
It took me close to two and a half months to get this website back up and working correctly. I had restored this website from a backup, and that cleared it from malware the first time.
I lost several blog posts, but I have the one about C# COM and Delphi saved up in Surfulater. I want to put this one back up, because there's hardly any information on how to get this done out on the Internet.
It's been a frustrating year so far. I'll just keep plucking along. As life keeps knocking you down, you just need to keep getting up.
I've had several catastrophic hardware failures in a row, which have crippled my ability to work on any of my projects. So here's what happened...
About 3 weeks ago, the in-house email server power supply failed. The ball bearing on the main fan gave out. I replaced the power supply, but then the server did not boot up. I went and replaced the motherboard. No dice again. At this point, I just gave up and moved the different email domains into Google Apps. So the email stuff is working again, except for the SMTP parts. Google Apps SMTP is a giant pain in the ass, and I haven't been able to get that to work at all.
The second failure happened when I was trying to recover the data in the hard drives for the email server. I had SQL Server 2008 running there, so I needed to get the database files off them. I was in the process of plugging the hard drives, one at a time, into my workstation, when I accidently dropped the workstation case. This killed the boot drive and a few of other drives. By kill, I mean that the platters were turned to shards, totally unrecoverable.
My code is safe as I had backups of that, and the repositories are on a Subversion server in my LAN. However my development environment is a total loss. All of my virtual images are gone, and so are my local Subversion working copies. I had the vitrual images in a separate drive, and the working copies in another drive. Both of these drives also failed.
I'm still trying to sort through what drives are working and which ones are not. I bought a new boot drive and installed Windows 7 Ultimate, so that I could at least browse the Internet and email at home.
I decided to just hold off on recreating my development environment, until we move into our new house. The house is supposed to be finished this Friday, September 4th. I will be getting my own office, and hopefully a new workstation. We are getting the tax credit for new home buyers, but most of it is going to be used for new furniture, since all of our stuff is over 15 years old.
It may not be until October 2009, before I can get my development environment up to speed. I will know more, after September 10th, which is the day we are supposed to be getting the keys for the new house.
I'm developing against PainlessSVN. There are a lot of things happening, and I had to slow down work on PainlessSVN. So here's a list of things that have been happening:
1) The house that my family and I were renting went on short sale, and we had to move out immediately. This created chaos for a short time, but it caused enough disruption that I had to stop work on everything.
2) The new rental does not have central air cooling. This made the house very uncomfortable. It was so hot inside that we ended up just sitting outside at night, until it was cool enough to go to sleep. We finally got 3 window units, and we can now live in the house during the day.
3) We signed up to have a new house built for us. This house is currently under construction, and it is scheduled to be completed at the end of August of this year. This is going to cause more disruptions very soon, as we will have to move, yet again. Thankfully, this will be the last move for us in the foreseeable future. I will finally have my own office, and will be able to concentrate back on the business of creating and updating great software.
4) While working on the PainlessSVN code, I realized that I could make it more intuitive if I did some structural changes to the UI. These changes, while pushing back the release of 1.1, will make it much easier to add new features to PainlessSVN. I will talk about these changes in a separate blog post.
I've had a nasty cough for almost 3 weeks. I haven't had much energy to work with anything on this site. My cough is starting to subside, so I don't feel like I'm going to pass out anymore.
I'm hoping to re-start work on PainlessSVN 1.1 in the next few days. On more related good news, I was told by my house builder that they got permission from the city to start building our house. They told me that it will take their construction workers about 39 days to finish the house, once they start with the foundation.
The official start building the house day will be between June 12th to June 16th. This depends how fast they can get materials on site.
I've been fighting the flu for almost a week now. Just went to the InstaCare facility this morning. The doctor there confirmed that I have the flu. Thankfully, not the swine flu, but something else that has been doing the rounds in my little town.
I'm going to take some down time to recuperate. Getting older sure makes recuperating from these things a lot lengthier than it used to. My kids have gotten over it in 3-4 days. I'm on my 6th day, and still feeling very tired. I'm going back to my day job tomorrow. At least I have a job where I sit down all day. ;)
The house that we (family and I) were renting was put on short sale. I'm going to be without an internet connection for a while at home. This means that I won't be able to work on anything much, until service is restored at our temporary rental place. We are building a new house, but it won't be ready until at least July of this year.
Anyways, I wanted to let you know that if there is a reason my my temporary "disappearance." I'm hosting this site with a third party, so it will remain up. I will try to post updates from my day job.