Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Beware opportunity

A bunch of reasonably knowledgeable Windows techs are about to come on the market, but I don't think I'll be buying any of 'em. CompUSA just announced today that they are closing more than half the chain, including all the Massachusetts stores except for Holyoke. They are keeping the ones in "tax-free NH" and the one in Rhode Island as well. But they will be closing Danvers, Braintree, Woburn, Framingham, Brighton, and North Attleboro. I could probably find someone out of the Danvers or Woburn store pretty easily, but I'm a little nervous about the idea - CompUSA floor people never struck me as too customer-oriented and the techs I dealt with there were usually too geeky for even me.

But they did usually have decent stuff at pretty good prices. Unfortunately, it will render the $30 gift card I'm supposed to get soon (it was a rebate from the Epson photo printer I gave Jane for her birthday) semi-useless, but such is life.

And the WWE released Test today. Yet somehow their ECW product continues to suck just fine without him. Just let Sabu and RVD go to TNA, bring CM Punk up to the main roster, and shut the darn thing down once and for all!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I think he's crazy enough to do it...

We now have a second aircraft carrier off the Iranian coast (of course, that puts it close to Iraq, too - but I really don't think that's why it's there). Iran is ratcheting up the short-range missile tests and naval drills. As this latest Bush fiasco escalates, I seriously think he's just batshiat-crazy enough to try something. After the dust settles (and he's hopefully impeached), I really hope we as a nation take this as an example and break down the Republican party back to their roots, ripping the religious influences from it and making them safe for democracy once again.

Of course, I doubt it. Only about a quarter of Americans understand that the theory of evolution is correct. So what hope do we have of reforming the Republicans?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Kathump kathump kabamm

I've had a variation of this discussion with my dad over the last week or so. Basically, over the last few years I started paying attention to auto racing. Specifically, NASCAR. Better technology in the coverage has made it a lot easier to follow on TV (not to mention the onset of HD). And the race we went to back in 2004 was a lot of fun. So I follow it now, much to the sporting chagrin of my folks (who suspect I may be a closet troglodyte since I watch racing and pro wrestling - they fail to understand the irony thing).

But even before I started following racing, I still was enough of a sports nut that I always watched the premier events in each sport - even the ones I wasn't ordinarily interested in. I don't enjoy golf on TV (I love to play, but I can't stand watching it), but even before I took up the game I'd still watch the Masters. I've been to one horse race in my life, but I always watch the Kentucky Derby. Even if I don't give a crap who's in it (like this year), I watch the Super Bowl. The only exception to this rule of mine is the World Series - if the Sox aren't in it I don't really care who plays.

Anyhow, I also generally have watched two car races. The Indy 500 and the Daytona 500. One is the oldest open-wheel race of them all and the other the granddaddy of all stock car races. More to the point, this years' Daytona 500 was one of the most compelling auto races I've ever watched, even from my former "watch the big game" perspective. It had it all - strategy, dramatic wrecks with nobody hurt, and a classic finish as Mark Martin and Kevin Harvick battled to the finish with the rest of the field wrecking behind them. Harvick won by less than a hood length, getting pushed into the lead by Matt Kenseth (this happens in restrictor plate races - it's called bump drafting) and behind that his teammate Clint Bowyer finished 18th. Upside down. On fire.

It was amazing TV. The rest of the season will be anticlimatic by comparison after that (what other sport opens its season with their most prestigious race and ends it with one nobody cares about?) - though I'd say early that Harvick and Tony Stewart (who crashed out with about 70 laps to go) are the early favorites.

Work-wise, I can't take the holiday tomorrow off - too much to be done. I'll make up for it in a week or so. I did goof off today, though. Which is more than I usually can get away with.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Xroads

Yes, two posts in a week! Can you stand it?

As for my material this time, I'm going to bore you all with my business. Sorry...

Anyhow, I'm just short of three years into my business life (incorporated on 2/15 and opened an office on 3/1), and I've reached a natural point of reflection. Basically, I went into business with a goal. I thought I could make a decent living for myself, make my own hours, work exclusively doing stuff I wanted to do, and maybe if I was lucky grow to the point where a self-directred person or two could make a living alongside me. I figured this was all manageable.

In hindsight, though, I've learned something - why so many companies seem to have a relentless focus on growth. I've been lucky (and good) - so far, a good number of companies have beaten a path to my door, and I've been able to keep most of them pretty happy. It's not hard. I've seen so many examples of downright negligent work performed by ostensible peers of mine that it's amazing that their victims all haven't come to me yet. I try to treat my customers with decency, humor, and professional competence, which seems to be a formula lacking in the industry. And I own up when I screw up - fortunately I don't screw up too often.

Last year, I planned to add an employee. By sheer luck, I got the right person at the right time - but she got to the point of being near-overbooked within a month or so because the demand increased to match the available staff hours and then some. Within the next month or so I will have to add another full-timer, but now I can see an increasing amount of my time going to planning and supervision rather than engineering. Which means I probably need to expand further to make sure that folks can get the attention they need.

It's a difficult situation, but I'm not really complaining. I'm doing pretty well right now, but this could change in a moment. And this is still way more fun than a Real Job is, despite the hours, stress, and constant travel I'm doing. It's more that I've realized my original model for the company wasn't quite able to accommodate the reality. I've got to go at least a little bigger and more complex than I planned, but at least I've got the opportunity to do so.

If anybody knows a good midlevel (knows clients inside and out, knows enough server to be useful, but isn't an AD god) Windows person looking for a nice opportunity, send 'em my way...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

And the fuss was about?

This Super Bowl was anything but. Mediocre play on the part of both teams, but unparalleled offensive ineptitude by the Rex Grossman-led Bears was the deciding factor (I'm now expecting Rex to take the place of Britney sperm-donor K-Fed in next years' "Life comes at you fast" commercial). Once the absolutely electrifying opening Hester touchdown was over, the game proceeded to suck hard. Even the commercials weren't much this year.

On the other hand, the party we went to was fun and I won two squares - so I had that going for me which was nice.

And the sun may well rise from the west in the morning - because Peyton Manning Has. A. Super Bowl. Ring. Which is currently #3 on my top ten "signs the apocalypse is upon us" list, right in between a Democrat winning the governorship again in Massachusetts and George Bush admitting that he made a mistake getting us in Iraq, but he was drunk at the time. I wasn't surprised to see the Manning Face today - I just didn't expect to see it on Rex Grossman instead of where it belonged.

Then again, I don't think I really expected the Bears to win, but as soon as the weather forecast was announced I thought taking the points would have been a wise move. Shows you what I know.

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