- Saturday, March 27, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
- Trapped by work
Work has really created a strange situation that just leaves me feeling trapped. They want to maintain a certain level of turnover within our department. As far as I know, this is for cost reasons; they want the more senior agents on higher pay scales to leave and be replaced with new agents on a lower pay scale. I can understand the argument although personally I think that the extra value that experienced agents bring to the team is far greater than the slight extra cost of our salaries. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to measure this so it's not really something I can prove to management.
From what I've heard (from management), they would like to see an average turnover rate of 18 months for employees. I've been here now for 3 years (just hit my 3 year mark yesterday) so I'm well past that. From management's perspective, people like me are messing up their turnover numbers, they'd really prefer to see senior agents like me leave.
As I said above, I can understand this perspective. I may think that perspective is wrong but that's the way things are right now. The perspective itself is not the problem. The problem is with 2 other situations at work.
The first situation is that there is no opportunity for advancement at work. I want to make it clear that I'm not just saying this as a bitter employee who hasn't been able to advance while others have. There is literally, no room for advancement. Actually, that's not entirely true, it is theoretically possible to advance to Tier 2 support. However, there are currently only 3 Tier 2 jobs and the Tier 2 agents also have nowhere to move. So unless more Tier 2 spots are created or a Tier 2 leaves, there's nowhere else to go. And even then, you get 30+ agents all competing for that 1 job. If I ignore re-organizations, only 2 people have moved from my department to other departments within the company. Counting re-organizations, 4 other employees who were in my department when I started are now in other departments in the company. Given the number of people that have worked in my department during the time I've been here, that's a pretty poor statistic. I really wish I had the actual numbers for how many people have worked here during that time and for how long but I don't. I can definitely say it's been at least 50-60 agents because we have over 30 now and I can easily think of 20 people that don't work here now.
The other problem is that work refuses to give out references. Again, this is not a case of me going to management asking for a reference and being turned down. This is an actual policy of our department (and possibly company-wide). Tier 2 agents used to give out references but they have been told not to. The same applies to both team managers for the department. The only thing that the company will do is allow us to refer a potential employer to the HR department where they will confirm that we did indeed work for the company. This makes it more difficult to leave the company because any job that wants references is going to want a reference from your current employer.
So the end result of this is that the company does not want to retain me at my current position but then have erected barriers for me to leave it. I can't move within the company and they're making it harder to leave. In the end, I want to leave this position and the company wants me to leave the position but I'm still stuck in this position.
# Posted 11:55 AM
- Friday, March 26, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
- Corporate wisdom
I had wanted to stay away from bitching about work too much on this blog but this is just ridiculous. Management has come up with this "solution" to the schedule which involves moving our work week from Sunday to Saturday to Monday to Sunday. Supposedly, this is to give us more weekends.
Here's the problems I see in this plan:
- It's a big assumption that everyone wants weekends off. They've never asked everyone what they want in the schedule in a proper survey. The closest they got was asking us for comments on the schedule and just taking down how many people happened to say certain things (like they wanted weekends off). Obviously this isn't the proper way to do things but they keep using these numbers to justify what they do with the schedule (unless it goes against what they want to do in which case they just say, "we have to staff by the call volumes").
- This does nothing to give us more weekends off. The call volumes haven't changed, they still need just as many people in on the weekend. At best, this might make it slightly easier to transition on and off the weekend because it's not split between the beginning and end of the week.
- One of my co-workers sent out an open letter to our manager asking exactly what these changes entailed and why it was good for us. As far as I know, management never responded to this email. Supposedly, someone did draft a reply addressing this but I never received it and neither did any of the people who sit around me so if it did go out it didn't reach everyone.
The vote for this took place last week. I voted no for the reasons I've outlined above. It did go through though. The new development though is that apparently payroll can't change our pay period. So now the "solution" to this is that on certain pay periods we'll have a day's pay held back and then pay us for that day on a future pay period. So some pay periods you'll only be paid for 72hrs and others you'll be paid for 88 and some will be for 80.
What really bothers me about this is that management didn't even consider the payroll implications before coming up with this schedule change. My other big concern is that while we did get to meet and discuss this, management didn't have any answers to our questions (such as tax implications).
I also have no reason to believe that payroll is going to be able to properly handle having 30 people all being paid different amounts each pay period. Frequently, mistakes in payroll take 1-2 pay periods at least to be fixed, the extra complexity of this new pay scale will just make that worse.
Fortunately it's going to a new vote. But all of this has completely delayed the schedule. The current schedule runs out on April 3 and we still don't have a finalized schedule for April 4 on.
# Posted 1:17 PM
- Thursday, March 25, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
- Decent days off
Well I actually had a really good set of days off. I booked my flight and hotel for my trip to Toronto. I also managed to finish off my Illustrator project to the point where I felt good about putting it in. It wasn't perfect and there was a lot more I could've done with it but I finished off the body and the shading so it at least looked done. I think Stephen, my teacher, was pretty impressed with the way I did the shading so that was pretty cool. Mostly just slacked on Wednesday playing video games but that was nice too.
I'm getting pretty psyched about the trip to Toronto, should be pretty fun.
Only thing that's got me a little worried is I still haven't heard from the community college about my application to the photo programme but I have to let them know pretty soon if I want to take the IT programme. But I really haven't been that keen on doing the IT course. I'm really not sure what to do. It's really clear that having a consistent schedule is good for me because I've been able to do so much more now that I've been on days for a few weeks. I need to quit soon but I really need to figure out what to move on to.
# Posted 5:05 PM
- Sunday, March 21, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
- Con jobs
Around 2 or 3 weeks ago I was heading home from work and a man approached me saying that he and his wife were from New Ross (a small town maybe about a 1hr drive away from Halifax). He told me that he had lost his wallet and didn't have any money to get gas for the trip home. He was fairly presentable and clean shaven and sounded pretty legit. The fact that it was after midnight at this point in a residential area added a bit of credibility to his story as well, you don't normally see people bumming change in that neighborhood. I felt a little bad for him but I didn't have much money on me and I told him I couldn't spare any money. I felt a little guilty about that as I walked away.
Today the same man approached me outside of Tim Horton's and told me the same story. Now I know this is just a con job that he's trying to pull. I know it was at least 2 weeks ago that I saw him because I've been on day shifts that long and I was walking home from work at night the first time he approached me. I find it extremely hard to believe that someone stranded in Halifax for 2 weeks wasn't able to scrape together some change for a phone call in order to call someone who could help them out. Second, he still looked fairly clean shaven and presentable. Anyone stuck for 2 weeks and not enough money to get home certainly would look a lot worse for wear. If they were legitimately stranded then that really wouldn't be the case. If he's had somewhere to stay for 2 weeks then either he's had enough money to fill up the tank of gas or he's got someone in the city helping him out in which case I think they'd be way more willing to loan him $20 than put him and his wife up for 2 weeks.
I just found the whole thing really annoying. I mean I try to be a good person and will help out people bumming change some times. But I'm also pretty cynical and will assume someone might be trying to scam me. When I ran into this guy the first time I did feel a bit guilty that I didn't give him any money and really started to question my cynicism. It's not often that you catch con artists in a lie so usually you never really do know the truth. What annoys me the most is that con artists like this are just making it harder for people who are legitimately in need of help.
# Posted 12:54 PM
- Friday, March 19, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
Making some progress on the mech now. Last night I was able to sit down and really hammer out a bit more of the design. I had a decent idea of what I wanted and looking at some reference material really helped. I have the obvious Robotech and Gundam stuff to look at but I also have this weird roleplaying game called Mekton kicking around that's all mech based as well and has some decent pictures I can look at. The big advantage with Mekton is that a lot of the Mechs have the really old-school geometric look that's a lot easier to pull off in illustrator. Also, the art style has a lot less shading so it's much easier to look at for the basic shapes.
The other thing that I'm finding really helpful is if I mix up the work a bit. Working on just the lines and shapes gets a bit monotonous at times and it's hard to see how the final result will look. So I've been taking breaks from it to work on some of the colouring and shading. I think this is turning out fairly well and it means that I get to look at what the finished product will be and that helps pump me up a bit more. Last night I got the head, left shoulder and left arm mocked up with the head and shoulder shaded as well. My one complaint at the moment is that for some reason I see the drawing as more of a power armour suit than a mech, I'm not sure exactly why and it's not really a bad thing so I'm just going with it all. Hoping to get the chest, right shoulder and arm, and maybe the legs done tonight. If I could get all that done I'd be doing pretty well. That would get me the basic body done and then I could go back and focus on detail work to flesh it out. If I really make some good progress, I might add a 2nd mech to the scene as well. If I go for that it will definitely be based off of the same design but probably just different colours and a modified pose. That could be pushing it for Tuesday though. The other big advantage of working on the shading and colouring now is that if I don't finish then at least I'll have some of what I'm going for to show instead of it all being a pile of shapes.
# Posted 9:22 PM
- Thursday, March 18, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
I've really been putting off working on my Illustrator final assignment. I've made a little bit of progress on some basic mock-up but I need to put a lot more time in on this and it's due on Tuesday. I think the biggest thing I'm running into is just a lot of frustration with working with Illustrator. With my Photoshop class, I'd already used the program a lot before I took the course. I'm much more used to working with raster images too so the thought process just makes sense to me. Switching to vector images is a big change in thought process. I really like the fact that you can constantly tweak things but I just can't get into "the zone" like I can with raster images. Between my frustration and lack of inspiration for the project I just haven't been getting much done. I'm liking the mech idea though so if I can start making some more progress on that it might help fire me up. Of course I've also picked the absolute worst time to start playing Neverwinter Nights in terms of productivity. Fortunately (in an odd way), I took a quick peek at a walkthrough and found out some info on the henchmen quests and I think I may have screwed some of them up by ditching some of the items I'd need to complete the quests so I may start over (I've only finished 3 of the districts from chapter 1 so I'm not too far in). That should help kill my enthusiasm for it a bit and if I can hold off on starting over until after my Illustrator class finishes on Tuesday then I may be able to get some more work done.
# Posted 12:00 PM
- Stupid firewall
Well not really the firewall, my own stupidity. Apparently, during one of my kernel upgrades (I assume) I lost the setting to load the ftp connection tracking module. I need this in order for passive ftp transfers to work through my firewall. I didn't notice a problem for awhile because I don't use passive ftp. However, it looks like blogger switched to passive ftp recently which meant it couldn't update my blog for a period of time. It was a pretty easy fix though so I can't complain too much. Turned off iptables, blogger connects, okay it's a problem on my end. Checked my autoloading modules, nothing in there. Made sure I had compiled the ftp connection tracking module, yes I did. Added it back to the autoload and modprobed it into memory, should be all good. Of course half the reason for this blog entry is to test that theory.
# Posted 10:08 AM
- Monday, March 15, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
- PHP function to save me tons of work/code
Wow, I just happened to be looking around through the PHP manual and I found some really useful code in the classes section. For awhile now, I've been trying to figure out how to get my image search form working. I wanted to be able to split the results over more than 1 page (for users with low bandwidth) but was trying to figure out how to carry over the results to the next page (without having to do the query again). The page on classes has a tip for how to make a class carry over to another page which is exactly what I want to do. This is also really handy for other parts of my site as well. For instance, if you click on an individual image from the search results, I want to have links to the previous and next result (as well as back up to the results page). Right now, I was doing this in a horribly kludgy way that involved additional database hits. With this new technique, I should be to just do 1 database query and then carry those results over to various pages without doing any additional database queries. Also, I may be able to use this to achieve the abstraction that I mentioned wanting, that would require a bit more playing to determine if it's possible or not. Still, I'm really happy that I can get the carry over working because that's been the big thing holding me back in finishing off my image search interface.
# Posted 2:04 PM
- Some site progress
Making a bit of progress on the site. I've been picking away at stuff while I'm at work which has been good. I managed to find some php code that does exactly what I want with seperating out most of the database functions. It should really help cut down on the code and also means that if anything changes with my MySQL setup then I only have to change it in 1 spot. The one thing I don't like is that it still makes use of some MySQL specific functions in the individual functions themselves (mysql_fetch_array()). All of the other connection stuff is handled by a seperate class now which is nice. I need to see if I can move this into that class (or another seperate function) because then I could make all the code db independant except for the one DB function. That way if I switch to a different database (like Oracle or Sybase) then I could update just 1 function to make it work. Abstraction layers are definitely cool. Need to see if I can set this up somehow. What I'm really looking for is something like Perl's DBI interface.
# Posted 1:08 PM
- Creative frustration
Still trying to work on my final project for my Illustrator class. The big problem I'm running into is that I really don't have a clear idea of what I want to do. I had sort of toyed around with the idea of doing a perspective drawing but my heart's just not in it. I think I'm mostly disappointed because what I had really wanted to be able to do before taking the class was to try drawing a comic or at least some characters for a comic. I just haven't been able to pull off good drawings like this and I think it's really frustrated me. Part of the problem is that I can picture in my mind what I want to draw but I still can't get from creating basic shapes and then turning them into the final idea. I've since moved on to trying to draw a mech to still get some manga/anime action but with something that's a bit easier to create using polygons. I was feeling a bit better about doing this because it's much closer to my original idea of wanting to do a manga or anime style drawing.
I tried doing some work on it yesterday and was still running into some problems. I think the big problem is I try to go too quickly from creating the basic shapes to going to final details. The other problem I think is that I need to find some decent mech references to get ideas from. I was trying to draw it just based on a picture in my head and it just wasn't turning out. I also need to go back and layout my design a bit better. The good thing at least is that the technique I'm using to do the lighting/shading seems to work pretty good and will let me handle colour and lighting as 2 independant factors which is very cool. This will allow me to place a shadow across more than one shape and have the lighting look right instead of having to break up the shapes or create a gradient mesh to do this.
# Posted 12:59 PM
- Sunday, March 14, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
- Slowly updating the site
Well I was able to pick away on the site a bit today. Still need to figure out the navigation problems and that's holding me back quite a bit. In the meantime though, I'm trying to pick at some of the other unfinished work on the site. Mostly today I did some work on the admin back-end. I have some interfaces for interacting with the database content. A lot of these were written at different times so it will be good to update everything so it's consistent. I polished off my lens menu function yesterday (this function gives me a form menu to select which lens was used with a shot, will be used in a few places). Today I polished a few things with it and also entered in the majority of my lenses into the database. I really need to do up an interface for adding this type of content. It's not that big of a deal for me right now but if I switched to hosting that didn't offer me shell access I'd be out of luck. It's also a bit easier to work with and also would allow me to perform some error checking.
Next up, I think I'll fix my photo editing interface to work with the new database structure I've devised. I'm beginning to think that I should move as much of the work as possible into standard functions. This way I can make the scripts as generalised as possible and only have to maintain the info in the back-end. Only thing is that where it's being included in every document, it might create a bit of bloat. I may split the functions out into some logical groupings to cut down on this.
The next big thing I really should do is work out the image searching functionality. It's pretty much just hacked together right now so it needs a lot of work. There's no front-end for searching either, just the page that actually displays the resutls. This makes it moderately useful for me but completely useless for anyone else.
The other thing that is really needed is error checking. Right now there's basically none. I think things are relatively secure but it's nice to have an actual error message or have things break gracefully rather than just spitting out some MySQL or PHP error.
# Posted 3:11 PM
- Friday, March 12, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
- Career direction
Still trying to work out the whole career direction, "what am I going to do with my life?" question. I'm not sure exactly when it happened but I decided that I wasn't going to teach English in Japan. I think living in Japan could be very cool but I don't think the teaching English is really my thing. I think I mostly got excited about it because it would have been a chance to get out of Eastlink. I think I'll still go to the info session to get some info about life in Japan. Once I did some reading about the experience it just didn't seem like something for me.
It's been really frustrating lately, I'm coming up with more things that I don't want to do but I still don't feel any closer to figuring out what to do. I'm not really excited at all about either community college prospect for the fall (Photo or IT). I am still really interested in the job at NSCAD but it's a major long shot where I don't have a CS degree so I doubt that will come through. About all I know for certain right now is that I need to leave Eastlink.
In some ways though, I'm really beginning to feel that maybe I'm going about this wrong. I've really been searching for that ultimate dream job and I can't figure out what that is. At the moment though, maybe I need to focus more just on some quality of life. If I could get some better balance in my life I think I would be a lot happier. Maybe then I could move on to figuring out that ultimate dream job. On the other hand though, it's a lot easier to motivate yourself to change when things aren't good.
I tried to make it easier by trying to look instead at where I'd want to be in 3 years. I chose 3 years because I'm almost 27 now so that would put me at 30. I came up with a couple ideas in that I'd like to have my own place (still living at home right now) and few ideas about lifestyle but still couldn't get any clearer idea of what I need to do to get there or what I'd like to be doing. Maybe the fact that I was more focused on lifestyle instead of work is an indication that this is more important to me than I give it credit.
Still looking for the answers but at least I'm asking some questions.
# Posted 5:39 PM
- Even cooler spell checking
I was pretty impressed that Blogger offered spell checking but then I found out today (thanks to MacWorld magazine, wow actually using it for something) that safari (OS X's cool browser) will do spell checking as well. Pretty useful for filling out forms like this or for posting on a forum.
# Posted 5:37 PM
- Tuesday, March 09, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
- Losing momentum
Wow, had been keeping up with the blog pretty actively last week but then Sunday hit and I just didn't really feel like writing anything for it. Yesterday was completely nuts at work so I didn't get a chance to write anything from work (which I normally do). I was so tired when I got home that I just didn't have the energy to type up anything.
I really wanted to keep the momentum going so that's why I'm pushing to post something today. The switch to days always wears me out though so it'll probably be a few days before I get back to my normal level of writing.
# Posted 8:38 AM
- Saturday, March 06, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
- The future of this site
This started off as a tangent on my resume blog entry but it got so long that I figured it was better to just cut it out of that blog entry and make it it's own.
A big problem I'm having with working on the site is that I think I've lost track of my vision for what this site was supposed to be. I think it includes far too many different elements. I've put up a couple technical articles that I think are pretty good (although I do need to update them to include some diagrams). I have a half-written (at best) section on my travels in Russia. I have a few pages in the personal section. The biggest single area that I've continued to do any amount of work on is the photo section and that work has mostly just consisted of tossing up more photos as I scan them. There's a lot of half-finished work on the site but not much that's actually been completed. The new addition of the blog has been really good because it makes it easy to express thoughts like this that don't really fit into the main structure of the site. But more and more I'm really feeling discouraged by the lack of structure in the rest of the site. It's made it very difficult to complete the re-design because navigation designs that work in one part don't necessarily translate to other parts of the site. Landon suggested that maybe I should treat each individual section as it's own site. I think this will help quite a bit because what I'll end up doing is just having the navigation in each section just relate to that particular section and back to the main page. Yes, it adds 1 extra step for navigating between sections but it helps eliminate 3 and 4 layer navigation structures that would just be way too clunky. Still need to sit down and work through the full design if I go this way.
I think that's another problem I'm having with the site. I did do a little bit of initial planning (far more than any earlier site) but it's still not as well planned as it could have been. So now I'm going back and trying to re-work the existing material into a better plan. Hopefully, if I do it right it will be much easier to work on in the future.
# Posted 3:14 PM
- PDF Resume is now online
As promised, I have put up the PDF version of my resume. I really like the new look of it. Oddly enough, it kind of matches the "new" (over 1 year old and still a work in progress) look for my website as well. I took a look at my old work page and see that it's horribly out of date (like much of this site). At the time of this writing (just noting this so that if I update it later this all makes sense), it's at least 3 years out of date, probably more. I left MT&T back in October 1999 and spent a year and a half trying to be a freelance consultant. I started working at Eastlink in March 2001. My work page was last updated at some point during that freelance period of time.
On the one hand, I see the page as a really interesting snapshot of my mindset at that period of time. On the other hand, it's embarrassingly out of date and naive. I think in the end I'll update it.
# Posted 2:57 PM
It's funny, I generally think that I can write fairly well, and for the most part that's true. But then I look back at what I've written later and I can't believe the number of stupid mistakes I've made. Not to mention spelling errors. At least I'm fairly consistent in those, there are just certain words that I always misspell. Maybe I should use this new fangled "spell check" I've been hearing about!
Seriously though, Blogger does actually have a spell check, a fact that I just noticed. This is way cool. Now if only I could tell it that I'm writing in Canadian English (or UK English) instead of American English, I'd be set. It's annoying to have words like colour, humour, and honour, come up as incorrect even when they are valid spellings. Actually, I should really say that they're the correct spellings of those words and the American spellings (color, humor, and honor) are the incorrect ones.
What freaks me out even more is the number of things I've written over the years without any proofreading. Makes me wonder what kind of marks I could have gotten in school if I had have taken the time to proofread some of my stuff before I handed it in. Oh well, can't really change that now. Something to consider for the future though.
# Posted 1:53 PM
- Friday, March 05, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
- Book thoughts
I hadn't mentioned it before in my blog, but I'm in the process of writing a novel. Been working on it for over a year now but there was a real dead period there in the middle where I didn't work on it at all. Basically, I got a bunch of stuff written early on, then just hit a block and didn't work at all on it for over a year. Fortunately, I had written down an outline of some plot ideas so I could pick it up again. I did a bit more work on it more recently which was really cool. Basically, I just skipped the blocked section and worked on another part of the story. I probably have around 30 pages (single spaced but final fomatting is done so new chapters eat up some of that) so I'd say it's easily the longest single thing I've ever written. Considering all the other long stuff I've written has been research papers for school and this is fiction, that's a pretty big accomplishment.
Lately I've also been considering the idea of doing a webcomic. The big problem is that I'd like to do a more serious/dramatic comic rather than humour and my drawing ability really isn't up to that kind of project right now. Actually, I'm not sure if my drawing ability is up for much more than a pretty simple drawing style right now. I'd like to get drawing more and then maybe I'd be able to do something like this. I've tried doing some digital drawings as well but they haven't worked out very well for the most part. I think it's mostly because I just don't have a clear enough idea of what I want to draw and haven't been taking the time to refine things. I think if I spent some more time improving my skills in illustrator that I might be able to get some good results with it. I really like the idea of doing this kind of work in Illustrator because then I have resolution independent files so I could easily do up a poster version of something or if I wanted to do a book I'd have it all pretty much ready to go. After reading what some webcomic artists have gone through to get material ready for print it definitely seems like a good idea to get it right to begin with. Course that's really jumping the gun, right now I can't even draw well enough to do the project so I'm nowhere near having enough material for a book project. Still, something to shoot for.
The other thought that occurred to me the other day was to turn my novel project into a webcomic. In some situations, I can see this as a really cool project because I've really been working on the story for this book and I find that a lot of comics don't focus on the story as much. I can really visualize how I'd want to draw some parts of the story (this is another area that I find some people fall short on, visual story telling). The big downsides I see is that a webcomic is inherently serial so you usually want to make each strip somewhat self-contained or have a hook to make you want to read more. The other issue is that as the story is written right now a lot of it deals with how the characters are thinking and feeling and it might not translate into a visual format as well. Some work on really conveying emotions in the drawing would be necessary for sure. I'm not sure if I'd end up with a stronger story or weaker story if I went this route. At the moment, I think I'll just focus on writing more and see if I can't improve my drawing abilities. Otherwise it's basically a moot point.
# Posted 6:31 PM
- End of the week
Finally got through this week, just need to get through this shift and then I'm off for the weekend. Course it's not as good because I have to transition from 3:30pm-12am to 7am-3:30pm. At least I've got a decent stretch of days coming up so I will actually be able to adjust to day shifts.
The stress is calming down a bit. Work has still been crazy but I did manage to get my job and community college applications in today so that's really good. I'm pretty happy with my new resume and it's cool to see that I can actually put together a pretty good 20 image portfolio. I probably could have done even better if I had've taken the time to go through more slides and scan new stuff but I just didn't have the time. As is though, it's a good reflection of my current skill level and covers work from 1998 right up to 2003.
Still getting pretty bad heartburn. I'm not even 27 years old, I shouldn't have to keep 2 different types of antacid in my desk at work. For "mild" cases I have my extra strength Tums, usually take 2-3 of them. But more recently, I've switched to using Zantac 75, need to take 1 a day of them to keep it under control and sometimes that's not enough. I switched to it when I was having to take 6+ extra strength no-name brand antacids a day and still wasn't noticing much improvement. I swear work is giving me an ulcer.
# Posted 5:25 PM
- Thursday, March 04, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
- stupid work interface
Okay, I really didn't want to turn this blog into a work rant too much but this really pissed me off. I just got a call where the customer was having telephone problems. I just got my phone training a couple weeks ago (a whole other rant topic in and of itself) so I go to put in a service call for them in the telephone ticketing system. Even though I was trained in all this a few weeks ago this was the first time I'd ever gone into this system. First of all, as bad as I thought that the internet tool was, the telephone tool is way worse in terms of interface. For instance, to search by phone number, you have to put it in as area code and then phone number with no spaces or hyphens or it will complain that the phone number is invalid.
So I get in to the woman's account and put the trouble ticket it, all pretty straight forward. I hit save, internet explorer crashes on me. Now I'm running IE 6sp1 at work with all the updates for win2k so this kind of shit really shouldn't happen. We run into a lot of problems with our web based tools and different browsers (like Firefox, which a lot of agents in here like) so I stick to IE. It's also the main browser we support so it helps make me a better tech on the phone.
I did get off lucky, at least the woman's trouble ticket did get submited. But this really strikes me as something that shouldn't be acceptable for one of the main tools we use here at work, especially because I think it was a custom developed piece of software for us.
The other big annoyance was I was in the middle of typing up a really big blog and had just about finished it off so of course I've lost all of that.
# Posted 11:27 PM
- Slightly less stress
Okay, I managed to get a reasonable amount of stuff done today so I've got a bit less stress going on. I had to work on my resume and covering letter some more. Still needs a bit of work but I think my resume is kicking ass now. I really re-worked the layout and design so it looks a lot better. What also freaks me out is I noticed a bunch of stupid mistakes and inconsistencies in it that have been there for ages because I've been using the same format for a few years now. Mostly just silly stuff like some lines had periods at the end and others didn't (for incomplete sentences like Halifax, NS). Also, I never noticed that half the items listed Nova Scotia and half said NS. None of this was that big a deal to fix but it definitely looked unprofessional before and it really freaks me out that I didn't notice it before.
Once it get the finalised version done I'll put up a pdf version. I used to maintain an HTML version of my resume but google can index pdfs anyways, it will print better, and MacOS X makes it super easy to turn anything into a pdf (it's just an option in the print menu).
# Posted 9:53 PM
- Wednesday, March 03, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
Okay this week is really not going well in terms of stress. Work is completely driving me nuts. I have been totally worn out and it's been super busy this week so it's not a good combination.
On top of things, I'm trying to get a job application together for a job that I really want but am probably not qualified for. I'm also trying to get together an application for the Community College's photo program. Both of those are due Friday. To make matters worse, I just checked the Community College's website last night and saw that in some places it says the application deadline is March 5th and in other places it says March 1st so for all I know it's late and where photo is an oversubscribe program I won't get in.
Oh, plus I have to start working on my illustrator final project that's due in like 3 weeks and I only have a vague idea of what I want to do for it. Plus I've got my application to Nova Group to get finished up and ready for March 24 and if I want to apply to AEON as well then I need that in by the 20th. Going nuts here.
# Posted 4:51 PM
- Tuesday, March 02, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
- Old blogs not worth it
Okay, I went back and looked at the 3 entries from 1998. The earliest talks about a site design I was working on that I never finished that was way flashier than the more text-based site I ended up with. The 2nd was just mentioning that I switched to the more text-based design. The 3rd says I updated a couple pages. Honestly, it's just not worth the effort to update that crap with 3 seperate archive pages (different months) just to get those entries in. They really don't add anything more to the blog. So they are going to just get tossed.
In terms of the blogging, I'm really enjoying being able to post quick updates like this without having to go through all the trouble of writing a new page. It's especially good for stuff like this which is just random ramblings about my site design or my current mode that wouldn't fit in with the rest of the site.
# Posted 9:08 PM
- Going live with Blogger
Okay, so I had been using the blog in a sub-directory on my site but the intention was that once I had ironed out any problems that I would switch it to be my main index page. Since I ended up not having many problems with getting the template worked out (once I found out the syntax to use), I've decided to migrate it over.
The other good news is that I think I've figured out a hack to get my older posts (prior to 1999) into the blog. Basically, I'll just copy the code for the other archives and make my own static page for those older blog items and tack it on to the bottom of the archives listing. It's a bit of a hack but it should work no problem. Before I do that though, I'm going to take a look at what I have from back in 1998 and see if it's even worth doing.
The other thing I'm really looking at doing is migrating my "development" system back into my normal main site. This is all being done on my "dev" site which is just www.tildefrugal.cjb.net. My actual doman www.tildefrugal.net hasn't been updated in ages. On the one hand, porting over the dev work will be easy. On the other hand, I've got a ton of half updated stuff and broken links on the dev site that needs updating and I really need to get off my ass and start finishing off the work. I'm also contemplating moving my domain over to my linux box to save on hosting but that would be even more involved.
# Posted 6:35 PM
- Monday, March 01, 2004. On this day: BBC, Wikipedia, HowTo
- Now powered by Blogger!
Okay, I've been putting off doing updates to my site for WAY too long. When I did the re-design almost a year ago I had gone for much more of a blog style for the main page. I had been meaning to write up a database-backed tool for managing the posts.
Since then, I found out that Blogger can ftp to your own site, I had thought you could only run a blog off their site. I changed the template around to match the look of my page and now I can do it all through Blogger's website.
The other cool thing is that it allowed me to back date posts so I was able to put in all my old version history information. Unfortunately, it only let's me go back to 1999 and I have a few updates from 1998. I suppose depending on how you want to look at it I've actually been blogging as far back as 1998, way ahead of my time here!
Hopefully. with the Blogger interface making it easier to post updates I'll start doing some blogging more often to add new content to the site. There have been times when I've really wanted to post little updates about what's going on in my life without having to do up a completely new page.
# Posted 10:16 PM
03/01/2000 - 03/31/2000
05/01/2000 - 05/31/2000
06/01/2000 - 06/30/2000
09/01/2000 - 09/30/2000
10/01/2000 - 10/31/2000
11/01/2000 - 11/30/2000
02/01/2001 - 02/28/2001
04/01/2003 - 04/30/2003
03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004
04/01/2004 - 04/30/2004
05/01/2004 - 05/31/2004
06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004
08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004
09/01/2004 - 09/30/2004
10/01/2004 - 10/31/2004
11/01/2004 - 11/30/2004
12/01/2004 - 12/31/2004
01/01/2005 - 01/31/2005
02/01/2005 - 02/28/2005
03/01/2005 - 03/31/2005
04/01/2005 - 04/30/2005
05/01/2005 - 05/31/2005
06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005
07/01/2005 - 07/31/2005
08/01/2005 - 08/31/2005
11/01/2005 - 11/30/2005