Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Job

Well, my stay at the CS department has come to a close. I spent a good 18 months there, and learned a lot. Unfortunately, student employment simply cannot offer enough money to support a stay-at-home mom with two kids. I want to support a stay at home mom with two kids, so I needed to find more gainful employment.

I started interviewing about 12 weeks ago, and had found some prospects. Well, there's no other way to say this, but God blessed me very much so to get the exact job that I wanted. I got the job that was offering the best pay, the best benefits, and the most flexibility with school.

My job description is much less intensive than the CS department. This new company has enough machines that teams of people are assigned to different aspects of them. My job is to beat the tar out of servers, and find ways to improve them. I'm on the "performance" team. This is a very large change in employment--as I'm actually doing less than I did for the CS department, and I'm getting paid nearly 3x as much. The only downside is the 40-hour-a-week minimum requirement. Since I was putting in (fairly consistently) 30 hours at the CS department, and was a full time student, I'm thinking that I'll be able to pull this off as a part-time student without too much grief.

So, now for the details: My first day was new-hire orientation. Fairly straight-forward, from what I understand, but I've never been a salaried employee until now. That lasted until about noon. My new boss, Matt, is a great guy--but is very very busy. I didn't really see him much the first day. The coworkers on my team gave me some direction, and I eventually got an idea of what tools I'd need to do my job (not too surprising that they all are Linux, essentially).

Company policy mandates that I work on a windows machine--so I'm running a virtualized Linux environment. It took me a while to setup, and today I found out that the latest and greatest stuff doesn't always work so well in a virtual environment.

My second day was a nightmare--I didn't have any clear direction of what to do, and I couldn't get anything setup right. Most everything at work seemed broken, and I didn't have the tools to fix it. So, I spent a good deal of time reviewing all the new-hire paper-work and filling it out.

When I got home to our broken TV, I decided that it was time to get the last purchase we had budgeted for: a new monitor. Of course, being the technical geek I am--we actually bought a new TV, and now my computer monitor is our TV. It works very well as both. Essentially, LCD TVs are the exact same thing as LCD computer monitors (they just aren't as high-quality on most counts). I can say that with a fair certainty, as there are fewer than five LCD manufacturers in the world, and the US gets all their LCDs from the same plant.

Anyway, we bought this TV, and none of the back inputs worked. So aggrivating. Not to mention, PowerISO broke on my computer just before hooking it in (rendering all my games un-playable). I just felt so crappy that night--since I had spent 14 hours trying to get at least one thing in my life to work with absolutely no success. Well, my sweet-heart took the TV back the next day and exchanged it for the working one we have now. I had her take pictures of the back of it, and she used those to even hook it up for me--so I just came home and had a new wide-screen HD monitor on my computer. It was so nice to have something electronic in my home working (that I didn't have to fight with). That earned my Danielle some major points. I did have to hook in the surround sound--but it's totally amazing now (I do have to fix the RCA audio control box, though, as it overheats after an hour).

By Wednesday, things really were looking up, I got a project, got some explanations, and met with Matt. He gave me a good idea of what I needed to do--and I got started on it today. I must toot my own horn now, since I did something very clever and no one but the single reader of my blog will ever know.

This project has three phases--setup a machine with thousands of virtual hosts, populate those hosts with data that can replicate real-world usage, load test and improve the machine to see what it's capable of.
So, here's where I was clever: I split it up into three programs. The one that load-tests the machines will be called Hammer, the one that sets it up is called anvil (I finished that today), and the one that populates the machines is called Iron. You're hammering the iron on an anvil!

Okay, that doesn't sound as clever as I thought. Oh well, in every cubicle monkey's life, simple diversions are needed in order to break up the feelings of monotony.

Love you, Dani -- you know I write this for you.

Why I'm (still) a Mormon

I don't expect much more to ever be posted on this blog, and I'm largely just posting this to share it with some particular friends....