April 27, 2006

First of all, congratulations to Wil Wheaton who totally just scored the voice job that he wanted on a new show at Nickelodian!! Go Wil. I will give everyone details when he releases what the project is.

It was around 9:30 when I finally rolled into the apartment last night. I think that Dominica and I are most definitely going to be doing some serious looking for a new apartment once the six months are up on this one. I am pretty happy with the apartment itself and I hate moving but this place is just too far from work. My commute is a major part of my day and it isn’t like I use the apartment for anything more than just sleeping. I don’t even eat there. I have a SlimFast dinner and go to bed. I haven’t ordered in food or gone out once on my own since I got down here. And it sure isn’t like I cook.

For dinner I had, you guessed it a SlimFast and a small salad. I got in to the apartment so late that I pretty much did nothing. I had a little support work that needed to be done and I wrapped that up quickly. Boy am I glad that I have the firewall with the solid VPN support. That makes such a difference to my sanity.

I talked to Mary over instant messenger last night for a little while. She is just wrapping up her semester at GCC in Batavia. Two more weeks. She doesn’t know what she is going to do after that. She has the summer off from school and has to get some work for the summer. She is hoping to get to be the student aid for the Army Corp of Engineers at the Mt. Morris Dam. That would be cool.

I went to bed at 11:30. It is hard to go to bed much before that when the evening is so short. It makes for a short night when the alarm goes off at 5:45 (I pushed it back a little.)

I fell back asleep after the alarm went off this morning. I didn’t feel like I did but I did. I got up around 6:30. I checked my mail before getting ready for work. Supporting Europe means that there is often stuff to do VERY early in the morning. Most of my work requests are generated in a time zone five hours ahead of where I am so that can be tough.

I got into the office at 8:00. It is another beautiful day in New Jersey. I am still (Day 2) listening to my German CDs in the car. I haven’t learned very much yet. I decided that I would take them into work today and convert them to Ogg Vorbis files so that I can listen to them during the day with Zinf without needing to take the CDs to and from the car every day. So I downloaded CDex and started converting. What a great program that is. So simple and useful.

I did my usual breakfast at the office. A bagle with peanut butter (George Washington Carver is my hero) and a big thing of fruit. I am trying really hard to add fruit to my diet. It has been terribly lacking in fresh fruit. Today I must have gotten about twice as much fruit as I did yesterday (they weigh it on a scale) because it was about $8 just for the fruit! But boy is it delicious.

Everyone told me when I started work down here that it would take about a month before things would get up to speed and that I would be pretty bored for the first four weeks then it would pick up. Well that appears to be pretty accurate. I am just hitting a month and this week is completely different than it has been. I am busy just about every day and I am actually being useful and not just sitting around asking questions. I still have to ask tons of questions but I can do more and more independantly. It is getting to be a lot more fun now that I am actually keeping busy a lot of the time. Not so busy as to not be able to keep up with SGL luckily so you all get to come along for the ride.

Today was the big day for getting Indian food in the office. We were going to go yesterday but it is too big of an event and they weren’t able to schedule it at the last minute. So it got held off until today. The place is in Morristown which is about twenty minutes or farther from the office. Nine of us went in two cars. I didn’t go with my team from work but with our sister team. I actually sit in the middle of our sister team as there was no space within my own team for my office. So we left around 12:30 to get lunch with everyone in tow. It was quite the undertaking to organize that many people. Two people from our sister team got stuck staying behind so that there was someone there in case something happened. It would be a bit dangerous to take absolutely everone. But I was excited as it was obvious that everyone really wanted to go and that this was a major event.

The place was really fancy considering it was a buffet. You really felt like you were being seated at a nice hotel restaurant. The food was amazing! This was definitely the best Indian food that I have ever had. It was absolutely, totally awesome. And, of course, I ate until I felt sick. I stopped after a reasonible amount but the guys all said that they weren’t proud of me and I wasn’t really well versed in Indian cuisine if I didn’t eat another round so I gave in and feel gorged now. But it was worth it. They tried to get me to eat dessert as well but I managed to resist that. I have been hearing about this restaurant for a long – almost since I first arrived here so this was quite the treat that I had been looking forward to.

It was almost 3:00 by the time we got back to the office. I couldn’t believe how much time it took just to get lunch. No wonder they were so concerned about leaving a few people behind for coverage. That really ate into the afternoon but boy was it ever worth it. It was a lot of fun going out and doing something social with so many of the people from the office.

I found out today that I am staying in the office that I have been in since I first arrived in New Jersey. Up until today it has just been a temporary office while they decided where to stick me but today I officially got assigned to the office so now I will be getting a telephone number of my very own that I can actually answer. that will be a change. Up until now there have been no calls for me so I never even have to react to the phone ringing. It was nice while it lasted. But it is good that it will be possible to call my desk in case of an emergency.

At this point in the day someone needed to use my computer and pushed my browser too hard and I didn’t have a chance to save what I had been writing and I lost everything that I wrote after lunch so hopefully I won’t miss anything as I go back and try to think of anything that I might have written. That kind of sucks because I really use SGL as a pensive (Harry Potter reference, go read the book) and once I put things in I don’t remember them. I only keep the feeling of having told people. I’m weird, okay, get over it.

Wil was able to write this afternoon about the new show that he is going to be working on over at Nickelodean. The show is called Kyle + Rosemary and Wil has scored the lead role of Kyle. How hawesome is that? I am looking forward to checking out the new show. I guess this is really good news for Wil not just because it is a cool project and looks like fun but also because it looks like it must be a pretty major, full time kinda gig. More or less. I don’t really know how these things work but it isn’t a small part or an occasional character. Pretty cool.

Things were really slow around the office this evening and so I decided to head for the hills around 6:30. (For those who don’t know, on the other side of the hills is my apartment so I have to head for them before heading for the apartment.) Last night was such a short night at home that I would like to have a little bit of time to myself this evening. Even if it does just involve sitting alone in front of the computer. There is always plenty to do at home. I haven’t even cleaned up any of the mess from putting all of the furniture together yet. I suppose I should do that sometime soon. Dominica will appreciate if it is gone when she gets there the day after tomorrow.

I actually got home at a reasonable time tonight. My project for the evening (I have had to reduce by intense “at home IT schedule” down to a single small project per evening to keep my sanity) was to get Asterisk working in conjunction with Free World Dialup. Free World Dialup or FWD is a free, open VoIP solution that uses both the big IP phone protocol SIP as well as the big VoIP PBX protocol IAX2. Unlike closed, casual users only solutions like Skype, FWD is open and enterprise friendly. One of the biggest deals is that FWD allows interconnects between different phone systems as well as PBX connections. PBX connections means that people running their own telephone systems at home (like me) can connect to FWD. I think that Skype users overlook the significance of this little feature. It means that any business anywhere who wants to have a VoIP connection to FWD can do it, for free AND have it just be another connection on their CURRENT phone system! Okay, follow me here. You want to call company X in Australia. You have a FWD account. They have an FWD account. You can place a call from your telephone and it rings their phones just as if you called on a regular old fashioned telephone line but for free. They don’t notice whether the calls are coming from FWD or from the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network.) This is a really big deal. Companies that want to use Skype HAVE to run a Skype client on one person’s desktop and have them answer that line seperately from their regular phones. No integration. No access to regular voicemail. Nothing. Companies are not going to do that. FWD is a real phone solution that can be managed by companies and used by people at home. It is a complete replacement to the traditional phone system that can run along side it at the same time. Go check it out. Get an account. Make some calls.

I got to talk to Min at work over IM a little before I went to bed. And I helped Jeremy a little. He is in the process of picking out the components to buy for a computer that he is building. He has never built a computer before and he is having a lot of fun picking out the components that he wants to buy. He is putting together the first NVidia SLI (that is a dual graphics card system) gaming machine that I know of. It should be something to see.

I was really tired and decided to go to bed really early. I hit the hay at just a little past 9:30!! Boy does that ever make me feel old. Tomorrow is Friday, which is the slowest day of the week and the shortest. Most everyone starts calling it a day around 5:00 instead of 6:30 – 7:00. And Monday is a bank holiday in the United Kingdom which is where I do most of my work (virtually, of course, I have never actually been in the UK.) So Monday is going to be a nice, quiet day as well. Unfortunately I will not get to work from home on Monday because of technical problems that keep me from being able to be productive remotely. Until we get that fixed I am stuck coming into the office for just about everything.

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