July 7, 2006: Returning to Geneseo

Another travel day. Wouldn’t it be nice to just spend a nice, relaxing weekend at home? I wouldn’t really know.

The plan is to leave this evening as soon as I am able to get out of the office and head for Geneseo (getting dinner at the Waffle House in Clarke’s Summit, of course.) Then tomorrow morning Dominica will leave to go to Texas with her sister and I will spend the weekend getting servers ready to move out of Geneseo and packing up whatever I can to get moved out during the week. Art and Danielle plan on coming over to help sometime on Saturday and maybe with their truck we can get the futon out of the house. That is going to my cousin Sara to take to college with her. Then Sunday I am having an early dinner with Josh after a morning of continued prep and packing and then it is time to return to New Jersey. On Monday night I have to get Dominica from the airport in Newark very, very late. Technicaly Tuesday morning. 🙁

It is a beautiful day today. The temperature has finally broken and it is a comfortable high seventies or low eighties out there instead of the mid to high nineties that we faced earlier in the week. It looks to be a good day for traveling, for a change.

Work was quite busy today. Now that I have access to just about everything that I need to do my job I found that I actually have a lot of work to do! It is quite a relief as I have been mostly idle for quite some time. I have been working but not nearly as much as it feels that I should have been. But lots of people told me that it would take at least two months before I had access to the stuff that I needed and that was mostly correct. I have been here for three and a half months at this point, if you can believe that? I started in late March, moved to the current apartment in mid-April and it is now the end of the first week of July! Boy how time flies.

While I was quite busy I did manage to get some more magazine reading done while I was in the office. eWeek, InfoWorld and Windows IT Pro are my magazines of the day. I try to get through eWeek and InfoWorld quickly so that I can pass them on to Dominica who is now attempting to read them on a regular basis for the classes that she is taking from Empire.

I forgot to mention yesterday that Andy has been layed off from his current contract after having been there just about a month or less there. He had been hired for a full year contract but they hadn’t planned any budget for the project and they are unable to keep him on. This is real common, unfortunately, and he had even mentioned to Dominica last Friday that he got the same feeling at this position that he had gotten when we were at IBM in 2001 and knew that the project that we were on was dying. Everyone told us, right up until the day before we were layed off, that everything was fine and that we were imagining things but we were the only ones prepared for the layoffs when they came. It wasn’t just us but about one hundred and fifty contractors at the site were all let go within fourty eight hours. So he is winding down his work there now. He is working yet today and for all of next week but he is done one week from today. He didn’t even get to work this past Tuesday because it was a “holiday” (a.k.a. a day when they don’t have enough work for hourly workers to do so they don’t let them come into work and don’t pay them) and they didn’t have enough money in the budget for him to come in that day. Of course, they could have let him work on Tuesday and only kept him until next Thursday instead of next Friday but that would be less advantageous to them – it is generally to an employer’s advantage to spread your worktime out as much as possible because they are able to be better prepared for you to be there. That is why so many companies with low paid hourly workers are so happy about the state mandated unpaid breaks during the day (in New York it is two fifteen minutes breaks and one thirty minute break each eight hour day.) They are so short that you can’t possibly leave or think about anything other than work but they don’t have to pay you. And not only do they get to keep you at work without paying you but the state enforces the process so that they can act like it is the employees fault for being overprotected by the state even though it lowers the employee’s wage potential.

Here is the math on that (I have thought about this a lot over the years): Wage = $7.00, Work Day = 8 hours, Breaks = 1 hour. Employee only gets paid $6.22 per hour! Now of course the company doesn’t get as much benefit out of the break time that they do out of normal paid time but they do get many benefits including spreading out the work day which is a major benefit to businesses open longer than just a single shift which includes restaurants, hotels, etc. Now if you are an employee who only works that one job, doesn’t have anything to do when they get home and really likes just relaxing at their job then this isn’t the worst thing for you. But I am sure not that person. If you are a normal person working a low wage job like I used to be (remember Pizza Hut, Burger King, the nursing facility, Station 42, Tops Unfriendly Markets, The Days Inn, The Wellesley Inn, etc.) then you will most likely have to work more than one job and have to cram all of your life’s interests into a very short span of time between those jobs. The same would go for a college student or high school student who works while they are in school. The last thing that you want to do is spend an hour a day (or for people working two full time jobs TWO hours a day!) just sitting around at work not getting paid but unable to do anything else productive, relaxing or fun because you don’t have time to change your clothes, leave or switch mental gears into thinking about something else.

I found out today, although apparently I am way behind the curve on this one, that Mr. T likes two graham crackers, covered in chocolate and espresso from Starbucks. Check out Paul Davidson’s awesome impromtu interview with the Hollywood star at his local coffee shop.

Unlike a usual day at the office, the morning was busy and the afternoon was slow. That is not always good even though it is nice to get the hard stuff out of the way early (like eating your vegetables first and saving the good stuff for last) because being busy towards the end of the day helps to pass the time.

I finally got around to calling Verizon Wireless this afternoon to find out options for getting myself one of the Motorola Q Windows Mobile PDAs. I have been looking into getting one for about a week but haven’t actually called yet to get any information. The new Motorola Q is really hot. It was formally known as the Razrberry. It is super thin but runs Windows Mobile 5.0 which is what I am looking for. It has the keyboard and dial on the side that I like from my Blackberry but it runs Windows which I prefer since I want to use it as a full featured PDA with web browsing, wireless Internet for my laptop, email, instant messaging, etc.

Verizon was able to give me a second line as a data line just for my new PDA so I decided to go ahead and get it. I ordered the new Motorola Q with the unlimited data plan from Verizon so that I can use it all of the time wherever I am. It is a little pricey but it should prove to be a really nice tool to have. I will have full time access to email, web, instant messaging, etc. I am not sure how well this device will work for my particular needs but Verizon lets me try it out for fifteen days and then determine if I want to keep that or go with a different device so I am going to give it a try. It has a limited feature set compared to some of the more complete PDAs but it might meet my needs. We will see. It is very small and easy to use which is the major draw for me. I am not looking for a device that will replace my laptop – just something that will keep me in contact and I think that it might fit the bill. I don’t want to get carried away trying to do tons of stuff from my handheld. I have a PDA now and I never do that stuff. It isn’t really practical most of the time. I really just need some basic features for normal day to day activities.

The afternoon went from slow to molasses. Of course, Friday afternoons are always slow as as many people as possible attempt to sneak out early to start their weekend. So there are hardly any people doing anything to generate work requests. At least it gives me plenty of time to do things like order a Q.

I easily managed to get through all four magazines that I had brought with me. I should remember to bring more reading material with me on Fridays. There is less tech news on Fridays as well because everyone working at the news sites want to get started on their weekends too.

My cube neighbour, who is also a tech gadget junkie, and I spent a lot of the afternoon searching for cool tools for the Q and other Windows Mobile 5.0 for Smartphone devices. We found tons of cool stuff like PocketPutty for SSH access, Opera for good web browsing instead of IE, a port of OpenVPN, and the iMov Jabber client. I should be in good shape if all of this stuff really works. This means that, in theory, I will be on the Jabber IM system now all of the time. Sweet.

Five o’clock rolled around and everything was still calm and serene so I took advantage of the moment and stole myself away from the office. There is a lot of driving to be done this evening so I wanted to get moving.

Knowing that I am going to be very tired when I finally arrive in Geneseo I am taking the time now, while I am still in the office, to go ahead and post the daily. I will update everyone as to anything that happens eventful this evening tomorrow.

Have a good night and enjoy your weekends. Scott out.

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