Category Archives: Work

job related and musings on being a so called professional

Product Analysis 101

Fun times at work Ahoy!

We made a little trek to the Apple Store this week as the new iPad mini has arrived and our dev teams needs them for testing. So a few of us from work went on down and picked up a bunch. Then after a tasty lunch at HRD we headed back to work, and the first thing I did was to promptly tear open the package and began playing with it. Ah the perks of working in IT. Anywho, it was actually quite a surprise, as my first immediate thought was “Oh hey I want one of these.”

It is really small and hard to believe kind of light weight. To me it felt about as heavy as my iPhone 4s with a case on it. It then occurred to me after having played with a Surface RT ( and I’m still looking forward to getting one of those as well) that Microsoft, Google, and Amazon still have quite a way to go. For Apple it has always been about the slightest detail in hardware and it really shows. I handed the iPad mini to a few folks and even our lead product guy. After only a few seconds of holding it said “Well fuck, there goes $300. Now I have to go buy one.”

I am planning on posting a detailed product analysis comparison of both the Surface IT and a iPad side by side once I get them both so stay tuned for that. In the mean time don’t go to the Apple store and play with one of these unless you have a desire to part with  your paycheck this weekend.

My Wife… the astronaut?

So a few months ago I was reading Gizmodo and they had this article that talked about how NASA was accepting applications for the new astronaut corp.  And I was thinking it was probably right when it said “Spoiler: you probably aren’t qualified.”

Then sure enough, a few hours later I get a message from my wife telling me she has applied to be an Astronaut.


See that there. That was my reaction too.

Then I actually took the time to read through the qualifications and requirements and it hit me. She is qualified. And then I though. my wife could be a freaking ASTRONAUT. How cool would that be? Granted it is a long difficult application process let alone training program and what have you but this would be so awesome. Talk about having the right stuff. She’s got a PHd. She has practical experience when it comes to experiments in space. (Having just recently completed some data analysis on samples that came back from in orbit.) She’s fun, smart, dedicated, and kind of goofy. So she would be a perfect modern day scientific geek hero.

I might be a little worried about her dropping a screwdriver or wrench while dangling on a rope a few miles above the earth. (assuming she actually went to space, as not all astronauts do. Not to mention the tools are magnetic for a reason) However I am totally up for her doing this and support her whole heartedly. Also it has the benefit of me never being asked to do the whole “Bring your parent to school day”

So congrats on applying Katie and I wish you godspeed for the first time and hopefully not the last.


New Job, New Commute, and New Car

A whole lot of “news” for me this past month.

As mentioned earlier I had been laid off at Ricoh because of some restructuring there and was looking for a job. I liked that job a lot and was sad to see it go but I believe someone mentioned God closing a door and opening a window. I had done a lot of job hunting last year when I got laid off from Google so I was not looking forward to the prospect. Turns out I had a little luck with me this time around (and a whole lotta help) and I managed to find a great new job within a month. I now work for a company called Yammer. They do a social network enterprise app and so far it has been kind of cool. I got a shiny new 15′ MacBook Pro to work on and I take the train up to San Francisco. It’s kind of a pain due to the hour long commute meaning I need to get up at 6:00 AM but it’s been worth it so far. Also they are looking for a ton of programmers and engineers so you can check out their website for listings is you are interested. Pass it forward or pay it back, either way is good for me.

Speaking of the job. I get to commute by train every day now. A lot of interesting people ride the train. I have seen women in high heels riding Razor scooters, putting on makeup using their laptops webcam, and of course teeny boppers getting very excited and loud about going to a Taylor Swift concert. A few weird guys, including one getting tossed off the train for yelling at himself. And then there were the zombies. Literally a whole group of people dressed like zombies on a night when I had to stay at work late.

Now the other good news is that the job does pay a bit more then my last one so Katie and I can start saving some more. That will however be after we pay for the new car we just bought. She was driving a 88′ Mercury Tracer wagon that was doing alright but had some issues. One of the bigger ones being not really enough comfortable space for the whole family in it let alone giving someone else a ride. Now we can do all of that and my wife gets a car that has buttons in it. So I bought her a new 2011 Ford Escape so I can take the train to work. It makes sense, really it does. Oh and it’s bright lime neon green. You couldn’t lose this car even if you were looking from space.

And so begins the great job hunt of 2011

I currently work for Ricoh Americas. The team I work for there works for Ricoh Ltd. The budget was cut and they are all going back to Japan. This leaves me and one other worker scrambling to find some new jobs. I am looking throughout the company and outside it as well.

Katie and I have decided that we would like to move from the SF Bay Area. The simple fact is that it would take 10 years to afford a down payment on a 3 bedroom 1200 sf 60 year old house here. By contrast living in a state like Georgia or Virginia you can find 5 bedroom 4000 sf 10 year old homes that we could mortgage today.

I have a few leads both here and around the country and I’ll keep you posted as to where we end up. With a little luck I can stay with the company and be transferred somewhere. I don’t look forward to the actual moving part but hey whatever works out best for the family.

On a random side note. Typing in landscape mode on the iPhone is actually pretty fast.

Working for a living…

So this past month Katie and I have decided that we are going to help supplement our income by starting a few side businesses. Why you ask? well because we need money of course. The simple fact is that living in the San Francisco Bay Area is really expensive. Rent here is 2 to 3 times the national average for smaller spots no less. We do alright and have not debt, but we are not really saving any money. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really like having a bunch of extra stuff or feel like being greedy and wanting every new toy on the market. I would however like to be able to save some money for a rainy day. Not to mention having a car with enough space for all of us and AC would be nice during these hot summers.

So what are these business ideas we have? I’m so glad you asked and I’m gonna tell you right now. Katie has decided to start teaching Baby signing time classes. Her store website can be found here. So if you would like to buy the Baby Signing Time stuff, use this link and we get some cool credit or something. Also she will be offering the classes so if you are interested in signing up for one you can contact her through the website. I on the other hand will continue to do what I have always done and that is help people with computers and technology. This time I will charge people for it. (Friends still get discounts) You can find my website with more info at The basic idea is if you need help with any kind of tech, then I can help.

So that is the updates on the “Hey, we need more money” front. I am still working full time for Ricoh doing the EventJot thing. Katie has gone back to NASA one day a week. Thanks to the grandparents for helping watch both kids one day a week. I know the older of the two is starting to become a handful. They don’t call them the terrible two’s for nothing.

My wife told me to

So I figured I would actually post something.

I am eating a Twix. (Shhh, don’t tell my wife) But on the plus side I have been biking to work for 3 weeks now. And I still haven’t gotten a scale so I don’t know if I have actually lost any weight. I have however, learned a thing or two about being a bicycle commuter.

1. According to this lovely document, I cannot ride with headphones on. So I put these lovely things in the side mesh pockets of my backpack. The sounds quality is nice and the battery life is amazing actually. I charged them up once and have gone the three weeks so far without recharging. They have a single mini jack stereo input so I use a headphone splitter to connect two of them. The produce quite a lot (almost obnoxious) amount of volume. However when riding, most of that volume gets drowned out but the traffic and road noise. But it works none the less and makes the ride a fair bit more enjoyable. I have to admit that when I was riding in AR, I got a little spoiled because there was a nice trail that ran around most of the major roads and was a very relaxing ride. Here in CA, or more accurately in San Jose, I get a lot of bumper to bumper traffic and major city streets. It’s not so fun. It is a lot better then paying $4.25 a gallon in gasoline though.

2. There is this weird bike culture out here that consists of a lot of hardcore, 40 miles a day just for fun, need me some spandex, get out of my way, riders that I really don’t like. The fact that I ride a mt. bike as opposed to a road bike is almost a cardinal sin with these people. I like riding because it is kind of fun, and I save on gas and get healthy. This doesn’t mean I need a $1500 road bike and a new wardrobe. My cheap old Wal-Mart helmet does just fine thank you very much. (although I could use some new padding)

I fully encourage people to get out and bike. Actually for anything less then a 10 mile commute you probably should be biking to work. I currently bike 6.1 miles each way and it takes me about 40 minutes. Of course that includes the 10 minutes or so of waiting at traffic lights, and I am very out of shape. The first day it took me over an hour to ride here. I have gotten faster and will continue to do so over the summer. For reference, it takes me about 20 to 30 minutes to drive those same 6 miles depending on traffic. So for an extra 10 minutes I save a about $3 to $4 dollars a day and I get in shape. Sounds like a plan to me.


In other news, work is going well. We had a baby, not me and work mind you, but me and the wife. You know in case you missed the memo…

I think I will have to do a separate daddy blog entry one of these days.

A week later and life moves on

So we had a new baby last week. You know in case you forgot.

Anyways, After a few adjustments we are just starting our routines and hopefully next week I will start biking to work again. When I lived in Arkansas I had gotten pretty big and opted to start biking to work to lose weight. (Not to mention that whole save on gas thing) Between the food poisoning and the biking I ended up losing about 40 lbs. After being a stay at home dad for a year and then working at Google with all the free food I have since gained back that 40 lbs and then some. I currently sit at about 270. So here’s to another round of summer biking 12 miles a day round trip to help reduce said poundage. I also have a little project  I want to do with mounting a stereo to my bike because it is illegal to ride with headphones in California. (or at least last time I checked) I will hopefully post some pics on how that works out.

So wish me luck world as I embark on my own biggest loser goal and here’s to a new healthier me . Starting next week… after I finish off those cookies… and if the weather’s nice.

Moving day

So today I start to journey of moving all our junk into a new slightly larger place. And what have I learned from all these years of moving a whole bunch of times? 1. I don’t like moving. 2. We have too much stuff. And that doesn’t even count the baby stuff.

Other then that, life has been moving along. Earth orbits sun, Apple introduces a new product, and I go to work. So speaking of work, it has been an interesting learning experience. The team I work with is all from Japan and sometimes the communication can be a challenge. Actually I find the style of job to be more interesting. So this is my first corporate type job where I am not fixing or selling things as my primary job. So I am learning a lot about how teams work together, how meetings work, (and coincidentally can be way too long) and how to restrain myself from trying to do everything.

I have been thinking a lot of those old projects I either stopped doing or never started. Things like my comic strip, blogging, etc etc. Spending time at work seeing how companies try to influence customers online makes me wonder about things like privacy, effort, sharing etc. There are so many factors to consider it makes my head hurt.

Katie and I are thinking of merging our blogs. I guess that means we really are married happily ever after. No, it wasn’t the 7 years of marriage, the almost two kids, (due first week of april, btw) or merging the DVDs and CDs collection. It all comes down to us sharing a online presence.

Sigh, sometimes I really do think I am actually funny. Now back to figuring out baby names. Any suggestions?