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Friday, March 23rd, 2007

Sorry I’ve been quiet for so long. I’ve been busy, sick, or both. The past two weeks have been completely full up. On a good day I had an hour and a half of down time before bed. 2007 is turning out to be a rough year for me so far. Let’s hope it turns around soon. If all goes to plan (and it never does) I hope to get back to my pre-revision work on Miracles on Monday (earlier if possible). I’m not ready to set a firm deadline, but I want to be done revisions by the end of May.

Availability Suite on OpenSolaris

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

A few weeks ago it was pointed out to me that Sun open sourced Availability Suite. AVS (under all it’s many names) is something I had a love/hate relationship with at Sun. I worked on QA for it off an on for most of my time with the company. At one point I was put on a small team tasked with creating automated test suites for it, something most of the QA team and some of the developers felt was an impossible goal.

The small team got smaller, but in the end we exceeded all goals that were set before us. After the first six months I was told by my then boss that I had wasted everyones time and cost the company a disgusting amount of money in doing so. The team was disbanded an work on the tests stopped, although the existing tests were still used for at least the next five years. There were some people with a vested interest in the effort failing, and they did their best to make the tests appear worthless. My last few years at the company this attitude started to change (in no small part to my good friend Paul’s insistence on using facts rather than opinion to decide value). As a result I was pulled back a number of times to add new tests and make changes as the product interfaces changed (some beyond recognition). When I left the tests were running nightly on numerous platforms across multiple versions of the product. Not everything I wanted to do with the tests was done, but I had to go.

Anyway, it felt good to be thanked by Jim Dunham in a recent blog post. I know Jim appreciated the work I did, and I always appreciated him being one of the very few people to take the time to push past the rumors and innuendo and actually look at what was there.

Enough about the past. I’m excited to see the path AVS is on now, and wish everyone involved the best of luck.

I Can’t Hear You

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

Sorry for the lack of updates. I’ve been swamped with work, and I also have a double ear infection that has been blocking up my ability to hear. As far as I know it’s the first ear infection I’ve ever had in my life, and I’m not a fan. I got up early to get a good start on the day… and it didn’t quite work out. Since my entire office looks worse than my desk did last June I think I’m going to try cleaning. I’ve been stepping over piles of stuff to get to my desk for so long I can’t remember when I last saw the floor.

Changes

Sunday, September 3rd, 2006

Friday was my last day at Sun Microsystems. I had a very hard time walking out the door at the end of the day. I wasn’t sure why at the time, but I think I’ve figured it out. I worked for Sun for eight years. I’ve been working with a lot of the same folks there for a good part of that time. I really liked working for Sun.

So why leave? I don’t want to get into the exact details. The place changed a lot recently, and so did my job. I found myself working for someone who didn’t know me at all, and had no interest in that changing. I wasn’t even a person I was Jay Penney and the Interns (yes, great band name). That pretty much decided it for me. This does, of course, show that the interns had it worse than me, but at least they were doing the job they were hired for (sort of)

I wasn’t concerned about finding another job. I’ve had offers before. More than once I’ve had people I worked with in the past call and try and hire me away. This time I went looking. I found something much more in line with what I want to do, with what seems like a great group of people.

The last few weeks have been hard. I have a terminal case of nice-guy-itis. Even thought I really didn’t know how to do the job they shoved me into, I worked damn hard to ensure things were in the best shape possible before leaving. I even pulled a few 11-12 hour days. A lot of my friends said, “screw em,” but I couldn’t. Not because I’m a pushover. I don’t let people walk all over me. Good people would have had to bear the brunt of it, and I couldn’t leave things like that. The best thing about that time was working with Matt (one of the interns). Matt had been there for a while, but we didn’t interact much. Since I was given the Paul’s job (Paul was our boss, and one of my best friends), I ended up getting to know him a lot better. Great guy.

So anyway, tomorrow I turn thirty and Tuesday I’ll start my new job. Changes are afoot and I’m pretty excited.

Listen in on the Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman Book Tour

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006

"Dragons of the Dwarven Depths" CoverI have fond memories of reading the Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends trilogies, so I’ve been looking forward to Dragons of the Dwarven Depths from Mararet Weis and Tracy Hickman since I saw mention of them working in Locus.

Tracy is broadcasting their entire book tour on his DragonHearth podcast. I’m not sure if that’s ever been done before or not, but it’s the first time I’ve heard of it. I really enjoyed being able to hear the Q and A sessions from the book tour. Hearing them talk about the new book, the old books, and the upcoming movie has really got me itching to read some more of their books again.

As of now, all the book tour shows are still available on the DragonHearth feed. Check them out.

Time Flew, Where Was the Fun?

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

The day after my last post I returned to the day job. My schedule is all over the place instead of the 7am to 3pm day I’d grown accustomed to. As a result I’ve made no attempt to start the write-in portion of my revisions yet.

I have been doing more reading, mostly in preparation for my next novel. I now think a lot of the hard revision work on the first book can be traced back to my outline, and I’m hoping that knowledge of past mistakes also makes thing easier.

I learned a lot from Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell. Chapter 10 has a 7 question quiz to help you decide if you are an OP or a NOP. Funnily enough I came out right in the middle. That’s right, even with an odd number of questions I managed to end in a tie. The last question is:

You would be happier as a:
1. Software developer 2. Poet

I couldn’t decide. I enjoy both of those things, and for many of the same reasons. When I tried to break it down I hard a hard time seeing any real difference between the two.

I’m going to take that to mean I need an outline, but I also need the freedom to explore as I write. Now the tough part is finding a way to put that to use.

Mentioned on ‘I Should Be Writing’

Tuesday, July 4th, 2006

I thought I had posted this at the time, but apparently I didn’t.

My One Pass Revision effort was mentioned on Mur Lafferty’s I Should Be Writing (show #41, June 17, 2006). Thanks to Mur for keeping me honest in front of a larger audience.

If you haven’t heard it before, you really ought to check it out.

I’m Back

Tuesday, July 4th, 2006

I’ve spent almost all of my time since my last post getting ready for, traveling to and from, or participating in Jon and Nicole’s Wedding. Jon’s been one of my best friends for twenty years. I was honored to be asked to participate. The ceremony was amazing (if a bit hot), and the reception was a lot of fun. It was great to see some people I haven’t seen in some time (including Jon’s family), and meet some really fun new people. I even managed to give my toast without choking too badly. I wish Jon and Nicole the very best, and hope they’re having a great time on their honeymoon.

The drive there took forever, but coming back things at least kept moving. Denise and I listened to the amazing unabridged reading of Ender’s Game (I’d heard it before, but it’s great to be able to enjoy a good book with your wife). The full-cast unabridged readings of the Enderverse books are some of the greatest audiobook productions I’ve ever experienced. I can’t recommend them highly enough (available for download from audible.com as well).

I need to thank my Dad for spoiling… er… taking care of the kids while we were gone. I also need to thank Edna and my grandparents for helping him survive the experience.

Now it’s time to clean the desk off (it got a bit cluttered during the search for the GPS serial cable), and get back to work on the book.

Barry Manilow to the Rescue!

Wednesday, June 7th, 2006

Just read this. Really. Nothing I can say will make it any funnier than it already is.

Still Writing

Friday, June 2nd, 2006

I haven’t been posting much, and I haven’t mentioned writing in a while, so here’s a quick update. The novel edit is on hold right now. I need to rethink my approach. There are some problems, and I have a good feeling what they are, but I’m not sure how to fix them yet. Every time I’m sitting still for 10 seconds to think about it someone gives me something to do. So I’m working on other writing related tasks. I’m doing world-building work for another novel, and I’m writing some short stories set in that world to help flesh some things out.