Monday, June 27, 2005

Brandon and Pizza Hut

"They're running out of places to put cheese!" - Brandon, in reference to the Pizza Hut 3 Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza

Friday, June 24, 2005

Wonderful day

One of the mentors brought in Dunkin Donuts today. I love Dunkin Donuts. Pittsburgh doesn't have Dunkin Donuts (nearby anyway).

I also have started to like coffee (!). 3 large cups of coffee and a Monster Assault later, I'm pretty wired.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Tact

Walking down the hall in the lab

Coworker: "Wow, no belt?"
Me: "uhhh..."
Coworker: "Oh, you are wearing a belt"
Me: "Uhhh..."
Coworker: "Just over time you've grown steadily more sloppy"

I wear jeans and collared shirts to work normally. Today, I have no presentations, no meetings. I'm wearing jeans and a Sunday River shirt.

I'm a coder.

Monday, June 20, 2005

DDR

I'm becoming a DDR addict at work...

Stealth Start-Ups Suck

Lots of thoughts good in the linked blog post, but especially his bulleted list of

Why go fast? Many reasons:
  • First mover advantage is important.
  • There is no such thing as a unique idea. I guarantee that someone else has already thought of your wonderful web service, and is probably way ahead of you. Get over yourself.
  • It forces you to focus on the key functionality of the site.
  • Being perfect at launch is an impossible (and unnecessary and even probably detrimental) goal, so don't bother trying to achieve it. Ship early, ship often.
  • The sooner you get something out there, the sooner you'll start getting feedback from users.


The EB program has me thinking about the end user, differentiation, first-to-market, rapid prototyping, start-ups, entrepreneurship, corporations...

One of our speakers talked this morning about how important focusing on users is. That's what I bring to where I work - I care.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Father's Day

My dad was the first person in his family to graduate high school. I'm not sure if his brother or sister ever finished college. He spoke only French til he was 10, in America.

------

When I was a kid, about 6 or 7 years old, my mom used to read all the time. She'd always have a new book from the library.

My dad once in a while flipped through a magazine. When you're 6 years old, you keep hearing about how bad illiteracy is and how you need to learn to read. So I assumed my dad didn't know how to read. My sisters and I thought that he just memorized all the books he read to us before bed.

------

Every night when I was young, my dad would read a story to me and tuck me in to bed. Although I was pretty old when he stopped tucking me in, I only realized then that I felt safe and warm in bed because he tucked me in.

------

I remember my dad's Navy dress uniform, he let me keep his Commander's cap after he retired from the Reserves. I was so afraid during the Gulf War that my dad would be called into active duty - that is what they do to reservists after all.

I remember my dad going down to DC for his 2 week a year deployment. He'd head to this mystical place called "The Crystal City" and he'd always bring us back grapefruit slices. I was so proud that my dad was serving the country and not just his family. Of course, my dad works for a defense contractor, and he's still serving the country.

------

My dad built the porch at our house in Bath, and rebuilt the porch at our Harpswell house. He used to do almost everything in the maintenance of my Grandpa's apartment buildings in Bath - build steps, paint ceilings, wire things, work on the plumbing. He landscapes, weeds, seeds & mows the lawn, snow-blows, and builds. He's going to build a lot of the Bethel House, in 3 years (when he's 60).

------

My dad was my hockey coach, my soccer coach, my cub scout den leader. He'd wake up at 5:30 on the weekends to bring me to hockey practice, he'd watch me referee games that he didn't have anything to do with. He helped a lot of other kids grow up.

------

He's worked at Bath Iron Works for almost 30 years - through ups and downs. Even when he's annoyed with the company, we know he'll retire from there. He's a company man, dedicated and loyal. During the DD-X Project, he worked 65 hour weeks. He still worked around the house, took care of the dogs, and did everything that he had to, and more. He never, ever complained.

------

He has never complained about doing things for us, I've never felt unloved by him, and I've always felt safe around him. He's been mad at me before, but because I don't recall him ever being mad at me without reason, it really means a lot to me for him to be proud of me. His trust in me means more.

------

When I was a senior, my high school had our parents write us letters to explain how proud of us they are. My mom's letter made me happy - my dad's made me cry. He's the strong, silent type - I never realized how proud of me he is.

------

He has taught me the value of people, the value of honesty, simplicity, and purity

------

I hope I can grow up to be as selfless as my father. I hope I can raise strong children, show them what it means to give and not to count the costs. He's taught me that "just good enough" isn't enough, and excellent work should be done, even if it's not recognized. He's shown me that sometimes things just have to get done, and complaining won't do anything and won't make me feel better. He's taught me the joy of working with my hands, of building. He's taught me to pick my battles, to give, to love, that sleep is less important than people, that it's not "someone else's problem." He's taught me that drinking a beer on the porch is a darned good way to spend a summer evening. He's taught me a lot on the chair lift and in the car about life.

------

I love you dad. Thank you for everything. Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The summer so far

North Carolina is a pretty good place to live; I could imagine raising a family around here. There are a ton of trees, the traffic isn't as bad as everyone had warned us about, there are jobs, there's education around, there's minor league teams (and a major league hockey team, if hockey ever starts back up).

The commute to work is about 10 minutes; it then takes about 5 minutes to walk from the car to the office. IBM has quite a few buildings (30+?)in Research Triangle Park, and even has a few campuses in RTP. I work in the 500 campus, which is the software group location. The company seems a lot older when you first look at it, at least compared to last summer, but then I see a bunch of mid 20 somethings walking around, and I know they're not interns. Their work policies are very family oriented.

The Extreme Blue lab is pretty cool - it's a cave though, no windows to the outside, and the windows we have to the inside are always kept closed. We do have a lot of fun things inside the lab, like a server room just for us, competition DDR pads hooked up to a PS2, and foosball. I've been working 8:30-6:30 so far, but during crunch times I'm sure that'll increase. Some people have already been logging 65 hour weeks.

However, from talking to full timers who did the Extreme Blue program previously, it sounds like it's not as cool working in the rest of the company. I'll definitely consider IBM for full time anyway. My dream job is programming with travel, at least right out of school, and there's a possibility for something like that at IBM.

I also realize this summer that I like the lab environment, the research setting, knowing that cool new things are happening that have never been done before. I like attending technical presentations and learning what other people are doing. I really want to work at a company ahead of the cutting edge (Bleeding edge, if you will).

So in summary: the summer in North Carolina has been pretty good so far!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

UNC Bar Crawl

Highlights of the night:

32 ounce black & tan at He's Not Here (In other news, I'm becoming a black and tan fan)
"Hey, you guys should be dancing!" from a couple cute UNC girls, to Will and me, at a place called Players

Downsides: we only hit 2 places

Next time we'll have a better plan. But that was a good night.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Must Read Books

Book for Software Engineers: The Mythical Man-Month
Book for Java Coders: Effective Java
Book for people dating women: She Comes First
Book for science students: Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

News update on today

I propose a genetic test on any woman I date in the future.

Next week is shaping up to be fun.

Sunday night: Ralphie May at Charlie Goodnight's in Raleigh
Monday night: Durham Bulls with Extreme Blue
Tuesday night: Modest Mouse with one of the other interns

Monday, June 06, 2005

Frames

I had the same frames for 3 years at least.

New frames came in the mail today.


Almost everyone who knows me knows me with the old frames. It'll be interesting, other than the people who have read this. They'll notice some small change, be freaked out. Well not as much due to the summer break.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Corn

Fresh corn on the cob is good.

Getting it, sweet and perfect, the third of June, is better.

mmmm.... North Carolina...

IBM songbook

MARCH ON WITH IBM

Verse:

The fame of IBM
Spreads across the seven seas,
Our standards fly aloft,
Proudly waving in the breeze,
With T.J. Watson guiding us
we lead throughout the world,
For peace and trade our
banners are unfurled - unfurled.

Chorus:

March on with IBM
We lead the way,
Onward we'll ever go,
In strong array;
Our thousands to the fore,
Nothing can stem,
Our march forevermore,
With IBM.

March on with IBM
Work hand in hand,
Stout hearted men go forth,
In every land;
Our flags on every shore,
We march with them,
On high forevermore,
For IBM.




........... there are more IBM employees than citizens of Qatar, so this makes a little sense. It's still hilarious however.

And yes, I'm in Big Blue right now.