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It has been well over a year since I looked at Slashdot.
I see that some of my friends are still writing journal entries. Want them to know I'm still alive.
Well, I got a new job, started a few weeks ago.
It's for a local public utility. There are no shareholders and the customer base is captive. No competition from India, China, Argentina, and Malaysia. Power and water are pretty much recession-proof.
They believe in a good work-life balance. (Unlike the last job where the world "life" rarely entered the picture.)
Honestly, I didn't think that many people would get that interested in what I have to say. It still amazes me how many people, on a site that is supposed to be mainly occupied by "nerds," fail to present a rational argument. Or any argument, for that matter. Not that I am not guilty of the same, but the one-off anonymous cowards who are either blatantly prejudiced or just flat-out wrong has definitely not gone down. I like to believe that between my nonsense there are at least some reasonable rants.
I've since been modded every possible moderation option, and accused of most of them as well.
I don't think spurred this kind of discussion on Slashdot for years.
Regarding this discussion. The summary is that it's apparently almost impossible to change your name in Quebec, especially for customary reasons. This was supposedly instituted in order to further women's and children's rights.
tomhudson's last reply to me inexplicably brings up religion as if I was making some sort of religion-based argument for name changing. At what point do I present religion as the prime argument for allowing people to change their names?
Hell, I don't even limit it to the case of marriage in the discussion, that's just how it began. I think people should be able to change their name at any time for any reason whatsoever to any thing they want. Even to something patently offensive. They should be able to make that name legal.
There are many cases where one would want to change their names besides personal reasons or some custom. I can only imagine what the likes of Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan might have said or would say about not being able to escape from their "slave names." Or if little Adolph Hitler would like to get a new name, but the state says no you have to live with it.
Your name is part of your identity. It is wrong for anyone to tell you what it is or should be, and it is wrong to be forced to live with what your parents decided for you well before you were able to express your own identity.
It is just incomprehensible that the state will tell you "your name is what your parents said it is, and you have no recourse."
It is the worst assault a government can make against an individual -- an assault on your right to choose the immediate reference to who you are to the rest of the world: your name.
Well, today it was time to move data from one (EMC) storage array to another vendor (HDS). I have to say that Symantec/Veritas Volume Manager does in fact make it easy.
In short, to perform the move, initialize the LUNs from the new storage array into the existing disk group. Then execute the vxassist evacuate command to evacuate the data from the old disks. Once done, remove the old disks from the disk group.
I haven't kept up too much on developments Linux LVM or other volume management software since we use the Veritas products, so I don't know if any of the others approach this ease of migration. But VxVM has been able to do it for ages.
Every time I do it I think it's cool, and I haven't written a journal entry for a while, so why not write a JE about it while I wait for the 100 or so GB to move to the new array.
Front page Slashdot ad... for lingerie from Soma Intimates.
If they are targeting that ad at me... well, I got tired of messing up such purchases for my wife, so I gave up.
If they are targeting that ad at slashdot, then perhaps the algorithm is flawed...
The Washington Post writes that the military has met its recruiting goals for this year for the first time since the all-voluntary force. The military is citing economic factors as a reason that recruiting is up.
Some idiot will claim that George W. Bush engineered the recession in order to increase military recruiting for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 3... 2... 1...
The new freshmeat.net layout completely sucks. The grays are harder to read on a large screen compared to the old format, and impossible to read on a small screen. The color scheme of the previous iteration also made it easy to scan today's updates quickly. When scrolling, the grays just blend together and slow me down.
Well, it made it as a front-page story so I don't have to provide much of a summary of Gov. Ted "Big Brother" Kulongoski's proposed mileage tax on cars.
Briefly, he proposes replacing the gas tax with GPS tracking devices in new cars that will report the miles driven.
The ONLY reason I can think of to use GPS is to also enable tracking of the position and speed of the vehicle. If they just want to know how far it's been driven since the last fuel-up, there is this neat thing built in to the car already called an odometer. Sure, tire size and some other factors can make it slightly off, but it would probably work fine. If you really needed a double-check, there are these neat devices called accelerometers that can be used to determine the speed at which the vehicle is moving at any given time, and therefore be able to calculate mileage. Without tracking the position of your car.
If this becomes law, I predict the following immediate "neat ideas" and abuses will be proposed, with at least some of them becoming reality:
Sure they say that it is only intended to track mileage, but how many other government projects have been abused?
In any case, the proposal is stupid for the following reasons:
Politicians like Kulongoski piss me off. They are proposing this because revenue from the gas tax has gone down due to higher efficiency vehicles and less people driving due to recent high gas prices. You'd think a Democrat like Kulongoski would be talking about how wonderful it is that we are becoming more environmentally friendly and less dependent on foreign oil. Instead he bitches about the revenue stream going away and dreams up a new lopsided tax that clearly will allow subsequent "neat ideas" and abuses. It's the same with the tobacco tax. One of the reasons always cited to raise it is it will cause people to quit. It does have this effect, and then they complain about the revenue being gone. Now, a simple solution to the gas tax revenue loss is to raise the tax. They have done this for cigarettes, but not for gas (the state gas tax has not been raised for decades). The reason? Raising taxes on the general populace (instead of smokers) is unpopular and the legislature is afraid to lose their seats for an unpopular move, no matter how necessary it may be.
I say this: If they truly believe that raising the tax is necessary for the common good, then they should just do it, their seats in the legislature be damned. This is proof that their priority is power and influence, and not the public good. Instead, they are a bunch of cowards. A legislator who truly wanted to serve the public good would do what he/she thought was right even if it meant the populace would be pissed off at first and it cost him/her their seat in the legislature.
If this proposal passes into law, I will move away from Oregon, taking my high wage (and therefore high income tax) with me.
Thoughts from anyone else?
[Edit: Fixed some spelling mistakes now that I have slept. I was evidently tired enough when writing this to ignore the red underline indicating my misspellings.]
Somebody had to say it. Might as well be me.
The weather put a wrench in our normal plans to involving an annual trip to see family, so my wife, daughter, and I will be celebrating Christmas by ourselves. Having counted on being able to travel and do presents elsewhere, the house is almost undecorated and opening presents will take about 30 seconds. It's not exactly the kind of Christmas I want to give to my family. Normally we count on the fun Christmas atmosphere with relatives. Instead, I was scrambling yesterday to buy a tree and other such things that I hadn't planned on doing, as I at least wanted my wife and daughter to have something.
Then again, I am still employed, the house is warm, and we have plenty to eat, so perhaps not much "Bah! Humbug" in it after all.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
For people who do things like this.
One of the joys of being a UNIX sysadmin has been working on Sun systems. While I run Linux on the desktop and have built a multitude of Linux systems that are in production today, I much prefer to stand up big Sun boxes with lots of SPARC CPUs running Solaris.
Today's release of Solaris 10 10/08 brings us ZFS boot and root, enhancements to zones/containers, and some other things. I am looking forward to blasting away the existing installation on my Sun workstation and installing this release.
It's a nice treat for Halloween.
Today was my last day at my (now former) employer. Tomorrow is my first day as an employee of the outsourcing company. There's still no press release from either. In the earnings call this week the CFO said that my (now former) employer was outsourcing "some" IT services. In reality, they are only retaining some.
So my badge went from blue to yellow. I can't use the gym anymore (unless I pay). I can't get employee discounts. My unused PTO was paid out to me. The new employer does not accrue PTO, and has graciously granted me 2.5 days of PTO for the remainder of the year. Gee. Thanks.
I found out some news about where I fit in. I am something called a UNIX Integration Engineer or similar. My manager also went to the outsourcer, and I continue to report to him.
On Monday I am supposed to report to the same place, same time, and do the same thing I did today.
However, it will certainly be different.
So, I received an offer from the outsourcer, as I expected. Same salary, no job description in the offer. One of my colleagues is getting laid off. My manager is going to the outsourcer as well.
This week was hiring week, where a manager from the outsourcer inspected my hiring paperwork (which took, literally, 3 hours to fill out and double-check on my part). Then, I was walked over to some HR rep from the outsourcer who also inspected my paperwork. Finally, I was walked over to have a lock of my hair snipped for a drug test.
The whole process was rather impersonal, and still leaves us all wondering what our future is.
Anyway, next step in the process appears to be the transition between October 31 - Nov 1 where I will be terminated from my current employer, starting work at the outsourcer. Presumably, I will be doing the same thing I was always doing and reporting to the same manager. Some people have a more interesting situation where their manager was laid off (lots of managers were let go) and they have no idea who they report to.
Since it's on the local news, I might as well name the parties: Symantec outsources IT department to EDS.
So, this is the big week for my colleagues and I in regards to my employer's IT outsourcing activities. Several people were called into meetings where they were being informed that they were selected for "transition out of the company" - in other words, getting laid off.
Meanwhile someone found out that the offer letters for people "transitioning to the sourcing provider" are being sent via a shipping company rather than USPS. Another adventurous soul called the shipping company and was able to confirm that such a package was being sent to their home address, and even got the tracking number. That sparked a flurry of people doing the same, and thus most people found out what their fates are going to be, with both my employer and the outsourcer trying to do damage control (people were not supposed to find out this way). Evidently someone with some pull called the shipping company, because by the afternoon they had started refusing to answer questions.
I will be receiving a package from the sourcing provider, to be delivered to my home on Monday. Not that it means anything, because it will likely be a term of employment, not a permanent position. If I meet certain "transition milestones" I will qualify to receive my severance package at the end of the term.
However, I can think of several ways I can get screwed here. Given how this whole process has carried out thus far, I can't image *not* getting screwed. Anyway, here's the potential ways:
* My "transition milestones" might be made so difficult to accomplish so as to deny me my severance package.
* I may be offered a permanent position contingent upon moving. My inability to move (for several factors) might be taken as a voluntary termination and void my right to unemployment benefits.
Along the way, I lose all of my unvested options and RSU grants that I had planned on using to pay off my student loans. I doubt the new employer will offer me anything comparable, as they know we are a captive group of new employees without much choice.
At least I know something at this point.
Like Nizo in the past, our home has been invaded by sugar ants. We always had a low-level amount of ants that we controlled with baits, but they've recently come in force and are ignoring the baits. This new insurgence probably has to do with our 1-year-old daughter starting to eat things like cookies and crackers and such, bits of which have certainly made their way to places missed by the vacuum.
Since the little one crawls around, I am wary of placing baits in the open areas so I'm going to give some of the natural methods in the above-linked journal entry a shot. If anyone has anything additional to add, please comment away. I'm in the Pacific Northwest, in case there's tricks that work with ants in a particular region.
As far as my employer's IT outsourcing process goes that I mentioned in my last entry, next week is the week where we are informed of our fates. The potential outcomes for any individual are: (1) Transitioned to the outsourcer - likely guaranteed for a limited term, (2) retained by the current employer, or (3) "transitioned out of the company".
Of course, my function is one that is slated to be outsourced, but I think there are reasons my current employer would want to retain me. However, I'm also at an office that is no longer a "strategic IT delivery location," so really I could be in any of the three categories.
I've polished up the resumé in any case. Have a few potential opportunities but nothing solid.
So, today I (among many) was informed that my job function will be outsourced to a well-known IT outsourcing firm. Along with that they also said the location where I am employed is not in the list of delivery locations for IT services in the future (the site has 1200 people, about 300 are IT). So, that's a great way to start a vacation. So it seems a slim chance that I have long-term employment at this time.
So, has anyone else who might be reading this gone through outsourcing? I'm especially interested in hearing from people who were not in a location preferred by their employer or the outsourcer, and what the outcome was. Anyone have luck finding employers who would allow them to work remotely? There are not many employers of UNIX systems administrators in the local area, my current employer being the largest. I mean, we are talking about potentially 50 qualified sysadmins exploring the local job market for about 2 open sysamdin jobs (based on searching Monster). I'll find out how I am affected as an individual sometime near the end of September.
The chief difficulty with this situation is that I can't just pick up and move. I bought a house a year ago right before the market "slump," which in my neighborhood is more aptly described as a crash. This guy down the street with a house of similar age, style, and only 150 square feet smaller just listed his place at $135,000. That's a hell of a lot less than I am paying for my place, so selling my house really just won't work right now. My wife also has a small business here in town with many years left on the lease.
So, basically I am seeking advice from anyone who has some to give. Mostly centered around a few questions and comments:
Has anyone else been through a similar situation? How did it turn out for you?
Should I seek an internal transfer in the company to another position, possibly outside of any technical role?
Both my employer and the outsourcer expect cooperation through the "transition" process, even if I know my job is short term (I don't know that, yet). Do they enforce this by blackmail with severance packages (if we don't feel you are cooperating, we'll take away your package)? Would you cooperate?
Any thoughts on some of the options I have thought about, assuming the worst case?
1. Go back to college for a Master's (my alma mater is local and I am pretty much guaranteed to get in and very likely to get a fellowship).
2. Try to find another job in my field locally.
3. Find another job in another industry (but what pays as well that I'd be qualified for?)
4. Sell my house at a loss, refinance the debt so the monthly payment is low, and just move.
5. Start a technology consulting company with some of the other ex-employees.
6. Start a different business entirely with some of the other ex-employees.
7. Look at the job market in the closest major city and put up with the 2+ hour commute every day.
Finally: I am a UNIX Systems Administrator with expertise mainly in Solaris and Red Hat Linux. I am a Red Hat Certified Engineer. I can code in PHP, Perl, and (rusty) C, and probably anything else if I have enough time to learn. My best skill areas are server provisioning automation (custom Jumpstart/Kickstart), OS image management, scripting/common task automation, troubleshooting, and general Sr.-level administration, among others. I am also good with hardware. I am familiar with lights-out data center management. In fact, in 3 years at my current employer, I have never seen our primary data center that I do 90% of my work in. I have a B.S. in Computer Science and have taken a number of professional classes from Sun, Red Hat,
IBM, Veritas (Symantec), and others.
So, if you know someone looking for someone along those lines and there is a possibility of remote/telecommute employment (I don't mind travel to the office every now and then), please let me know.
If you still have a uterus and a vagina, you are not a "pregnant man" no matter how many times you appear on Oprah.
Now, let's be real here: If I got breast implants and went running around in a dress saying I was the first woman with potent semen, I'd be called a fool and likely I'd have countless women's organizations crying foul. I doubt I'd be all over the the news as the first woman to get another woman pregnant using only what god gave her.
But, it doesn't matter. Every news outlet is saying "pregnant man"... thankfully my daughter is not old enough to need this one explained to her.
I must be an unsophisticated low-brow child from a working-class family - I'm not superior enough to find the joke "not funny." At least, at the end of the day, nobody is calling me a douchebag.