July 16th, 2011


Don't Know What To Say

I'll preface this by saying that I don't know how much I am allowed to say about the project I am working on at Tivo, other than this year-old official press release.

The testing is still in alpha, so the less said about the product the better.

I brought headphones so I could listen to the many tutorial videos on the internal web site, but they turned out to be mostly engineering classes, none of them were about the product I'll be working on, and none that I played appeared to speak to anything useful for my job. But it took a while to try as many as looked like they might, and there was one which answered some questions I had about the flow chart for serving content.

The janitors cleaned up my very dusty cubicle a bit, including throwing away the paper strip which is supposed to go on my phone with the phone number and what all the buttons are for, but was lying loose because IT did not provide the plastic slip which keeps it on the phone. They did a slipshod job, half a shelf still has 1/4 inch of dust on it, and they did not give me a wastebasket. My "ergonnomics" request to get the too-deep keyboard platform out of my way has so far not been assigned to anyone.

I got tired of kicking the computer, which IT had installed on the floor, so I shut it down, disconnected everything and reconnected up on the desktop, where I can get to the CD drive and USB ports. And discovered that they had installed a dual-monitor cable, stupidly it is two VGA connectors for the monitors, but plugs into the DVI video port on the PC. I'll bring a DVI-to-DVI cable Monday. The 4:3 Dell monitor is cheesy enough without dumbing down the signal.

Lunchtime I had plenty of time so I drove into town and ate at Vahl's. They freshened up the paint job, and the staff is now well under retirement age, probably because the owner passed away in 2004 and her nephews took over. She was 84, so I expect her nephews are about my age. The menu is simple, though I think it was always so. I went with the spaghetti and meatballs with a side salad and home made apple pie for dessert. The blue cheese dressing was very watery, and the salad very basic. The main course was okay, but the apple pie was not up to my home made. Price was a little high, $20, but the service was superb. I was tempted to go back tonight for the piano bar, but some other time.

My manager sat down with me in the afternoon and showed me the test case software, and how to find the tests. There was some delay in identifying which of three identical on the outside, but very different on the inside boxes were for me, so  I won't get to actually do real work till Monday. Did manage to enter my time card, I think, but it didn't give me the kind of response I expected. I'll know Monday. Meanwhile I get to mail in my last unemployment check request tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a recruiter contacted me about a job at Apple which may be obtainable after this contract is over. Moto is still my first choice, but I may not be theirs.

I went through a lot of the test cases, and was amused to see that in a series of tests written by the same person on the same day, one of the most common menu items was abbreviated three different ways. But for the most part they are well written, I could understand what the test was, and if I had a box to beat up I could have done so.

And I spent way too much time configuring my android phone to get Tivo mail. When I was done I wrote up more concise instructions than were scattered across four internal web pages and sent them to my manager, who wanted to do the same thing.

After work I drove out to the Alviso Marina and walked a lot, it was very windy, but sunny and not too nippy. I got some video of an Amtrak Capitol Corridor train passing by one of the salt pools.

Went to Michael's in search of 8x12 poster frames, or mattes, but they didn't have any. They used to, but they seem to have dropped the MCS brand. Online searches are not showing anything either. Some well-meaning folks on Flickr suggest cutting my own mattes, but that is not one of the skills I have. It is only easy for people who can cut in a straight line. I don't care what tool you give me, what I use it to cut is not going to straight after I get done with it. I have plenty of rather thick 8x12 frames which I used at Baycon, but they are too heavy to wish on yourbob in the quantity I would want to display at Reno. I'll figure something out. I may have to reprint some in 12x18, and not display all my first choices. I've already bagged all my 20x30s.

Plans for tomorrow:
If the wind dies down, NASA Ames for the rocket launch, and maybe take photos of the "make and take" event where LUNAR members will help 50 kids build a rocket from a standard kit, and take it out to the range to launch. It could make a good photo spread for SFinSF.
Maybe go to the Thai Temple for Buddhist Lent. Maybe.

Changes of Plans

The plan today was to photograph an event at NASA, but it was all cloudy when I woke up (late) so I bailed. This gave me time to drive to Sunnyvale and look at Aaron's art shop's buy one, get another for a penny frame sale. Hundreds of frames, and none of them were the kind I was looking for. There were 8x12 mattes, but they fit in a 12x16 frame, and all I have are 12x18 (which I later discovered is the smallest size made in the frame type I like to use). And they cost $10 each. It cost less to order some more 12x18 frames and reprint the 8x12s into 12x18s. So that's what I did.

Which is kind of a bummer because it means fewer photos in the display, but kind of an advantage because it will make designing the layout much simpler, and if reality does not match my design (mounting hardware and peg holes being an inexact science) it will be easier to punt.

From Aaron's I went to have my nails and hair done, and the owner of the shop once again pulled a fast one and had the New Lady do my nails, even though my favorite was available. So my favorite offered to do the haircut, which gave her a chance to tell me how to make sure she did my nails next time.

New lady did okay, but she was slow and deliberate and not an Artist. She's in her 50's, so she makes up for in experience what she lacks in talent. But I still prefer my favorite. One of the staff, whom I call The Princess, was wearing super-tight jeans and a top which she knotted toward the bottom to show off her butt. It's a lovely view, which probably goes all to hell when she takes the jeans off. I'll leave that adventure to her husband.

Had lunch at the Bad Chinese Food place next door, then dessert at Clocktower coffee shop, where I went online and ordered the frames and prints.

Home for a bit, decided BB&B would be a great place to find a B'day present for a friend who invited me to her beach party tomorrow. Spent more than an hour, and found the perfect desk fan for my work, and came close to buying something for a present, but nothing was quite right. Then I remembered that I have a whole treasure trove of batiks I bought in Thailand in 2005 to either sell or give as gifts, and the birthday girl would love one, I'm sure, especially if I included some documentation on the post-tsunami women's collective where I bought them. So that's ready to give to her. Whew.

Thawed some KFC for dinner. Watched Vanessa Williams search for her ancestors on Who Am I? which was a rerun, I had seen it before, less than a year ago, but I only remembered small bits and pieces. Weird because it is all the way through quite memorable.

Plans for tomorrow:
HP7.2 matinee, 3D, maybe IMAX, but maybe not, because I don't like the limited leg room in IMAX theaters.
Heidi's beach party