Sunday, April 29, 2007

On job offers and career management (edited)

Recently i've been reading a fellow *'s musings on job searching and expectations and focus on career management, and although I mostly agree with his opinions and objectives, I can't stop but wondering if I (or most people, for that matter) can afford to be as straightforward as he seems to be.

In my career, and up until some 6 months ago, I've been mostly involved with Microsoft products and technologies. I've developed, administrated and and maintained applications, databases, systems and networks. However, Linux and Open Source in general have been my hobby and, i dare say, passion for the last 8 years or so. Cutting a long story short, in a Windows world I'm (somewhat) highly valued, but in a Unix\Linux context, I'm bound to be considered a junior staff member for a couple of years more.

Now, if the job title doesn't really bother me, the difference in wage is staggering. Enough to make me consider a jump back.

All this is only important when I'm faced with a difficult decision like I am right now.

I've managed to get a good deal of respect and appreciation on my current job, I've been involved with some very interesting technologies and have been given the chance to use Open Source technologies and am currently in the process of finishing up my first professional (cof...cof...) Ruby on Rails application, but the wage is ridiculous.

On the other hand, I have an offer to get back to a development only a sysadmin only position, but using .Net and other mostly Microsoft technologies. The pay is good, the challenge is well, challenging and the work environment as far as I could gather so far is very good. On the downside there will be plenty of grey suits and ties in my future. And a senior colleague who thinks rails is amateurish. But the boss says I can use whatever technologies I see fit to get the job done. And they both actually read my resume. And want _me_ to work for them.

Well, as you might have guessed the wage is the only thing that's making me consider the change, and the love for open technologies the only thing thats keeping me back.

In a ideal scenario I would refuse the change hands down, but these are not ideal times, so I'll have to sleep on it and hope for the strength to make the best decision.

Well things change quickly when you let them. There was a sysadmin position available too, and although I refused the developer job, I'll most likely be accepting the later. Stay tuned....

If only we had known earlier...

As seen on The freedom blog...

"Linux hackers! They aren’t smart enough to scare Bill Gates… and they certainly aren’t smart enough to scare Jesus. Did you know that He protects this website too? I prayed it, and it happened! All attacks rebuffed! All sin kept far from these pages.
Thank you Lord!"

By the way, did you know that if you use Ubuntu Christian Edition you can stop daemons with the command "Exorcize!" ? And that you can use "bless" whenever a program fails to start? Just beware not to issue a "chmod 666" , or you'll go to hell!!

Oh @wathever, forgive them, for they are funny. Seriously, I thought that sarcasm was beyond americans.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What caught my eye this week

Brand of the year:

Google, witch you know already so I wont link to their site, was recognized this week as the the world's top-ranked brand.

In only 10 years, Google's Sergey and Lary managed to top decades old brands such as General Electric, Coca-Cola or even IBM.

Entering a realm occupied by only a few other companies whose brand became a synonym with their product (think Gillette) Google is an example of entrepreneurship. If you doubt it, you can always google it up. :o)

Blog of the month:

Following a tip from a new friend I've been enthusiastically reading a blog from a fellow rubyist. It's called Ruby on Windows, and as you might guess it's about using Ruby as a scripting and automation tool on MS Windows OSs. It provides some great examples and code samples witch got me thinking about replacing my vb scripts at work.

This is a great example of how to integrate an open technology with a closed system.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Year Zero. A final surprise?

Year Zero, Nine Inch Nails new album was officially released today. And a few more surprises came with it.

After hearing it on repeat for about 3 hours, when i finally removed the cd from my macbook, the CD had turned from grayish into white revealing some binary code that (after some googling) "I" discovered could be translated to a link to another secret site!

And i though that it was just my macbook going _Extra_ hot this time!!

This is the beginning....

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Old School To-Do List

I figure that if I write down my tasks, I'll be forced (by punishment of public embarrassment) to _really_ do them. This will hopefully get me out of LMP(*) and into GTD mode.

To Do:
- Install Edubuntu on a old iMac G3 to offer as a birthday present to my 6 year old cousin;
- Finnish reading Everyday Scripting with Ruby;
- Create a script to automate data extraction and transformation and creation of Excel graphics at work;
- Replace a myriad of Judoscript, Groovy, bash and Perl scripts with well documented Ruby scripts at work (It will look good in my resumé.. "the guy who introduced #a banking institution# to ruby");
- (finally) Take the admission exams for College;
- Help in the translation of to Portuguese;

(*)LMP .: Last Minute Panic - the major driving force for lazy creative geeks :o)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The begining of the end (of record labels)

Nine Inch Nails made their _entire_ album available on their website!
Even the almighty RIAA can't stop them now

Art is resistance!

Perl Tech Meeting

Yesterday I went to my first Perl Tech Meeting and I can't stress enough how geeky those guys are.

Having lots of easy going, funny intelligent people talking about something they like is always fun, but this was actually very informative, since there were some tech talks that covered areas such as better debugging, replacing bash with perl, using C to improve Perl scripts benchmarks (dam, this guy was awesome!).

I specially enjoyed meeting Francisco Cabrita hearing Miguel Duarte and José Castro and some others whose names elude me right now.

Anyway, thanks to SAB(offline for _way_ too long) and Penantes for the invite.

May the Camel be with you!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Free tech support

One of the nicest things about being involved with customer support is being able to hear in first hand _real_ users fears and doubts.

Today i received an e-mail (at work) from a customer contemplating "migrating to a Ubuntu / Firefox solution" (his words) from Windows / IE and he was wondering if it would be safe to use our on-line banking service.

Yes it is. The only side effect is that the web app will work better in Firefox.

And since I am in a good mood, I will send him my personal e-mail for any tech support questions he might have in his migration.

It feels good to help a customer. :o)

Long time no see

I was forced to observe the shutdown day for over a week (not really, but i'll get back to that) because my Macbook died on me.

It's never a good experience to be away from your mac, but to deal with the Apple support around here one must be prepared for the worst.

From telling me that the customer service guy wouldn't reply my e-mails because he had personal problems (hey that's funny,i have a personal problem too! MY MAC IS BROKEN! what a coincidence) to taking some 20 phone calls to finally get some answers (I have witnesses. And they're still laughing) i've seen it all with these guys.

If we consider that a large part of Apple sales come from mac owners showing off the “superior hardware and the user experience a mac gets you” to their friends and coworkers (I myself am responsible for at least 4 switchers over the past 6 months), one should expect a better level of emphasis on customer satisfaction right?

Thankfully I still have my trusty Asus laptop that managed to deliver the daily fix of web surfing, and getting most of my work done so I really didn't had to be offline for so long. I was just too negative to write anything useful.

Anyway the XVI Jornadas de Informática an event hosted at UBI went by, and this year at least I heard something about what happened there. In Ruby in Portuguese website there are even some of the presentations given there available for download.

My humble 2 cents however would be to manage to get some more publicity before it happens.

While on the subject of great events happening in this little
fascist square of dirt by the sea, the fifth national encounter on Open Technologies will be happening in Lisbon on the 19th, and although the organization is hosted by Sybase and seems to be very professional and extremely interesting, my favorite Solaris Admin - slash -Farmer boy already managed to find a bug on the event page.

Also, today I'm going to my first Perl Mongers tech meeting and I'm hopping that I'll be able to learn something from those guys, 'cos the Perl I know wouldn't move the proverbial mountain.