Home Working Part Two

Lemme tell ya, working from home is exhausting. The commute is about 5 steps from my bed. The commute back, depending on traffic, which is usually not a problem, is another 5 steps. I was watching the Godfather II and III while working (Thank you Mark). You know, maybe I shouldn’t say too much, lest I be another one of those poor souls that have been fired by their blog. Which is another topic in itself that I want to address one of these days. But in my defense, I did do some work. I was on top of the work-emails with “lightning quickness”. I missed my one work-related call from “The Chad”, who should know better than phone an IT person. Email people! Email is the way to reach us!

And while I was “hard” at work in my room, I heard the sounds of grinding, and the buzz saw did snarl and rattle, snarl and rattle. My parent’s balcony is being renovated. It’s a big job. We’re closing the entire balcony, putting up windows, it should be nice. And the work is being done entirely by one man. His name is Mohammed. And, like the sultan from Aladdin, “I’m an Excellent judge of Character”. But no really, I am. And Mohammed so far is turning out to be one of the most honest carpenters we have had work for us, and in the words of Hamlet, “… to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.” How true.

The Old Man and the Freshman

I was third in line at the checkout at Michael’s Crafts, with no cart, and my hands full. There was a young girl at the head of the line, a cute girl, in the strictest sense of the word. She had on a brown printed skirt, and a very modest top, that accented her innocent and decent appeal. She was not carrying any items to purchase. Instead, she had a folded piece of white paper, with printed lines and handwritten pen marks, which I immediately recognized: the archetypical Application Form.

She was asking the cashier whether it was possible for her to speak to a manager about getting a job. Allie, the cashier (I read her name from a name-tag), muttered something through the store’s intercom system, and another woman, who looked like a manager, since she was dressed well and was missing the tacky red Michael’s apron, approached the girl. The conversation was loud enough for anyone within 10 feet to hear.

So, what my intruding and nosy ears gathered was that this girl already had a job, and was looking for another to help pay for college. The conversation brought back some of my own memories, the days when the only thing you had to offer was your time and labor to make a few dollars, and I couldn’t help but sympathize with her situation. Working and trying to go to school; there is something ineffably charming and noble in that–and all too personally familiar.

But I could no longer relate. I could only reminisce, and sympathize, and be happy for her.

I’m just getting out, and she is just getting in.

And I’m tired of hearing it, and tired of saying it, but I sure felt it this time: “I’m starting to feel old.”

Home Working

Starting next week, and for a limited time, I’ll be one of those “cool” IT guys that works from home (maybe I should put “works” in quotes too.) Yes, starting Monday I’ll be chilling at home, sporting the absolute minimum in personal hygiene, and doing all that office-work-stuff on my laptop from all sorts of exotically domestic locations, like say… the backyard, the balcony, my room, in front of the tube, on the porch (aka, the stoop), and maybe– just maybe– from the desk in my room–but that’s highly unlikely. Working from home provides many benifites such as being able to work and take care of your kids and not have to worry about putting them in daycare. You can making money from home. There are plenty of job opportunities for the at home parent.

Max OSX on x86 PCs

Who said you need a Mac to run Mac OSX?

Mac OS X on my Windows PC

I was able to install Mac OSX Panther on top of Windows XP the other day using an amazing little tool called PearPC. It’s not really a “tool” per se (Mardigan’s a tool) it’s more of an emulator that mimics the PowerPC ISA on an Intel machine. And, as an obvious consequence, running Mac OS X this way is pretty slow– but still usable.

Technology is Making Me Stupid

I went online the other day to read my blog (somebody has to) and began reading the posting below this one, “Muffled Chinese Blogs”. And while reading it, I replaced the word “disparaging” with “criticizing”–it just seemed to sound better. So I began typing the change directly into the edit form, a form without a spell checker mind you:

c-r-i-t-i-z-i-n-g …

c-r-i-t-z-i-e-i-n-g …

No.. that doesn’t look write either. Alrighty, let’s sound this out:

‘CRIT’ -er- SIZE


(Hmm, still looks wrong)

Eventually I ended up double clicking on the MS Word Icon on my desktop and had Clipy correctly spell it for me.

Then it hit me.

Ever since I started to use spell checking within word processors, my own spelling skills have turned into nothing short of a complete embarrassment. If, and god forbid, spell checking was completely taken away from me, URI would probably knock on my door and ask me for their degree back.

The same goes with math.

In college, I had to take Calculus I, II, III, worked with all that derivative nonsense, and integral that, the masocistic “let’s neatly align a dozen numbers into a square and try to do complicated meaningless things to it”. Yeah, I’ve done it all, and passed. Not because I know how to do any of it. Because I don’t! I passed because of a little invention called the TI-89, the graphing calculator to end all graphing calculators.

Because of the TI-89, I can’t do math by hand.

Oh, and lest I forget, “French”. I took 5 years of French in high School. Yes that’s correct, 5! However, I can barely compose a complete sentence. There was this one time, my friend Rai and I were given an assignment in French class. We had to write a story ( a short story) completely in French. Rai and I were on an equal footing with our French skills, and so for our French story we decided to split the work up. Rai was to write the story, and I was to translate it. This was right around the time I discovered babelfish, the handy little online translator.

So Rai wrote this elaborate story in english, with all types of strange and superfluous words. I remember quite specifically that he used the word “plumes” when describing snow. Plumes! And when I got the story, I read about a quarter of it, and then copied and pasted the entire thing into babelfish to make the automatic translation. Of course these online translators are never 100% in their translation, but I don’t think I cared at the time. Anyway, to make a long story short, Rai and I, two students who often evoke a chuckle or two in class by are “Frenglish” pronunciation (where we go out of our way to make French sound like English) and are obvious indifference with doing well in this class, the two of us got a bright and shiny ‘A’ on the project!

Later on the teacher discovered our chicanery after noticing that some of the tenses we used in our story weren’t taught yet in class, and she later gave us a little admonishment for our little prank, but let us keep the ‘A’ since she never explicitly said we couldn’t use a translation program. You’ve got to love technicalities!

I wonder how many people out there are like me. Who’d rather spend 3 hours finding a shortcut to something, than spending 3 hours actually doing it. On a seesaw, as one end goes up, the other comes crashing down. Maybe as computers get smarter and technology gets better, maybe we’re getting dumber?