Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Okay, I wrote a note to Scott Rhodes, and here's the meat of it, since I'm pretty much summing up what I've been doing over the summer (since school finished in May).

Losing my computer at home really messed things up for me. I lost all of my email addresses, Office documents, webpages, and pirated software I've collected over the past four or five years. Much of it I'll never be able to recover, but I did manage to find a company that was able to recover and burn off 7GB of MP3s for me. The biggest problem (I learned after it was too late, of course) was that the version of Windows 95 I had on my PC was a customized version (apparently a lot of the big PC manufacturers get certain aspects of the O/S customized for their hardware - go figure). The guy that burned off my MP3s had to go on a big hunt to find an add-in that would communicate with my O/S. Even when he found that, all of the MP3s were burned off without titles, so I've been spending the last few months trying to figure out who sings what. For those songs that I have three or four remixes for, it's been particularly cryptic. However, the fact I was able to recover almost a thousand songs makes the whole venture worthwhile.

My other great loss was all of my personal webpages. My Cadvision DSL account expired about a week after the computer crashed, and at the time I didn't even think to save the webpages from the server before the account was closed. All that work - two years of creativity - gone. What a shame.

Anyhoo, on a lighter note, I've been pretty busy with triathlons and training this summer. I competed in two triathlons, one duathlon, a 10K road race, and a team relay so far this year, and I still have two team relays yet in the fall. I've done fairly well, but there's still a lot of room for improvement, especially my swimming. I have room to lose 10-15 minutes off my swim time which would very easily throw me into top 20 rankings in any of these events I enter. My goal is to be in peak form next fall. I'm planning on going with Team Calgary to Sydney, Australia for the Gay Games next November to compete in the triathlon. It's going to be the trip of a lifetime, but I don't think I'll be able to get more than two or three weeks off work, which is unfortunate because I'd really like to tour the country while I'm over there. I'm definitely going to scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef though...that's been a dream of mine since I was a kid.

The new job is going okay. It's a lot of the "hurry up and wait" mentality here as well, but not due to the fact that something fucked up in the field, but due more to something being held up in the bowels of bureaucracy somewhere in the company. There are a lot of factors screwing up processes in the company right now, the biggest one being the breakup of CP Ltd. happening in October. There have been a lot of IT projects that have been put on hold until the CP Rail IPO is completed on October 1. I think what happened was that they hired a bunch of us last December with good intentions to throw us on project teams once we started working in May. However, when the breakup was announced in February, a lot of those projects got put on hold, and when we started in May, they were scrambling to find places to put us. I got moved from one project team to another and moved to three different floors in the first couple of months that I was here. There have been 500 layoffs including 250 in the office which have also screwed things up. My manager had a web server ordered before I even started working here. It was discovered a month and a half later that the person that was in charge of ordering was one of the people that was laid off, and the server request was still sitting on their desk. Needless to say, they finally got the server a month or so ago, but then it got lost again in Receiving for a few weeks, and just got installed and initialized about a week or so ago. How's that for efficiency???

I'm designated as an API/Customization programmer for the Electronic Document Management/ Product Database Mgmt/ Workflow Mgmt System (EDM/PDM) that the company is phasing in. The software is called Centra 2000 and it's a hierarchy-based document storage and management application that runs on an Oracle DB. Right now, we're bringing an Intranet version into production company-wide, and eventually we're planning on moving it onto the Internet. This is where I'll be working mostly - building custom code to facilitate the communication between the web server and the Oracle database. This wasn't really what I expected to be doing here (programming....BOOO!), but it will be a great experience, and I'll be able to learn a lot about the company and IT that I probably wouldn't be able to see had I been put onto a team that was doing a more local or specialized projects. Since there are so many departments in the company that are planning on implementing the EDM/PDM, I'll get to see the work processes involved in a wide variety of departments here. Eventually I'll be able to analyze the processes and design the customization requirements needed, but for now I'm the lifeform at the bottom of the food chain, so I get to do the coding.