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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

second day at work

Coming home tonight, both my parents asked exactly the same thing: "How was day two at work?". Besides the almost absurd probably that both would use the same idiosyncrasy, it is really not an interesting question in the least. My response? "Alright". Really, that's the way I describe it because it's the most fitting.

I spent some time filling out the requisite paperwork: I-9, employment agreement, W-4, direct deposit. I listed Dana as my emergency contact. In reality, if there is an emergency and I do go to the hospital, it would probably be better to call my mom (since she works there and could be on sight immediately). Whatever, the decision is made. I also took my lunch late and logged onto the parrot design meeting while I ate. I was able, also, to get some GPS-related work done at the same time. Plus one for multitasking.

Conspicuously missing from the paperwork I filled out was an NDA. There was some small wording about nondisclosure in the employment agreement, but not a comprehensive document like I have seen at other companies. However, one good thing to report is that the IP restrictions are less orwellian then I had been lead to believe. The company takes control of related IP that I create while an employee, not all unrelated IP as I had feared. This is good.

My review yesterday of Vista and the various Microsoft-written tools I was using was almost glowing compared to some other press they have gotten. My opinion today, however, is much less so. Yesterday I mentioned that UAC wasn't that big a bother. Today, I've completely disabled it. Security center? I've disabled all alerts and reminders. Microsoft Groove? I've disabled all alerts. I spent much of the day logged in as administrator just so I could do the basic things that I needed to do. I can understand the need to protect a computer, but you should be protecting it against attackers, not against the user sitting at the screen. Conceivably, I'm using the computer because I actually have things I want to do, not because I want to interact with security dialogs in a competitive manner.

I had a logfile that I wanted to extract some data from, so naturally I thought to myself "hey, this would be a snap in perl!". So I go to ActiveState's website, download perl, and run the installer. No, we can't do that, the computer administrator has apparently set policies preventing me from performing this installation. That's funny, since I'm the system administrator and I've never set any such policy. In fact, when I go look, I can't even figure out where I would have to go to disable it. So, I do a google search and instead of finding a helpful tutorial discussing the solution to this particular problem I find a series of forum posts from people bitching about exactly the same problem. That, in short, is depressing. My computer is protecting itself against me installing the software I need for my work. I wonder who is going to protect my computer from me and my baseball bat.

I don't want to bash Microsoft unduely, but I dont think it's wrong for me to jump on the ever-popular "vista wasn't their best effort" bandwagon. I will say that, despite the annoying alerts, Groove is actually a cool product. I personally might prefer Pidgin and SVN, but I can be a bit of a minimalist. Plus, if we had those tools instead, I might be the only person in the building using them. I wish SVN had a linux-based GUI that was as featured as Groove is. RapidSVN has some glaring feature ommisions, and SVN Workbench has all it's text set black by default which makes it unreadable in my white-on-black theme. Groove is a nice peice of integration though, and I do recommend that other teams look into it.

I've done a little bit of work on a firmware installer, wrote up a nice little log parser (which, as predicted, took less then 30 seconds in perl), and worked to diagnose a timing problem. All together, a very productive second day. Tomorrow I'm going to try to be there by 8 and out by 4. That will give me plenty of productive afternoon for Parroting.

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