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Pratchett Makes his own sword

Got a kick out of this, Laz would love this if he finds it.

sword making

The first solar sail

Solar Sail

I know it has been just above forever since I posted, but this article
caught my attention today.

PDF Printers

This is for anyone that has ever found the need to print a document for sharing from a closed application. This includes every application incapable of saving a document to standard format or extension.

The answer is a PDF Printer. This is an application that provides a print driver to Windows, but directs the print stream to a PDF document rather than a printer.

I am currently using Bullzip PDF Printer

Mirrored from Technical Blog.

Over Due Update

It's been too long

I couldn't even tell you the last time I posted anything here or on my
tech blog. Life has been passing me by and there is in no way enough
time to get everything done. I was hoping to be looking for a place
out near work by this time, but without a second income source,
there's no possibility of making that a reality.

A few bad decisions over the years has created a monetary bind, some
related to joint decisions (Pymatuning Resort), others that she made
against my wishes (HHR -> TrailBlazer). Pymatuning cost us in the
neighborhood of 5k if memory serves. I'm usually more level headed
than I was that day. I should have seen the warning signs immediately,
high pressue sales tactics with a demand for an immediate decision.
Needless to say, I have dropped the annual maintenance fees for
Pymatuning. Tina may not be very happy about the decision, but
$400/year plus another $30 minimum for each visit just doesn't sound
like a great deal when we're only able to make it once a year (if
we're lucky). As for the Trailblazer, I did everything I could to
convince Tina not to trade-in for the Trailblazer, short of walking
out of the dealership...which looking back I wish I would have. The
HHR would have been paid off last year. That would have been a full
year without a car payment. Now we're back to two car payments
totalling about the same as our mortgage (combined, not individually).

I started writing and went off on a tangent there, it's important and
constantly on my mind. I thought I was done having to watch money from
paycheck to paycheck like this.

Onto other topics.
Kyra's Gifted program hasn't started yet. Tina had an appointment set
with coordinator a week and a half ago which was cancelled by the
coordinator due to illness. No contact since then.

Work is progressing although haltingly. The Web Development team I am
on has another 2 weeks before the new site is launched. I have not
played a part in the design, programming, testing, or debugging. It
wasn't expected that I would make an impact on the current project.
I've worked on a few minor issues with the existing site and codebase,
all of which have passed muster. It's a completely different world
moving from desktop application to web-based applications. The
principles are not that different, but the building blocks on which
the applications are built, are much more advanced than the technology
with which I am familiar. I knew coming in that the learning curve
would be steep, but it's a jump I needed to make now. There's a future
in what I was doing at US Steel, but its potential is limited as well
as the number of employers looking for those skills.

I feel I'm on the right track, but just passed through the mouth of a
dark tunnel with no visible end in sight.

I'm not sure why the drastic change from when I originally accepted
this position. My schedule really hasn't changed. I'm still at work or
travelling to/from work for about 55 hours a week. It seems to be
dragging on me more than when it was only a contract...despite the
fact I'm making more now with benefits than as a contractor.

I'm going to try to get back to writing more often, but that will
largely depend on how much if any free time I can find at work.

Storm Update

Just wanted to let everyone know we will be back home tomorrow late
morning early afternoon. Power was restored around 3:00 pm this
afternoon, but with the boiler system it usually takes 6-8 hours for
the house to warm up completely.This time it will probably take
longer, since the house was sitting at 48 degrees when we stopped over
around 4pm.

Fortunately, there's no problems at the house, no broken water lines,
and both cats were alive and kicking when I checked in. Unfortunately,
the roads in Clairton were absolutely terrible at that time. Hopefully
by tomorrow things have improved.

I hope everyone else fared better than us...and at the very least no
worst than us.

Fallout from Winter Storm

Power went out at my place Friday around 10:30 pm. By Saturday morning, the temp in the house was dropping fast. By Saturday afternoon, temp was below 60.

Caught a ride with my brother to my Dad's house, brought the dogs with us, but left the cats the house. They should be ok, the dogs would have been but they would have made a mess if left alone.

Haven't been able to find out when the power should be back on.

Both cars are still at the house. I'm hoping nothing is destroyed when we make it back.

First week as a salaried employee

This week was not a typical work week. The schedule was the same, but
I performed no actual work. I felt as if I was back in school and in a
way I am. I am trying to catch up in regards to both technology and
documentation for a project that has been under development for at
least 4 years.

I've been reading up on 3 new Application platforms, 4 new Java
Programming technologies, and 3 or 4 new applications I'll be using.

Also managed to complete the standard training on Business Ethics,
Sexual Harassment, and Records Management.

Still working on getting access to each of the systems I'll need to
use for development.

Work notification

Start Date: 1/25/2010
Salary: 58k/yr

I talked to the HR Recruiter around 4:00 pm, had to get dinner ready, then Boo in bed. This is the first chance I've had to get on the computer since.

They still need to complete a background check and I have to pass a drug test sometime in the next week.

No issues with either one from past experience.


Kyra == Gifted = TRUE

The title says it all in programming parlance. Just spoke with the school psychologist, who finally completed Kyra's evaluation. Within the next 30 days, we should be having a meeting with the Gifted Program coordinator to determine what her lesson plan is.

In case anyone wants to know why I pushed for this. By third grade I was completely bored in school. In fifth grade, I got lucky. I had a teacher who understood that certain students were more adept than others, and challenged us. I was doing basic algebra by the end of the year. Grades 6-8 I spent mostly bored. All because I was never challenged and did not have access to the gifted program (never tested). I'd prefer not to have Kyra labelled, but it's the only way I can think of to keep her challenged and engaged in school.

Career Update

Sorry this is a day late. I had every intention of posting this last
night, but got caught up in other things.

As many of you already know, yesterday afternoon I accepted a Software
Engineer Position with Thermo Fisher.

At this time, I don't have a start date or a salary. I expect to start
sometime in the next week or two and salary at or above what I
requested (55k/yr).