Tuesday, January 13, 2009

At Work

:: cube view ::
I'm a cube farmer today, in familiar digs, having checked in at the front desk. My job: curriculum writing around Unicode, bridging that to our gnu numeracy sequence, which takes you to public key cryptography, embedded in every web browser, by senior year (the better to run your Visa card my dear -- you've seen that little key when in SSL mode right?).

My solution: do the early group theory stuff using non-Latin-1 characters, or maybe with Latin-1 if working with those unfamiliar with it. The point is to focus on the patterns without getting sucked in by any meaning, let the characters stay alien and interesting; more cardination than ordination.

You'll see another approach in my Vegetable Group Soup, done in Flash. Turn down your sound if you're in a cube not using headphones, might be annoying.

On my lunch break, I'm doing something perverse: buying the same pair of shoes I just bought from Payless, because I somehow managed to misplace some size 13Ws. My understanding of P.D. Ouspensky is he'd've had himself taken back side of the barn and shot for such spaciness (something about an umbrella -- kinda scary those Russians), but then fortunately "man cannot do" (joke).

That'll give me a chance to move the car (in a 30 minute slot) and pick a different cube (lots of empties, not tethered by an Ethernet cord). I've got the Men's Warehouse shoes now, doing "the professor". Cell phone: Mary just called, setting up lunch for Thursday, cool. The CFO, met via Western Equities, is flitting about, doing the "hotlanta circuit" via Texas.

US Bank did come through with that SBA thing, but it's not really a capital equipment challenge (KTU3's giant Sony Trinitron monitor may be going soon, I'll grant you that). It's more a matter of HR, of too many lawyers not knowing enough SQL, if I might be blunt about something. People sit around in meetings deciding what they're entitled to, but nobody has the skills. I understand Patrick's disillusionment and the millions Portland may have already lost to some other city with more savvy about buzz bots (very SQL intensive). Reminds me of the old bedside story where the patient goes "whassa matter doc, ain't my millions good enough for ya?" Too much stairway to heaven talk in some circles, no one enrolling in medical school, actually doing the hard jobs.

Of course I exaggerate the direness of the situation. Given the global Internet, we're not dependent on any one local economy for smarts. Plus Portland is on a steep learning curve, thanks to the Bucky play, thanks to Powell's, thanks to ISEPP, thanks to a lot of reasons. We're a very literate culture, plus have that pioneer spirit to boot.

Nick was through yesterday, coming from Bellingham, looks like Chehalis has opened again. Fernwood was like under water I think he said. We yakked about the student loan problem, Princeton having an enlightened policy on that score (ahead of its time). I'm more in the mood to talk "refund" than "forgiveness" but that's just my usual blarney (goes hand in hand with that elvynchyk "not ready to make nice" talk). OK, gotta go. My XO fits in the Ubuntu bag no problem. I have two XOs, thanks to "get one, keep one" (joke).