Life is… interesting.

It has been more than 2 months since my last post, and I’ve been pretty busy. Fortunately, I’ve been busy enough to keep my nose out of the news for the most part so I don’t really have any comments on politics today 🙂 However, all of my former posts still apply.

I’ve spent entirely too much time on my new computer. The damn thing has been rebuilt, almost completely, twice now, but I think its finally done. I put all the parts into a new Antec Three Hundred case. I don’t have any windows or lights in this one, much like my last Lian-Li, but it looks just as sexy. I bounced around the idea of the Antec Nine Hundred Two, but I didn’t think I’d like all the flashiness and I think it was the right choice. The case is clean and I’m damn happy.

As for the guts of it, I did finally get the memory working. The 4th kit I got from OCZ did work and I’m able to run at advertised speeds. Actually, right now I’m running the i7 @ 3.96GHz and the RAM at 8-8-8-24, 1440MHz, 2T CR and I’ve never had a better experience on a computer before. I did have one last hiccup: the PSU I won at QuakeCon a few years ago died just a few weeks after I put it in service. The computer stopped waking up from sleep (it wouldn’t even respond to the power button) and eventually stopped powering on at all unless I toggled the main. I replaced it with an OCZ 750W and all is right in my world (of computers).

Since my last real post, Theresa and I adopted a dog from the SPCA. She’s a Husky/Hound mix and her name is Lita. Theresa has a bunch of pics up on Facebook, I’ll try to get some in WPG2 sometime soon, but feel free to check them out on our profiles. She’s very playful, although not always that friendly toward other dogs, and my apprehension for getting her was completely unwarranted. Theresa and I didn’t need any help being happy, but Lita is a very welcome addition.

The biggest change in my life actually happened today. I’ve accepted a job at another company and will be leaving Cisco in less than 4 weeks. Better details might be provided later, but some of my team members may be exploring the same company so I don’t want to put any details out there that could hurt them professionally. Suffice it to say, my frustration with my business unit grew to a point where I was already starting to look for other jobs internal to Cisco, so when I was cold called by the head hunter I was willing to listen. The company ended up being a pretty good fit and they’re willing to pay me a salary commensurate with my experience and ability (at least that’s what I’m telling myself), something Cisco seemed to be lagging in with no signs of that changing anytime soon.

Archangel / August 3, 2010 / Personal, Technology, Work / 0 Comments

“Oh where, oh where, can my baby be…”

Life is stressful! And no, Theresa is not pregnant and hasn’t left me (any other interpretations of that title?).

Work has been… something akin to dealing with the federal government any time you need one of their services. [I apologize in advance for significant lack of specificity, unfortunately, there are certain things about Cisco’s release schedule and feature lists that I can’t make public.] About a month ago, my business unit released a major update to the software image for my product. This release, was originally supposed to be done out of a more sophisticated branch of our code that had some interesting improvements, However, some stability issues made management question our ability to get a quality product out the door in the time frame desired so we included the stable upgrades in an older branch and went with that while deciding that the next major release would be out of the new branch. Well, our last release kept getting longer and longer because of feature creep to the point that it had started to overgrow our next release cycle. Normally, I don’t think this would be a big deal because both Cisco and our customers prefer having quality products over meeting a hard date. Unfortunately, Cisco has this huge company wide initiative to have a single point of management for network devices (kudos to Cisco) which has a set plan that is nearly impossible to deviate from. This initiative is basically dictating our next release date, which is kind of a problem, because we have a number of feature requirements we have to meet for a few clients. I happen to be working on one of those requirements. To avoid an excessively long and irritating narration (for both you and me), here is the order of events for the last couple months:

  1. 8.2 released; Planning begins for next major release
  2. Feature list decided, because of compressed schedule, development branch in question; Developers instructed to spec out and estimate features
  3. One month later, branch decided to be the enhanced version
  4. A few days later, sr. management tells the BU that our release must coincide with Cisco’s company initiative (good decision in general)
  5. QA tells dev they need 6 months to test and that this must be finished by the end of the year, so code complete must be in just 2 short months
  6. Dev managers try to split the next release into two parts, one for the initiative and another for our own goals; Branch also redirected to the same as the last release… we must merge over all of our work to date
  7. Someone in management somewhere notices that dropping certain features (mine included) from the first release could be bad, so we wedge it back in and come up with a very interesting schedule for timed development
  8. Sr. management gets upset that the schedule is so long and wants to know why they didn’t know about it before (even though my project has been planned for 4 years and the original estimate was a 12 mo. cycle)
  9. Management decides we must have a time based release and anything that can’t be completed by X date is out
  10. I’m out 🙁

Its not woe is me… from a business point of view my management really is making the best decisions… its just frustrating that I’ve been working hard on a feature for 2 months that is no longer scheduled for release. Fortunately, my feature is still a requirement for certain contracts so I’m pretty sure it will be included in the near future and I don’t think my attention will be redirected, perhaps realigned since the scope of the feature is now different, but my work isn’t just going away. However, this whole process has been very stressful… inflamed by other concerns in my life.

What other concerns you ask? I’m trying to buy a house. That is quite another saga… that I’ll share sometime soon (I hope).

Archangel / June 12, 2009 / Work / 0 Comments

Over the river and through the woods…

I’ve missed talking about life for a little while… politics is just too important now. However, life is good an I am compelled to share my happiness.

To start with, Theresa came down for about a week. Before her visit, it would be accurate to say I was just surviving. I thought I had a grasp on long distance relationships, but given how close Theresa and I have become, this is just a wholly different situation so I definitely needed some “face time”. She got here at about 10a last Tuesday. It was my second day of work in my new group at Cisco, so I was a bit uneasy about leaving to get her. I did manage to pick her up fairly quickly though and we had a quick lunch at Quizno’s before I went back to work. I could regale you all with stories of her visit, but to say the least it was good. I will say we did manage to try a Japanese steak and sushi house I found that ended up being quite good. Theresa went home Monday this week after a very enjoyable weekend… and on Tuesday I got to go for a trip.

After 3 weeks in the choice program: 2 weeks going to group presentations, demonstrations, and the life and one week meeting with individual managers and group engineers, I decided on the Security Technology Group (yes… I can year all of your groans and “shocker” comments). One of the interesting things about the group is that they’re actually based out of Boxborough, MA and as part of my introduction to the group they flew me and the rest of the RTP team out to Boxborough for a week. I’ve spent a fair amount of time at Cisco, but the area here is beautiful (I’m actually still here) and I’ve got to go exploring a little bit. Tonight, the director is taking the group to some swanky winery for dinner and tomorrow I get to go explore Boston for a bit (which is only 30 minutes from where I am now). Even better, for the foreseeable future, my group thinks they’ll be flying me up semi-regularly.

I don’t have a great grasp on what I’ll be doing yet. For the near future I’ll be working on bug fixing in the VPN products, but in the long term I might be working on the implementation for IKEv2… assuming the managers decide they want to adopt it.

Archangel / October 16, 2008 / Personal, Work / 1 Comment

Say what you will…

I may be ostentatious, but at least I’m not pretentious.

Since being back from Dallas, I’ve done very little actual work at Cisco… despite my repeated prodding of my mentor. On the upside, I’m now about one-third of the way through the 7th Harry Potter (The Deathly Hallows). I loved book 6… the first of the series that I was really really interested in, 5 was pretty good, 4 was annoying and the other 3 were just childish (which is most definitely is to be expected). 7… so far… is almost dreadful. The first few opening scenes are well done, even though I’ve found some severe annoyances with them, but after the initial escape from Voldemort the book lulls unbearably. I’m hoping that it will pick up soon, although from the spoilers I’ve read it will continue on to the point of being painful…

I’m currently stuck in a very uncomfortable if not unhappy position. I can’t describe it as it confounds me…

Archangel / August 15, 2007 / Work, xanga / 0 Comments

I didn’t give you any fish!

I’m alone again, but I’m strangely not lonely… that must sound awful but and may not be made any better by me trying to explain. I suppose I should say first that I am sad Theresa is gone and I definitely feel the distance and wish we didn’t have to be so far from each other. That said… I’m not sullen like I was before. I think I can attribute that to some things that were said while Theresa was here. I’m not worried about certain things and I may have even gotten a glimpse of what is to come.

Work got a little boring again. I finished all of the major bug fixes last week and was supposed to start a new project this week, but my mentor hasn’t been able to get the right people together to get the requirements (I’d like to attribute that to the fact that I was done 3 weeks ahead of schedule… but it probably has more to do with the fact that we had an application blow up with week that needed to be fixed asap). Monday and Tuesday were almost dreadful… but then I got an idea yesterday morning… There is a list of books that I want to read that keeps growing without anything coming off it… I figured if I have 8 hours a day to myself (and the internet is NOT that interesting) I could knock a few off the top… After about 5 hours yesterday and an hour today… I read the whole of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (not impressive, but as far as eBooks go its what I could find the fastest that was on my list). I think I’m just going to finish off the series and hopefully before the end of the summer (I don’t know how much down time I’ll really have) I’ll get to the Lord of the Rings and the Sumerillian (although, Angels and Demons has been calling me and I was recently told of a series call Archangel… which I’m sure you all can understand catches my fancy). I’ve also decided to add The Wheel of Time to my list… despite Brian’s overzealous attempts to ward me off. After I get through my list… which I admit will probably take me the next few years… Theresa has a fantastic collection of Sci-Fi and Fantasy… many of the titles I know and more of which I don’t (and interest me).

I’ve also taken some time out today to read up on a few networking technologies (and brush up on a couple others). For anyone who isn’t familiar with OpenWRT (and the most popular of GUIs for it DD-WRT), they are fantastic tools for anyone with a WRT based device to learn on. In one of the latest releases they’ve taken a very simple concept (network bridging, originally applied in ethernet) and applied to virtual adapters making some very neat things possible. On my old WRT54G, I’ve discovered how to use up to 4 ISP connections and run fail over connections (unfortunately, I’ve been unsuccessful in load balancing so far) using bridges and VLANs. I’ve discoverd (using a very similar technique) how to use the old linksys as a full blown router controlling up to 5 separate domains (more if you want to do wireless domains) each having their own DNS, DHCP, and FQDN. I think the most interesting of all is the ability of OpenWRT to do virtual wireless interfaces so I can do tiered wireless security. Currently on my router, I have 2 wireless networks running of a single box… one with WAP2 (no RADIUS) that has access to the LAN and another using 128bit WEP that only has internet access and is even unable to access other wireless clients in its subnet (using what I think to be creative iptables rules).

My primary interest though was reading up on a fairly new technology called ethernet over IP which the beta version of DD-WRT supports. Basically, this just negotiates a TCP/IP connection between 2 endpoints (routers usually) that carries ethernet traffic (unfortunately over low cost unencrypted tunnels) – if you are more familiar with WDS then tunnels you can think of it like a WDS network just with routers and over the internet, in fact the encryption would be exactly the same… only as good as the medium is configured on.. This tech really isn’t anything special when you consider how PPP/IPsec/L2TP VPN tunnels work (basically the same damn thing just authenticated and encrypted). However it is a fun thing to play with and actually forwards all ethernet traffic (which is only important for ARP/etc – which is completely worthless since most VPN servers are on routers with a local DNS which every DHCP client registers with). In the end… for a home use this is nearly worthless since the firmware also supports encrypted PPTP and even if it didn’t you’d be much better off using Hamachi than fussing around with tunnels which may or may not be up at any given moment (which is true also for Hamachi, but at least you can see the status without SSHing to your router – although… DD-WRT does have a logging program available which allows you to poll your routers).

I completely didn’t mean to drone on that long… sorry. For those of you who skipped the last 2 paragraphs… I don’t blame you. If you didn’t, I hope your eyes aren’t bleeding and head screaming.

Archangel / July 19, 2007 / Personal, Work, xanga / 0 Comments

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