Older blog entries for Skud (starting at number 37)

srl: whoa, *want*.

XP: I looked at the website a while ago and went "duh". Can someone explain to me what's so "extreme" about it? It sounds like common sense to me, though I guess if you're the type of person who goes in for capital-M-Methodologies then you might think it was extreme.

One thing I like about Netizen is the general openness and freedom that exists in the workplace. Generally speaking, eveyrone in the company knows (or can know, if they ask) everything that goes on. For instance, staffing plans and finances and sales and code and just about anything gets discussed in the weekly staff meetings. Most of this stuff isn't (wasn't?) even kept from people outside the company, except in the (relatively rare) case of NDA'd (ugh) projects. Sure, some things are (were?) kept reasonably quiet, but not because we told people they had to, just because of people using their own common sense, and the stuff that was quiet was usually of a personal nature -- for instance, the results of job interviews, or other peoples salaries.

The thing I like about this is not that everyone knows everything, because to be honest not everyone needs to know everything, but that there's no need to hide stuff, or to try and remember what you're allowed to tell to whom. The other really good thing was that it meant we could swap notes with other people, learn from them, and so on. I've even talked to, and got good advice (mentoring?) from the management of our most direct competition.

The reason we started Netizen wasn't really because we were deeply committed to open source/free software, but because we wanted to work somewhere that didn't have so many arbitrary rules about "how things are done" and "appropriate business behaviour" and so on (everything from leave application forms to using Microsoft by default). Yeah, OK, there are certain things you do need to have in place (as we learnt the hard way) but generally speaking we found that having a casual, open work environment, a very flat org chart, and letting people just generally do what they needed to without too much bullshit in the way, worked well and kept us happy.

Maybe it's just that I've been listening to too much Snog and Dead Kennedeys lately, but I'm kind of getting scared that the freedom we've enjoyed lately is just an insignificant blip on the scale, and that Big Business will end up winning in the end. That would suck jovian satellites through millipore.

In a fit of immaturity, I hereby declare that the company across the hall are Evil Incarnate, and I will make a point of waving and smiling at them every time I walk past in my studded leather and army boots.

schoen: I have a friend who investigated Dragon Naturally Speaking a while back (2 years?). She found that it hooked into the Windows API in a way that made it work well with (for instance) MS Orifice, but it didn't work well with her terminal windows and other stuff which doesn't make great use of the API. It wouldn't recognise her terminals as writable space, basically. Since she was planning to use her WIndows box simply as a terminal to her Linux box, it really didn't work at all for her. If you want her email address to talk to her about it I can give it to you.

ask: Thanks! I am no longer the most consistently certified person on advogato :)

Sitting on IRC, playing with my MD player and trying to figure out its FUCKED UP INTERFACE.

Finally succumbed and downloaded a flash player. Skin Two's fetish doll almost makes it worth it though. I've got me a dreadlocked, tattooed Asian girl wearing "armour" and "warrior" gear.

Found out airfare prices for YAPC::Europe today. Hopefully I can get someone else to pay for it :) Also started the ball rolling for YAPC::Australia. Hope lenzo gets back to me soon so I can get a real website happening.

Perl 6 proceedeth apace. All caught up on the -language list, as much as I ever will be.

Meanwhile, heaps of interesting contracts seem to be popping up in Netizen-land, and everyone seems pretty happy... even though one of the coolest one is in Forest Hill. Our guys didn't like going to Wheelers Hill to do Perl/database/ecommerce stuff, but they seem to not mind the idea of Forest Hill for more interesting work.

Why are so many places with "hill" in the name so flat? I heard of a tshirt a while ago that said "I climbed Mount Druitt". Those who know Sydney's west will get the joke, I guess.

Business cards due soon. I'm going to be a "General specialist". Bron's going to be a "special generalist". Someone else is getting a surprise set of cards, but I can't say who, because that would spoil the surprise. Duh.

Tanqueray is good but not as good as Bombay Sapphire. And the ingredients list for Bombay Sapphire is tres cool.

hobgoblin.co.uk could be *extremely* bad for my bank balance if I'm not very careful. Fifes! Flutes! Flageolets!


Hubris may be a good thing for Perl programmers, but I shouldn't aspire to it wrt PC hardware. My new pooter had no CPU fan. Like, I bought a motherboard and CPU and they didn't include a fan in the bundle. And I didn't notice. So I got the machine up and running last night, and it worked for a bit, then it crashed and I decided to go to bed and deal with it in the morning. Well, the phone rang this morning and it decided to wake on modem (blah), so I went to take a look at it and see what was up. At which point thorfy said "is the CPU fan working OK?" and I went "Duh!".

Oh well. I *do* still break hardware by looking at it. If it had been otherwise, I would have been worried.


I got it all set up and working, almost all by myself, despite my notorious habit of breaking hardware by looking at it. The only thing I smegged up was putting the fiddly little power switch cable on the wrong jumper-thingy, but we soon got that sorted out.

So wmavgload just has this tiny little trickle of load hiding at the bottom of the graph, unlike my usual depressing load average of, well, anything up to about six.

Reading: Finished Kage Baker's "Sky Coyote", which wasn't nearly as good as the first book. *sigh*. Working on Connie Willis's "Fire Watch" now. What will I do when I run out of Willis to read?

Listening: Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, "Post Historic Monsters".

Why does Gnome Terminal give me a yen symbol instead of a backslash? And why is xmms just generally barfing on me (font not found, and such things)?

Hayfever season is coming. I hate hayfever season because I become dependent on antihistamines, which means I can't drink. Actually, maybe that's a good thing.

New hardware! Nice new tower case, motherboard, and CPU. The only problem is that it doesn't appear to have any of those little plastic clicky things for keeping the board off the bottom of the case. I can scavenge them from my other machine, but that would mean shutting it down and getting off line, which I don't really want to do prematurely. However, I'm very happy with Benno's recommendation of Cougar for buying hardware online. They're based in Canberra, their prices are good, and their shipping is cheap and fast.

Lots of people are RSVPing for tomorrow's Melbourne.pm gathering... I booked for twenty, but I think we may well end up with more than that.

Went to the Dan O'Connell again yesterday, then dinner afterwards with Cat. I seem to be about to make a habit of Sunday afternoons at the Dan. Now, if only I drank Guinness...

Saturday night was a private play party at a friend's place. I was theoretically helping out as a DM, but it all went smoothly so I didn't really have to do much. Got to play a bit, and swapped rope bondage notes with a very tall guy called Matt.

Sony suck. The interface to their minidisc walkman thingy that I got is *totally* fscked. One of the least intuitive interfaces I've seen in ages, and I've seen a few. I guess my Nokia mobile phone has spoilt me.

A couple of people have told me at various times that they'd like this diary to be done as a mailing list. I forget who they are. If you currently read this diary on my website (or on advogato) and would prefer not to have to keep polling for it, let me know. Since I've written a tool thingy to post to infotrope and advogato simultaneously, adding a mailing list into the mix shouldn't be too hard.

Reading: finished Kage Baker's "In the Garden of Iden" by staying up until 5am on the night I got it. Five stars. Wonderful stuff. Yesterday I read Connie Willis's "Bellwether" which likewise gets five stars. I'm about to embark upon the sequel to "In the Garden of Iden", which is called "Sky Coyote".

Had a night of varied and strange dreams, involving things like running into Morgan in the Body Shop (not a place I regularly go to) and finding him begging for $85 to pay off his tattooist; racing to buy shoes for Lyndal before the shops shut (because she couldn't find the right sort of shoes in Japan); figuring out what to take for a visit to Queensland to see my relatives; a rehash of my recurring dream about huge waves crashing on a beach (no, this is *not* a "From here to eternity" reference); meeting the cat in the hat (who explained that the hat wasn't the important thing, it was the diamond patterns on his tie); going to two church jumble sales (almost certainly a Connie WIllis reference), one of which was selling only crocheted doilies, but the other of which had a *huge* second hand book stall at which I found a number of excellent non-fiction books; and a complicated bit about industrial espionage involving a very secretive company based on the 9th floor of Netizen's building, where the lift won't stop but you can get in if you crawl down the lift shaft.

Apparently yesterday morning, before I got into the office, there was a bit of a fiasco when the rather staid company on the other side of the building rang up the building supervisor to complain that Netizen were "unprofessional" and that Bron sitting on a beanbag in full view of the foyer was upsetting them or something. Now, we know the lease has rules against "lewdness and immorality" or some such thing, but it *doesn't* specify a dress code, nor what sort of furniture one must have. So the building supervisor came up and, very apologetically, explained that this mob were traumatized by the sight of us doing business in the manner that is most comfortable for us. So Morgan politely explained that *our* staff were traumatized by constantly being ill-treated by people in suits who considered us sub-human. Anyway, in the end I think the boring company are going to buy or hire partitions, at their own expense, to block off the sight of us :) It seems to me that it would make sense for the building's agents to put all the grotty tech companies on floors together, and all the bankers and suit-wearers on other floors, or something.

I think today I'll go for a nice long walk in the park.

I want some fucking walls in this office. NOW.

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