Older blog entries for mmangino (starting at number 5)

I had a really good weekend! My parents came into town to see our new place. It is the first time they have visited us in Chicago. I think they really liked the house. We didn't do too much. We went on an architecture river tour which was excellent. We spent a few hours walking around the Lincoln Park Zoo and conservatory. For a free zoo, it was really nice. We also went to the dog park near Lawrence. My Mom is slowly moving towards getting a dog. It was good to see her get to meet many different types as well as to watch our dogs run. We also had to take them to Millennium Park which was just completed several weeks ago. It is a really cool park in the downtown area. I go there and eat lunch some days. Finally, we walked around Gethsemane Gardens for a little while. My parents are really into landscaping and liked that store. It's nice to be able to walk to a landscaping place.

On a personal note, I got my acceptance letter from DePaul University. I am in the process of getting registered for calculus. I've already taken quite a bit of math, but I didn't take it very seriously at the time. I'm hoping to go back and take calculus, multivariate calculus, diffeq and calculus based statistics. I figure if I enjoy that I may be cut out for a Ph.D. in Economics.

On the work front, it looks like I may have a couple of different opportunities inside the bank. I still have a few people to talk to and the org chart needs to be anounced, but I should end up with a resonably cool job. It won't be my dream job, but that's okay.

I had one of those mornings. I woke up, took the dogs to the bathroom and ate breakfast. Then I decided to trim my beard. I checked the little number on my beard trimmer and it was set to where I keep it. Unfortunately, the guard was not correctly installed and in one fell swoop I removed half of my goatee. I contemplated leaving it like that hoping nobody would notice, but that seemed unlikely. I alse considered having just a mustache, but that just made me look like a porno star. In the end, I decided to return to being clean shaven. I've had a goatee for all but 3 months of the last 8 years. We'll see how long this lasts.

I also stumbled on to a wiki at work that had a discussion of software for building Agent Based Computational Economics. I am really geeked by this because I have been interested in similar ideas for a while, but never had a name for them. Earlier this year, I implemented some of the models in Swarm Intelligence in python. I found that I was unable to replicate their results. (For more information on these concepts you can see this interview with the author of the aforementioned book as well as this website with more information and other links.) In doing some of this reading, I found the repast toolkit which takes care of some of the simulation details for me. I am going to try to re-implement some of these models with this toolkit and also play with some social interaction problems.

One final thing I did was to sign up to be a mentor for the youth computer training program. This will hopefully let me give something back to this community. Since at some point in the future I am interested in teaching, this will likely help me learn as well. I love win-win situations.

I have no desire to write anything even remotely technical since today has been spent reading about Oracle RMAN. What a complicated thing that is.

Since moving to Chicago, I haven't gotten to ride my motorcycle as much as I did in Columbus. I used to commute on it every day. Unfortunately, the drive to downtown here isn't a lot of fun and it costs at least $6 a day to park. I did get out for a little while at lunch today. I can't believe how bad the roads are. There are very few potholes, but there are some huge bumps in the road.

Jen (my wife) is home today but on call tomorrow. Thank goodness for netflix which keeps me occupied when she is on call. Being on call in medicine is very different than in IT. When she is on call, she gets in at 5:00am (her usual time) and works until noon or later the next day. I can't believe how many hours she works a week. I know that there is a theoretical 80 hour workweek limit, but there is no way she is following that. Hopefully it will get better in the next few months. I miss hanging out with her, but I do get to see her 3 out of every 4 days. She will be on call Q4 this year which means every fourth night. Basically, the schedule goes 32 hour shift, 16 hours off, 13 hour shift 11 hours off, 13 hour shift 11 hours off. That means out of every four days, she works 58 hours and has 38 hours off. She does get the occasional weekend day off, but it only averages out to one day off per week. I certainly couldn't do that.

I should start this by saying that I am not unhappy with my life. I have a lot of things going for me and I have been extraordinarily lucky. That said, I have felt unfulfilled for the past few years. My wife and I have talked about it quite a bit, and I think it comes from not having enough challenge.

During the boom, I worked for a startup company and wrote some really cool software with some great people. When that company went belly up, I took a consulting gig with a local electrical utility. I really liked a few of the people I worked with, but the software and management weren't a good fit for me. The environment was extremely conservative and mediocrity was encouraged. At the same time, I was going to school to get my MBA. I really enjoyed that and have learned quite a bit. Fast forward to last Christmas when I finished school and took a job working for Bank One. I had hoped I would be challenged there, but so far, I haven't really found my niche. I generally work as a generalist who can learn new things quickly. In a company as big as what is now JP Morgan, there isn't much need for generalists, since they have so many people they can specialize in everything. I haven't found out what my new position will be since the merger, but I hope it will fit me better. I don't want to sound like I'm knocking the company, since it is a great company with some brilliant people, it just isn't fitting me well right now.

Since I was relocated by the bank, I have to work for them for two years or pay back the compensation. Since I don't really want to pay back that money, I have decided to try to challenge myself outside of work. Several weeks ago, I submitted an application to DePaul to try to take a class a quarter. My goal is to re-take calculus. I took calc as an undergrad, but I didn't really learn it as well as I would like. I still don't know what I want to do long term, but I am considering trying to go back to school for either economics or computer vision. (I know, they aren't very similar, but they are both research oriented fields that involve math) In the mean time, I have also started volunteering on the Python project. I haven't done a lot yet, but I did research a bug report and get it closed. It was suggested that I look into reviewing some of the patches in the queue. I have started doing that as well and should have some comments on them by the beginning of next week. Since my wife spends the night at the hospital (She is a pediatric resident at Children's Memorial hospital), I have some time to hack on things like that.

I hope that working on python in this way will help me understand the language implementation. I have really enjoyed using python to perform Monte Carlo simulation and implement some ant based search algorithms. Once I understand it a little better, I may even try to write a book on python internals.

criswell: Send me and email at michael_j_mangino@bankone.com if you are interested in positions with bank one. My department will likely be hiring quite a few people, although from looking at your resume I don't know how good a fit it would be.

It only took me 3.5 years to post another one of these. I've been trying to find a spot that I feel like I identify with to start a journal. I recently posted a couple of entries at JRoller, but I realized that I don't really identify with the Java community. I may write code in Java from time to time, but I'm not particularly enamored with it from a language standpoint. I get really sick of the jar soup I get every time I try to write code.

I used to read the articles and journals on this site a while back and found that it is populated with really intelligent people. I like that. I would like to be intelligent. I just recently graduated (again) and miss the academic environment. I need to find a job where I can learn continuosly. I'm trying to learn some things about neural networks and machine vision. Hopefully I will have the time to write some sample code.

A lot has happened since my last journal entry here. The project I was working on at the time, an XML message bus and translation engine was completed. We came in on time and under budget. I was able to replace a $12million dollar system for $300,000. The new system was extremely stable, and about 1000 times faster. It's really nice what you can do with software when you keep things simple. Unfortunately, the company went out of business anyway. Since then, I bought a house, got two dogs, worked for a small consulting company at a large utility. I then left them to take a job working for a friend at Bank One, I mean JP Morgan Chase and moved to Chicago.

Living in Chicago is great. We are in the actual city of Chicago, although about 6 miles north of downtown. I take the train to work everyday and will likely be going back to school yet again. I have an application pending at DePaul. I hope to go back and retake calculus. I've taken it before, but I didn't pay nearly enough attention. Eventually, I hope to make it through calculus based statisitics and more advanced math. I've finally realized that I need to be continuosly learning to feel complete.

I will probably use this as a forum to talk about the state of IT and big companies. I am really interested in how IT interacts with the rest of the corporation. I someday hope to run an IT shop in a small company. I also enjoy business strategy and will post about that from time to time. I look forward to being more active than I have been in the last few years!

This is my first post, so we'll have to see how long this lasts. I got the approval to create design documentation for my employer on a rewrite of a rather large ( multi million dollar) system. It is not open source, however there may be the possibility of open sourcing some of the tools we use. I also do a fair bit of lurking on LKML and I may start getting involved in the Debian project, however right now I am speding most of my time working and enjoying married life.

I actually created this account to post on one of the forums (about the TCP IP thing, since I think the design is scary) Essentially, if you allow one end of the connection during setup to respond with a forwarding IP and port, than any person on your local net can redirect any session creation by spoofing a packet from the broker to itself. You have just allowed sessions to be easily hijacked.

By way of introduction, I am a 22 year old married programmer living in Columbus Ohio. I have been using Linux since 96 or so. I use UNIX in all facets of my life. I think I am pretty good at it. I work primarily as a programmer, although most of my work involves design and bootstrapping of large systems. Most of my experience is in C and java, however I feel comfortable in most languages. I have a pretty good understanding of networking and OS design, and I really like component based programming.

Maybe I'll write another one of these. We'll just have to see.

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