Day 158 – Thursdays aren’t too bad either

In the office today at company #3; another fine day.  When I got home, I discovered that I had a voicemail from company #1.  They want me back so soon?  I sort of thought I’d never hear from them again.  Since I’m on the start of a chip project with company #3, I have little interest in company #1’s offer.

This evening is band practice (and Bible study).  I practiced electric right up to dinnertime, and then my son asked me if we could do a Bible study together (we’re having him do daily studies through the summer).  I said “sure!” and ate dinner while we discussed the Bible.  I had a great time, and I believe my son didn’t think it was too bad either.

Day 158 mood: Yeah!

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Day 157 – I love Wednesday

A good breakfast with the guys, a good day of work at home, and a good bass guitar lesson with my son; can this day get any better?

Now that it’s evening time, I’m chillin’ (watching Top Gear) and folding laundry.

Day 157 mood: I think I’m going to like the new Wednesdays.

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Day 156 – QA Day

My morning almost started with a speeding ticket.  For several miles I was trapped behind three cars in a row, all going slow.  I was not alone: many cars were stacked up behind me, and no one was in front of them.  Finally, one of the cars slowed down just enough for me to get around, which I did with enthusiasm.  Unfortunately, at the same time, a Sheriff merged from an on ramp slightly ahead of me.  My exuberant burst of speed was cut short and I wound up doing the same speed as all the other cars until the officer got off the highway.  At that point, I was pretty much at work.  So sad.

Somehow, working for this new company doesn’t feel like work.  It’s actually enjoyable much of the time.  Good thing too – this is not a paying gig… yet.  Even so, I could get used to this!  Everything is just so pleasant.

I managed to get QA/Reliability moving today (finding/emailing vendors to do the work) and I was given a laptop with yet another CAD program to try out.  So far, I’m not a fan of the three programs I’ve tried thus far.  The big guys are more expensive for good reason: they’re eminently useful.  The cheap & free guys aren’t.  Hopefully, this one will be a winner, even though it’s on Linux (hence the need for a different laptop – my laptop is Windows XP).

I’m on electric this week in the band.  The music is only moderately challenging, which works best for me since I’m not that good.  The set is really nice and I think it will compliment the vocals that we have this week.

Day 156 mood: A nice day on the job.

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Day 155 – Project Management

Hey, what do you know – I finally had a productive day at home.  I spent the morning reviewing cheap and free Project Management software.  My goal: Avoid paying $400-$1000 for the large, market-dominating software.  By lunchtime, I had narrowed things down to the freeware program Open Proj.  Open Proj will never be confused with a great scheduling tool, but it’s certainly useful (better than doing things in Excel).  It even exports into MS Project, so if I eventually get MS Project, my files will still be good.

I spent the afternoon creating a project template for a start-to-finish chip development (since I will be a Project Mgr., QA Mgr. & CAD/Layout Mgr. at Company #3 for the foreseeable future).  In looking things over, Company #3 has a lot of work to do (which means mostly me).  I’ve got to set-up several vendors and establish contact with the vendors who are already established.  I must do this in addition to learning CAD/EDA software, refreshing my memory on QA/Reliability, and laying-out a chip.

I also renewed my business license today.  I don’t know if I’ll use it much moving forward, but at least it will help at tax time (so long as I stay self-employed).

Day 155 mood: Satisfied.

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Day 152 – Still setting up shop

I can’t say that today was a stellar work day.  I had enough to do, but I still have more left to do, so maybe I’ll put in some time on Saturday.  I have a minor presentation to give on Tuesday that will require some research ahead of time.  At some point, I’ll need to start working on the chip, but for now, I’m learning new software and dusting off some old college texts that I’ll need to use very shortly.

I also ordered a new monitor and a (second) docking station today.  My goal is to have similar docking and monitors at home and at work.  As usual, I went with Amazon because they don’t charge tax and shipping is free.  Stores like Fry’s are hard-pressed to beat that.

Last night’s band practice was longer than usual, but I must say that the Bible study was awesome.  It seemed to strike home with a lot of folks.  I love it when God works in the hearts of people.

Three of us wound up talking until late after band practice – all “God” stuff.  It was cool.

Day 152 mood: Wish I could have been more on task today.

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Day 151 – the new normal

At least for the next couple of weeks (until the family gets out of school), I am very content to work at home three days a week.  We’ll see how things go after that.

Today I tried going to work at my “normal” time – 6:50AM.  I knew that no one would be in the office when I arrived, but I wanted to see how long it would take to get there under light traffic conditions.  On Tuesday, it took 31 minutes.  Today, it took 18.  Here’s the thing: I actually drove faster on the highway on Tuesday (once I got to the highway), but getting to the highway took forever.  That is the difference between 7AM and 8AM.  When I got to work, I read in the “quad” in the middle of the building complex.  It was so peaceful.  As of today, I can now get into the office, so now I don’t have to wait for anyone.

I took the yellow car today; it’s wonderful on longer commutes.  I’m tempted to drive it all the time to company #3, but I also like the idea of saving gas.

Well, work went fine, and I’ve got plenty to do tomorrow as well.  Tonight is band and Bible Study.  I guess I had better get crackin’ on practicing and putting tonight’s study together.

Day 151 mood: Very content.

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Day 150 – multitasking

A day at the home office.

I didn’t actually get much accomplished for company #3, but I did build up my laptop so that it would be fully functional.  For my last gig, I used a company-supplied desktop (my former desktop).  For company #2, I have always used my home desktop.  For company #3, I’m using the desktop when I’m at home, and the laptop when I’m on site.  I have not had to do much with my laptop ever since I purchased it, so Tuesday at company #3 was my wakeup call.  The computer could not do many things because I hadn’t loaded the software.

Since much of the day involved loading things, I monitored the laptop while watching a movie.  Good movie… and it was a long movie — 2:45 long —  so excellent for this operation.

During one of my longer loads, I got my passport sent out for renewal.  I hope it comes back before I leave for New York (and Canada, where I’ll need it).

Last night’s call committee meeting was a riotous affair — productive, loud and fun.

Day 150 mood: I got something accomplished, but it didn’t feel like work.  Still, it’s nice to have something to do that fills the day.

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Day 149 – Hello Company #3

Over the three day weekend, I made a conscious decision to have a “no technology” three day weekend.  Not that I was totally deprived of all technology – I did watch a lot of TV – but I did turn on my cell phone, and I did not look at email or web.  It felt nice.  Of course, I had a lot to sort through this morning, but that’s just fine with me.

Part of the reason for avoiding tech is to really avoid using a mouse.  I have some inflammation from using the mouse too often recently.  Usually, I require two weeks off the mouse before things get better.  This time, I’m trying some doctor-prescribed medicine… that’s not working.

Today was my first day at Company #3.  I spent all day going through the tutorial for the software I will be using.  At the end of the day, we moved furniture around so I could have a place of my own whenever I come to visit.  Right now, my plan is to work at home MWF and work there on TTh.

Day 149 mood: Overall, a good day.

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Day 145 – say good-bye to company #1

Wow, what a way to finish off a contract!  The designer threw changes at me all day.  In the end though, I prevailed and the chip was sent out.  I think it helped that my former boss left at 11AM.  I could be a little more focused on my task after that.  All this morning, my former boss and I chatted, which was great — he can be very friendly when the pressure is off — but it still slowed me down.  He hinted that I might have another contract with them some day, but I think he was just being nice.  I don’t really expect to be back.  My replacement sure wants me back whenever the next bipolar chip comes along.  She has little interest in doing anything in this technology.  Still, I know that working with me was difficult for her because I was so particular that I wound up redoing all her work — she wouldn’t follow any of my instructions!  I think there might be one transistor she layed out left on the entire chip.  In a week or so, she might decide that it’s good for me not to come back.

At 3:30, I packed my box of stuff, took one last bittersweet look around, and headed out the door.  So many employees had already left the building (three day weekend) that I really had no one to say good-bye to!  Even the designer had bolted already.

… And so Tuesday starts something completely new: new company, new chip, new process, new tools.

I sure do prefer the end of a project to the beginning of one, but it’s also nice to have work to do… even if company #3 isn’t paying me.  My good friend did point out last night that even though I’m not getting paid, I am still  invested as a part owner, so in a way, whatever I can do to help this company succeed will also help me out in the end.

Day 145 mood: Bittersweet

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Day 144 – the ex-boss arrives

Today was sort of a transition day.  I would spend the morning at Company #1 and the afternoon at Company #3.  #1 was finishing up, and #3 was just getting started.  Company #2 is still MIA.

All the managers were back from their two day training session this morning, just in time for a quarterly meeting (yeah, more meetings!).  None of the managers liked their two day experience.  When they returned, they also brought along my former boss, who would be staying in the cubicle right across from me both today and tomorrow.  I was not thrilled about this.  I had planned on never seeing him again, and having him here at the end of the project will likely slow things down.  He was cordial though, and for the most part, left me alone.  Well, I ran out of stuff to do by 10AM, so I called Company #3 to see if they could meet me earlier.  They could, so I bolted out of there.

Company #3 had some good news – they were selling parts!  As a new start-up, they had not done this yet.  It was a good milestone to achieve, especially now that I’m an investor!  I will begin working on their project in earnest starting Tuesday.

The evening was band and Bible Study.

Day 144 mood: Another fine day!

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