Archive for the 'Frank' category

Have Computer Will Work

 | June 25, 2009 10:46 AM

desk1Considering the meltdown in the financial markets at the end of 2008 I knew 2009 would be difficult.  When my contract was renewed at the end of 2008 I agreed to a pay cut with the agreement that my contract would be extended until the end of July.

Unfortunately times became more difficult for my client and funding for my next project was not approved.  Consequently my contract was cut short at the beginning of May.

Fortunately for me during this contract I was hired as a temporary employee instead of as a contractor.  For this reason when my contract ended I was able to apply for unemployment insurance and medical insurance for my children.

For the most part this time has been good.  I have been trying to spend more time with my family, read books, blog more and think about what I want to do next.

I have volunteered to do some IT projects for nonprofits but in most cases I won’t be receiving any payment.  So I have begun expanding my job search.

If you know anyone who could use a programmer, preferably on a contract basis, please send them my resume or point them to my professional website, betweenGo, where they can learn about me.  My specialty is ATG web applications but I consider myself a programmer first and am willing to do any technology.


Sort of Vegetarian

 | June 2, 2009 12:58 AM


Vegetarianism is sometimes denounced as not masculine.  But I will go on public record that I am sort of vegetarian. 🙂

I have considered this lifestyle change for several years, being inspired by friends (EstherRoger and John) and recently doing more research via blogs and books.  Ji Seon remarked after I made my decision that she was wondering when I would.

My exact label would be “minimal meat eater who only eats humanely raised meats.”  But since there isn’t a technical term for that I usually find myself fumbling to describe my dietary lifestyle.  Saying I am pescetarian, i.e. a vegetarian who eats seafood, might be more accurate but people often don’t know what that is.

In public  I end up being effectively vegetarian because I don’t really want to ask if the meat is humanely raised because most likely it is not so I just eat the veggies.  This proves especially difficult at barbecues like the Mother’s Day barbecue the men in our small group did for their wives.  The organizer bought filet mignon steaks, which I love, and did not realize I just made this lifestyle change.  I did appreciate very much his sympathy.

The truth is I am still eating meat almost every meal at home.  We still have all this grass fed beef I bought in January which at least was humanely raised.  Also a good friend and avid fisher keeps giving me a large portion of the fish he catches, which I am quite grateful for.  Plus my wife and children are not vegetarian.

I consider this time a transition time for me.  I have actually enjoyed trying to put more vegetables and less meat into my diet.  For the first couple of weeks I noticed my energy was low.  I am not sure why but I think I might have been low in iron.  It seemed that went away after eating some Chinese leafy greens which I think are high in iron.  It might just be mental but I do feel more healthy.  That might also have to do with the fact I have been getting more exercise lately. 🙂


Release Night

 | May 7, 2009 6:34 AM

I was going through my old work email and I found this email I sent on Friday, August 28, 2008, the night we released the new Upromise Online Mall.  (The rumors about metric and the Y2K bug aren’t true but everything else is.)

These fixes were first tested by hot swapping the files in because Perforce was down.  During this time I was mercury poisoned by a broken CFL, there was a car accident, a pizza arrived upside down, Perforce went offline for several hours, Outlook decided to slow down, and there are rumors that everything is switching to metric and that there is a Y2K bug that happens at midnight tonight.

The email was sent at 9:54 PM PDT which does not seem that late until one considers that the team I was working with is located in Newton, MA.  The rest of the team was wide awake and it was almost 1 AM their time.  Some of the team didn’t end up going to sleep until 3 AM.

This is somewhat typical of releases or upgrades at major websites.  We try to test everything but when we go live several issues will suddenly appear.

This particular release though was an unusually event filled night.  Our configuration management system went down and our email server became incredibly slow making communication almost impossible (we moved to AIM).  The manager had to leave because his wife got into a car accident.  Fortunately she was okay and the manager got back online in a few hours.  Even the pizza that was ordered for the team arrived upside down, a bad omen.

To top it off Ji Seon knocked over a lamp in our living room and its CFL bulb broke, sending mercury dust around the living room.  It was like a toxic waste emergency.  We cleared everyone out, I put on a mask and started cleaning up, Ji Seon went on the internet to research what to do and even called the doctor who reassured us the amount of mercury was too small to be a health risk.  After cleaning up the best I could I opened all the windows and kept the kids upstairs.  I vowed that night never to use CFL’s again but I have since revised to that not using CFL’s in table lamps.  I can’t wait until LED lights become more common place.

It’s nice to look back at such a stress filled night with a smile.  I’m glad I am paid by the hour. 🙂


I need more time

 | April 30, 2009 12:49 PM

I have come to regret many rash decisions.  Examples are getting married and having children.  Just kidding 🙂 .  My mantra now is to never rush into anything.

In fact typically I try to amass as much information as possible before making a decision.  However this often does lead to anxiety.

The following blog post by Seth Godin makes me ponder about whether I am doing the right thing.  And how do you define “a reasonable amount of data?”  Indecisive perfectionists like me live a tortured life.

First rule of decision making: More time does not create better decisions.

In fact, it usually decreases the quality of the decision.

More information may help. More time without more information just creates anxiety, not insight.

Deciding now frees up your most valuable asset, time, so you can go work on something else. What happens if, starting today, you make every decision as soon as you have a reasonable amount of data?

Seth’s Blog: I need more time.


Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

Steve Jobs, Stanford Business School 2005 commencement speech

I guess Steve is right.  What do I love to do?  Basketball?  No one is going to pay me to play.  Fantasy basketball?  No one is going to pay me to play that either.  Playing video games?  Eating good food?  Blogging about nothing?  Taking photos of my kids?