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New job = great! But I still don't like Mondays. - Adventures in Engineering — LiveJournal
The wanderings of a modern ronin.

Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2006-03-06 18:47
  Subject:   New job = great! But I still don't like Mondays.
Public
  Music:U2 - Monday, Bloody Monday ;]

A few people already know, but let me announce it here too:

NEW JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!!bang!!!!!!1!!!

Great job too. Hardware and software. Tiny little company, though the prez wants to grow it 3-5 times in the next year. It's just the prez, me, and an intern from DU, doing all sorts of little embedded stuff in-house. We choose the parts, make the circuit boards, program the chips ourselves, and write all the software too. God I love being a complete technological control freak! Hehhe. (I never would have gotten this job if Dell hadn't paid me to do make his electronic device happen. That project proved to the world at large that I could do all this. Which I knew, but was having an awfully damn hard time convincing anyone else of.)

Anyway, we work with PIC microcontrollers mostly, though some other micros as well. I'm currently working the most on a project that's used to... well, that would be telling. ;] What I can tell you is that it involves four actuators, each capable of holding 30-40,000 lbs, each with an onboard small micro and a few simple sensors. The main board is a fatter micro that talks to the actuators via a custom RS-485 protocol and has two accelerometers on it. That makes it sound pretty cool, but it's a lot more mundane than you might think. In any event, the important thing is that I'm doing exactly what I love to do, and making good money doing it. The only downside is that the job is on the far side of Cherry Creek from Boulder, so the commute sucks. But to get to do exactly what I want to do, and get paid well for it (how many people can claim that?), I'm finding ways to cope. ;] I figure as the weather gets nicer I can start riding my crotch rocket to work, which will allow me to use the HOV lanes since motorcycles are considered "high occupancy" with only one person on them. (It makes some sense: If you have a 4 seat car, and fill half the seats with 2 people, you're considered a high occupancy vehicle. On a motorcycle, there are two seats, and if you fill one of them, you've also filled half the seats, and are considered a high occupancy vehicle. (But what does this mean for two-seat sports cars, eh? Maybe we need a "passenger per wheel" ratio or something.))


Today has been obnoxious so far, but that's just freakin' Mondays for you. Last night at about 10pm, I discovered a nice fast leak in one of my car's tires. (It conveniently waited until 10pm on a Sunday to manifest. :P) I'd pump it up to full, and ten minutes later it's dead flat again. So I got up early this morning, pumped up the tire with my 12v inflater I keep in the trunk, and raced around to tire shops. The first tire shop I went to didn't have any tires that would fit my rims, and was saying three days to order them. Well, I kinda need to get to work TODAY, you know... The second place (Tire Source in Boulder) was great though. They had two lightly used tires that fit my rims, so I had them replace both back tires, since both were worn to the cord, and had cracking sidewalls. The bill came to an exorbidant $58, including labor. Least expensive rubber I've ever bought! But when I tried to pay them, the transaction was declined. WTF? Since my car was up on the lift, I had to walk to the branch bank, there to learn that they had cancelled my debit card. Thankfully, the bank did allow me to get some of the $1600 in my account to pay the tire shop with, even without a valid debit card.

So after this little adventure I got to work way late, like 10:15. Then when I got here I noticed that my computer had no mouse. We just built the machine ourselves late last week, and forgot the mouse. I'd been using my laptop mouse the last two work days, but I didn't bring the laptop bag today because I thought I wouldn't need it. (I had totally kicked ass last week making our wireless net available and secure, as well as getting Windows file shares to work through one of our double-layered NAT firewalls so the office laptops could access the shares wirelessly.) Well, I didn't need the laptop, true. But the mouse would have been nice. So I had to mouselessly pull up a web browser and find the nearest CompUS(eless)A. MapQuest is surprisingly difficult to navigate when you can't point or click. Finally found the nearest one a few miles south down Colorado Blvd, drove down, swiped another one of those excellent corded optical MS mice that I use with my notebook (these things are a steal at $19), and fought lunch rush traffic back.

So now it's 11:30, and I'm broke and hungry but without an ATM card to get any cash, and I got up at 7, but I haven't done a single bit of billable work yet!

And you know what the worst thing is? I'M NOT EVEN SUPPOSED TO BE HERE TODA...

No, wait. That's not it...

Bah, Mondays!

Yeah, that's it. (G)
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  User: nickhalfasleep
  Date: 2006-03-06 19:25 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
congrats! welcome to the neighborhood.
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-03-06 19:50 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Thanks! It doesn't make the commute suck any less, but it will be nice to be able to see people I know who live in Denver. If you're free some evening this week, let's have a beer somewhere. (Probably not tonite though, man have I got a crapload of stuff I have to cram in once I get back to Boulder...)
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Ashfae
  User: ashfae
  Date: 2006-03-06 19:50 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Rock! Congrats and all. =) But yes, Mondays eternally suck, regardless.
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-03-06 20:01 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
When you get back to Colorado, LJ about it would you? If I can fit it in to my schedule, I'd like to hang out with you and Chris and the rest of the crew again sometime while you're here.

Though I warn you, my karaoke skills have not improved. ;]
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Ashfae
  User: ashfae
  Date: 2006-03-06 20:19 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Most certainly. Though I'm deeply saddened to hear that you haven't been practising karaoke in anticipation. *gryn*
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-03-06 21:57 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
(my dad used to commute from our place on Lee Hill to past the Tech Center to Lockheed's deer trail campus).

Wow, that's amazing. I take Speer off I-25 to avoid most of the bad traffic down south. But going through the Tech Center every day? That takes some kind of willpower I don't have. Really impressive.

Just continue to pray/root/pay for for Lightrail to go everywhere, and your commute will improve.

I would so love some light rail just up and down 36, but I suspect I'm gonna be old and gray before I actually see it.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-03-06 22:07 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
No kidding. I thought I remembered FasTracks failed! I'm getting old and senile...

Heh, Wikipedia has a page for EVERYTHING:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_transit_in_Denver,_Colorado

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  User: (Anonymous)
  Date: 2006-03-06 20:50 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Wow, nice. Grats!

-J
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-03-06 21:58 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
And now I have enough money to pay you for the Appleseed translation, if you're still up for it.
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  User: (Anonymous)
  Date: 2006-03-07 01:53 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Oh, most definitely. Sorry that I've been slack on that. I'd been meaning to translate that regardless and then figure something out later. Anyway, grats again.

-J
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  User: (Anonymous)
  Date: 2006-03-07 02:00 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
z0mg, you're making hardsuits, aren't you!? Writing software with directions to make the hardsuit run and the hardware like the actuators for joints and stuff for that hardsuit!

-J
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-03-07 03:42 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
No, actually, hardsuits are next week's project.

Ha-ha, I only kid. ;] If I do well at this job, maybe sometime later this year I can start work on the exoskeleton. But hardsuits are a long ways off, if only because we lack a good power source for them. LiIon batteries and m/ethanol fuel cells are coming along nicely, but it'll be a decade or so. (And don't count out microturbines yet.) Got the armor covered, that'll be Tungsten Disulfide nanotubes. Jump jets I'm still trying to figure out. Right now the most promising tech is some kind of hybrid solid fuel/high-test peroxide oxidizer setup.

Hardsuits wouldn't need tilt sensors anyway; the wearer provides the balance. Like I said, this is a very mundane application. You'll probably be disappointed when I tell you.
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-03-07 04:45 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Upon further research, I take that back. Looks like nitrous/paraffin is the way to go for the flightpack.
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osmium_ocelot: crater
  User: osmium_ocelot
  Date: 2006-03-08 01:40 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Keyword:crater
you didn't see the "Civil War Rocket" episode of Mythbusters, did you?
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-03-08 05:13 (UTC)
  Subject:   Oh yeah.
Great episode.

Still not sure how they got the thing to ignite though; nitrous and paraffin isn't hypergolic (self igniting). I think they may have left that detail out to make life hard for copycats. The silly censoring sure didn't prevent anyone I know from figuring out how to make nitrous or guncotton. ;]

(Not that I see any reason to bother making your own nitrous when a 25 lb tank of it is like $50 from any riceboy speed-shop in town.)
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osmium_ocelot: Priss Poster
  User: osmium_ocelot
  Date: 2006-03-06 23:23 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Keyword:Priss Poster
Congrats Ben. I hope it continues to go well for you.

:)
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-03-07 00:07 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Thanks. Hope things are good with you too.
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  User: (Anonymous)
  Date: 2006-03-07 00:01 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Congratulations!
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Alex Belits
  User: abelits
  Date: 2006-03-07 00:02 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Congratulations!
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Willow: Happy Willow
  User: willow_red
  Date: 2006-03-07 02:44 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Keyword:Happy Willow
Congratulations! *dances happily*

I'm glad that you finally found somthing that you enjoy. As for the long commute, well, you get used to it after a while.
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  User: waterreflecting
  Date: 2006-03-07 03:35 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
nice job :) and yes, the commute "grows" on you
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Nikkou
  User: jumblies
  Date: 2006-03-07 05:41 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
U2 - Monday, Bloody Monday

wow, that does lend itself to variations. You sure have gotten a lot of mileage out of that song!

It's just the prez, me, and an intern from DU, doing all sorts of little embedded stuff in-house.

IPO in 3 years, ok? I'll be waiting..
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-03-07 06:01 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
IPO in 3 years, ok? I'll be waiting..

I hope we're smart enough to never take the company public. Or at least do it the way that Google did - retaining majority control. (Though that didn't seem to help them avoid "being evil" when it came to China.)
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tiger0range
  User: tiger0range
  Date: 2006-03-07 17:51 (UTC)
  Subject:   Congratulations!
This is great news and I'm really happy for you!

Move down to Cherry Creek, it's cheaper and (marginally) saner! Do your part to save America from oil dependancy and isht or something like that.

One thing I noticed is that there is a really wierd peace of mind I get when I live very close to work. It's like I don't have to actually do a reboot everytime I go back to work and yet I don't take the work back home with me either. I'm very geography oriented I guess. Where I am has an effect on my personality and outlook.

Anyway, that's all moot now because there practically isn't a waking hour anymore that I'm not working. I was talking about before.
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Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2006-03-07 21:05 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Move down to Cherry Creek, it's cheaper and (marginally) saner! Do your part to save America from oil dependancy and isht or something like that.

Though our lease isn't up till September, that's a very real possibility. I was just doing the mental math as I drove home last night: 45 miles each way at 45 MPG means 2 gallons a day, means 10 gallons a week. My civic has a 10.5 gallon tank, so I'm going to be filling up one a week like clockwork. Which means $80-85 in gas a month. The immense waste of time that commuting is aside, that still is far too much money to be shoveling into the pockets of the oil companies.


Anyway, I hope your research pays off soon and you can ease off a bit and not work 20 hour days forever.
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Jon: mariohammer
  User: j_b
  Date: 2006-03-07 19:54 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Keyword:mariohammer
w00t

'grats
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Richard "Pocky" Kim
  User: pockyman
  Date: 2006-03-08 09:40 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Congratulations, man! ^_^ I'm glad you've got work!
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