Thursday, May 27, 2004

Heh... I'm bad, sometimes.


I am happy to report that your father is alive and well. In fact, he is located
in Marin County, California (US), where he is creating bad prequels to the
original Star Wars trilogy.

Sorry, can't help your sister. Try the U.S. Department of State.

Rocky. wrote:

> Dear,
> I have a proposal to make, that might be of interest to you. I am in possession
> of a large sum of money in(US$38,000,000.00) Thirty Eight Million USDollars).
> The money was inherited from my late father Chief George LUCAS who was the
> Chairman of the Sierra Leone Gold Mining Corporation during the Sierra Leonian
> War when Major Johnny Paul Koromah was the country's president.
> The money is of no criminal origin as it was largely realized from black
> market sale of alluvial gold dust during the war.The money has been lodged
> with a BANK here in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). I now want to
> move this money abroad and invest it in profitable ventures, as the time
> is now ripe for such move.
> 1.Firstly to assist me to transfer this money into your account to any stable
> country abroad.
> 2. To assist me invest the money in profitable ventures in your country
> or any other suitable country where you have good connections.
> 3. To help re-locate me and my small sister to the suggested country.
> 4. To manage the money in a profitable manner preferably a joint venture
> deal with your company.
> For your assistance you will get 20% of the total amount.Upon your request,I
> will give you further details of the plans and tell you more about my self
> but you must treat as highly confidential for my security.
> Sincere regards,
Ho boy. Remember the quality training I had a couple days ago?

Well, I brought some of my concerns to the instructor (specifically, how our goals encourage us to ship whatever we have by a certain date rather than shipping quality software). At the time, he admitted that this was a problem they are trying to address throughout my division but it would require a change in culture, so don't expect anything soon.

Apparently, he didn't just let this lie. He passed these concerns on to higher-ups; since he's a VP, this allegedly made its way up to an EVP's and/or CTO's offices, which is now asking for answers from the CIC general manager and the old Neolinear CEO (who's now a Cadence VP).

Heh. Lovely hornet's nest I've stirred. Actually, I'm enjoying it; finally, someone is listening.

(Acronyms: VP = vice president; EVP = executive vice president; CTO = chief technical officer; CIC = custom integrated circuits, my division within Cadence; CEO = chief executive officer)

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Sign spotted on a local Mexican restaurant (Mad Mex for any Pgh folk):

"Teqla maks u a grat spelr."
I now have a certificate -- printed on plain 8.5"x11" paper -- which states: "This certifies that David Cuthbert has successfully completed Quality Awareness at Cadence on Tuesday, May 25, 2004."

This basically meant that I listened to three hours worth of Powerpoint slides motivating the need to write quality software. No specifics, mind you -- just that Quality is Good.

How incredibly... cheesy. At least they used the color laser to print the certificate.

I'm presenting an award at a local high school this evening (for Caltech). I actually enjoy doing this particular school (Mt. Lebanon HS). The administrators there invest a lot of effort getting their kids into top-notch schools, the guidance counselors not only know them by name but their individual strengths and weaknesses, etc. By comparison, I loathe having to do the Pittsburgh schools; it's clear that they don't have a clue as to who I am, what Caltech is, or even who their own students are.

As you can probably guess, the former is a rich suburban district, whereas the latter is in the city proper. Ironically, the pay for administrators tends to be better in the city (though the teachers are not as well paid; correlation?). The difference in attitudes is drastic.
As I mentioned to ...

Cool conversation-piece computer case, or freaky and perverted obsession? You decide!

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Hm, productive-ish weekend.

I finally got the conduit in place and started pulling CAT-5 cables so that the house will be properly wired for networking (instead of running ethernet underneath doorjams and the like). I also put up the rack in the basement; this is going to serve as my media hub. Drilling into cinder block is not fun, even with the proper tools.

Unfortunately, I don't think I'm happy with the way the basement looks; the cables are too droopy. I think I'm going to need to get some cable trays (which are not cheap... ).

Also got a bird feeder and rigged up a system that will -- hopefully -- keep the squirrels at bay. I have been feeding them corn, though, much to Tamara's shagrin.

Discovered that my attic ventilation fan had completely died; it was about 110° up there, which explains why the upstairs rooms were so much warmer. I stuck a spare (industrial strength!) fan up there for now, which seems to have helped immensely.

I'm about to give up on using Linux as a desktop. X Windows is too sluggish and unreliable. The same programs (Firefox, Thunderbird) are much zippier on Windows and don't crash my desktop. I'll need to get an X emulator in place to let me run Cadence, etc., though. (And, yeah, I've tried cygwin's X server... didn't like it.)

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Grr. Well, they haven't quite fleshed out the org chart, but my group has definitely been eliminated (as I expected). Heh, that's the second time that's happened to me in nine months. Of the three that are in my group: one guy in my group will be in charge of a product; one will probably be responsible for integration of that product; I'm in limbo.

Not sure which direction I'll go. I could end up in CAT (Core Architecture and Technology), but that's mostly in San Jose -- not sure if they'd let me stay here. I could get the ol' pink slip. I might just roam around doing random stuff, but that's not terribly likely.

Joke from Dilbert:
PHB: "Knock knock."
Employee: "Who's there?"
PHB: "Not you anymore!"
Just for fun.

You did know there were rabbits making mochi (rice cakes) on the moon, right?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Hm. Apparently, we are being reorganised tomorrow, if the rumour factory is up to its usual accuracy.

I'm guessing there's a 35% chance I won't be on the new org chart. I should be worried, but I'm honestly not. I'll spend some time seeing family and friends, doing chores around the house, etc., and move on to another job in a month or so. It'll actually be a nice break.

I'm just at the point where I've come to realise that I'll never actually reach the carrot being dangled in front of me.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Mm, just got back from a weekend in San Francisco. 'Twas nice to see friends again, even if only for a short time.

Unfortunately, I had an e-mail waiting for me back here which began:
You probably have decided it is not worth your time to communicate; that
would sadden me.

Do not presume to know my intentions based on my failure to respond to your e-mail within some arbitrary bounds you have set. I hate it when people do this. Does it not occur to them I might not read my e-mail every hour or even day, especially when I am away and don't have ready access to a computer?

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Wow. I have apparently made it into the 87% tax bracket. At least according to the check (I presumably will get) for the stock I surrendered from this whole being acquired thing.

Yes, that's right. Of the $X I had in Neolinear stock, I am receiving 13% of it. Everyone else here is in a similar situation. A few people -- mostly those here less than a year -- ended up *owing* money on their stock. And, no, nobody here is pleased about this news.

(Most of the money is being withheld in various escrows, actually; governmental taxes were about 35%. However, I am pessimistic about seeing anything from the escrow funds.)

On the bright side, there are no golden handcuffs anymore.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Hm. Apparently, we have a new CEO. Not that I think anything will change in the near future. We'll still have quarterly layoffs, etc. Such, I guess, is life.

On the drive in this morning, I was thinking how much fun it might be to design freeways and bridges and such. I should be a civil engineer. Actually, I'd start with fixing all the badly done signs in Pennsylvania. A lot of them are misleading (mostly in relation to lane arrows; they will sometimes indicate that you must be in a certain lane when, in fact, any lane is fine). Maryland is much better (to the point of being anal) in this regard.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Leveraged again!

I've been leveraged again!

This policy decision has been agreed to by the executive staff in order
to better leverage our resources and manage our expenses. Thanks for
your cooperation.

All I need now is a "best-in-class" or "synergy" and "paradigm" and I'll have a bingo!
If you want engineers (or, probably, any non-sales/marketing[*] folks) to pay attention to an e-mail or other announcement, do not use the following words or variants thereof:
  • synergy
  • leverage
  • paradigm
  • proactive
  • empower

Heck, just read The Buzzword Bingo Book.

E-Mail from finance: "These are big numbers, however, they can be achieved if we stay focused and maximize our leverage via the Cadence sales channel."

[*] Actually, these folks want to be known as Marcomm, for "Marketing and Communications." I doubt that any engineer uses it. We usually use terms like "marketing droids."

Sunday, May 9, 2004

had a handwriting meme that he was starting (or trying to start). Anyway, I only recently got a monitor hooked back up to the computer with the scanner... so here goes:

Tuesday, May 4, 2004

So pathetic it's amusing

Heh... yesterday, I was pleased to find that I didn't have too many e-mail messages waiting from vacation (at least after our spam catchers got through with my inbox). Just minor administratia, nothing earth-shattering.

Today, I found out -- by word of mouth, because apparently I'm not approved on some random product mailing list -- that management has decided to axe the development being done on the next version of one of our products (let's call it Q, because I can't name it here). They've decided to rip out the changes being done for 4.0 and, instead, incrementally patch in minor features to 3.3.

I'm not disappointed -- heck, I had argued for this months ago when it was clear that development was way off track. It's just amusing that I only found out through an accidental conversation.

Anyway... yard is looking good! Well, the front yard at least. I put fertilizer down before I went on vacation, and the lawn is amazingly green. Some of our bulbs are coming up, too. I'll try to take pictures tomorrow.

I need to work on the back yard. It's... yucky. The grass isn't doing so well and there are bare patches here and there. I'll be ordering some supplies in the near future.

Monday, May 3, 2004

I found out today that the post office won't insure documents beyond $25k. However, they will happily charge you for any declared value beyond that. If you declare something at $100k, that works out to ~$94 in postage. On the other hand, if you declare it at $25k, it's only $31.

For $94, it had better be delivered in a briefcase chained to the postal worker's arm. But that's definitely not the case -- the service/insurance level is the same either way. This makes no sense.

Then again, it's the post office, so it's not supposed to make sense. And, yes, I did the sensible thing and only declared it at $25k.
Woohoo! Now I just have to write the thing. :-)

This email confirms that the abstract you submitted for ICU 2004 has been ACCEPTED! I will be in contact with you over the next couple of weeks with further details including timelines, templates, etc.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know, and we look forward to seeing you in September at the conference.

Back from San Diego. Eaugh, it's cold here! I've gone from ~100° to ~40° weather. My body is confused.

Not much else to report. I mostly hung out with my parents, helped out around the house, etc. I did get to see a couple friends on Friday and Saturday (Cindy and Carrie, respectively).

sent me a card while I was gone! And a Caltech felt pennant! Thanks, Carn!

I don't want to go back to work tomorrow. It's beyond post-vacation lack-of-motivation; more of a dread of the stupidity I got away from. Ah, well. I still have to show up to get paid, I guess.