Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Adam's Guide to Cubicle Life

I spend a lot of time at work. Recently, I've started thinking about what I want and need to keep at work. So, I thought I'd share.
  • Extra coffee mugs. Even if you don't drink coffee, you'll drink tea or water or soda or something. If you drink coffee, and you don't make it for yourself at home in the morning... chances are that you're not running at full speed when it comes time to grab the freshly-cleaned mug off the counter.
  • Your breath is going to smell like crap after all that coffee. Keep a breath-tamer with you. Mints, gum, Listerine, Toothpaste and a toothbrush... it doesn't matter, just do something about that nasty breath,
  • Ramen. Maybe its the college kid still rearing his save-money-for-booze-conscious head... but ramen is delicious. The beauty of ramen is twofold: 1) You save money by not going out for lunch. $8.00 vs $0.08, the choice is obvious. 2) You can wake up 7 minutes later, because you don't have to make a sandwich or something in the morning.
  • Instant Oatmeal. It is also dirt cheap. It's easy to make. Can save upwards of 15 minutes of sleep. Eat it while you do your morning e-mail [deleting] routine.
  • Toys. Its inevitable, your job is going to be boring at some point. Make sure you have something to play with... there isn't enough news to read in the whole world that can occupy 8 hours of boredom.
  • Headphones. This may seem like a given, but even if you're not listening to anything, headphones put up an imaginary force field around you. People are about 45% less likely to come tap you on the shoulder.
  • A "place setting." You'll need a spoon, fork, knife, bowl, and plate. Keep a stock of napkins too. When someone brings the extra food leftover from a meeting, and sets it in the common area... they never bring utensils. Do you really want to miss out on free food just because you're not prepared?
Never-ever put anything in the common fridge. The Fridge Nazi will come throw your food away everytime. I know you're laughing right now... because EVERY office has the Fridge Nazi. So, you have to keep beverages and leftovers cold... what do you do? You have to get a mini-fridge. Once you've got your mini-fridge installed, your food options have just expanded from 2 to 2000. You can take lettuce, and salad dressing. Sandwich fixin's. Chips and salsa. The list is nearly endless.

Maybe I should write a book. How to Save Your Sanity in the Cubicle Sea.
I've already got the table of contents started:
1) How to Select a Toilet.
2) The Desktop Chef: 10 Recipes for the Lazy.
3) Cube Essentials. What Office Depot Doesn't Carry.
4) How to Kill Time Without Getting Pink-Slipped
5) Boring Meeting Survival. How to Pay Attention in a Meeting
6) Boring Meeting Survival II. How to Make Pretend You're Paying Attention.
7) Manager Handling 101
8) Political Science: Office Edition.

Yes, you read that correctly... I'm going to write an entire chapter about where you should poop. On that note, this posting has concluded.

P.S. Its really cool when someone you respect links to your blog. Raymond Chen linked to me yesterday. I was literally schoolgirl-giddy when I saw the link. Thanks Raymond.

--- Update 12/17/2005
Great comment from one of the guys on my team:
Coffee mugs, why so many? I will tell you why so many mugs. Boeing people like to be recognized and reminded that they successfully deployed an airplane bolt system back in 2003, or that their group of 34 people were able to reach a system and process maturity level 2 rating in '04. These are all great accomplishments that mean nothing to the person on either side of you cube. I personally don’t care to know that Mr. Boeing Bluebadge was on this team or that team...yet I am somehow obsessed with reading each and every one someone puts up to their mouth. It's almost like every time they take a sip of tea or coffee they are whispering to you "Pssssstt…Hey check out what I did back in 2001 on the military program!"

Monday, December 05, 2005

Two Recent Random Thoughts

I often have really random thoughts... ask anyone who has heard me describe a dream, and they'll know exactly what I'm talking about. But, sometimes I just have random ideas/thoughts while I'm awake. Here is a random sampling.
1) This idea is actually kind of good... and if I had the time, it would be really fun to develop this. "EventCasting." This is just another use of "enclosures" in RSS. The basic premise is this: you get a plugin for whatever calendar system you use, Outlook, or whatever Lotus uses, etc. Then you subscribe to feeds that automatically add things to your calendar. Bands could have EventCasts. Venues could do it. TV Shows. Or it could even be a part of your Yahoo! Group. I got this idea as I was leaving my house last night, and got stuck in the traffic caused by people leaving Seattle Center, because I found myself wondering: "I wonder what was going on tonight." Since it adds to the calendar that you normally use, every time you sync up your PDA, Smartphone, or even your Audiovox SMT5600 (my favorite device of all time) the event gets sync'd too... so you'll always know what's going on.

2) I remember talking to a friend's dad a couple years ago about getting hydrogen for fuel cells. People don't think hydrogen is safe, and its also kind of expensive to "make". So, this is my random thought about hydrogen creation... and I have no idea if it has any basis in science or technology. If fish "breath" water, and extract the oxygen out of it... what happens to the leftover hydrogen? Could the corollary to the process that fish use to extract oxygen from water be used to extract hydrogen? Or am I completely bass-akwards (pun-intended)? Do fish just extract "free floating" O2 from water?

Anyways... I realized that I've never really written about this... but I'm working on my Master's Degree from Carnegie Mellon West. Its a ton of work... but my team (Team PANTZ) is awesome. And we're working on cool projects. Right now we're developing the basic functionality of eBay. I'm the Project Manager (just like on The Apprentice), so I'm trying to stay organized...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Performance Evaluations

So, tomorrow at 8AM I have my first performance evaluation (PE) as a real employee.
At the beginning of the year, we write out our goals for the year... and that becomes our PE (along with some standard evaluation areas). Then we're judged about how well we met our goals.
Currently, I'm a level 1 DBA. I'm so far down in the food-chain that Boeing doesn't actually have a job description for me. So, hopefully I can meet those goals :-)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

My Halloween Costume

My Halloween Costume
Originally uploaded by adamb0mb.
What do you get when you mix a big cardboard box, some wrapping paper, a mile of packing tape, and a dork together? Something really cool (most of the time). Well... I got this Halloween costume.
It took two or three hours to build, but it was well worth it. Except I didn't start it until an hour before the Halloween party I was suppose to go to started. So, I missed that... but went to another party instead.
Lessons Learned:
Budget more time for costume creation.
smaller costumes for easier transportation.
smaller costume for less awkward movement.

Friday, October 07, 2005

You like what you see?

Does what I do sound like fun? I know being a database administrator doesn't sound like all that much fun sometimes... but its probably the most adrenaline filled occupation you can get with a computer science degree.

Well, guess what? My manager is hiring 3 people into our group. You could have the distinct pleasure of working with me! Guess what? They're all entry level positions. The focus is on SQL Server, because we have tons of SQL Server databases. But its impossible to be at Boeing and not at least use some Oracle (and especially in my group... we've got some Oracle Ninjas).

Apply Here!

No, I can't help you get the job. As much as I wish I did... I don't that kind of power.

-- UPDATE 10-13-2005 --
Looks like we're done accepting applications! Thanks for applying everyone.

Coolness outside of Boeing

My roommate is an artist. He does lots of concert posters and stuff for bands and clubs around Seattle. A poster he did just got "Poster of the Week" on GigPosters.com. You should check it out... its pretty sweet.


Sunday, October 02, 2005

Part Two of QTD2

The 777 Flight Test Journal posted the second part of their article about the QTD2 test. Give it a read.

Oddly Familiar

I don't know if you've seen today's Dilbert (10/02/2005)... but I definitely know how Ted feels.


Saturday, September 17, 2005

REACH Katrina Benefit

REACH Katrina Benefit
Originally uploaded by adamb0mb.
I know... its a flood of posts... two in ONE day!

Anyways, I thought I'd share a recent REACH event with y'all.

Boeing sent out an email to all employees a couple weeks ago stating that for 3 weeks, every dollar that an employee or retiree donated to Hurricane Katrina relief funds, Boeing would match it. This sparked an idea in my head (and more importantly) in my friend Matt's head. Matt is from Louisiana and know lots of people affected by the hurricane.
It was time for a "relief party." You might remember some friends of mine throwing one of these for the tsunami victims (back in February).
I was going to try to help Matt organize this party... turns out Matt didn't need any help, and did it all on his own (but, its the thought that counts... right?). He found an awesome venue for the party. And they were amazingly generous to us... and donated lots of money!
Howl at the Moon is a awesome place... and everyone should go there.
We charged a $10 optional cover at the door. Of course, some people donated more. I think we ended up with ~160 Boeing Employees (and with 98% of us in attendence were under 30). At the door we collected $2100. $2100!! thats awesome.
Here is where Howl at the Moon gets to be awesome. Between 6PM and 9PM, Fat Tire, Mac & Jacks, and Pyramid Hef were all $2 for a pint and Lemon Drop shots were $2 too... AND they donated all of the money to the fund! Thats another $1400.
Thats $3500 total. I don't know if he wants everyone to know or not. But someone very close to this event personally donated another $700. He claims it was because its a tax write-off... but I think its because he's secretly a nice guy.
So... the grand total is $4200. Not bad for a night! The best part? Boeing is going to match it. So thats $8400!

I want to thank everyone for coming out and making it an awesome event. I want to thank everyone who worked at the door collecting money. I want to thank Howl at the Moon (again) for being so hospitable. I know Matt wants to thank all you guys too.
Thanks to Boeing for matching the money (at last check, Boeing employees had donated almost $3,000,000 to the relief effort... we rule!)

Stuff like this...

I work on something that is going to change how people hear airplanes. Or maybe you won't even hear it, and that's the best part. Boeing recently spend some time over in Glasgow Montana at our remote flight test facility (that's right... we own an airport in the middle of nowhere)... working on making 777s quieter.
One of the systems that was on-site for the test was a system that I run. And of course, while the system is 700 miles away... Oracle decides it doesn't want to work. Just to give you an idea of how remote Glasgow Montana is... they do not have high-speed internet. I literally walked someone keystroke-by-keystroke through rebuilding an Oracle database (for those of you in the know: missing archivelog files, so I couldn't just recover the instance... I had to walk the developer and SA through an oracle import (a tablespace was so corrupted, it couldn't even be dropped)).
Anyways... looks like the official "Flight Test Journal" is going to do a 2-part series of posts on the Quiet Technology Demonstrator 2 (QTD2... you don't wanna know what happened to QTD1, just kidding). Here is the first part. Good read... I hope the second post has some more technical details though.

This sounds corny... but its is stuff like this that makes it cool to work at Boeing.

Monday, August 22, 2005

To Lighten the Mood...

After an odd couple of weeks at work, I thought I would write about something that has been on my mind for a while. I’m not going to lie, the following post isn’t meant to be read by everyone… only those with an interest in office strategies. I’m not talking about career strategies… I’m talking about the strategies you use in everyday office life. This post is about using the office bathroom.
Your first week on the job, you will find a stall in the bathroom that you prefer over the others. Yours might be the handicap stall; I’m not a fan, the toilet paper is usually in an awkward position… or just a long ways away. I personally like having the TP on my left hand side, and that is usually the tie breaker between equally clean stalls. Of course, a well-flushed and cleaned stall is the most pivotal thing.
Now, you’ve got your stall picked out. What next? Getting the timing right. If you go into the restroom… you want to make sure that stall is going to be available. Why? Because it looks weird when you walk into a bathroom then walk right back out. So, if someone is in your stall… you’ve just be subjugated to an inferior stall. As with almost anything, timing is everything. Avoid the morning rush. Everybody uses the bathroom first thing when they get to work. I mean, why would you use the bathroom at home when you could use the bathroom at work, and get paid for it? You’re going to avoid that pitfall though. Wait until at least 9:30AM, but 10AM is probably your safest bet. You also have to avoid the post-break rush too. So, give an hour or two after lunch to use the bathroom… I usually wait until about 2PM.
What if your stall is occupied? Here a few tips for picking a backup:
  1. Always leave an unoccupied stall between you and whoever is else in there
  2. Avoid choosing a stall that has a mirror on the opposite wall.
  3. Avoid the stall closest to the door, people will assume the stench is yours
  4. Check for TP.
What if your floor is big enough to have multiple bathrooms? This can be a hard decision, but I’ve found a very good way to decide which to use. Go to the one furthest away from the engineers. Engineers never change. They were the gross ones in college, and they’re still the gross ones as they approach retirement age.
And, if you’re really going to ‘let one fly’… go to a different floor where no one will recognize you.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Awaking the monster...

I've had a couple really crazy days lately... here is the brief rundown.

Thursday, ~9AM
I got a call from the Ethics department. Apparently someone "reported" this blog as a potential ethics violation. Honestly... who reads this and goes: "You know... I think this site is unethical". Bad grammar, poor spelling, and ignorant ramblings don't usually constitute an ethical problem. But apparently it is.
Anyways this is the jist of the phone conversation with the Ethics Dept:
Ethics: This is from Ethics. Someone reported your blog to us.
Adam: OK.
Ethics: You know you can't post limited or proprietary information on there, right?
Adam: Yeah. Is there anything questionable on the site?
Ethics: Well... no. Just be careful. No limited or proprietary information.
I guess they just wanted to call me to tell me to "keep on keepin on." *shrug*

I told my manager about my website, and about the call I got from ethics. He warned me that Boeing can be sensitive to stuff like this... and on his personal website, he makes NO references to Boeing. This seemed like overkill to me. So, I called a guy in PR. He said I what I was doing was fine. He gave me the name of the guy in charge of PR for my division.

A man with a security clearance shows up at my desk. This isn't a normal occurrence in the DBA world. Again, here is a wholly inaccurate but jistful description of the conversation:
Man: Are you Adam?
Adam: Yeah.
Man: Can I talk to you over here for a little bit?
Adam: Sure... Am I in trouble again?
Man: You've already been in trouble today? Anyways... Ethics called the Security department after your blog was reported to them.
Adam: Yeah. I've already talked to Ethics. I thought everything was OK.
Man: I just wanted to come visit, and have a little talk with you.
Adam: OK. Talk away.
[I'm going to abbreviate this, because I'm lazy. He said he read the entire site and could only find possible problem... but it was no big deal.]
He just wanted to stop by, and tell me to "keep on keepin on"

Then I made a couple of other calls to some folks around Boeing. They all thought I was safe to keep doing what I've been doing. And, most people think what I'm doing is cool.

I thought the whole situation was dead. My job was safe (for the time being).

Monday, 7:30
I get a couple of emails of congratulations from some friends for making BNN. BNN is the internal news organization for Boeing; they publish a few news stories about stuff going on around Boeing every day. One of the stories on BNN this morning was a warning to employees about the dangers of blogging. I'll spare you the details, but basically it cited all the company rules that could apply to blogging. All of which I've been complying with through the entirety of this blog.

Sometimes working for a big company can be annoying.

Saturday, August 06, 2005


One of the best things about Boeing is REACH. I don't know if I've mentioned them before... but it is one of the best things a company can do.
What is REACH? It stands for Regional Events and Activities for College Hires. While trying to make a cool acronymn it seems like some of the "meaning" of the organization was lost in translation. REACH is really just all the young people in Boeing. And once a month we have official events. Like, last night we had a huge BBQ and bonfire (well... a fire at least) on the Beach. REACH is at every major Boeing site too... and right now we're having a "cross-site visit". What does that mean? It means there are some young-Boeing-folk from St. Louis, Long Beach, and Philadelphia hanging out with us in Seattle this weekend.

Anyways, when you graduate college and move to a completely new place to start your job... it can be tough to meet new friends. REACH basically fixes that. We have weekly unofficial Happy Hours (which, in Boeing, we refer to simply as HH), and I spend a lot of time with other REACHers anyways, because they're a good portion of my friends now.

Fortuntely, there are people that are WAY more into REACH than I am... they're called the REACH Officers, and they organize everything (along with some of the more motivated members). So, I get invites to go to the Horse Races, to Beach Parties, on wine tasting tours, Rafting, and all sorts of awesome events.

But apparently not everyone had as much fun as I did last night.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Career Fair advice...

I got an email the other day about how to get hired by a company, even if you have a low GPA. I don't want to brag, but I didn't have a low GPA, so I'm not sure I'm exactly qualified to speak about this... but here goes.

The only way you're going to get your foot in the door is by impressing the hell out of a recruiter. And, the only place you're going to get to talk to a recruiter is if you go to a career fair. So, step (a): go to a career fair.

Here are my tips for going to the career fair:
GET THEIR EARLY. If the career fair starts at 8:00am, get there before 9:00am. You want to give the recruiters time to drink some coffee and wakeup, but you want to get there before everyone else. Plus, recruiters tend to be in a better mood in the AM. By the time the afternoon rolls around, they're getting antsy to get back to the hotel bar.

Only print 7 resumes, and think that you only have 5. Your resume is NOT on fire... you're not trying to get rid of it as fast as possible. If you only have 5 resumes, you will treat them like gold, and will only give them to places that you're really interested in (this will happen automatically... if you've taken economics, you'll recognize this as "scarcity of resources").

RESEARCH the companies before you go. This will take at least an hour. There is ALWAYS a list of companies that are going to be at the fair. Go to the website of your top 5 companies and learn some of their basic philosophies (i.e. "Don't be evil") (you should also notice a correlation between 5 resumes being printed, and 5 companies being researched).

Now, you're ready to talk to your 5 recruiters. Because you're early, there won't be a queue to talk to them, so you're golden. If a line starts to form behind you... ignore it, you're working on getting a job and today is about you (just like going to a spa).

The recruiter is going to ask you about school project that are relevant... so be prepared to talk about that. They will also ask you these 2 questions (gauranteed):
  • What do you want to do at my company?
  • What draws you to my company?
HAVE DETAILED ANSWERS! If you're talking to a recruiter from Boeing, say: "I want to be a Systems Engineer on the J-UCAS project because I think it's cool... also because: x,y, and z".
And: "I want to work at Boeing because there isn't a job at Boeing that is insignificant. You build planes, missiles, satellites, next generation everything... "
The last comment will really score you some points, because the recruiter will remember why THEY love working at their company. And any positive feelings that are associated with you are good things.
Just be ready to talk! And be interesting. If you've got a low GPA, explain all the cool projects you've worked on.

The recruiter will try to dismiss you without giving you some contact info. Don't take that... you need to get an email address or something. Having a point of contact in the company is pivotal. A good chunk of recruiters are actually normal worker-bees that have left their normal job for a week to go on the road... so they may even know about positions available in their group.

Thats all the tips I can think of right now. But, I want to share a few thoughts about low GPAs. Lots of people say that a GPA isn't a good reflection of your ability to perform. Which could very well be true... but there is SO much more crammed into that 0.0-4.0 number.
Over the last 4+ years, professors have been testing, prodding, and teaching you. And in the end, its almost always the professors opinion of you that ends up in your final grade. I've gotten an A where I, based on pure points, should have gotten a B or even a C. Why? Because I'm easy to get along with, and teachers appreciated that. If I didn't understand something I wouldn't throw my hands in the air and give up... I would go ask for help. And lastly, I made wholly inappropriate jokes during class... and instructors like humor because their lives can be pretty dull.
So, I may place a bit more stock in GPAs than other people... but thats because I think its more than just you ability in a subject, I think its a combination of many things.

Ok, welp thats a decent rambling for tonight. If you notice a spelling or grammar mistake, make sure to email me immediately.

You can be like me!

honoring myself
Originally uploaded by adamb0mb.
I got an email from a friend of mine today that works at the American Heart Association. The "Heart Walk" is coming up, and they are looking for people to donate to the cause.

I was the first person to donate, so... I got my name plastered all over the "honor roll". You should donate too.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Originally uploaded by adamb0mb.
Take a look at this cartoon. These are the kinds of jokes we make around Boeing. Its really cool to see other people (yes, cartoonists are people) recognize the flaw in this airplane. Its really not that technologically advanced... its just freakin huge. The 787 on the other hand has technology so advanced that we had to steal it from aliens.

Funniness from work...

Just a little background, REACH is the group of kids fresh out of college at Boeing (it stands for Regional Events and Activities for College Hires). Once a month, we have an official "social"... where someone organizes some event... and we all go. A couple weeks ago, we went to Emerald Downs to bet on some ponies. The next social is being organized by my friend Wick. Here is the email he tried to send about the event:

If you're a recovering alcoholic who has been dry for months, this is the perfect time to start hitting the bottle again. Tell your AA support buddy to buzz off and sign up for the first annual REACH wine tour**. A detailed description of this wine chugging binge is shown below. I know that its more expensive than most socials, but its going to be awesome and I went through two intense rounds of artful negotiations to get us this excellent price of $45 (which includes a kick back to the corrupt REACH officers). Kelly promised to do her John Belushi 'Animal House' imitation where she downs an entire bottle of Jack Daniels at once.

We'll be transported on buses, and I still need to iron out the details on that. We plan on having a pick up at a South Seattle Boeing location. We might also have a pickup in Everett if enough people show an interest to justify that. Its important that you remember to bring your ID or you might be refused wine tasting. Interns under 21 are welcome to come, but they will not be able to drink any wine... unless they can get creative with photoshop and a high quality printer. Any friends outside of REACH or Boeing are always welcome.

J. Wick
Boeing Phantom Works
Secret Evil Weapons Program

Then, this is the update to the event that he wanted to send out. Luckily he was talked out of sending this out... because it might not have been for his employment.

Hello All, its not too late to sign up for the wine tour. Laura needs
your payment by August 6th, see details below. If you RSVP to Laura she will give you instruction on how to pay online with paypal. We already have 68 people signed up. Don't miss out on what's bound to be the most legendary REACH social experience of all time. To answer a few commonly asked questions:

Yes, there will most definitely be drinking on the bus.

No, I do not have a funnel, but you're welcome to bring your own (uhmmm...funneling wine... that sounds good...)

No, we will not allow a breathalyzer contest to see who can achieve the highest blood alcohol level while remaining conscious (that could get dangerous, plus we all know that Kelly would win that one hands down)

Laura will get back to us on lunch details.

The pick up location will be at the Museum of Flight by Boeing Field. Non-Boeing people be sure to use the museum parking. If you venture elsewhere on Boeing property, our security forces will take you out like a seal team on an Afghan terrorist.

Right now it does not look like we will have a bus going to Everett. Only 9 Everett people have signed up out of 68. That's pretty weak guys.... I guess IDS employees are way cooler....
I hope to see you all there!

Phantom Works
Secret Underground UFO Research Lab - Alien Morgue
Acronym of the day: CRAP - Classified Reports and Publications

Ok... maybe you don't think these are as funny as I do, but its my website and I'll do whatever the CRAP I want.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


My manager is a genius. He gave me an intern. The weird thing about being a DBA intern is that you start off knowing NOTHING about your job. DBA interns are usually Computer Science students or sometimes Information Systems students... and have, at most, had 1 class "about" databases. What are they taught in this class? Well they'll learn that a relational database is a collection of tables. They'll also learn the basics of SQL (select, insert, update, delete, alter, create)... enough to do the ultimate database example: the video rental store.

In my case, my intern hasn't even taken this class. But, does that matter? not really. Why? because as a DBA you don't really use the basics of SQL. In fact, for my projects that are in "sustaining mode," I've never done a SELECT against any of their tables (but for projects in active development... thats a completely different story).

Also, I've been "instructing" the intern class this summer. This year's interns seem... different. Last year everyone was extremely social, and we hung out with the young employees all the time. This years group seems to be much more clique-ish and less social as a whole. Of course, there are more than a couple exceptions... and they're definitely exceptional.

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Beautiful People

Something I feel like I miss in Boeing is a personal connection to people that actually make decisions about what I do. But, my boss’s boss’s boss’s boss scheduled a meeting with me, and 5 other DBAs from my group to talk about… well… anything. It was amazing. His name is Radha Radhakrishnan (its fun to say, say it outloud) and he came to us, gave us a 15 minute ‘status update’ of the high-level stuff… then basically opened up the converstation for our comments and concerns.

Then I started thinking... "this shouldn't be an extraordinary thing to meet my boss". But, in Boeing it is. I really want to see an "enterprise wide org chart"... it would be taller than a Christmas tree, because there are so many levels of management

One thing that I’ve noticed about people at this level of executive-ship… they’re all beautiful. Radha is probably 50+, but he’s fit, trim, and -- in a completely hetero way -- a good looking man. I wonder if he's good-looking because he's a CEO... or he's a CEO because he's good-looking? If its the latter, I better start running more.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

CII Again

Welcome to a special edition of my blog… I’m writing this as I’m riding in the back of a Jeep Liberty climbing up the east side of Snoqualie Pass on my way back into Seattle. I’ve been so busy lately with work and personal stuff, that I just haven’t had the time to write on the blog. So, I’m using the same method that Vincent uses. I'm going to write 4 or 5 posts... but I'm going to spread them out over the next week or so.

The first thing to write about is the fact that I am going to be doing my CII idea. And, the way its going to be set up, it could theortically be on a Connexion-enabled flight in a couple months. I think Connexion uses J2EE JSPs for their dynamic web pages, so I’ve got to learn a new language… but, the cool thing about doing JSP is that I think we use it in my Masters Program to develop online services. So, by learning J2EE JSP stuff, I’m killing a couple birds with one stone. Plus, learning JSP shouldn’t be too bad, because I know vanilla Java fairly well.

I really can’t believe that this is actually going to happen. It’s still in the planning phase, but its happening! It feels cool that even a behemoth of a company (a la Boeing) has cool programs like the CII that promote small business innovations.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


I've been in class all week for Oracle 10g New Features (more about this later), and yesterday we got out early... so I logged into the work network. I don't remember who IM'd me the link about today's topic, but... someone did... and it may have ruined me for a day or 2.
There was a 5K "fun-run" in Fremont yesterday. I figured I could handle it because I had been running a couple miles after work 3 or 4 days a week. I roped Ray into going with me... and we met up at his apartment, and walked down to the start line. Ray and I chat a little bit, and then we're deciding which group we should be in... and I figured we should probably be in the 9:00 minute mile group. Luckily for Ray, he's in shape... and a 9 minute mile sounds like a leisurely stroll through Fremont. Unluckily for me, I'm a fat lard... and a 9 minute mile sounds like death. So, 9 minutes was the perfect compromise.
As it turns out, Ray and I both brought MP3 players... so we hardly even talked to each other during the run. And, he took off after about 100 yards.

Here is the list of my shames during the run:
  • I got passed by a guy that was at least 100 years old
  • I got passed by a guy running with a backpack full of speakers, batteries and MP3s.
  • I got passed by lots of girls. lots. (I'm not going to lie... this wasn't always a bad thing)
  • I got passed by a guy SPEED WALKING!
  • I got passed by many 10 year old children.
I finished in 29 minutes (or 9:20 miles per minute). Ray finished in 25:22 (8:10) miles per minute. He left me in the metaphorical dust.

Then... we had to walk back to Ray's apartment. It was uphill. It was death.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Its funny because its true

Someone forwarded me an article yesterday and I just finally got around to reading it. This article is probably only funny if you're a DBA, or a developer who works with a DBA.


Someone asked me why I like being a DBA, and I thought about it for a little bit... and honestly, my favorite part is when something breaks. It's kind of funny... but I definitely get a hit of adrenaline whenever something goes wrong with a production database, and it has to be fixed NOW.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Boeing VS Airbus

Boeing VS Airbus
Originally uploaded by adamb0mb.
SO, I recently discovered IceRocket.com... which had made me realize that I really appreciate the fact that there are people out there that are way smarter than I am.

So, when you do a normal search on IR, it will pull a screenshot of the webpage up. Which, may seem mostly useless... but its re-freakin-diculously cool.

The thing I really appreciate about it though, is the fact that it will create these graphs of searchs over time. So, everytime Boeing gets referenced in a blog entry (this graph is only for blog posts) it gets logged on this graph. How sweet is that?

I don't know about you... but the first time I run into a new search engine, I ALWAYS do a "vanity search"... and IR definitely satisfied my ego. I think may start using it more often.

Skipping a Meeting

Remember way back, when you were still in College? There were basically 2 types of people: people who attended class regularly (almost religiously), and the people who skipped class as much as they went.
Are meetings at work the same?

Monday, May 30, 2005

BBQ In the QA

Because people of my generation are still celebrating things at night (read: we drink)... we had to celebrate Memorial Day on sunday night. So, my roommates and I had a BBQ.

Pregame - I had heard that parties on Queen Anne get broken up pretty early, so when the invite went out... we would startup the BBQ at 5PM. Another precaution we took was to turn our lawn into a beer garden. We went to the Home Depot and got some fencing stuff. The fence really added some authority to our scheme of looking like young professionals blowing off some steam (read: yuppies drinking).

Game Time - Jennthe is probably the best person in the world. Jennthe and I were interns together last summer, and therefore "forever connected" (for those of you familiar with Boeing, I was trying to work in "Forever New Frontiers"... but, I didn't feel like expending the mental energy). Jenn came over like 5 hours early, and started making the best asian food I've ever had: Lumpia. What are Lumpias? (I don't know how to pluralize words in Tagalog... sorry). Short answer: Filipino Spring Rolls. But... they are oh so much more. Here is how Jenn made them, but the contents of a Lumpia can be as numerous as the islands of the Philippines.
  • Finely dice 4 carrots
  • Finely dice 4 stalks of celery
  • Finely dice 1 medium onion

Now mash up all that stuff with 4 lbs of Ground Beef. Thats the stuffing for the Lumpia. Now roll these guys up in some Lumpia wrappers (available at Uwajimaya). Lumpia are usually long and skinny (almost like a taquito). Make sure to use some egg-whites to "glue" the wrapper shut. Now you wait for your friends to show up because unlike revenge, Lumpia is a dish best served warm. Put about 4 inches of oil in a tall pot, and get it pretty warm. Now fry your Lumpia in there. They should take about 4 minutes in the oil to cook.

They were pure heaven. Jenn also made some ridiculicious potatoes (I just made that word up... ridiculously delicious smashed into one word).
Me and the roommates also served up some India Pale Ale that we brewed a couple months ago. I don't want to brag... but it was easily the best IPA I've ever had. Side note: A group of my friends brew beer in my basement. You can read about beer-brewing exploits here.

I just want to give a quick shout out to all the people that brought beer and food... you guys rule. I also just want to thank everyone for coming, it was awesome. We'll be doing that again a couple times this summer.

Postgame - The party really shut down about 10:30PM... and everyone went to the Paragon (a bar that is only about 6 blocks away). And when we got there, there was one of the coolest bands I've ever heard. There were only 2 guys; a guy on a guitar, and a guy playing a stand-up bass. What was the first thing we heard them play? The music from Mario level on Bowser's floating ship. It was intense. Then they played Stairway to Heaven... which rocked unbelievable amounts of yuppie-butt.

Unlike a college or high school party, this BBQ was amazingly easy to clean up. My friends all "respected" the house, and put their can and whatnot into the garbage... so it only took about 45 minutes to clean up the house this morning.

And because when people found out about this last night, they seemed upset that I hadn't told them already... so I figured I should probably just tell everyone. Today is my 23rd birthday.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I can't believe I forgot this...

The blog just had its first birthday May 11th. Happy Birthday to this inanimate object!

Two Huge Announcements

I've got lots of awesome news to report... but 2 mega-awesome things, so I'll restrict it to just those 2.
I've been accepted to the Masters of Software Development and managementt at Carnegie Mellon University (West Coast Campus). I'm really excited. And, the awesome thing? Boeing will pay for the whole thing. Boeing's Learning Together Program is truly amazing. I haven't heard of a program like it an any other company. The LTP will pay for any school you could want to take! (I heard they won't pay for a Ph.D, but I'm not sure about that). I think when I'm done with my Masters, I'm going to take some language courses. I want to learn Spanish (or German, or something else equally cool). And, I shan't pay a single penny out of my pocket. I've been toying with the idea of getting my Masters of CS too... but that is in the future.

And the second piece of awesome news: I made it to Phase II for my CII idea. I'm going to get some funding to work on putting computer games on airplanes. How much does that rule? Next time you're on an airplane, and you're bored out of your mind... just think: "Adam is working on fixing this". Remember... I'm always looking out for you.
During the last phase, I had focused on making sure this idea sounded fun. And everyone agrees with me that it would be fun to play games... but the Analysts they have in the CII are amazing; they saw pitfalls of this project that I never even imagined (I was going to list them out... but I'm not on my work computer, so I don't remember what all of them were). But, the cool thing is that most of the comments were really positive, and it feels cool to have your brain-child "validated" by smart people.
Now, during Phase II, I have to focus on the business side of things for the project. I definitely glossed over these during Phase I, so I'm basically starting from zero in this aspect. I just got some statistics from Connexion to use in my business proposal... and I'm not sure I understand everything on these charts. I actually saw words on these charts that I had NO idea what they meant.
But before I get too much into Phase II, I have to give a presentation to the Programs Manager of Connexion (I think thats what he is... Shannon, is that right?) next Thursday... and from the sounds of it, he holds the ultimate fate of my idea in his hand.

And as a PS. I just got back from NYC on Monday, and I had a B-L-A-S-T. And while I was there, I thought it would be awesome to move to Manhattan. But, I just went to Ivar's with some friends; it was a beautiful day, and I don't think I can move away from Seattle any time soon. We sat on the dock, drinking Coronas, watching the boats roll by.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

late night

It's almost 1AM. I've got a flight to New York at 8:15AM. I'm still at work... and no end in site.

Monday, May 16, 2005

I'm a bad person

I feel bad... I haven't posted for a while. I'll give you a brief rundown of why I haven't had the time
  • Car Work - The engine in my '95 Jeep Wrangler tried to fall out. When I took it to a mechanic, they told me that I needed to buy an entirely new engine. With installation, $5000. No thank you. I took it back to Spokane so I could work on it with my dad. We fixed it for about $150. That took 2 weekends.
  • U of Idaho Graduation - I went back to Moscow for U of I's graduation last weekend. A lot of my really good friends were graduating... and I wanted to be there. Plus, I wanted to have one last weekend of collegehood. It was worth the 10 hours of driving. Its amazing how well balanced the kids that come out of UI are. There are so many people that are fun to hang out with, but at the same time, really smart. Congrats to my awesome and smart friends. This is going to sound mother-ish... but I'm so proud of all of you.
    • Danny: My roommate (and best friend) for 3.5 years. Going to work at Schweitzer Engineering Labs. And he signed the papers to buy his first house today. Congrats Fancy.
    • Patty: He's going to work at Intel on gigabit ethernet.
    • Erica: Going to grad school at UC Santa Barbara to work on Optical Signal Processing
    • Vedran: Going to work for Fast Enterprises. The little Croatian kid made it.
    • Yes, there are more... but its "late" (now that I'm old, 10:30PM is late)
  • CII - I've been working on my Gate I presentation. I'll be presenting on Wednesday... wish me luck. I'm usually pretty good at talking in front of people... but in the past, the only thing that has been on the line has been a grade; now there is actual money stake.
On a side note: Interns are arriving, summer is beginning, my motorcycle is running, I'm going to NYC next weekend, I finally bought some tools.... Life is freaking awesome.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Oregon Trip

Token Sunset on Oregon Coast
Originally uploaded by adamb0mb.
One of the great parts about Seattle is leaving. Seattle is awesome, and part of that awesomeness is the location. Seattle is located in one of the most beautiful parts of the US (if not the world!).
After a short 5 hour drive, my friends and I pulled up to a wonderful house on the Oregon coast. We payed peanuts for this house... about $20 per night per person... some of the best money I've ever spent though.
We feasted like kings, and drank according to Cliff's Buffalo Theory.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Where to Live in Seattle

To be honest, I shouldn't be considered an authority on this topic... but I've gotten this question enough times that I think it warrants a post.
If you're moving to Seattle for the summer, you're going to need a place to live. Where you should live really depends on a number of factors. These factors can be reduced to these 2 variables: cost, and 'fun'.
Cost: This is the most important for a lot of people. Luckily none of the Boeing factories are high-rent areas, so if you want to have less fun... you can find lots of cheap(ish) housing near where you work. These are usually less fun neighborhoods though. I personally have never spent much time after-hours in Renton, so I can't imagine there is too much to do down there (for someone my age). I don't know much about Everett... but lots of the Everett interns came down to Seattle to hang-out last year. Cost is directly proporational to fun. Higher cost = more fun, Lower cost = less fun. On my scale, I'm going to rate places to live on a cost scale of 0 to 10. 10=$300/month, 0=$1500.
Fun: If you're less concerned with getting cheap rent, then you're fun-o-meter is definitely going to go up. For rating the 'fun' of a neighborhood, 0="no-bars-or-anything-significantly-fun-for-5-miles", 10="walking-distance-to-extreme-fun".

[Format... Neighborhood Name: / - my comments]
Belltown: 0/10 - Right outside of downtown... this is the place to live if you feel like you're going to want to go to lots of bars with lots of young people. Expect HIGH rent in this area.
Lower Queen Anne: 1/9 - (AKA "Uptown") A little past Belltown, this is a mini-Belltown. Not quite as many bars and restaurants, but still fairly "hip".
Upper Queen Anne: 1/7 - This is actually where I live. Its a little pricey to live on top of Queen Anne. But its a pretty good quite neighborhood that is only a $10 cab ride to Belltown.
: 8/7 - This is where the University of Washington is. So, during the summer there is LOTS of housing, but not quite as many people there. You can usually find a place for about a 8-ish price. There is plenty to do in the U-District, and lots of good ethnic food.
Fremont: 3/7 - Self proclaimed "Center of the Universe". There are lots of good places to eat and drink at. It's got some nice views of the water (Lake Union).
Greenlake: 6/8 - I love Greenlake. Its a little recreational mecca within the limits of the actual city (I think). There is a beautiful lake with an awesome jogging trail around it. Good bars and good food.

These are the places that I go with some regularity. I don't feel comfortable commenting on the other neighborhoods around town. But, there are LOTS of websites with info about where you want to live. The MOST useful (that I've found) is this site from the Seattle P-I. Read it and soak in the information.

Go forth and find a place to live.

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Most Fun...

The days when you get almost no work done are always the most fun (but usually the least rewarding). I had a friend that wanted to know what it was like to be a DBA, so he job shadowed me today. He came to a couple meetings with me... and he learned that being a DBA is actually pretty easy (most of the time). I felt bad for him, because he came to my group's staff meeting... which is where our manager tells us all the stuff that "Boeing" is trying to enforce on us. I use the word "Boeing" because even inside the company... "they" are just some intangible scapegoat to blame all of the organizational problems on.
The cool part of today was going to check out some Materials and Process Technology testing. One of my friends was FLAMETESTING some components for an airplane (yes... I was purposefully vague there). It was cool, but extremely boring. It was boring because the things being flame tested DIDN'T burn... which is an extremly positive thing, because its all over the airplane. Its cool to see something that you would expect to burst into flames just sit there and take a direct flame.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


mod_plsql is an Apache module that lets you call Oracle stored procedures to generate a webpage. Never in my whole life would I have imagined that something like this would exist... but it does, and apparently it’s sweet (but there are a few problems I'm seeing with it).
mod_perl and mod_python are for the weak of mind. Wrap around an application stored entirely in a database. Now imagine what a headache migrating between versions of Oracle might cause. Another thing to think about: how are the source files version controlled? Since they’re not actual files, how do you version them with an existing versioning program (Subversion, CVS, etc)?
I'll give you 2 guesses what multi-national aerospace conglomerate might have a critical application using mod_plsql (if you guessed ANYTHING other that Boeing… you belong with the unwashed masses). Now guess who gets to bring the system up to workable state. If you guessed "Adam," you're half right... they chose the 2 youngest people in my group... me and Alan (well, to be honest... you would be more like .75 right, because Alan is kind of a small guy).
One GIGANTICLY awesome advantage to working on this project is that it’s already rock-solid stable. So, there isn't a big time rush to get it fixed. But here is the condensed list of things we are going to do:

  • Get a test environment set up. A new database, a new web server, a new Oracle Internet Application Server, and a metric crapload of configuration files.
  • Lead the development of a configuration management system. Currently their source versioning system is: “source.file,” “copy of source.file,” “copy (2) of source.file,” ad nausem (did I use that correctly, I don’t know… I didn’t take Latin in high school). I think one of the things I get to do on this project is to take it from a “Joel Test” level 1, to a level 12 (or a 10, because its hard for an application in Boeing to get the support needed to meet #8 and #9).
  • Migrate from Oracle 8i to 10g. If you listened to Oracle, this should be no problem at all. But, if you’ve ever done an Oracle migration of anything more complex than the ‘scott/tiger’ demo… you know better than that.

This is cool, because it’s more non-DBA work. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with DBA work… but diversifying my portfolio is something my career broker told me to do.

Sitting in front of my new 19” LCD makes me happy… that’s why you’re getting a flood of new posts to the site. Plus I've gotten some new music in the last couple days. Snuff rules.

For those keeping score at home. I've moved over to using MS Word to write my posts... then I paste it into blogger. Seems to work, but blogger claims they've fixed the problem. I haven't used Word in a while, but Office 2003 is really pretty looking and works wonderfully well.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Can't think of anything

I can't really think of anything Boeing related to write about, but I want to write something (Blogging can be addictive). So I'm going to write about some cool things that I've started using lately. This is [programming/dork/people with no life]-oriented... so you might find it extremly dry and boring. But then again... I rule... so it might be good.

http://www.doxygen.org/: If you've ever used Javadoc and thought it was cool. Your heart was in the right place, but your mind was a million miles off. Doxygen will parse your code and create documentation for you. And, if you're not lazy, and actually write Doxygen style comments... it will even include those. If you've ever wondered how to document a project that was bigger than you can imagine... doxygen gets it done. KDevelop uses it to create they're API Docs

Trac, http://www.edgewall.com/trac/: Working on a program that is more that a couple hundred lines of code? You definitely need a bug tracking system. Because you're never going to remember all the bugs in the code. Trac is awesome because of its integration into other software. Trac gives you information about your Subversion repository. Bug/Issue tracking and subversion integration make it worth using right there... but you better believe it... it also cuts through pennies. Its also got a built-in wiki that lets you automatically link to issues, milestones, and other stuff in your project. My one gripe with it right now is that doesn't use an RDBMS... just flat files. But, there is upcoming support for actual DB usage.

Forward Declarations: OH man these are sweet. Compiling can be a long and boring process. Forward Decls reduce that time by reducing the number of #includes you have to include in your code. If you want to use these, you better read a little bit.

Oh wow... Blogger did it to me again... I had another couple of paragraphs written, and it just blew 'em away. Maybe I should be learning instead of repeating the same dumb mistakes. Meh.

For the Boeing starved: There are 450+ interns in the Puget Sound area this summer. A lot of those kids are coming from other parts of the US. We want them to have a good time in Seattle... so we're putting together a list of things they should do while they're here in Seattle. What festivals/activities are there to go to? Where should they visit (day trips usually)?

What would you consider "Quintessential Seattle"? If you can think of something that we should include on the list... shoot me an email, or leave a comment.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Outline of the stuff I do

Some people have been asking me what I do. For the high-level 30,000 foot view, I'm a DBA. But at a lower-level, I'm oh-so-much more. I don't know exactly how much I can talk about these... so I'm going to play it on the safe side.

NEL: The Noise Engineering Laboratory. They do just what you imagine... they change stuff around to make engines, stabilizers, etc quieter. I've been to this lab, and its really awesome. They have lots of HUGE padded labs... you know, like you see in a recording studio to dampen echos. Since they acquire large amounts of data, they've got some Oracle databases... and your's truley is the DBA on those. Everything is already setup, and this has been a pretty easy project so far... just basic DBA stuff (renaming stuff, etc).

PROPLAB: The Propulsion Laboratory. Again... exactly like it sounds. They work on engines. And they store data in an Oracle database.

Windtunnel: Yeah, they run models through a windtunnel... and you wouldn't believe the amounts of data they're storing. This Oracle database is flippin' enourmous. So far I've just been writing scripts for these guys, but I think I'm about to start moving into a more primary role on this project.

The above 3 projects are actually all for the same group, they're just different labs. So they have somewhat similar setups.

Quick Sidenote: I was in a meeting for the windtunnel project last week, and as I was leaving... it sounded like I could hear some remote control cars. Well, it turns out I was pretty close... there was an electric slot-car race track setup in a cube on that floor. So... I sat there and raced a slot-car around a 5-second track for about 30 minutes. It was awesome.

Architecture Integration: I actually don't do any DBA work for this project. I started out as a 'Data Architect' (normally the role would be called a 'Data Modeler', but i'm too fat to model anymore). Now that the initial modeling stuff is over, I've gone to a sort of 'Data Analyst' role. I prefer the name the people on the project have given me though: "Data Guru".

This post was way longer... but I 'previewed' it in... and it replaced about 5 paragraphs of text with: "%2". So guess what. I'm done.

P.S. Blogger sucks.

OH! I'm going to a presentation about corporate blogging tomorrow. I don't know the "scope" of the presentation... but hopefully its cool (and doesn't bore me to tears (which is fully possible when you do ANYTHING at a gigantore corporation)).

And one last thing. I don't know if this is Boeing specific... but business buzzwords drive me insane. I'm not even going to bother wasting your time talking about them right now. BUT just wait... I think I'm going to jot down a few especially annoying ones in the next couple weeks... maybe I'll find enough stuff to warrant posting about it.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Chairman’s Innovation Initiative

There are 2 parts to this post. The first is about the Chairman’s Innovation Initiative (CII) in general, and the second part is about the idea I proposed. Hopefully my idea will keep moving through the stages... because then I can document (right on this here blog) what its like to move through the CII process.
So, as the name would indication, the CII is about "incubating" new ideas that employees storm up. Here is what happens:
  • CII has a website where you can browse all the old ideas that people have submitted (to make sure you're not submitting a duplicate). And its a great place to find some "inspiration".
  • Then on the website it tells you to run a few personal checks on the idea: "do your friends think its a good idea?" Another check that I read on another website said: "Can you convince people to join your development team? If not, its probably not as good an idea as you think it is".
  • Then you can submit right through their website. You write a synaposis of your idea; it is how you would describe your idea to someone outside of the Boeing company. And you also write your "Marketing Plan / Strategy".
  • So, you've spent approximately 15 minutes of work on your idea... and already, things are about to start happening, because in just a few days, you're going to be contacted by an business analyst from the CII group. This is as far as I've made it in the "pipeline", so the rest is just what I've read and heard from various sources.
  • Now you get prepped for you "Gate I" review. This is you pitching your idea (more formally) to all the CII analysts, and some subject matter experts (SMEs). If they like your idea, and think you/your team are the people to move forward with it... you've just got yourself some funding!
  • Now you're in Phase II of your idea. You start building your real business model... you know... how is your idea going to make money? Basically you spend this time talking to possible business partners and suppliers, and getting a business proposal ready to pitch it to the President or Vice President of a interested business unit (If you don't know, Boeing is made up of a few business units (BUs), Commercial Airplanes, Integrated Defense, Capital Corporation, etc).
  • You're hitting "Gate II" right now. This is where you're pitching your idea to VPs and Presidents. And you better do a good job too, because your CII funding is all gone. If your idea doesn't get picked up by one of the BUs now... its all over.
  • Congrats, you've just passed Gate II, now there are a few options. You can go back to your normal job, and pretend you never did anything... but you get the satisfaction of knowing that your idea took off... and is going to be put into actual use. OR You can move with your idea and work on the development of that. Now you're getting funding from the BU that liked your idea... you get to start actually developing your product.

The company that helped develop the CII program has a case study about it, and if you're interested in the CII, you should read it [pdf] [HTML].

Now, about MY idea: Have you ever been on a long flight (or anything longer than about an hour)? No matter how good the book you brought is... you're always bored on the plane. The food tray in the seatback in front of you isn't quite big enough to play a board game on. So, why not bust out that shiny laptop that you've brought on the trip with you (but you're not sure why you brought it) and play some video games. Well, single player games lose their appeal pretty quickly... but who is there to play a game against? Well, you're in a confined space with at least 100 other bored people... and a lot of them have laptops too. See where I'm going? An intra-airplane gaming network. Connexion by Boeing establishes a wireless network on the airplane... so the hardware is done. Now we need the games, and a way to connect the people in the airplane together. Oh, and we need to figure out a business model that will work for this service.

There are lots of ways to expand on this basic idea too. For example: The Boeing Airbourne Network for Gaming (BANG... and YES I did just make that up) could be born. Now you can play against people on OTHER flights too!

I'm suppose to talk to my analyst later today (today is my day off... but I'm really excited about working with the CII), so we'll see how far my idea makes it. Even if this idea doesn't take off, I'm definitely going to keep coming up with ideas until one does!

Friday, April 01, 2005

My Nerd Quotient

My Nerd Quotient
Originally uploaded by adamb0mb.
I recently saw this test on someone's blog, and I HAD to know how nerdy I was. The person who had it on their blog scored a 93... and he works at MS (nerd kingdom). So, I figured I'd probably get in the high 80s.
One of the questions is: "What are you doing on a friday night?" and I answered: "Out with friends". Which is true (or wednesday, or thursday, or saturday night too). So, I don't know how I could decrease my nerd quotient.
The sad thing... I was answering some of the questions 'moderatly'.. trying not to expose my full nerdness.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Cynics Were Right

If you had to ONE thing to give to your parents to prove that sending you to college was "worth it"... what would you give them? Something that represented your initiation into the professional world. Something that showed them that their 'baby boy' was all growed up. It isn't expensive, and it doesn't have any actual value but your first set of business cards have quite a high symbolic value.
While I was ordering my cards, I kept asking my mentor what I should put on them. And eventually he broke down, and said "it doesn't matter what you put on them, because it will be outdated in about 3 months." And, I'm like... whatever.
Well, what do you know... today I learned that my entire organization was moving to a new business unit. My cards say: "Shared Services Group", but I'm no longer part of that business unit.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Another Reason...

I just thought of another thing that has made me happy I'm working for Boeing.
Randy's Blog was started just before I came back to work. At first I thought it was going to be mediocre, but as I've been reading it (its updated once a week or so), I've actually started to enjoy it.
I really like the fact that Boeing has an official blog. Lots of companies have blogs, but... I think it would be safe to say that more companies DON'T have blogs, and it's cool to work for a company that has executives that enjoy doing the same things you do (blogging). I really hope that Boeing has some other people start keeping official blogs... that would make me happy.

Awesomeness of Boeing

I've got a quick story about how working at Boeing can be really awesome
So, I had a marginal day at work on Wednesday... I had a bunch of work to get done for a meeting I had on Thursday. I normally leave work a few minutes before 5PM because it seems like I can miss a lot of traffic, and make it home a few minutes quicker (or stay until 6:30PM to let all the traffic dissipate). But, because of the work I had to get done, I didn't leave until about 5:20PM and traffic on I-5 was in full-swing... so it was going to take me atleast 45 minutes to get home (without traffic, it is a 27 minute drive).
I was sitting in traffic, getting more and more annoyed with myself for leaving late. And just being annoyed with traffic in general. Then, I caught a glimpse of something that made my mood to completely turn around. Boeing's recently completed 777-200LR Worldliner is still in flight test, so it is flying in and out of Boeing Field. I happened to catch the new plane about 1/4 of a mile off the end of the runway on its final approach. It totally made my day... I wish I had had a camera to take a picture, but fortunately Boeing has plenty of picturesof it.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Rolling Backpacks

I must have just not have been paying attention, but people are getting unbelievably lazy. When did carrying your briefcase or backpack become too much of a burden? People with the rolling "carry-on" bags are EVERYWHERE. Then it struck me... workplaces are just like high school.

In high school, one person has a mediocre idea... then the "popular kid" thinks its the greatest idea ever... then EVERYONE jumps on the bandwagon. I know everyone's high school had a different weird fad, but every school has one. If I remembered much about high school, I could probably tell you want my school's was... but alas, nope.

Another weird fad at Boeing (and I'm sure other places) is what we (the younger Boeingers) have dubbed "Badge Flair." If you're unfamiliar with flair, you must see Office Space. Most people have their badge on a lanyard around their neck. Then attached to this lanyard is a plastic holder for the badge. The plastic holder has some edges on it that have enough room to put pins on. So, now the competition is to find the coolest pin to put on your badge. And of course... the more pins the cooler you are, so people are rolling with some massive collections of "bling" attached to their badges.

Tomorrow is my first day of working from home... we'll see how that goes. Most people say they're more productive at home, but... well... we'll see.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

New Logo

There was some question as to whether or not I could use my old logo, because it contained the copywritten Boeing logo. Luckily, my roommate is a graphic designer and a nice guy to boot. So, he came to my rescue. He asked for nothing in return... but I wouldn't allow that. So I bought him a box of popsicles. He whipped up this logo for me real quick, but he has loads of cool art he's done. He does lots of concert posters and stuff. Anyways... you can check out his work at his website.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Intern Class

Pending approval from my managers, I'll be one of the "teachers" at the Bellevue Intern Class. Since there are about 400 interns this summer, they've broken the intern class up into 3 sections: Seattle, Everett, and Bellevue.
One of my intern friends from last summer will also be "teaching" with me at the class (if you are familiar... its Jenn). And another U of Idaho kid will be at the Seattle class.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Two Sides...

There are 2 forces applied to the new hire: being new and being fresh.
"Low man on the totem pole" really has some meaning to me now. There hasn't really been any explicit manifestaions from my coworkers about this... but I'm pretty sure everyone is thinking it (or maybe I'm just paranoid). "He's the new kid, don't give him anything you don't want to be massacred." But, I think that also might have to do with DBAs being pretty careful. I'm not that experienced, and they've worked hard getting this database up and running... now they don't want anything bad to happen to it.
But, I'm also fresh out of college, and everyone thinks I'm really cool (far-fetched, I know, but nonetheless). Everyone wants to work with me, to see what I'm like or something. One of the nicest guys I've ever met (and it just so happens, that his stepson was an intern with me last year) brought me into a project where I won't actually be doing DBA work (in the Boeing-sense), I'll be doing Data Architecture.... or in normal-people-words: data modeling. Most of the people that I talk to in the halls ask me if I have enough work. And, I finally do. This is pretty cool.
On a side note, I've gotten several emails and comments from people saying that they're coming to intern or work at Boeing this summer, and they like reading this site because it gives them some firsthand knowledge of working at Boeing. Suckers... I don't really know anything... I make up most of the content here. So... if you're going to be an intern, you might just get to meet me in real life, because I might be a teacher for the "intern class." Basically all the interns from Seattle (or Everett) get together and hangout for 4 hours, and people who have interesting jobs come and tell us about their jobs. And sometimes you get to play Boeing Trivia. My team rocked everyone last year... we won by some ridiculous margin (A: Good at Trivia. Q: Who is Adam).
Everyone at Boeing is on some wacky internal clock, where "start time" is 7:30 or earlier, so I gotta get to bed. Adios Chitlins.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The First Week (again)

I had WAY more fun at work than I expected. After my internship last summer, I was kind of "down" on being a DBA. But now that I have my own projects, its actually interesting. I work for some really cool groups: Noise Engineering Labs, Propulsion Labs, Airport Technology, and the application they use to have a customer configure their airplane. And, after they buy an airplane, they can get access to MyBoeingFleet[1]... which I will also be working on.
I think I'm also having fun because I'm learning a lot about databases. And lately, I've been interested in large amounts of data, information retrieval, and informatics. And I'm just starting work on writing a web crawler (something I've always wanted to do just for fun). After taking a class in Evolutionary Algorithms (EA), I became really interested in that, and in the last couple of weeks... I've started thinking about ways to apply EAs to a search engine. If I do anything cool, I'm sure I'll post the results here. For right now, I want to write the web crawler, because I like data (the stuff, not the character). As the old adage says: the more, merrier.

[1] Secure, password protected site for online maintenance, engineering, and flight operations data for airline customers. Also, list of service centers, spare parts search, and tracking of Website metrics.

Monday, February 07, 2005

The First Day (again)

So, today was my first day back at Boeing. It went much better than I expected, which was a pleasant suprise.
So, I turned up at the plant at about 8AM. I didn't have a badge, so I had to go get a new one first thing. There was some waiting around, but luckily Frontiers (the Boeing corporate magazine) had a pretty interesting article about Howard Hughes. They've updated the badges a little bit. My new badge has a smartcard chip on it. I don't know what it's for... but it looks pretty sweet. Another new addition to my badge was a the letter "N". Because of recent scandals they have to mark people that are new employees (been there less than 3 years) to show that there might be a possible conflict of interest if the person is part ofcontract negotiations.
Anyways, it takes a while for my new badge to get me access to the buildings... so I had to stalk around a little bit by the doors to get in, but I don't think anyone really noticed (I'm kind of a pro at stalking, but don't tell Weird Al Yankovic). And even if someone had noticed, I would have been ok because I now had a badge.
As soon as I got to my desk, I left to go to a performance review for one of my projects (one that I worked on as an intern)... for 2 hours. And then the morning was done. So I spent most of the rest of the day on the phone trying to get my computer sorted out. There was a slight problem... basically it hasn't been loaded properly, so I didn't really have access to anything. And just like that... the day was done. If every day I work goes by this quickly... I'll be a happy boy. I already have about a 50% workload after my first day. And as soon as one guy gets back from vacation, he's going to give me the other half of my work.
The only bad part about today was that I was EXTREMELY tired. I was so excited about today that I couldn't fall asleep last night. I didn't get to sleep until after 4AM, and I woke up at about 6:40AM. I'm going to blame the lack of humor in this post to my lack of sleep. Bye.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Never Underestimate the Power of College Kids

I just talked to Dan. And in the true tradition of college, he and his new roomates threw a "Tsuami Relief Party". Because of the weather in Moscow they were expecting a somewhat muted attendence. They purchase 5 kegs based on the estimated attendence numbers. But University of Idaho students paid little attention to the weather, and in the interest of The Tsunami victims... they showed up in record numbers.
The report that I got was that about 300 people showed up, and approx. $900-$1000 was collected to send to a (as of now, undecided) relief organization. In the end the party consumed 10 kegs and an undiclosed amount of Jello Shots before calling it a night.
Well Done Guys.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Memories of Paperwork Past

So, T minus 8 days until I start work again. And I'm actually pretty excited... but I'm also dreading what lay directly in front of me.
Don't get me wrong, I'm really excited to be moving to Seattle, but I'm not really excited about moving to Seattle. Normally moving isn't a too big of a deal because I really don't have that much stuff (a couch, a bed, a dresser, and a BBQ comprise most of my worldly possesions). I can easily fit it all into my Dad's truck, but alas, the truck is in Arizona right now. So, when I realized that Boeing will hire a company to move my stuff for me... I thought that that would be a great deal. Nope. So, they're picking my stuff up on Tuesday the 1st. And they'll be dropping it off on Monday... the 14th. And to be honest, I could almost care less about that. I'm just not a fan of not being in control of the situation.
Anyways, the paperwork is already coming in. Paperwork for the movers, paperwork for the corporate credit card, paperwork for moving expenses, paperwork for more paperwork (yes its funny, but no... its not a joke). When I went back to school, Boeing had left somewhat of a bad taste (not really bad, its like Tuna packed in water instead of oil. Still tasty-as-all-get-out, but could better) in my mouth and over the schoolyear that has faded into the background. But, getting large packets of paper is bringing it right back up to the front. Once I get going, and I'm just one of the cogs in the corporate machine... I won't have to do so much paperwork. I guess its just the paperwork to install a cog that is a pain.
Sorry its been so long since I've posted, but I really haven't had much to say about my "professional" life lately, since it's been on hold while I transition out of college.

Monday, January 03, 2005

What I Really Want To Do...

Is being a DBA what I really want to do? Not so much. Its a decent job, with decent pay, for a decent company in an awesome city. One thing I've never been happy with is being just 'decent'. So, I have a feeling that over the next few years I'll be transitioning some of those 'decents' to 'exceptionally awesomes.'
So, what really strikes my fancy? Well, I've always been a fan of making web pages. So that is a start I guess. But as web sites get more and more advanced, I become more and more intrigued by the possibilities of what can be done on the web. Newer sites aren't just HTML and javascript, they are rich enviroments with high amounts of user interactivity with low amounts of old-school-ish navigation. Here are some good examples:
  • Flickr - My friend and I toyed with doing a photo-sharing website this summer, but never got around to it. If we had been focused, and got it done... I could only hope that it would be half as useful/cool as Flickr. With smart javascript, and flawless integration of flash applications into the webpages, the site *begs* to be used. Another cool thing about Flickr is the availability of an API for outside developers to use. There have already been some genius applications developed that do cool things.
  • GMail - By far the best webmail I've ever used. They say that their organization system is far superior to previous email systems. Its pretty cool... but its not that much greater. The part that I think is really cool is that the email is very interactive... you don't have to load a bunch of pages. As soon as you're logged in, it seems like you're just using a normal windows program.

There are more, but I wanted to keep this post shorter than normal. So, what do these website have to do with me? Well, I want to create a web application that is cool enough to have people write about them... simply because they're cool. And hopefully there is some money making potential in them...