Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Ultimate Office Layout

Recently at work, a mail thread has been going around about the "Ultimate Office Layout" for software developers, which basically consists of some hogwash about how much better it is to stick all the developers together in one large room, with tables instead of desks, so they can interrupt - er, I mean, collaborate with each other whenever they feel like it.

BS, I say. This is a ploy by subtle managers to convince their engineers that this is the great, new way for a better workspace. They do this by using words like "collaboration" and "productivity." In reality, it is a scheme to control the employee populace by making it so they can be observed all the time. Hey, why not make us stand up all day long? And program using Commodore PETs? Why not display the contents of my monitor up on a large screen where everyone can see? Why not make me only use the telephone if it is on speaker?

Ugh. I don't buy into it. Good engineers know how to work well and they don't need some new-age high-productivity layout to do it - and lousy ones will be lousy regardless. Fortunately, my employer has not bought into this garbage. Yet.

But they might need some counterpoints, some ideas with which to refute this nonsense. Thus, I present to you, the ultimate office. Please pardon the crude drawing.

Description of The Ultimate Office:
1. The primary monitor - a 100" screen from a front-projection monitor in the ceiling near the center of the room.
2. The secondary monitor - another 100" screen like the first.
3. Center 7.1 surround channel - two 6 1/2" woofers and one 1" horn tweeter.
4. 7.1 surround satellites (left and right) - one 6 1/2" woofer and one 1" horn tweeter.
5. Media cabinet with PCs and media server, 7.1 surround sound receiver and amplifiers, audio mixer.
6. 7.1 rear satellites (left and right) - one 6 1/2" woofer and one 1" horn tweeter.
7. 7.1 rear speakers (left and right) - two 6 1/2" woffers and one 1" horn tweeter.
8. Recliner/office chair.
9. Primary work space.
10. Whiteboard discussion/meeting space.
11. Love seat (preferably leather).
12. Sofa (again, leather).
13. Microwave.
14. Refrigerator.
15. Kitchenette w/ sink.
16. Round table for meetings.
17. Door - solid wood, with no windows, that closes.
18. Very large whiteboard.
19. Light dimmer switch.
20. Bookcase.

Oh yeah. I can see myself getting a lot of work done in a place like that, for sure.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

My Ears Are Ringing

Okay, not really. I mean, not anymore. But my voice is still gone. I saw Journey and Def Leppard last night in concert, with Amber, Greg, and Stephanie, and it was KILLER.

Journey opened. I'd seen them before, a couple of years ago. Journey is a great live act. Don't go expecting a bunch of touchy-feely heart-melting love songs, though. You'll get a couple of them, but Journey live is a first-class arena rock concert. I have to say that Jeff Scott Soto, filling in for Steve Augeri at lead vocals, did an outstanding job. Journey was awesome, leaving some big shoes for Def Leppard to fill - which they almost did, but not quite.

Still, Def Leppard live is a fantastic experience. There is something really magical and polished about their delivery, with each song feeling like it's own unique showpiece, produced to an exacting method. This does have the effect of causing it almost to feel NOT like a concert. I'd never seen Def Leppard before, and it was really awesome.

Best songs of the night:
Star-Spangled Banner (Neal Schon - Journey)
Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin' (Journey)
Lights (Journey)
Don't Stop Believin' (Journey)
Escape (Journey)
Chain Reaction (Journey)
Separate Ways (Journey)
Let It Go (Def Leppard)
Hysteria (Def Leppard)
Rocket (Def Leppard)
Photograph (Def Leppard)
Armageddon It (Def Leppard)
Rock Of Ages (Def Leppard)

Best song of the night - Rock Of Ages. Hands down. That song was MEANT to be played live.

And to think - I could have been at LinuxWorld, heading a Birds of a Feather session. Hmm. Sorry, but I'll take the concert any day. Thanks, Journey and Def Leppard, for giving me a reason to not go. And to that poor sucker who had to go instead of me - well, thanks too.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Pastrana Flips Twice - At The Same Time

In case you hadn't heard, Travis Pastrana made history at the 2006 Summer X-Games when he pulled of the first-ever double back flip in freestyle MX competition.

He also made history by riding his motorcycle without injuring himself, although he apparently did blow his knee out later by walking on it.

You can't help but like Travis, but at the same time he has been a pretty big disappointment. The 2000 125cc AMA National Champion and 2001 125cc AMA Supercross Champion could have had a huge impact in Supercross. He could have continued what McGrath started, taking the popularity of Supercross to a new level, because of his great personality and riding skill. Instead, he is so distracted by so many other things, like freestyle MX, that we'll never know what could have been.

Still, if you haven't seen this video, you'd better give it a look. It's pretty awesome.

(Head on over to for more X-Games videos.)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Rules for Driving

Well, since I gave you the rules for parking, I thought I probably ought to also supply the rules for driving. Like the rules for parking, if you are a half bad boy, you already know these rules.

By the way, I wish to assert the belief that anyone who drives stupidly and thus causes road rage that escalates into a tragic circumstance shares some of the responsibility. No, I don't know if I really believe that.

1. Don't speed in residential areas. Hey, there are kids at play. Do I really need to explain this one? Nobody thinks you are a stud for speeding through the neighborhood. Mostly, we think you are a jerk.
2. Pay attention to the speed limit - and drive it. Nothing causes me more road rage than someone who isn't driving the speed limit, blocking traffic.
3. The left lane is for passing. Not simple cruising. This is mostly for people in Colorado who suffer from CDD. Hey, Coloradans - get out of the fast lane!
4. Know where you are going before you leave. This might seem obvious but if you have ever driven a car in Utah or Idaho you know that it is not. People will be driving down the road, two lanes each way, in the right lane, and suddenly decide they need to turn left. Right now. Did they forget where they were going? Or did they just decide?
5. Driving is not a contest. If someone passes you, it is not a personal attack. Really.
6. Don't make unprotected left turns across heavy traffic. This is how accidents happen. Turn right and go the "long way." You'll find it is probably actually quicker. (BTW, "unprotected" = "lacking a traffic sign or light that gives you right of way.")
7. Horsepower is a safety feature. It gets you out of trouble in a pinch. So floor that sucker! When the light changes, get a move on! We're waiting back here.
8. Your car is a reflection of your personality. You drive a Citroen 2CV? I don't know what to say about you.
9. If you have an awesome stereo, you can listen to whatever you want as loudly as you like.
10. When you are done driving and get home, park in the garage. The garage is not a big storage shed for all your crap. If you can't fit your car in the garage, get rid of some crap. Yes, I know this sounds like a rule for parking. It kind of crosses over.