Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy brings wild winds

Other then a 10 minute power failure last night around 9pm and the sound of heavy wind outside,  hurricane Sandy has been pretty tame for me in Montreal.

But I know the HMCS Moncton is out in the Atlantic with the 8 metre swells. After what happened to the HMS Bounty yesterday I am worried for my daughter, but no news is good news.

It's not over yet, the wild winds and rain are still going to affect us for a day or two. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Partying pussies!

It's not one of my photos but it could so be a photo of Pixie, Ziva and Jethro :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

The blame game!

A few days ago I blogged about interviews I was doing for internship positions.  I mentioned we contacted the school to ask why applicants registered for winter 2013 classes were applying for Winter 2013 internship. 

She suggested that perhaps we'd made an offer to a student who was waiting for a work permit and that immigration Canada has been really slow!!! Yeah she blamed the government!!! I'm not sure how that applied to the Jewish kid that grew up DDO who was the one who suggested to us a part-time work schedule. 

So tally, for the internship position in winter 2013, from this particular university, I got 4 applicants. Three of the 4 applicants were registered for Winter 2013 courses. The one we interviewed was registered for 3  courses one registered with 4 didn't meet GPA requirements, and the other registered for 6. Two of the 4 applicants mentioned on their CV they wanted a summer job.    The one good applicant I lost to another department. I can live with that better then with the quality of their candidates.

I dunno what it is about this university. It's an excellent school, but this pushy candidate lost his chance for an interview.  We had another student a few years ago from that school that we terminated 2 months into an 8 month internship, because he just wasn't doing much work at all. Besides that he was creepy, he was spending part of the day staring at his female supervisor. So we put a 30" LCD to use as a barrier. That didn't deter him, he's just roll his chair back and still stare. He spent way too much time surfing the net, in particular the situation in the Gaza strip, so the last month he didn't even have internet access and still that didn't make him more productive.

I wonder how many people are waiting in line...

to purchase Wind8ws. I do know that I can't access the Dell site for drivers this morning and I can't help but wonder if it's related to the release of Wind8ws? I can access the HP and Lenovo sites for drivers no problems.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ah the help you get.....

Today one of my colleagues came to ask me for my opinion on what system we should order that will ship to us with Wind8ws. This will help us testing some of the features of Wind8ws in a machine that fully supports it.  Originally he wanted to buy a machine in the Inspiron line but I suggested we go instead with a PC in the Optiplex line, like the 3100. That it would be in similar price range but more the type of PC our customers use.

He was unsure the PC had the features he wanted and chatted live with someone from Dell. She assured him this machine was not UEFI. So he came to see me rather defeated. Personally I thought the chat person just didn't know much about the machine she's selling. The previous generation Optiplex we have in the lab is actually UEFI. I doubt they would go backwards.

A rant about a nasty internship student coordinator.

I was ranting about Universities and student candidates for internship  yesterday and reading yesterday's entry might put you in context for this rant.

I seem to remember getting a larger selection of candidates and from many more universities in the past. Some of is is that the reputation of the company I work for in some circles leaves a lot to be desired so some students just won't apply with us.  Some universities burned their own bridges.

One stage coordinator decided at some point that she was going to teach me a lesson and decided that I was banned from hiring students from her university for 2 years until I resolved some 'issues' in my team. She figured that my colleagues would still hire. However from that point on, we stopped hiring candidates for that position from that school since  I was banned from hiring none of us were hiring.  It was probably the last straw as it was already a major inconvenience to hire their students because they were 2 hours outside Montreal and we had to interview them on the university campus.

My boss didn't feel I had done anything wrong, since a large percentage of the problems this university's stage coordinator  had with 'me' were really issues she had with the internship position itself.  I also suspect she was unclear on the concept of what engineers do.

She complained that it wasn't up to her students to do technicians work. Did she really expect students with 6 courses in engineering to be able to do development?  My boss, who was formerly an engineering student told this woman, that he would have gladly mopped the floors in an engineering firm just to see how the company worked when he was attending university!

She complained that students were coming in at 7am and that I wasn't in before 10am and they had no one around to help them out. That one was resolved easily. Students are no longer allowed flex time or to choose their own schedule. They get their immediate supervisors schedule imposed on them or my schedule imposed on them. Exceptions are made if the student has courses and must leave by 4pm. They are  allowed to come in at 8 on those days.  I found this complaint beyond stupid. Until that point students could choose their own work schedule like any other Matrox employee but because some were too immature to take advantage of the opportunity, it's not longer offered.  People who don't want to work generally choose the schedule that overlaps the least possible with the boss to do the least possible.  New employees can no longer ever chose their work schedule.

Another complaint she had was that I wasn't FRIENDLY ENOUGH. That unlike a colleague I had not taken my students out for a beer!! The said colleague at the time was only a few years older then the students and often went for a beer after work. Unlike me who went home to 2 children, and really did not socialize with co-workers ever. My boss said that he was just as quiet and introverted as me and he didn't socialize either with employees and that the role of a boss is to lead work, not to be friends! This stage coordinator was doing her students no favours by letting them think it was ok to expect their BOSS to be their friend.  It can happen but it's very rare.

Another complaint was that even when I was present I was too busy and could not give enough hand holding to the students, and  that they all answered to me. My boss told her that he had absolutely swamped me with work and it was amazing that I managed it that well. That unfortunately between layoffs and departures I was the only person with the knowledge to help the students with the tasks they were doing and that yes people at work are BUSY!!!

She tried to make it sound like I was a horrible boss and while she did a number on me, she attacked me and said things that no professional should ever say in a professional meeting.  I was so upset, that my boss and the HR person of the time also scheduled to have a meeting with her about my case.  Of course neither HR girl or my boss were attacked personally so they could defend me rationally.  After the person finished her attack the HR person said that I'd been at the company for 10 years and had had at least 200 students/permanent employees go through my department, and there was never a complaint made to HR by anyone who's worked for me.  

In fact my company did nothing to resolve 'my problems' because they didn't deem they were 'my problems'. I took out the one positive criticism, that I needed to share the knowledge with my team and made modifications. It's helpful if I don't have all the students answer directly to me. But as soon as I get someone up to speed on a project and it works well with the students, the person leaves and I'm back to square one again.

I know it was one particularly bitchy student from that school, who complained about me.  The coordinator claimed the last 6 students that worked for me complained, but she just warped the data. Sure the students will all say that the stage is a technician level stage, because it is.  It's not a complaint for most it's just the honest truth.

She said the students didn't like their experience so they didn't' come back for a second stage. As far as I know out of the 6, 4 came back for a 2nd stage, including the one who complained, so yeah they were all really traumatized!!  Three of them hated me so much that when they were doing their 2nd stage, they all stopped in at my desk to say hello, some more then once!

The bitchy student was a diva. On the first day when I tried to explain to her what I expected her to do, she cut me mid instructions to tell me it wasn't how you did it.  So I asked her how many years experience she had in testing display drivers. She said none, so I continued and finished explaining what the job she was expected to do. After that day, she did the bare minimum of work. I'd never seen a girl who multitasked so poorly.  She did very little and I'm not sure she realized that she wasn't with us to teach us things but to learn from us.  

Out of the three students I had those 4 months, she was the least productive, spent too much time on the phone chastising her little sister and she was by far the most mouthy. So when I did her evaluation at the end of the stage I did them honestly and hers sucked. Something she didn't appreciate when she realized she had the worst evaluation of them all. 

Maybe she or their stage coordinator thought they would rid my company of the bad seed [me] but I think this student and her coordinator might have been hit with a rude awakening. Just because Ms Diva was a gifted student in imaging, didn't mean that she could tell me or my team what to do or decide how the job was going to be done, a job she knew nothing about and had no experience doing.  When you're a student intern, you aren't given the role of the company's president, unless maybe if your dad is the owner and hers was not!!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Some candidates don't deserve consideration

As usual every 4 months I interview a slew of candidates for internship. As per company policy I can only hire students who have a minimum of 2.6/4.0 or 2.9/4.3 GPA. I also put in the job description that we only consider students from first or second year into their Bachelors degree. The main reason is, often if they are 3rd or 4th year, they have had enough programming classes to be able to work on small development projects, but I have no such work to offer them.  I've often hired students, that after 2 weeks of doing testing, come to see us and want to do 'development'.  When you tell there there is none in their job, they stay pissed off and do the least possible the rest of the workterm.  First and second year students don't have enough experience to expect development jobs and overall tend to be a better fit in my team.

The worst internship to fill is the winter one, that goes from January to April.  The easiest to fill is the summer internship, From May to August where I get too many good candidates for the few jobs I have. To give you an example, currently I have 6 positions to fill and I got 15 applicants. I had to brush off 5 candidates because they did not meet GPA requirements, despite the fact that on our job description, it clearly states the minimum GPA we accept. For a summer internship I could get 100-150 resumes for the same 6 positions. [Then I screen via GPA and if they have finished more then 2 full years of University]

Since I had 10 candidates left after screening, I just chose to interview all of them. Generally I don't spend much time reading cover letters as the majority quote at least 1 paragraph from our corporate website which tells me very little about them. The resume itself I skim through to get a sense of prior jobs and experiences. Generally though I base my selection of candidates on candid responses in interviews and not much on their writings. 

The first candidate we interviewed apparently seemed surprised that we were interviewing for winter semester, and was looking more for a summer job.  I'm not sure why I would interview students for summer in OCTOBER!!!!  Then just to make things interesting he proposed a schedule of the hours he could work on 3 days a week!!!  I'm not sure how I can use a student that comes 3 hours here and 4 hours there. I can use a student like that AFTER they have been with us full time for 4 months and were exceptional in anticipating the jobs needing to be done.

I thought I had just run into a clueless postulant. I wasn't so lucky. Today I got 2 more resumes from this particular university, and when I was looking for the students GPA, I realized both students were registered for winter classes according to their transcript.  One clearly say they want a winter internship, but I'm not sure how this applicant would manage it if they are registered in no less then 6 classes in Winter 2013. The other had no cover letter, and in really small print on their resume said they were looking for Summer internship.

I was so disappointed that I asked my HR person to contact the schools internship coordinator and ask why students with a full course load are applying for internship positions.   These are not part-time jobs after school hours. This is a full-time position between 9-5pm, 5 days a week. I have no interest in wasting time to see a student who I cannot hire full time for Winter 2013.

I can hear someone argue with me that I'm being inflexible. Perhaps, but the internship I have to offer is in quality assurance.  It is of utmost importance that the candidate knows the difference between a failure and a success.  If a candidate cannot follow simple instructions, how can I trust them to put quality into a product in a timely fashion?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

More photos along the Lachine canal

Lighthouse in Lachine
Fall colours at waterfront at bird sanctuary in Lasalle

Friday, October 19, 2012

I was udderly delighted with this photo

It's always something.....

For the past week or so I've had my little finger and ring finger of the left hand all numb and it was getting worse. This time it's not related to my truck.  As best as I understand it, the ulnar nerve is pinched somewhere, more likely at the elbow. Oh and the ulnar nerve is what makes the elbow have a 'funny bone'. That electrical sensation is your ulnar nerve.

The sucky part is that I sleep on that arm, elbow bent, so I have to stop it to heal and I also drive my car with my left hand only, since I learned to drive stick shift originally. 

I'm trying to keep my arm from being bent as much as possible, I'm hoping it will help

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lasalle Drive-in

Yesterday when driving around the Lachine Canal we stopped at the Lasalle Drive-in, located on Lasalle blvd, corner Champlain, right in front of Police Station 13. 

I had a French fry and my friend I had a French fry, Gyro and soda. My fries were kick ass. They also offer sea salt on the tables. The restaurant staff was friendly, the service was quick and the place was clean. They are right on the water front and if we hadn't been so cold from hanging around the waterfront we might have sat outside to look at the view.

I'd go back any day. Only down side is that they are a cash only business.

Lighthouse in Lachine

Moulin Fleming in Ville Lasalle

Monday, October 15, 2012

Windows 8 - and PC desktops

Apparently I'm not the only one who sees that Wind8ws might be a nightmare for those who are going to use a desktop computer as opposed to a tablet or a smartphone. 

I've been using versions of Windows since 1992.  I hate the double desktop, makes it non-intuitive for someone who just needs to get email and work on documents. This article is from experts and what they have to say about Wind8ws

I had said that I doubted OEMs would be very keen. It seems HP and Lenovo are going full speed but Dell is not so much. Dell seems to want to stick to windows 7 as its shipping OS on most machines for a little while longer.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

4.5 Earthquake early this morning in Montreal area

The last couple of earthquakes in the Montreal region I either heard about later in the day or I was away from Montreal and felt nothing. 

It was not the case last night. I was sitting at my PC a bit past midnight and suddenly out of a dead quiet, I hear all my cats scatter like there had been a huge noise. That's when I felt the house vibrate like there was some Guido living next door with a massive sound system and the bass was vibrating. 

That's when I suspected there had just been an earthquake, but the news were not out yet. This morning I found article that said there had been an earthquake last night.

Now I can hear this song by Carole King "I feel the earth move under my feet"

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Interesting photo of tree with blue lights.

One neighbour on the next street over has a house just like mine and a tree on the front lawn in which was put some blue lights. I love how this photo came out. Of course this might be because I have a new lens. I`m pretty sure I would not have been able to take this photo with my old lens.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Fall colours and sunset on Riviere des prairies

Photos taken tonight on my street and from Rive Boisée, for the sunset all in Pierrefonds.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

I can't believe he called!!!!!

I wrote back February of last year about an incident with one of my exes.  I was horribly upset afterwards and I had someone tell him to not contact me anymore. 

I wrote the piece below in December of 2011, but never gave him the letter. Now I'm wishing I did. I wasn't at work on Friday but I called to see if I had any messages and sadly I had one message, from him. He called me at work because he knows I don't answer my phone at home.  Now I'm wondering if I shouldn't snail mail this letter to him..... 

I know I shouldn't let it bug me but I can't help it bugs me. I'm pissed about it too. I mean I was in a perfectly good mood, I was going to have a great long week-end and now I'm upset over this dumb ass again.

December 2011
Dear asshole friend. [The original text uses his full name here], 

I’m profoundly disappointed in you. You’ve been acting like a spoiled little boy for years. You say you respect your mother, but this isn’t true. Sure you treat your mother with more respect than you treat most people but if you truly honoured your mother, in true Mohawk tradition, you would treat all women in your life with the same kind of respect.  I remember you telling me years ago when we lived together that I wasn’t worthy of that respect.  Why you believe that is beyond me and incredibly hurtful.   If anything I have been a woman who has loved you, believed in you and tried the most to help you, other than your mom and your sister.   
I had to face my mom’s cancer alone, with a drunken asshole around me all the time. I would get home from work by the time you were on your 12th beer. I did not get the support I needed at any given point. You didn’t even allow me a day alone to grieve by myself. Like having a drunken idiot who tries to pick fights with you, around you, is helpful to help you grieve? 

Yet when you called me to tell me about your mom’s cancer, I came running. I put away my hurts and was there for you so that you could be there for your mom. The pain I had to carry alone when my mom was sick and died, I didn’t wish anyone to have to go through this alone. 

When you called that night in February 2011 I could see you were in pain and needed to talk. Instead of being a man and telling me what was really on your mind, you decided to attack me verbally to the point where I felt I didn’t have a place anymore in this world. You spent over 30 minutes saying mean and hurtful things that I hope you don’t actually believe.  It’s not the first time you tell me such things, but this time is the last. You had the audacity to say you had brought me flowers the week before and ask me what I did for you in return.  When I’ve been there for you, I never did it to ‘get’ something in return. I was there for you because you needed me.  

That night on the phone you acted like a frightened little boy beating on the person who was there for you.  I still to this day do not understand what I did to you to deserve this profound disrespect. I don’t give a damn that you were drunk.  If you didn’t feel this profound disrespect for me, you wouldn’t voice it so adamantly when you drink. You wouldn’t try to make me feel like I didn’t deserve to walk this earth. 

It is incredibly hurtful that instead of acknowledging that when you drink you act like a jerk, you pretend like it didn’t happened.   Just because you have no recollection of being a jerk, does not mean you were not a jerk.     You’ve spent at least the last 12 years telling me that since you don’t remember being a jerk, and I don’t have it on camera,  I have no right to be upset at the impossible situations you have put me in due to your drinking.  

I’ve repeatedly told you that I do not want to be around you after you drink alcohol. I’ve put up with two years of your perpetual drunkenness one of which was while my mom was dying. I don’t ever want to have to put up with a drunken YOU ever again.   You consistently ignore this wish and subject me to your appalling behaviour over and over again. I stopped drinking myself 30 years ago because I didn’t like who I became when I drank, but you expect me to put up with you?  

 That being said, I’m done with you.  I am a person who deserves more than this kind of treatment and if all you have for me is disrespect then I don’t want to be part of your world. You wonder why my daughters have no respect for you, and don’t ever want to see you again? Look no further, they can see how you disrespect me and by extension, them. 

I still love you, despite all, and always will. I wish you no harm and hope one day you will become a man and be able express your real feelings instead of attacking the women who choose to be there for you. A man, who accepts responsibility for his actions, acknowledges the stupid things he did, apologizes when he’s made mistakes and works towards making amends for those he’s wronged.  I hope one day you learn to lean into your paddle. 

Walk in Beauty

Freedom of religion is a right!

Last I checked the charter of rights and freedoms in Canada, there was a right called freedom of religion. Interestingly enough the federal government seems to have forgotten that.

Either chop ALL chaplains regardless of faith or keep multiple faiths. Why is it suddenly only Christian ones are allowed?

Is there a memo that says that you have to be Christian to be a Canadian? Here I thought we had freedom of religion under the Charter of rights and freedom.... 

And as a non-Christian I find it offensive that sanity forbid I ever land myself in jail, I'd like to get guidance by someone who is not strictly Christian.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Today's Gnome of the day

As drawn randomly from the desk - today's choice

The Wonderfulness of Me

The Wonderfulness of Me

If you took all of the things that were special about me, you could put them all together and call it ADHD.
No better, No worse, just different that's me.
I'm really not crazy, please try and see.
As I daydream and drift, you think no one's there, but nothing could be farther from the truth, believe me I swear.
I see your impatience as my mind starts to wander, but you don't know the depth of the thoughts that I ponder.
For creative thinkers get lost in deep thought, which leads to the illusion that they cannot be taught.
I know trying to reach me can give you the blues,but I wish for just once you could walk in my shoes.
To see things through my eyes, you would be amazed, at the speed and sheer volume my thoughts seem to blaze.
I'm not lazy or stupid, if only you knew, how truly difficult it is to limit myself and think like you do.
So show me some patience, as I'm patient with you.
Just a little tolerance it's long overdue.
Please try and understand me, along with my ADHD.
It's a very big part of the wonderfulness of me.
[Someone posted it in my ADHD group on Facebook and I'm sharing it]

Friday, October 05, 2012

Happy to have a long week-end

I decided to stay put, it's going to be too cold and wet this week-end to go out in the middle of nowhere and attempt to canoe. I remember last year at this time of the year we had Indian summer, it was warm and it was awesome but not this year. 

I'm happy to have time off because the past couple of days I've had bad luck with hardware. Other then finding out my 250Gb drive with the Wind8ws installs got fried because someone accidentally pulled out the power cord just enough for my Z800 to turn off.  And then the hard disk wouldn't boot. I've spent the rest of the week trying to fix it by marking off the bad sectors with a manufacturer provided software since I am out of hard drives.  Getting new drives will take one to two weeks. 

Then yesterday afternoon, it was suggested that I might not have tried the latest BIOS on the ASUS F1A75-V Pro. They were right, the system didn't have the latest BIOS. So I downloaded the BIOS and the BIOS flash tool off the ASUS site, put it on my USB key, booted and started to flash. Sadly after  it got 1/8 of the way through it's progress bar it hung. And stayed like that for the next hour at which point I unplugged the system and knew it wouldn't boot. 

And the coup de grace, was trying to add a 2nd display adapter in the xw9300, I had named Final Fantasy VII, or FFVII for short. It has been months that the power button on that system is flaky. You turn it on, it turns off.  Except that in the past week it was you turn it on 10-20 times, it might post once.  But yesterday after 30 trials and no post, I gave up. Stripped the machine of all it's usable parts and putting it to pasture. I have 2 more xw9300 in my team, one named Castle, after tv show, the other named Opus, after Opus the penguin of bloom county.  These systems will inherit the memory, hard drives and possible the CPU if they were single CPU versions.

It does not beat that about two weeks ago I noticed that my two Lenovo's LT2452 lcds, that I'd only had for about 2 months at that point, were both displaying solid white though the analog input.  I tried 3 different graphics cards, several cables, and concluded something went funny on the LCD's.  Thankfully Lenovo crossed shipped me 2 new ones, and I sent back the 2 defective ones. But this is the weirdest break of an LCD I've ever seen. Maybe it's because these are LED's?  These are very nice monitors, they do 1920x1200, and have an analog, a DVI and a displayport port.  The mechanism to switch between them is friendly and they display crisp. 

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Annoying cold and broken furnace

I noticed when I started the furnace up  in mid September that it wasn't working the way it should be. It also seems that the ventilation unit is no longer working. It's not a huge deal, I just had to call Gaz MetroPlus with whom I have a service contract to report the problem so they would send a tech.  They did yesterday, and the furnace is fixed, it now keeps the asked temperature, but the guy did not have a part for the ventilation unit. He will be back today to replace that. The guy saw it misbehave and decided to change it before it completely died on me.

Other then that I've had a cold for over a week. It comes and it goes. I took last Friday off to sleep and get rid of it. I was feeling so much better on Monday. Sadly Tuesday I started sneezing up a storm. Still sneezing and having a runny nose. I don't think it's allergies. It's really annoying because of course everytime I over blow my nose I end up with cold sores in my nostrils.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

More Adventures in UEFI world - MSI P45D3 Platinum

The past week I've been testing booting on various motherboards and systems with a UEFI BIOS to see what we need to support booting a graphics card. 

I've tested an assortment of systems, Dell T1600, and T3600, HP Z620, HP 8200 Elite, Lenovo M91, my intel reference board, the DX58SO, some ASUS F1A75-V PRO motherboard, HP Z820, and HP Z210.  Mostly they all behaved the same.

Then I remembered our first UEFI motherboard, that we used to develop our first UEFI BIOS.  This was the trusted MSI P45D3 Platinum.  However when I booted on the system, I realized that the motherboard had it's most recent BIOS - which sadly was an old school AMI BIOS. After doing some research on forums, it appeared that the latest UEFI BIOS for this motherboard was version 1.43. I had no luck getting it off the MSI global site, their site seemed down most of the day.  One of our interns, who happens to have taken German, managed to find the BIOS I needed on the German MSI site.

One I had the BIOS installed, I realized that the only setting that would permit me to install windows in UEFI mode was to boot to 'EFI shell". So I did.  From the shell, I figured out how to load the DVD and while it took several installs and changing hard disks multiple times. But in the end I did install Windows 8 64 bits in UEFI mode on the MSI P45D3 Platinum motherboard.

After which I tested the BIOS I was supposed to test and found a bug when changing settings in the "click bios". Writing this blog made me realize I had a few more tests to do. :)

Where I'm particularly pleased is that I've been looking for information about setting up the MSI P45D3 motherboard, and all I found in forums is that people could not get it going with an OS in UEFI mode. That it would hang part of the way.  But they were trying with Vista 64, which is not so compatible with later GPT capable operating systems.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Welcome to Canada!!!!

Welcome to Canada we don't care who you Marry so long as you both watch hockey. And of course stop at Timmies for your coffee several times a day :)