- August 10th, 2015
Im no longer sure how many "friends" are still on LJ.
Its been a while since I was on here and I only see 2 still posting.
I guess last time i was on was around March just as Facebook project was wrapping up.
I really LOVED that place and i still miss it, BTW.
After that, I went into a 3 month contract to perm with Lyris, a digital marketing company.
The company is in Emeryville, but has a small strip mall office in the south bay where the data centre ops guys site.
What was cool was that I could spend half the week in EV.
What was not cool was that the team i was joining was dysfunctional with a capital D.
Nobody showed up till after 10:30 and the office didnt function before noon, and then took off for a 2 hr lunch.
They had been allowed to run wild for too long.
I used to be a "10:30" guy but Facebook broke me of that, making me an early morning person.
Id be given a project to do and told to work with the team lead who would push it out to the end of the day and then say it was too late, put it off another day and do it again.
I was told to install skype and work with the southbay guys when i was in EV, but they always said "Well work with you next time you are in the southbay"
Then WHY did I install skype in the FIRST PLACE?
I had a funny feeling about my prospective manager but it took it anyway, because i was trying to get out of "temping".
He had a habit of asking you if you had 2 minutes just as you were on the way out the door and then that went 2 hours.
One time, after an hour and a half, I mentioned that I was late for something and he had the GAUL to tell me
that I shouldnt be late. (HE was the reason i was going to be late!)
After almost 2 months, we were bought. I knew they were for sale.
The new company does EVERYTHING "in the cloud" and I mean EVERYTHING.
They have no offices, as the whole company works from their homes.
They have no datacentres, as everything is in Amazon Cloud.
Temp to perm conversions were on hold until after my contract was due to expire.
This meant I had no future there, so I knew it was time to work on an exit strategy.
I managed to eventually adjust my schedule to only spend Wednesday down there and managed to be more productive when in EV.
I loved the short commute and the ability to start days at 7am if I wanted to.
My 1st day, I was shown the EV machine room and the 40kw UPS was pointed out, that had an "issue" that we would need to eventually look at.
I think they went looking for the clean underwear dispenser when I looked at the UPS and told them that it was completely offline and probably had been for a while.
The entire battery string was shot.
I would later learn that 2 years ago someone tried to get batteries replaced only to be told that it was too expensive.
I had been there a month whjen the new battery string arrived.
My manager wanted APC to install them, but APC really didnt want to schedule field support just for that.
So, at 6am I installed 2 tons of batteries, and brought it back online.
It was interesting in that this was the 1st place that I interviewed with the CEO.
He was trying to turn the company around.
It would also be the first place where the CEO on Friday nights would call down from the mezzanine to get them up to play pool & drink beer.
I will miss that.
As acquisition time and the end of my contract approached my manager managed to get a 1 month extension for me, since someone needed to do a full server room audit and start planning the move to Amazon.
Meanwhile, bad news went out to the usual depts, HR, Legal, Finance that they were redundant and would be dropped at the end of the summer.
Then I heard that Marketing & QA were no longer needed. QA was totally automated, and they didnt market since they bought enough other companies to get new customer lists.
I also found out that because the database servers were so big and ran 24x7, that the Amazon cost would be higher than keeping the data centres we had.
I realized, they weren't buying us and had no intention of moving us to the cloud.
They were buying our customer base and the rest of us were expendable.
Then I KNEW I was doing the right thing in getting out.
Unfortunately, some people I cared about, didnt realize how bad it would get.
In the meantime...
I had realized that the reason the bike was running too lean might be that I was testing it without an air cleaner and I should try again.
The engine was frozen! It was time to stop fooling around and send it to the experts.
Most cycle shops wont rebuild an engine, but I found one who would. I had the bike shipped out
to a shop. It turns out it wasn't as severe as I thought, although parts for a 1983 Seca 900 are a bit scarce.
The project is progressing along slowly and I'm not in a hurry, as long as we keep moving forward.
The project that fizzled was acquiring an old communication site. It was hardened to take a 25 meg blast from 10 miles and had a HUGE tower, over 100ft high and 20ft square at the top.
He strung me along 5 or 6 years, before selling it to the park district, to be demolished for $20k less than i offered. My plans to get out of leases space are on hold.
In the mid 80s, my bud Doug & I got some industrial space out in West Oakland.
Doug died in 2003. In the early days, there were a few small companies there and a number of people illegally living there. Those spaces evolved into "live work". About 10 years ago, a number of "Burning Man" people started moving in and security of the neighborhood improved.
I loved popping by to work in my workshop or pich something up and encountering people spinning fire in the middle of Peralta in Oakland.
San Francisco is becoming increasingly residential. Oakland is starting down the same path.
Businesses are competing with residential for space. A number of real estate people have banded together to declare war on live work space because they view it as the 1st step of industrial turning into residential.
This spring The boom fell on the Bay Bridge Commercial Centre. They are emptying the building to gut the whole inside. While Im not live work, Im not commercial either, so i got swept out too.
From mid May to the end of the July 4 weekend, 1 pickup at a time, I moved 1000sqft out of 2nd floor with help from a friend.
I found a warehouse cage. I cant live there, no power to work, but it is space I can store and I can consolidate and finally sort.
The move out was sad & bittersweet. The neighborhood was spread to the 4 winds.
A lot of giveaways happened.
I got some cool stuff and I gave away some stuff.
I remember what Steve said about Starport closing down, and that it was fun watching where stuff went rather that just dumping it.
I didnt have time to sort much, but it was nice to give some stuff away.
I gave away a bunch of dark room supplies, paper, chemicals etc.
I got a Shark steam mop and an espresso machine.
I will be disposing of more from the new location.
I already sent a pickup of Old TVs & Radios to the radio museum in Alameda.
Im working on a bunch of stuff for the Computer History Museum.
Im also coming to grips with the number of projects that are not going to happen, and the futility of saving material for said projects.
I think Im looking at a bit over half a ton of steel alone.
Ive just got word that they are now emptying the back of the building except the mechanic back there.
This means another almost 1000sqft but this time its drive up to the door.
Im still working on lining up help for this one.
With these 2 consolidated into 1 cage, Ill be getting a better price per sqft.
After that, Ill start working on bringing the public storage lockers in and further decreasing my costs.
The large cage I need wont be ready for a couple more weeks, so the upstairs unit is in 2 smaller cages that will be consolidated into the big cage when its ready.
The move out of the lower back unit in WO will also require staging in smaller cages before final consolidation.
Back in June, "LD" graduated and headed back to Mich.
LD (Little Dave) was taken in by his grandparents when his Mom was about to hand him off to social services.
His grandparents are Lodemas downstairs tenants. Hes headed for a vocational school (boarding) that specializes
in kids like him. Im praying that he will make it. His mom made a mess of him, and he only made marginal progress in the 4 years he was out here.
I turned out in "Highland Black Tie" for the occasion and dinner after.
This is only the 2nd time Ive done full Highland black tie.
I dont think Im more active than i was before, but Ive lost weight, like 30 lbs since Jan.
Im down at least 1 trouser size (Having trouble keeping kilt pulled up)
I went from 190 to 160, but I think Im up to 165 again.
In the meantime, I have several projects to do in time for Dickens Fair, Scottish games, Pacificon as well.
Last time at Wierd Stuff, I noticed several pieces of AV equipment previously owned by Further Confusion which surprised me.
Months back, maybe a year ago, I drove by the old Starport, noticed new people moving in.
I know that Steve finally sold the house, so I guess those were the new people.