Sunday, January 28, 2007

2 months at MS

So about a week ago i passed the 2 month barier at my new job. Only 1 more month of probation to go. So far i have no real complaints. I have incurred a few expenses. I think i am spending between 80-100 dollars more per month in gas and travel expenses. I have tried my best to stay off the 407ETR. My 407 bill for Dec. was $67. From my house to MS one way is a $7 bill with a transponder so a $67 bill for a month is pretty low.
I have been given a few assignments now and so far i have been able to complete everything i have been assigned. Most of the work has involved SQL Server 2005, Access , and some VB.net code. The coding has been minimal because that's not really what i was hired for. However, there were a few interfaces that needed to be built and since i had the most direct programming experience on the team i did it. It was fun. Additionally, i think i am fitting in pretty well with my co-workers so far. There are four people who i go for lunch with pretty much every day so i guess that is a good sign. We have had multiple office parties and team building events and i think i have held my own pretty well.

So overall, i guess i am pretty happy. Thus, its a pretty short post this week.

Next Week, 1 month update on new years resolutions. I plan to do it every month.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Audio Books

About a year ago i started to listen to audio books during my drive to work. I started because an audio book rental store opened up beside the store where i buy my DVDs. I went in a was pleasantly surprised by the selection. So on that day i rented the DA Vinci code. It was along rental book. It actually has about 17 disks. Since my drive to work is half hour each way it took me a little under a month i listen to it all. In the time since i have come completely hooked. I can not imagine driving to work with out a good audio book to listen to at this point. The place i rent from provides me with in and out rental deal. I am allowed one rental out at a time. So the more often i go the more value i get for my money. If i go at least every other day then my membership works out to about 2 dollars per book. It really is a great deal when you think about it. A book could provide me with anywhere from 5 to 20 hours of entertainment. A movie rental is only at most 3 hours of entertainment. Additionally, i have listened to books that i would never have taken the time to read.

However, since i now work in Mississauga my drive to work is substantially longer. I can now go through 2 disks worth of material in a day. Which is at least double what i used to. When my last membership expired in august i had about 25 books unread copied to my pc. I assumed this would be enough to last me for many months. But the longer drive and a few bad book choices has caused me to have to renew my membership.
Its completely worth it though. I recently listed to a book called "White Sister" by an author named Stephen J. Cannell. He is very good. I have listened to 3 other books by him (Cold Hit,Vertical Coffin, And Viking Funeral). All the books star a detective named Shane Scully. Dom if your reading this blog you should get this book. The next book i am almost finsihed is named "Confessions of a Video Vixxen" its by Karrine Staffen. She is a woman who used to dance in the hip hop video. In the books she gives all the behind the scene details about banging all the rap stars (Most of whom are married). Its a real juicy gossipy book. For those of you who don't know her nickname is Super Head. I assume most will figure out how she got that name. I will close up by saying i saw a video of her at work and she ABSOLUTELY deserves the name. LOL.

Thats it for now.

Next weeks. My first 2 months at Microsoft review.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

shopping for electronics

I am a bit of an electronics addict. Simply put i buy a lot of them. Far more than i actually need. Currently there are 4 televisions in my house despite the fact that there are only 3 people living there. There are also 5 (7 if you count my ps2 and computer) DVD players in my house. So yes there are more DVD players than televisions. It was such a slow process that it was easy to let it happen. Originally i just had the ps2. But one day i rented a movie and the ps2 couldn't play it. So i ran out and bought my first official dvd player. It was a samsung to match the samsung TV in my bedroom. But then i changed my tv to a Sony and bought a new Sony DVD player and moved the Samsung in my bedroom to the samsung tv in the basement. But then Sony came out with a DVD/VCR combo. Which at the time i thought was really cool. So i bought that and moved the Sony DVD player in my room into the den in my house. But then i heard about dvd recorders. This allows you to record to blank DVDs just like a VCR. I thought that was very cool so i got that and moved the dvd/vcr combo into the TV in my parents room. I thought that was going to be the end of it. I really did. But then the price of DVD/hard drive recorders dropped dramatically. A DVD player with a built in hard drive lets me not have to worry about having blank tapes around all of the time. Plus A blank DVD only holds about 4 hours at a decent quality as compared to the hard 80GB hard drive in my system that holds about 40 hours. No when i go on vacation i can record all my shows for the week and not have to choose which one i want.

I bring this up because my parents recently asked my to buy a new television to replace the one ion the family room that had stopped working. Needless to say it was alot of fun. Since HDTV is the new wave in television we pretty much had no choice but to go with LCD. It totally amazes me how much this technology has come down in price. I can remember going into future shop and seeing LCD and plasma TVs for $20,000. Needless to say i didn't spend that much. But i was able to get a 32inch (non-brand name) LCD TV for only $600. And so far it looks pretty good. The room it is in is not very large so 32 inches is about all it can hold.

Next week: Audio Books

Monday, January 8, 2007

The state of television

With the new year starting and some shows coming off of a short break i think that now is a good time to give a my state of the union on whats going on in the world of television. Let me start by saying that i am a big television fan. My head is filled with useless trivia from shows I bet most people have never even heard of. For example on the short lived (and thank fully canceled) super hero television series "The Flash", Mark "Luke Skywalker" Hamill played the role of joker rip-off "The Trickster".

While there are some great shows (Lost,24,BSG, etc..) on TV today I must say that overall i am genuinely unhappy with the current state of affairs. Most networks these days have a nasty habit of cancelling Television shows before they even have a chance to gain a following. It's like if a show is not a runaway hit right out of the box the network gives it the axe. The worst offender of this trend is fox. They have an ugly habit of canceling anything that is good. In the last year they cancelled at least three shows that i liked (Reunion, Vanished, and Justice). All of these shows went through multiple time slot changes before they were cancelled. How the hell do they expect a show to gain a following if the move it all over the dial. I mean they did the same thing with Family Guy a few years back. It was a truly funny show but the moved it all over the dial and gave it like 5 different time slots. Then they put it on against "Friends" and Survivor (Back when survivor was good). It didn't stand a chance and eventually got cancelled. It was only after family guy became the highest selling TV DVD in history did fox have the balls to realize their mistake and put the show back on the air.

More networks need to consider the "Cheers" factor. The series finished 77th - dead last - in the Nielsen ratings the week it debuted.. That show went on to have 10 successful seasons. That would never be allowed to happen today. Now the show would be cancelled and be replaced with some BS reality show. It makes it very difficult to get attached to anything because you never know if it is going to be around the following week.

I will end the post by speaking on a more positive note. This Sunday is the season premier of the most exciting hour on television. That's right Jack Bauer is back in the season premier of 24. For those of you who don't know JB is so bad ass that superman wears Jack Bauer Pajamas. Simply put he is a terrorist killing machine. He kills terrorists like aliens kill "Red shirts" on Star Trek. I can't wait. Judging by the trailers i am expecting this season to be really good.


I guess that's it for now... next weeks topic will be "Shopping for electronics"

Monday, January 1, 2007

The holidays

Happy new Year everyone.

This post is actually supposed to be about television, but I thought i would break from my schedule and talk instead about the holidays. I hope that everyone had a merry Christmas, I did. While i don't generally discuss my personal relationships much in my blog I will mention that i brought my girlfriend over for Christmas dinner. It was the first time she was meeting my parents and thankfully it went very well. I knew it would but it is nice to get that first meeting out of the way. Very stressful.

The Saturday after Christmas my mother likes to throw a family get together for most of my relatavies. I say most because for those of you who don't know i have 22 aunts/uncles. Having everyone one over would be impossible. But a large percentage of my relatives that live in canada were there. It was nice because i don't see many of them very often.

I did have plans to be very productive over the holiday but it never panned out. I took my laptop home over the holiday and i had planned to do some reviewing of things but never got around to it. I didn't have actual work assigned but i probably should have done some reviewing anyway. Oh well...

Time for new years resolutions.

1) Limit my time on the 407etr. The Price is going up and i want to make sure that i don't take the 407 more than twice a week. This should keep my bill under $50 per month. Which is reasonable in my opinion.

2) Go to the gym 4 times per week. Since there is a gym right by my work and since i don't want to get on the 401 at 5pm. This is a reasonable goal.

3) Keep blogging on a regular basis. My goal is to have a new blog addition at least once per week. So far i think that is about as often as i update. If i can keep up that pace i will be happy.

4) Manage money better. I don't think that i have been terribly irresponsible in the past but I do think there is room for improvement. I plan to but quicken and keep track of all my spending. I would also like to increase the amount of money i put into rrsps.

I think thats it for now.
Happy new year everyone.