Armen Chakmakjian

Catching up…

In career, Random, Religion, Science Fiction, Social Media, technology, web 2.0 on May 14, 2011 at 6:56 pm

I’ve been pretty busy and 2 things that I used to do I kinda pushed aside to get to this point.  One of them was writing more of Book 2 in the Urtaru series.  The other thing was blogging.

In truth I’ve been micro-blogging all along, and you can see a trail of bits in twitter and fb (and ff and plaxo and where ever else I have connected up).

My last major blog post was my retro on 2010.  In there I hinted that my work situation was probably going to change, but I tried to stay away from the topic as best as possible.  To catch up, on Jan 21, 2011, I left my job at Intuit QuickBase and on January 24, 2011 I started my new job at Constant Contact.  As if that wasn’t enough I started another semester at Bentley on Jan 27th, taking a class on Usability and a class on User Research to get through the first of my two concentration.  In the process of taking those two classes, I learn how to create and run a usability test on a website (from requirements gathering, project plans, expert reviews task lists, scripts, execution and the report out).  On the user research side, I did a similar set of stuff that culminated in a focus group on electricity usage and monitoring software…and then the subsequent report out to the client replete with graphs, results, quotes and recommendations.

Both classes were fun and although there was some turbulence wrt team dynamics on one of the classes I did learn a lot that is directly applicable to my day-to-day work.  Ultimately that is the point of taking these classes, not the degree.  I still have 7 classes to go (out of a total of 18 that I need to take).  I’m actually looking forward to my starting my other concentration in marketing in the next two semesters…that one will really mesh with what I am doing now at work since we’re small business email marketing company (and going into social media marketing sometime…actually we’ve already started with things like our new feature Simple Share).

The funny thing about the kinds of jobs I’ve been getting lately is that the software being developed I can use myself.  So in the case of email marketing, I can use it for my book.   At my previous job, I could use QuickBase to keep track of stuff, and the free copy of TurboTax was a plus.  How I could use Semiconductor ATE equipment for my own purposes was always a stretch. 🙂

Anyway, I also got into a new hobby which was simming.  I wrote about it in another entry.  I have a character on a Federation starship and we write one chapter after another taking the story where we know no where it will go.  It’s kind of fun and kept me writing creatively in small bits and pieces.

I also did another open mic night, and posted the videos on my YouTube channel.  That was fun.  I’ve never played in a band before, so getting up in front of people alone and imitating a rock star was kinda interesting.  I’ve played in other venues over the years of course (middle school orchestral band, church and high school folk groups, campfires, playing guitar at church for the kids in Sunday school in the last few years).  Most of those activities though were either simple (kids) or I’d blend in with a bigger crowd (folk groups).  Standing alone on stage singing a song I taught myself on the guitar and only played in my house most of the time was a bit intense.

A few weeks ago my Apple Time Capsule died.  When I took it to apple they basically said that out of warranty it was cheaper to buy a new one than fix the old one.  So instead for the moment, I’ve removed the drive and put it in a tin usb can.  It turns out that the drive had crashed and I lost all my backups.  That’s not so bad I suppose, I don’t think I lost any singular data.

I also continue to teach Sunday School (high school grades).  Once in a while I can see that all the stories click in the mind of a teenager and they blurt out something I taught them.  Hopefully they’ll remember that feeling and do something similar themselves and get that kind of feedback (from teaching I mean, not necessarily Sunday School teaching, although that would be a happy results for me)

A week ago was our 21st anniversary and yesterday was our 23 anniversary of our first date…which was also a friday the 13th in May.  I also walk under ladders. 🙂

Finally that other thing I do, promoting my book, has been going pretty well.  Although I’m not selling in the several hundreds of copies yet, and I haven’t made back the amount of money I’ve spent on advertising, it has been a learning experience.  I’ve done several book giveaways on Goodreads.com, and I’ve gotten back some good reviews and a couple of kind criticisms.  All in all I’m getting enough good feedback that I haven’t been discouraged that there’s no market.  Now if I could only get the movie made 🙂

I’m not going to take any classes this summer and I’m going to try diligently to write more chapters of my next book….that’s the plan anyway 😉

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