Armen Chakmakjian

Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

A week at home – technical analysis

In Random on September 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm

So I had an operation earlier this week and under doctor’s orders I stayed home. In this case the doctor gave me worst case scenarios about what the recovery from a simple day surgery would be. It sounded like one of those drug commercials where they tell you everything that could go wrong. Well for the most part he was right, I felt like crap for a couple of days and still feel it when I try acting out my normal quick start and stop pace.

During that week, I did a bunch of sedentary things. For example, I continued to explore OSX lion user features on my Air, played angry birds on my iPhone, downloaded a couple of apps to both. I did homework for the classes that I had to skip assiduously taking notes with my new echo pen. I monitored our Friday release using our corp IM tool. I continued my love affair with reading on my Kindle DX. Most days it was my subscriptions to Reuters and Atlantic magazine. However, this week I also started to play with a thing called Instapaper, where I create my own set of reading gets loaded directly to the kindle from web pages that I tell it to copy down.

Oh yeah I also watch Zuckerberg try to be Jobs and I was underwhelmed by Timeline. Oooo you have every transaction I’ve done in a database and you’re going to allow me to go back based on time and see things rather than scrolling! Awesome, I might go give up my horse and drive a car too! The open graph stuff was somewhat interesting, but I yawn. And Serendipity is when you don’t expect something and it was lucky and pleasant, not stalk people looking for their music and play it. That’s just stalking.

I also read a book, yes a real book. A colleague gave me a book on my departure from Intuit called “The Art of Choosing”. The coincidence of taking my 2 marketing classes this semester (Strategic Marketing and Marketing Research) and a book about how humans make choices was interesting. By the way, thank you for the book, Depankar, it was excellent.

The one area that disappointed me this week was that I was supposed to get my new 27″ Thunderbolt display yesterday, but UPS informed me that there was “an exception”. My reaction was to want them to employ an exception handler and deliver my new display immediately, but they didn’t and now I have to wait for them to bring it at some time next week. Sigh. I was really looking forward to it. I bought a new desk and set up in a new place in the house that’s perfect for me to do work and hide the work in between study sessions. Of course the display would be showing, but I’d put up pictures on it so that it appeared to be a giant montage of my life (or something).

Anyway, in the process of sitting there, I wrote another episode in our ongoing story of the USS Washington. There’s time travel involved. And then this morning I suddenly figured out what had been eluding me for several weeks on book 2 of the Urtaru series. I had been taking the tack of a terrorist/freedom fighter route for the main character’s dilemma. But technology, the discovery this week of neutrinos that move faster than c (meaning possibly moving back and forth in time) and my own fascination with the possibilities of time travel all coalesced into “the secret” the that second of 3 would be telling the 3rd of three. It all suddenly made sense. How could the child know something about his father that he was bound to keep secret. I’m going to avoid the machine as enemy terminator stuff, and focus on the human psychology of getting a message from the past (or sending one to the future) that might change the course of events.

Anyway, that’s my week.

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 😉