So, anyone who has known me for a long term has probably heard at least one rant about the University of Michigan. I'm going to soften that, by some microscopic amount, because I can point to at least one class I took there that has really furthered my career.

My first semester at Umich (incidentally, the only semester with a C average or better), I had a class named EECS 270: Introduction to Logic Design. We learned boolean algebra, what different logic gates there were, two-level logic, Karnaugh maps and all of that good stuff. Along the labs were infuriating, when the Asian grad assistant would rip all the wires out of your breadboard and tell you to "just try again," this seemingly inane material has been very helpful.

I work in computers. Logic design seems compatible, right? Keep in mind, I learned to build light flashers and counters on breadboards. That has about as much relationship to a modern computer as a bicycle has to a Maserati. However, I've discovered that between learning two-level logic and the set theory of SQL, I naturally tend to divide problems into really small bits that can be aggregated into a solution.

My wife will tell you: the projects that scare me are the big monolithic ones. If I can't figure out how to break it down into small enough pieces, I start looking for a place to hide. At the same time, every now and then, I will take a stupid simple thing, and complicate the hell out of it for no apparent reason. Here's the explanation of how, even if there still isn't any explanation of why.

I think it's sticking in my mind right now because I'm working with some guys that just don't break down their problems well. They will pick something and run with it, no matter how backwards it may be. The fact that I can see how stupid it is doesn't help anyone: I have to develop a process that keeps them from making this type of mistake again. Or, at the very least, I hope to dramatically reduce the incidence rate of this type of institutional stupidity.

Make sense? Probably not. It did in my head though.
Is there a moral difference between violent conflicts between individuals and violent conflicts between nations?
I read an article on Yahoo! News today about employers searching for employees on Google to look for bad juju (bragging about drugs on MySpace and such). So, for giggles, I did a search for "Nathan Rawling".

The first page is two book reviews I wrote for, and archives from a number of software development mailing lists I posted to about 5 years ago. The second page includes my various PGP keys on public keyservers, a software change log (bug fixes) where a bug that I reported was fixed in an open source package, and a letter to the Michigan Daily (U of M newspaper in 1996). Aside from a few other tidbits, most of the references after that are to other Nathan Rawling(s) of the world.


So I took four bags of my clothes in garbage bags from the spare room upstairs.

I found two pair of wearable pants (good, since I was down to one) and a passel of wearable polos. Also, I found my bathrobes and a pair of shorts.

I put away something like ten pair of pants that I don't fit into, but are close enough that I might someday, and about twenty shirts. I also have a bag of "lots" that should probably go up to Goodwill: stuff that is much too big or too small or I'm just never going to wear again.

I also have a collection of about 12-15 garments of Logowear(tm): button down or polo shirts, one fleece and one jacket with an emroidered logo on the left breast. These items really need to go but are all in good shape and represent a catalog of every company I've worked for in my entire life, with the exceptions of the University of Michigan and Dakota Imaging. I have other items which represent those, but they aren't relevant here.

I'm fairly seriously considering selling the Logowear(tm) off on eBay. The vast majority of these shirts represent companies that went bankrupt recently, and a few were newsworthy ones. I just feel a bit like Wayne ("Game On!") with his collection of hairnets. That parallel between the food service industry and the Dot Com era is something that I don't think most of my coworkers would appreciate, but it's still true.

In any case, all of my stuff basically fits in the closet now, which is a big step up from clothes in bags all over the house. I still need a little more space for things-that-fold, but this is good progress.



March 2017

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