My new job hasn’t given me access to the ‘low side’ (i.e., Internet) yet and possibly not for weeks yet to come (possibly not at all). I have been going through a bit of a news withdrawal lately, been stuck with broadcast news and WaPo, which naturally means I haven’t been getting unbiased information. Since this is a three day weekend I might be able to catch up a bit on the more unbiased news, though the activation energy necessary to blog might be more than usual so don’t expect too much. I am trying to motivate myself to do something other than sitting in front of the tube when I get home, with little success so far (though I did put in a 4 mile jog on Thursday). Last week was all about setting up accounts, getting briefed and reading background information. The work looks interesting (can’t talk very much about it since most of it is classified), lots of high speed network processing. I am to learn to talk to FPGAs (though it is not looking like I will get any chance to program them, at least for the near term) and it looks very likely I will get to learn the tricks to run on ‘bare metal Linux’, so hopefully I can build up my ’embedded’ creds. Though my commute is much shorter distance (10 miles vs 30), the time really isn’t much better since this route has me going through _lots_ of lights. It also seems in many places that the lights are deliberately timed to _decrease_ traffic flow, so I get to spend a lot of time sitting and waiting for colored bits of glass to make decisions for me. Supposedly I will be shifting back closer to my old commute route in a ‘few weeks’, but that might turn out to be more like a couple of months. I have been ‘upgraded’ to half an office (as opposed to open cubes), so that counts for something, but since I am a ‘short timer’ at this facility they didn’t feel it worth while to get me low side access. I did discover, though, that they have a mirror of Wikipedia on the high side, so did manage to learn a few things (most work related, though I did slip a bit of personal learning in). They also have Safari books on-line as well, so have been reading up on FPGAs.
I really like the idea of programmable hardware. Years ago (over a decade now) I was very interested in building molecular-scale computer components (my business plan started with molecular memory, but sadly I never got any investor interest) and had given a lot of thought on how to program something with millions of tiny parallel processors on it and my intention at the time was to have the ‘hardware’ (more like wet-ware) programmable as well, so I had already invested some energy into understanding how FPGAs work even before I knew anything about this particular product. Many of my co-workers came from the hardware side and have pretty much to a man counseled me against pursuing this direction, but I have worked at the server/database level for over a decade and don’t find that particularly challenging anymore. I am told that working at the hardware level is a lot harder and the pay is no better (in some cases even less), but I am too stubborn to be happy with work that bores me no matter how well it pays. I would like to revisit my idea of molecular computers at some point, but it will probably have to wait until I retire (or win the lottery).
Not much happening on my patent application front. I suspect that the lawyers have taken a bit of advantage of my job transition to focus on other things (I can’t afford to pay them to work on my stuff full-time, not at $750/hr!) so felt they needed a bit of nagging. March 15th is the point at where the US patent process switches from first-to-invent to first-to-file, so that is what is driving the timing.
A three day weekend now, hopefully we can get some visible progress done on the greenhouse/pool. I am somewhat optimistic, but it is really cold out there and even though the wind is light, it is very uncomfortable.
No progress on the osmotic energy front. Got to break this habit of sitting in front of the tube when I get home. I have the same problem with the aquaponics; I need to get started on my basement prototype because even the best-case scenario for the DNA patent is two years before I have any chance to focus on it full-time and I don’t want to waste all that time in case nothing comes of it. Basically, I am a lazy bastard and have to change enough of that to have any real chance of changing my fate. That fate, though, is still not too bad even if I don’t ‘win the lotto’ or manage to get off my butt and do research. Presuming the US doesn’t explode (implode?) in an apocalypse (and my wife and I continue with our current earnings) our target retirement is in ‘only’ 12 years and if my new job turns out to be even half as interesting as I hope, much of that time should fly by. Hopefully retiring at 60 we will still be young enough to do many of the things we have talked about over the years (both of us are interested in adventure racing, hopefully our bodies will hold up enough to at least cross the finish line). I expect our earnings won’t go to zero, somehow I doubt my wife will turn her back completely on her nursing career and I expect to grow all sort of things in my greenhouse, surely I can sell some of that stuff, but even if we don’t make a dime we should be able to live comfortably. Of course, the apocalypse could happen, but then all bets are off. Besides, you have to make some assumptions to make any plans; historically things have never been as bad (or as good) as people fear (hope), so statistically middle-of-the-road is probably the way things will fall out.
Yall have a great weekend now, yahea?