Updating a few books

I’ve got old editions of Effective C# and Effective Java. Since my work for the last few years has been mostly C++ I haven’t gotten around to buying the second editions. Now that I’m looking for new opportunities, the time has come to refresh my C# and Java a bit. They’re in the mail but not here yet. I’m also getting the sequel to the C# book More Effective C# and Java Concurrency in Practice which I have read and found useful but do not currently own a copy of.

Hoping to get around to doing some Android programming with a RESTful web back end here on this site. Getting any rust knocked off of my Java should contribute to that effort. Looking forward to reading these and seeing what I can do with the knowledge…

First interview in a while

I’ve been at Oni/GE for almost ten years now. It has been a great time with a team of exceptional people working on some incredible technology. Now that GE has decided to end the product I’m back out in the job market and yesterday I had my first interview this time ’round.

I think the interview went well and it certainly has me thinking about the future in ways I hadn’t been in the recent past. It was a surprisingly jarring change when the facility closure was made official and I stopped thinking about future directions and possibilities for the scanner system. I’m used to having a mess of work related material sloshing around in my head and for the moment there’s none of that as we’re working on knowledge transfer and wrapping things up for the folks in Wisconsin who will be taking responsibility for ongoing maintenance issues (betting there will be none significant enough to warrant a release, but they have to be cautious about things).

Talking with the folks at KMC Systems did get me thinking about the limited horizons that the slow shrinkage of the Wilmington site has placed on us. I’m looking forward to working with a larger team and with a broader slate of issues than we’ve had/been able to tackle in the last few years. It has been a while since we’ve had a significant range of skill levels on the team and the broader challenges of moving on multiple objectives in parallel.

Talking with KMC has me revisiting many things that have been on the shelf for a while and I’m looking forward to working with a larger team again and a broader range of challenges (whether with them if they offer and I accept or somewhere else). I’ve enjoyed managing team interactions, bringing less experienced engineers along and juggling all of the issues involved with a new and developing product in the past. The focus over the last couple of years at Wilmington has narrowed down slowly but inexorably and I’ve been almost entirely working on bug fixes and feature implementation. Time for some new horizons (not that I have any choice, but I’m ready in any case) and new challenges…

More items lined up, a few to go

I’ve got two recruiters active and looking for me (and for the moment that should be enough…best to avoid clashes). I’ve touched base with the folks I want as references and have their ok and contact information in hand. Now I’m mostly waiting for GE to lock in my end date. HR has indicated that end dates should be formally handed out by the end of this week (though these things can always slip) so I’m hoping that by next week the process will be moving forward at full speed. Once I have the date I’ll ping the recruiters and see how things are looking.

Android SDK setup

I have setup the required pieces to start playing with android development on my personal laptop and desktop. This involved updating the JDK (not strictly necessary but not a bad idea) and ADT. I did have to mess around a bit (copying the tool to a subfolder and such) to get the SDK Manager to start up (though even when it starts up properly it seems to take some time between the launch click and the UI being active). I installed most of the platform versions, skipping only 2.1 and earlier. At this point the eclipse IDE runs and I can ask it to create an android project. Now I’m back to my reading to figure out where to go from here.

Side projects

I’m on my second read through of the APress Android programming book I’ve got in my library. First pass gets me general familiarity and the lay of the land. Second pass is when I start trying to use things. The Android dev tools and latest JDK are now installed and working on both my laptop and my main desktop at home. Next step is to get a ‘hello world’ type program in place and running. Once that is done I will likely try putting in place a simple RESTful web service front end in PHP on my hosting and see if I can make a simple multiplayer board game work. Lots to learn and lots to play with here. Knock the rust off my Java and get some useful practical knowledge of Android.

I’m seriously thinking of getting my RepRap project moving forward again. I bought the electronics and read through the wiki a couple of years ago. I was hoping to get my teen age daughter interested in working on it with me. She decided it wasn’t that cool and work got busy and the parts I had got shelved. At this point I am likely to have some free time, I know what I need next and money shouldn’t be a serious issue. My next step needs to be the stepper motors and some connectors, wiring and heat sinks (the stepper controller chips I have look pretty good, but I’m uncomfortable running them without some way to pull heat out). There seem to be sources for relatively cheap steppers associated with the RepRap folks. Digikey should be able to supply the other stuff (and I have a few additional bits I need from them anyway). If things don’t get busy again in the near future, I’ll probably start moving this forward.

Things are moving forward…

At this point I have two recruiters working with me and I am waiting to see what they come up with. Plenty of time yet as I still haven’t received my official end date from GE. Rumor says that end dates will be either June 30, September 30 or December 30. The software documentation is in very good shape (proud of the job we did and it makes it much easier to prepare for the transfer of knowledge) so I’m currently using the June 30 date as my working end date. HR has said that the formal dates and packages should be done this coming week. Hoping they are as some certainty on the end date GE is requesting will help me plan better as information comes back from the recruiters.

Wilmington SMR is shutting down

GE has decided to shut down MRI development group that I work for in Wilmington, MA. The site closing package allows me nearly a year to locate an attractive new opportunity so I have some time to locate a very good match.

It has been a wonderful run and I’ve worked with some great people at SMR (and ONI Medical Systems before the GE acquisition) It is sad to be moving on, but exciting to consider the new possibilities that this opens up.

Engineering execution and creativity mixed for the best results…