The Week that Was

I’m glad it’s the weekend.

This past week was pretty busy. If it wasn’t work, I was out doing something else after work and my time at home was pretty limited. Even though I only worked 49 hours last week, it felt like more. I’m pretty sure that’s because the commute home from Redmond sucks. I mean, on Halloween it took me 1h 15m to get to Jamie’s place, which is up the street from me, by taking back roads through Bellevue, then getting on I-90, then I-5. It was pretty slow, but all one needs is patience to tough it out.

As work goes, it has been busy. I’ve been using TimeSnapper to record what I do all day and I’m spending my day in Word, Outlook, Visio, and Excel. On a side note, I love the new Office system. The updates took some getting used to, but I couldn’t imagine using the 2003 system anymore. I’ve been working with two guys on getting our project’s functional specifications out the door on time and it’s been proving to be a learning experience.

So far I’ve submitted seven document for review and sign-off and only one has been approved, our Test Plan. The rest have required some serious re-work and at times it has been quite frustrating. It hasn’t been frustrating because they need re-work as much as it is that I become frustrated with myself that I didn’t do better in the first place and I hate feeling like I’m letting anybody down. Our third round of docs, sign-off e-mail sent Friday, will probably get rejected, but I think that they are getting better in quality.

Like my first sentence said, I’m glad it’s the weekend. I can sleep in, and just do nothing. Well, not nothing, but not work related stuff. I’m sure that next week will be a 40+ week again, but I don’t anticipate it to be more than 50 hours since we only have one spec due this week.

So, with that said, it’s time to get back to enjoy the last afternoon of this weekend.

Quite a Day

Today our project finally moved out to Microsoft. We’re in Building 124 and temporarily in this area called the “Bat Cave”. You can see a picture of it here. It’s this little area with one long conference table that the majority of our 13 person team sat at. I’m working off of a fold up table; the kind you’d see at a family picnic. We had one Ethernet jack for all 13+ of our machines (40MB down! and gigabit switches). So, we were lucky that we had about 3 switches on hand to spread out the ether and extra power strips to share the electric love with our laptops. All in all, it could have been worse, but the two industrial strength air conditioners above us and the large sized water heaters were a sight to see. Continue reading “Quite a Day”

Avanade Wins “Best Companies to Work For” Honor

The results are out from the Washington CEO Magazine’s survey for the best companies to work for in Washington and Avanade ranked #4 in the large companies category. The initial list of companies started out at 105 then was widdled down to the top 60. So, this is a pretty neat thing for the top companies on the list. If you’re curious about the rest of the list it can be seen in this PDF.

As a side note, aQuantive beat out Avanade for the 3rd place spot… only b/c of Jamie ;)

Getting Vista on My Virtual Machine

As a part of testing the internal apps for Microsoft, we have to test them against all of the upcoming versions of their OS and Office. So, this means that I need to create an environment that contains Vista and Office 12. The concept isn’t all that strange, it really makes great sense. The company will eventually be switching over to this platform, so testing on it is pretty much a requirement, and it is.

As such, I’ve been tasked with creating a Virtual Machine using Virtual PC 2004 SP1. Again, the idea is easy enough and the steps needed are pretty straightforward. I get my copy of Vista from an internal share and I make my Virtual Machine from it. Well, this is where the first kink came into play. I had all of the files, but Virtual PC requires either a CD/DVD in your optical drive, a mounted ISO, or an ISO mounted using a tool like Daemon Tools. So, after realizing that I didn’t have a DVD burner at my disposal, I was onto making an ISO image. This proved to be much more difficult than necessary.

I had two tools that I could use to make the tool and the first one errored out for a reason I don’t understand. I mean, with an error message like “Generic error message”, you really have no clue. So, it was off to using a Microsoft tool to create the ISO via the command line. Great! This worked! Now, let’s mount that on the virtual machine. Oooh, yea, sorry buddy, we don’t think that’s a well formed ISO. Why? Well, because it’s not in 2K blocks. Doh. I don’t even know how to go about fixing that. So, off to get Daemon Tools.

After what seemed to be 4 restarts, Daemon Tools was installed. Finally. The image mounted and I thought I was ready to go. So, off to booting from the DVD Image… or so I thought. Ends up it doesn’t like to be booted from. So, I need an alternative. So, I grab a premade Vista Beta 2 Virtual Machine. It would be great if I was to test on this, my work would be done, but we’re required to test on a newer build. So, I start it up to re-install over it. But, it is in sysprep. Basically, it would need to install then I could wipe it. So, opting against watching an install of an OS that I’ll never need, I stop it and grab a Virtual Machine I made months ago and use that to start the install process. Perfect. Now, we’re in business.

So, about five hours after I’ve started I am finally installing Vista. I just hope that my virtual hard drive has enough space to hold the install. If it doesn’t, I guess I’ll need another alternative. Let’s hope my Office 12 install goes much better.

Billable Hours and My Desire to Work

This morning has been frustrating. But, it has been frustrating because I feel trapped in a box and I am missing the key to get out. That, and I just got taught a lesson on how your billable hours get monitored. For those of you who don’t have to do this, lucky you. But, here’s what has happened. Continue reading “Billable Hours and My Desire to Work”