Day 15 - Dallas!

Dallas   Moving   On The Beach  

So I've been a little busy of late, hence the lack of updates. I officially moved to Dallas on the 2nd of this month. As it turns out, that was literally the worst day I could have possibly chosen to move. The nastiest ice storm I've ever seen blanketed Dallas and the surrounding areas in 1-2 inches of snow. And as cars drove over that snow, it compacted down into a thin sheet of ice. Oftentimes while driving the moving truck, it felt more like I was guiding it as it skiied down the road, rather than actually controlling it.

The storm was also traveling in a southern direction, right in our path. A trip that would normally take about 4 to 4 and a half hours ended up taking a little more than 10 hours. Thankfully me and my moving buddies made it safely and soundly. And double thankfully the people at the office left my apartment unlocked so that we could actually sleep indoors that night.

Moving on! Let's talk about work a bit. Being that ThoughtWorks is a consulting firm, there will always be times at which some ThoughtWorkers are not working on a project. You're not always guaranteed that a new project will be ready for you immediately when you finish up your previous project. When that happens, we say that we're "On The Beach".

Generally the first time On The Beach for a ThoughtWorker is the longest, as it takes a bit of time to get people set up in the various systems, and to actually gauge how they'll work out on a real project. I had a call with one of the folks in our Staffing office last week, and I now have a number of prospective projects that I'm looking at. I currently have a frontrunner in mind, and I should be doing a shadow visit at the client site next week to get a feel for the team. I'm also doing some research on some new technology related to one of the roles on that team, so that's keeping me busy while I wait.

I should also write a quick bit about confidentiality. The customers of ThoughtWorks take their privacy very seriously. They hire us to work on highly strategic projects. They don't want their competitors to know about these projects, and that they're getting our help to execute them. Also, if they're a public company there might be insider trading implications. So if I write about any project I'm assigned to, I will never tell you who it is, and I probably will play it safe and not tell you where it is either. Generally I'd be more interested in the technology than the environment, so it should be pretty safe. But just know that if I ever sound secretive about my work, that's why.

Overall I'm still super excited to be here. All of the people in the Dallas office are excellent, and have been super friendly to me. On Friday a few people gave lightning talks about whatever subject they wanted to talk about. I didn't have anything technical to talk about, so I opted to talk about lock picking as that was something I had undeniable expertise in. It went great, everyone seemed to be interested in the topic, and they all enjoyed the funny bits I slipped in. Considering that was the first presentation I'd given in years, I was pleased how it went. Public speaking is something I'm not excellent at, but I seem to be getting better at it as time goes on.

I think I'll sign off for now and get back to research. I can at least tell you that I'm looking into Chef, a platform for provisioning machines (virtual or physical). Chef makes it (relatively) easy for you to get a new machine set up with all of the software you need to have on it. It's something I had been interested in making use of at my previous job, but it's trickier using Chef with Microsoft technologies. Automating the installers of Microsoft products is not easy, so things like Chef (or Vagrant) were never a great fit.