Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A useful little website

If you're even wondering about "area under the curve" for a normal curve, what "1 standard deviation above the mean" means, or anything like that, or what a Z score (standard score) of 2.3 really means, this website is really very helpful. It's nothing earth shattering, and in fact you can calculate everything it tells you by hand, or look it up in the tables in the back of just about any textbook on stats, but it's just a nifty and convenient way to get the info quickly. There are some certified geeks, I mean other than me, who I imagine could read this, so I thought I'd share with all our imaginary readers :o)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Work slogans

I had put this together a month ago but forgot to post it. So here it is, better late than never (or maybe not, depends on how bad it is, right?)

There are various reasons why I don't announce where I work. Some of them are even valid! It's not like I work for a top secret agency where, if I blogged about it, I'd have to kill everyone (but that would be cool!) but in general, if one wants to whine about work, probably best not to say which work place one is whining about, right? But it does get to be a hurdle some times when I want to use the title of my work place to relate a funny story. So as of today, I am inventing a new work name! Yes, it's true, it is just that special of a day. Aren't you glad you turned on your computer (or phone, or whatever) this morning? It's all worth it now.

So what shall the name be? Two names pop to mind, for obvious reasons. First, Veridian, and second, Initech. Yes, you should all get where those come from. I am thinking Veridian though, for some reason. I guess because I really don't work in IT at all, and Veridian was such a huge company that it could employ just about anyone.

So now that that's out of the way, it's time for *drum roll please* your daily, or weekly, or monthly, or whenever the Hell I feel like it, work slogan!

At Veridian, apathy is just one more way we care.

It's not perfect, I know, but it's been rolling around in my head all week so now that it's out on the blogosphere, maybe it'll stop (rolling, that is).

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Joys of pain

I am currently suffering from The Sirus Infection from Hell, or TSIH for short. Now TSIH has been visiting for almost 2 weeks now, and does not seem inclined to leave even when invited to by antiobiotics. One of the joys of TSIH is that it allows, at most, 3-4 hours of sleep because that's how long it takes for mega doses of ibuprofen to wear off, and when they do it hurts enough that sleep is just not really on your mind. Which is why, dear imaginary readers, I'm blogging to you at 5:22 on a Saturday freaking morning. It takes roughly 45 minutes for massive doses of ibuprofen to work on TSIH enough for me to try to sleep. So who knows how much blogging I can get done just now. It could be, as my daughter would say, epic.

But that's not the point of this post, dear imaginary readers. No, the point of the post is that thanks to TVIH I had nothing better to do, nothing like, oh I don't know, SLEEP to do, this morning, but sit on the computer. And as I was sitting here one of my favorite Gifts of Microsoft popped up. Not the Blue Screen of Death, but the Error Report. MS daily queries me if I want to send it a list of the same goddamn 6 or 7 errors it has encountered since I last turned on my machine to them so they can analyze them to help make their software better. I can guess which errors they are, and if I want to spend about 10 hours on it, I can probably get rid of those errors, by unloading a boatload of software and selectively, carefully, re-installing it in such a way as to avoid the errors. Probably many of the errors involve the bloatware that is the latest edition of Nero Burning ROM, which just kind of Sucks, but that, also, is not the point of this post. Or I could spend just about as much time to do a clean install, which you should do every now and then anyway, but that also is not the point of this post. The point is that I never want to send information to Microsoft because they already have enough goddamn information about me, thank you very much, and I really, really don't think me sending them even more information is going to make their software a little better, especially since they're probably not even maintaining this version anymore. So I get to say no, again and again, to Microsoft and that gets annoying when it just reminds me, again and again, of how something's not working on my damn machine with their damn software.

So this morning, rather than sit and say "ow," I randomly looked up this article, and turned Off the damn error reporting feature, and hopefully now I can just not have to do that. Never mind that I am about 99% sure I had turned it off before, and Windows decided to turn it back on for me (Thank you, Windows). But for now, at least, it should be off. Every TSIH has a silver lining.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Oh, you mean you read that?

This will be a necessarily vague post because, although very few people read these things, and many of those that do read them know me quite well, I still want to at least allude to a degree of anonymity here. I also just took a mandatory course on why I can't say what kind of work I do in an "online social venue" without all sorts of cautions and mandates. (And no, I am not a spy or anything even remotely cool like that - the whole thing is just silly). But anyway, because of this I have vagueified the following (I made a word! Give me a cookie), perhaps to the point of making it incomprehensible. If it is indeed incomprehensible you have my most sincere, Evil Prince Ludwig-style, apple-o-geez.

So now, let the vagueness commence!

I was on a phone call with a guy from out of state who was inviting me to join in a project submission he was working on. He told me the kind of project it was, and what sort of person he was looking to join in the submission, both in terms of skills and also in terms of their bio/vita. On some research submissions you're judged as much by the caliber and specialties of the people on your team as you are on the actual planned project, so it made sense that he was considering these things. It sounded like a neat project, and I wanted to join, but also to be honest. So I told him three things:
  • First, that it sounded like a project that I would like to join in.
  • Second, that on paper I would certainly fit the need he was trying to address, because I had published in that area and was pointing my career in that direction.
  • And third, that while on paper I would be a good fit, in practice I was only a moderate fit because I could think of several people who were much better versed in this particular area than I was. I explained that while this area was an interest of mine, and I was developing a skill set in it and, as I said, publishing in it, I had not been, as many others had, working in this particular area for my entire career or studying it since grad school.
After I had gone through all that he told me that he had read some of my publications and based on what he had read he was sure that I would have a load to offer and that he really wanted me on the project. So part of me was thinking "Wow, he's really desperate here" and another part was like "Gosh, he likes me, he really likes me!" but the biggest part of me was thinking "You mean you actually read that stuff?"