Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I'm actually on the mountain "observing." Well, not observing yet but commissioning the instruments so that in the near future someone can observe. But I'm not really doing that either. While I might do some "observing," I've learned that an "observing run" is code for getting you to work a lot because you are there for 16 hours/day with no home to go to. I thought having dinner at 8 pm was odd until I realized that was still at least 4 hours until bedtime. So after midnight sometime we stop, go back to our room to sleep, and then come back in the morning to start all over again.
While the hours are long, it is also rather productive to be around the other people involved in the project, because they are experts in various parts of it all--including the code I am trying to debug. Or at least a similar piece of code that they were tasked with debugging. So I think that is most of the idea behind the "observing" run.
So I'm sitting here bored most of the time and wanted to find something productive to do, so I googled " debugging doing something while waiting " or something like that (without those quote marks of course). Of the hits that returned that looked like what I was interested in, five of the six were blogs. Not that they gave any productive suggestions, but apparently writing the blog was filling the time for them. So here I am, writing for the first time in a long time. If any one reads this, do you have any good suggestions? Nothing too complicated since I will (hopefully) be switching back from it frequently while debugging.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Other than being a murderer, I learned that Kepler wrote a journal in which he referred to himself in the third person and record the names of only his "most lasting enemies" -- twenty three of them. I also found it interesting that "to assist his astronomical investigations he would often formulate "new" mathematical theorems that he would later fine out, somewhat to his annoyance, had already been discovered, htough they were not taught in the school's curriculum."
Hopefully reading this book will also inspire me to start posting here more often.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
It’s because information work - white collar work - is perceived differently than labor. In other words, work in a focus group is seen as existing under different rules than work in a fast food restaurant.A few weeks ago I was waiting for the microwave or something in the breakroom and saw the mandatory FAIR LABOR sign that among other things mandates being paid 1.5 times your normal wage if you go over 40 hours a week. I remember working at the Zero-G Cafe and getting time-and-a-half for overtime, or even double pay for working on holidays. But now as a salaried employee working in the information economy (though also being classified as a full-time student removes me from any protections anyway), that doesn't have any meaning. Working full days and sometimes late days, finishing up projects and checking on data and e-mail while at home in the evenings, and sometimes being on call over night -- 40 hours a week would be a vacation (and yes, sometimes I do work while on "vacation"). And technically, my contract says I'm being employed for 20 hours a week. My paycheck is a better match to that 20 hours a week than whatever I actually do put in, but I guess those extra hours are considered my "schooling" as I work on my dissertation. At least I am blessed to be payed at all and don't have to go into debt for grad school.
You can see it quite often in the adult world, where IT workers are required to have their cell phones on at all times. On the other hand, factory workers clock out and completely forget about their workplace. Businessmen are chained to their Blackberries, but waitresses go off duty and forget about the restaurant. Construction workers leave their cranes behind at the end of the day - but other workers come home with a briefcase or a laptop in hand.
Unfair labor laws exist all over the place for blue collar jobs, but not for white collar jobs. Why is this? In the past, blue collar jobs were the ones that could be exploited for profit, as white collar jobs merely existed to manage the work of blue collar jobs.
In the information economy, though, white collar workers are now doing much of the actual productive work, but the perception that white collar jobs don’t demand any labor protections still exists.