pphaneuf: (Default)
Okay, so I don't post links to Youtube videos a whole lot, but this one is special. Make sure you view it on the site itself, with the US English language setting (because it really is special), and make sure to catch what's in the tabs at the top of the page.
pphaneuf: (Default)
Today, I apparently felt very optimistic.

You see, Monday I went to Cycle Technique and asked them if they had some used bikes, having in mind of getting a rain/winter bike. Turned out they did, their summer rental bikes, they were pretty nice, and (allegedly) they had a large one that would fit me. I figured I'd give it a thought, then decided it was a good idea, and went on the Tuesday. I figured I'd walk there, pick up the bike, then ride to work. Except that large was actually a medium. So I walked to work instead.

Today, I figured I'd head over to Beaudry metro, check out Vélo Espresso and Revolution Montreal, for sure I should be able to get a decent used ride between the two of those, right? Well, no. Well, maybe. But mainly no. I had forgotten that Revolution mainly does custom built bikes, meaning that, no, they did not have anything for sale right there. Vélo Espresso had a used bike, but while it could have done, it was quite used. On their main floor, they had this rather weird bike, a Norco VFR 3 Internal. It's a fairly sporty frame, although not too aggressive, and it actually has space and lugs for fenders and racks (although I hear that it's not always the best fit ever), but it has an internal hub and a chain cover. An internal hub and a chain cover, but no fenders? I keep seeing utility bikes that have fenders, racks and lights, but no chain cover nor internal hub, and this bike has the reverse? Well, uh, it so happens that this is the exact set of things that you can't add, so I guess that's cool? I tried it out around a few blocks, and while it's not nearly an upright riding position, it's still surprisingly relaxed. It also comes with clipless pedals and clip-on platforms like those I already have?!? What a weird bike!

After that, I went to ABC Cycles & Sports, but it was closed (only on Wednesdays, argh!). I stopped by Brakeless, since it was just down from it, but they only had the one fixie, it seems more trendy than a place I'd actually want to get a bike from. I then headed over to Le Yéti, where I had a rather informative chat, and saw a ridiculously fancy German bike (I think? don't remember the make/model), which, while complying with pretty much all my requirements, and piling on disc brakes on top (because I really like brakes that work well), is also almost three grands, although it's now on sale at a bit past two grands. Uh, tempting as it is, I'll have to pass.

After that, La Bicycletterie JR, Sport Dépôt, and Pignon sur Roues. The latter had an interesting bike, the Louis Garneau Cityzen One, but is oddly missing just a chain cover (even though a blurb about the bike in Vélo Mag claims there's one?). Why is there almost no bike with chain covers?

I ended up going back to Sport Dépôt, and after some pondering, getting a Marin Belvedere. I had already spotted that bike from some research on the web, and while I knew they had Marin bikes there, turns out they pretty much only had this one, 20% off, so it was a happy coincidence. But... Their mechanic was off today, so they couldn't prep the bike, so I did not ride to work, once more.

Tomorrow, I shall ride home on my new ride! There's no stopping me! They may try, and Jeff might try to jinx me (I beat his Space Invaders high score to ward it off), but I'll be riding back tomorrow, rain or shine, and there'll be no stripe down my back if it's raining!
pphaneuf: (Enlightened)
We moved into our new office this week (photos courtesy of MAD, thanks!), and it's pretty damned awesome! Considering the small size of the office (in number of people), it is extremely nice, the food is great, and so is the view (we had a nice view from the 24th floor, but now we're more "in the action", I like that better). Plus, we can easily reach the wifi from the pub nearby, hehe!

While the move was ongoing, we had an off-site activity on Île-Ste-Hélène that was pretty cool, involving, among other things, geo-caching, which I had never done before and is a lot of fun. It can be surprisingly difficult to find a small item, even when given the location within 10 feet! I bike there from home, and it was particularly nice, hitting 40 kph for fairly long stretches and all. On the return trip I was pretty confident that I'd get to the dinner's location first, but when I found out that the likely reason for my swift arrival was a wicked strong headwind, I wasn't so confident anymore. I did arrive first anyway, but I'm told they took a brief detour in a sketchy St-Henri bar first. Crazy people!

Today, we also obtained a vacuum cleaner at home. You're probably thinking that this doesn't really sound all that exciting, and normally, I'd agree with you, but that was before I met the Dyson DC20. As far as box-opening experience goes, relatively speaking (let's face it, it's still just a vacuum cleaner), they're taking lessons from Apple, it looks like. One of the selling points is how it can fit into a small space, and when I got the box, I was a bit worried that it'd be missing, you know, maybe the whole thing?!? But no, it was all in there, and even when assembled, it packs into almost no space, and is very cleverly engineered.

Tomorrow, a rather late in the making haircut.
pphaneuf: (Tongue)
I talked about how the weather was great for biking recently in my previous post, when I left the office, it started raining hard, and it stopped just as I arrived home.

A sign? At least, it's not too cold...
pphaneuf: (Default)
It was extremely brief, and you had to pay very close attention, but the sugar season's passed now, and thankfully, [livejournal.com profile] azrhey and I managed to catch some sugar shack action, thanks to my dad inviting us over to his annual thing (which went better than the last time, as I wasn't dying this time!). It was what, [livejournal.com profile] azrhey's third time in a sugar shack in her life? How do they manage over there? ;-)

I went for a lightning trip to New York City, where I thought it'd be a good idea to get a room at the Hotel Chelsea, since, you know, the office is in Chelsea, that'd be convenient, no? I did listen to punk music, but I don't remember stabbing anyone. I didn't write a novel either, but I did write a small piece of code, related to my most recent ranting, where my hack gets similar latency on event handling as busy waiting on the event queue, while using less CPU (and much lower latency, by multiple frames!) than SDL's built-in SDL_WaitEvent.

This last item results in myself restraining myself very hard from going off and making a high-performance game library. Add it to the list of things I could do very well, but that I shouldn't be doing because it's useless. Argh.

[livejournal.com profile] azrhey and I went to see Iron Man, which was pretty damned good, I think. I think that it was a good introduction, although the battle at the end was a bit contrived and short on time. I think Justin Hammer might have been a better choice, with multiple supporting bad guys, but Iron Monger does make for big badaboom. I liked the hints at War Machine, and the small (in that movie, at least) involvement of S.H.I.E.L.D..

I'm now about to register for the Bike Fest, which inconveniently overlaps with MUTEK. The day ride doesn't pose a problem, but I really like the night ride, and that will obviously mean that I'll be missing out on something else... We'll see.

Can't Wait

Oct. 13th, 2007 06:11 pm
pphaneuf: (Default)
I just can't wait to get to the new place, for a number of reasons (and no, the hawtness of both our male and female future neighbours isn't the main reason, but it sure helps!).

I want my own base of operations, and I want to be able to launch all-weather, night and day adventures. Being stuck in 9-to-5 in France wasn't cool, but the fact that I didn't do much outside of work made it easier. Now, it's just plain horrible.

On the upside, I now have in my possession a ticket for Me Mom and Morgentaler (as well as [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe's ticket, which I intend to use as a bargain chip for various nefarious purposes, most of which I have yet to come up with!) and I had an awesome time yesterday recovering from my week using two pints of Guinness at [livejournal.com profile] gregorama's birthday and dancing off at Saphir for [livejournal.com profile] liberation_now and [livejournal.com profile] nevergirl's combined birthdays!
pphaneuf: (Default)
Seems like I'm now a senior something-or-other at Cypra Media, which did cause me a bit of grief. It's a "targeted marketing" company, meaning at the moment that they'll be sending out emails with ads in them to people who, weirdly enough, asked for it.

I would have liked maybe a bit more "completely new and different" maybe, and while they seem open-minded, they're not quite an actual free/open source software company, merely using a lot of it. But C++ and Perl are two of my favourites at the moment (mostly for their ratio of how much I can bend them to my will to how much they suck), and I think I might be in for learning some AJAXy JavaScript hackery in the process, which I've been meaning to do for a while, so that's that. They're Scrum fans there, which is better than being, say, RUP! Still, I'm more of a chaos model type of person, myself. We'll see, I want to try Scrum first, as it doesn't look completely nuts.

So I'll be starting there as soon as tomorrow!
pphaneuf: (Default)
I'm in a weird headspace these days. This is the first time I'm unemployed in, what, ten years? Totalling about four jobless months since I dropped out of school (which was no big loss!), and it was willingly both times, once again to move to Montreal. I'm being a bit of a homebody, which is not that different from my year in France (yes, I'd go to work, but that'd be almost all I'd go out for), but this time I'm not depressed, I'm just, you know, at home. Rather relaxing, I must admit, but better not over-extend this!

I went out photo-walking with [livejournal.com profile] jul3z last Saturday, which was quite nice. I had nearly zero inspiration for photos for a long time now, and coming back to Montreal, I've had it coming back to me, but seems like I was never carrying my camera at the right times (despite carrying it around a good deal, doh!). We went along the Lachine Canal toward the Old Port, and while it was a good time chatting along with her, mid-day sun and my self-imposed restricting myself to my 28mm/f1.8 didn't make for anything great, I feel, but it was nice pushing myself a bit, and I did spot a few places that could make very interesting photos with better light (by the way, [livejournal.com profile] jul3z, here's that chain that's gone missing!).

We then watched Stranger Than Fiction, which I had seen bits and pieces of on the flight from Casablanca to Montreal. To start off, it has a nice casting, with Will Ferrell (but it's not a Will Ferrell movie at all), Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, and they did great job of giving some texture to the characters without being too blatant about it. For example, tiny details like Hoffman's character pouring himself some coffee at the start of a conversation, then as it ends, pouring back the content of his mug back into the coffee pot just had be imagine the lifecycle of his coffee, and what it must taste like at the end of the day. The subject is also one that I like, that of finding purpose and meaning in life, but it wasn't some overly cheesy grand meaning either, it was just the same kind of "ordinary" meaningfulness that I experience often, of appreciating what you have and being happy.

[livejournal.com profile] gregorama is right, girls in Montreal are a severe whiplash hazard! (hey, the subject says "random item", you were warned!)

The geeky type can find some dynamic language humour (Perl hackers know that there is indeed such a thing!) involving the Visigoths (that, the Perl hackers might not have known, but they probably suspected) here.

I boggle at how much attention to details Apple has sometimes, and how they manage to instil this attitude to their developer community. While I had previously noticed that, for some reason, moving around word by word in the location bar of my browser using the Control and arrow keys worked in a nicer way in Camino than it did in Firefox, where they use a slightly different set of delimiter characters, and they put the cursor in a different place depending on the direction you're going, avoiding the cases where you get just one character off of where you want to go (say, over a dot or a slash). But I just noticed that while double-clicking on a word selects that word, if you hit the Delete key, it deletes the word and the preceding space. Selecting character by character doesn't "discover" that you stopped at word boundaries, though. Oh well, for all I know, it's going to be in Leopard.

I'm probably one of very few people to be excited by what's coming in C++0x, especially as my top peeve about C++ templates seems to be fixed. One of my big use for template-based meta-programming was to detect errors at compile-time, but providing readable compile-time error messages is currently impossible (my error "messages" are often things like "variable YOU_FORGOT_TO_DO_THIS_THING does not exist", surrounded by a huge chunk of useless, unrelated context). Of course, actual lambda (even though Boost has a really neat hack to do it now) and type inference are very nice to have too. The latter will certainly help cut down on the amount of "foo<bar, baz>::const_iterator it = bob.begin()" typing I'll be doing, as it will now just be "auto it = bob.begin()"! My wrists thank the C++ language committee.

It seems one of my ideas has been picked up by some people in Waterloo, in the form of AideRSS. Now, I want an "Edit" button in the Firefox toolbar that would use AtomPub, okay?
pphaneuf: (Default)
Denmark, which I sometimes refer to as "the place the future comes from", gave me another reason to do so: the B-society.

Having just spent a year working a more or less 9-to-6 shift (we had "flex time" inasmuch we could arrive between 8:00 and 9:30), there's no doubt about it (if there ever was!), I'm a B-person.

One of the problem with being a B-person is the clash with the rest of society. Even if work lets me come in and do my hours whenever I want, there's shops, restaurants, and such. Having dinner at almost midnight can restrict choice a little bit, obviously! Social life can also be tricky. Although these is a natural clumping effect between people living similar lifestyles, they might not have as flexible work schedule. And I wouldn't even think of what things would be like with children! Ask anyone who's had to wake me up early in the morning...

But it would seems they're actually trying to tackle the issues, even having B-classes in school that start a few hours later. Just like the French had rules preventing abuse by employers asking employees to work later hours, they're picking up on the fact that, for some people it's asking them to not work later hours that is abuse. And that's the future.

P.S.: Also, in the same line of thought, why the 9 to 5 office worker will become a thing of the past. Not that it matters that much to me now, but I am curious to see how France will integrate that into its culture.
pphaneuf: (Default)
Bon, il ne reste même pas une semaine avant notre départ! Et il y a un peu plus d'une semaine, je quittait mon travail.

Quelques jours après, mes collègues m'ont invité à un BBQ, et j'y suis donc allé, pour me faire dire qu'ils étaient surpris que je suis venu, parce qu'il paraît, "je ne viens jamais". Euh, c'est le deuxième BBQ qu'ils organisent dans l'année que j'ai passé là! Et effectivement, je n'était pas allé à l'autre, mais bon... On a fait voler les bouchons des bouteilles de cidre, littéralement, mangé des saucisses et des brochettes, c'était excellent. J'ai compris pourquoi les français mangeait les cuisses de grenouille, il y en a plein et c'est très bruyant!

Vendredi, on est allé assister à notre dernier Toulouse Carnet, exceptionnellement au Carson City. Beaucoup de nourriture, la "Arizona potato" était très bien, mais le chili con carne était d'une tristesse... La disposition des tables laissait un peu à désirer, mais on s'est ensuite déplacé à la Prairie des Filtres pour s'installer plus à notre aise, et ainsi discuter de bières possible et autres sujets hautement intellectuels, éclairés par la lueur des flashs photo. Oui, j'ai plus de sacs que [livejournal.com profile] azrhey, c'est vrai...

Dimanche, nous sommes allé souper avec un de mes ex-collègues. Je voulais aller à la "pizza des fous" (aussi connu sous le nom de La Pastasciutta), mais comme c'était fermé (comme la plupart des fois où j'ai tenté d'y aller, donc j'ai l'habitude), nous somme allés à un autre resto pas trop loin, d'où nous avons pû observer l'averse diluvienne, juste au bord de la fenêtre ouverte (sous l'auvent, tout va bien!).

Ça tout contrairement à Alban, qui avait laissé son Velux ouvert, ce qui ne nous a pas empêché de prendre une petite bière mardi, tout de même, mais bon, dehors, hein? ;-)
pphaneuf: (Shades)
Today, we went out shopping a bit, to spend some of my truck wages (pretty popular in France, where apparently, as long as it doesn't say "euro", it hardly is taxable) before we leave. Got myself the new Arcade Fire album, a one of those fast CompactFlash, a shirt and a chocolate recipe book.

Not covered by my truck wages is a titanium watch from a collection I saw during our visit in February 2006 (where I almost bought one!). I have a strange relationship with watches, as I don't like timekeeping very much (I'd like to keep it simple, for example), but due to my snob, yuppie side (also expressed in my taste for expensive sunglasses, argh), I like nicely designed watches, probably as the only kind of jewelry I seem to tolerate on myself. Since I'm a snobbish bastard, I never found a watch that I'd like to wear, and I'd certainly not get a "normal utilitarian watch". In fact, I think I haven't owned a watch since, well, something like 1994 or 1995! So, after twelve years or so, I finally found something classy, made out of one of my favourite materials, and for a reaonable price, a nice souvenir.

To compensate for the classiness of that watch, I had some Kraft Dinner for, well, dinner. At about that time, the Toulouse Football Club beat the team from Bordeaux, thus qualifying them for the Champions League next year.

This, of course, leads to a bunch of people having apparently decided to blow up parts of Toulouse. Ah, the French...

Reboot

May. 12th, 2007 07:45 pm
pphaneuf: (Default)
Last weekend, I got my residency permit turned down, which, to make a long story short, means that we'll be heading back to Canada. Seems like I was misdirected by the Consulat de France in Montreal, and from what I hear, it seems to be something they've done a few times ([livejournal.com profile] azrhey worked in a place here where they hire a lot of foreigners, due to language skills).

So, it looks like I'm going to be looking for a job back in Montreal.

My weapons of choice are C++ and Perl, but being a Unix/Linux hacker, of course, I am not limited to those, they're just the ones I'm most deadly with. I am comfortable with meta-programming (mostly, but not limited to that of C++ templates), continuations/coroutines, closures, multithreading, as well as event-driven state machines. I am quite effective at code refactoring, particularly in strongly typed languages, where I can use the typing system to my advantage.

I am deeply intimate with Unix/Linux, mainly in the area of network programming (sockets, networking protocols, other forms of IPC). On Linux, I am quite familiar with a number of the high-performance APIs. I have a deep knowledge of the HTTP protocol (and some of its derivatives). I have experience writing Apache modules. I know the difference between bandwidth and latency (and wish more people did too). I have some experience with developing distributed software. I have a higher-than-average knowledge of ELF and Mach-O binary formats, particularly of how symbol resolution works. I know a good deal about component software (dynamically loading modules, for example), and ABI stability issues. While I am not a master at it, I have some Linux kernel development experience as well. I know what make is doing, and why.

Finally, I also have some experience doing project and release management, where I feel I did a pretty good job, and would certainly like to do more of it. I am familiar with the free and open source software community, belonging to a number of projects, including some that were part of my work.
pphaneuf: (Oatmeal)
Monday morning, I went to the Préfecture with [livejournal.com profile] azrhey (thank goodness!).

Lots of waiting, but that I expected. I didn't expect the person to be so stuck to the letter of the word as to not get the part where my visa says that "I don't have to have a work permit" doesn't meant that I can't have a work permit! [livejournal.com profile] azrhey ended up composing a letter to the Préfet saying that his esteemed colleagues at the Consulat de France à Montréal were a bunch of morons or something to that effect, and please let me have a work permit. Which I then had to transcribe nicely.

I managed to screw up signing my own name, too, so really, I'm quite thankful to [livejournal.com profile] azrhey for leaving as little as possible to me to do (screw up?).

What an adventure...
pphaneuf: (Default)
From one of my co-workers, on internal IRC, after I once more exhibited my sketchy grasp of the French grammar:

curl --mirror http://www.leconjugueur.com/ | ssh pphaneuf 'cat >/dev/brain'
pphaneuf: (Angry Tongue)
So I updated my version of Max (an excellent CD ripping application for Mac OS X) and tackled my music collection, which has been in a bit of disarray for far too long. No wonder I've been listening to so much Einstürzende Neubauten, all their tracks were there at least twice (because of the umlaut in the band name, plus possibly more copies in the song names themselves).

After some ponderings, I decided that I'd switch to a folder per album, without an intermediate folder for the artist. I'm still not sure about that, but that's probably the easiest to mess with.

The new version of Max, among other things, added support for album cover art. I thought "hey, why not? iTunes 7's cover art browser is pretty swanky, I like swanky", which proved to be a rather frustrating train of thoughts, when all was said and done. Bloody iTunes. Bloody Ogg Vorbis. Bloody everything.

While Ogg Vorbis does support embedding cover art, Max didn't do it. Not that it would have helped with iTunes, this probably not being part of the standard QuickTime meta-data (not that iTunes was worth ass at using QuickTime meta-data properly). But iTunes has its own database to index meta-data, including a folder where it caches cover art. I figured that I could just manually set the cover art in iTunes, and that it'd go there (don't worry, I wouldn't have done that by hand for my whole collection, iTunes can be scripted very easily, thankfully).

But no. It see QuickTime content, thinks "hey, I don't support cover art for those!", and just ignores any cover art you set (even though it let you set it in the "edit meta-data" dialog!). Bastards.

But I'm not completely pissed at iTunes (yet), since it still seems to be working better than Rhythmbox (which I use at work)! I deleted my existing music from the library, meaning only to remove it from the Rhythmbox database. Surely, it would ask my opinion before doing something that cannot be undone, right? iTunes does, so, I'm good, right? Nope, everything gets thrown in the wastebin, which didn't seem to offer an obvious enough "restore" option (but I've been known to miss obvious buttons before, so maybe I'm just cranky). Yeah, sure, the files aren't lost, but they're all together in a gigantic mess. Great.

Okay, so after having given up on that anyway, I looked again in the music directory, to find that it had left some files behind? That's kind of shoddy, isn't it? There's two explanations, and neither put Rhythmbox in good light: either it "missed them" while deleting them, or, more likely, didn't import them in the library in the first place.

The latter being especially fun, as the process to import music in Rhythmbox is as follow: use the "import folder" option, look at the number of songs in the status bar, use the "import folder" again, look at the number of songs again, repeat until the number stabilizes. Wow. Just think if find (or your backup system!) was this unreliable. I'm not worrying too much, this is only my music player, but still, that's pretty craptastic.

Not to mention that the "automatically import music in a certain folder" option in the preferences doesn't seem to do anything? Or anything noticeable anyway...

On top of this, for all iTunes' pre-Mac OS X suckiness in the plugins department (you can only make visualization plugins for it, period), Rhythmbox somehow manages to do worse, by not having plugins at all, and being only barely scriptable (as opposed to iTunes, that can be 100% controlled via AppleScript). Thankfully, they have incorporated Audioscrobbler support, because I'd have would have had to stab myself (by which I mean use XMMS, which is just about equivalent).

Bloody hell, welcome to the motherfuckin' 21st century...
pphaneuf: (Oatmeal)
Oh boy. That was something. And somehow, I feel like I haven't made the most of it, but New Year's Eve in Barcelona is still something, nevertheless.

Wasn't too hungover, despite the ingestion of various types of alcohols, some of which of rather dubious origins. I think it's more the bus ride back and the crazy non-sleep schedule that got me.

I've got some pictures, um, blurrier than I'd like, I'll be uploading them tonight and posting a more detailed account, because it certainly was an adventure! In the meantime, I'll, uh, work or something...

I brought my ergonomic keyboard and my headphones home from work for the holidays, and I forgot to take them this morning. So I stole a normal keyboard (thankfully, my coworkers are French, so half of them aren't there), and I don't have music today. *pouts*

libtool

Dec. 20th, 2006 05:11 pm
pphaneuf: (Angry Tongue)
libtool is the work of the devil.

Fog

Dec. 15th, 2006 01:42 pm
pphaneuf: (Default)
As a proof that I'm not just blindly pissed off at the whole of France, I'd like to mention that I totally love how there's fog more often here, in the morning. Particularly yesterday morning, where I was riding the train, and temperature was just at the freezing point, so there was all these little crystals on the grass, making it seem as if somebody grabbed the saturation dial for the world and turned down. Might seem gloomy to some, but I like it muchly. There's a kind of old manor that I can see between trees and building from my desk, and when there's a fog, it makes for just its ghostly tower barely making it, it's very nice.

Seems official that the lady [livejournal.com profile] azrhey and I will be taking a 24 hour blitz-trip to Barcelona for the New Year. Wondering whether I should bring my camera or not, since it might be a little crazy, but still, should be quite cool.

I have to make pictures for my work. I find it odd, because the person who asked for it is generally literate, but I just fail to see the need myself. I don't know, I might just be easily tickled these days, wouldn't surprise me.

I have an evaluation interview later this afternoon, which I have mixed feelings over, since I know very well I've been doing a rather poor job, but I'm also having a hard time caring. I've been late to work a few times recently, and I'd ask for (actual) flexible hours, but I realized that even if I get them, it wouldn't be that helpful, since I'm still bound by the bloody train schedule.

Meh.

Very much looking forward to the weekend.

Stabby...

Dec. 8th, 2006 01:27 pm
pphaneuf: (Sleepy Head)
I'm so tired. I feel like a whiny bastard, and I can see myself coming up with how things are better back home or shit like that.

Some people have asked me why I didn't go back, then? Well, the inertia works both ways around here, you see? I'd be packing up, but just how I had so much difficulty finding an apartment, I have this insane contract where I'd have to lick the pavement from here to Bordeaux in order to get out of it.

But I have to admit, some mornings, I'm bloody tempted to just tell all of this to fuck off, take my plane ticket and head back.

In the meantime, I'll be over there, writing the plan for the plan that'll allow us to plan. But I wouldn't expect much result or effect...
pphaneuf: (Sleepy Head)
Ouch, that was a bad week. So, of course, I didn't write.

There was this moment, at some point, where the root causes of my annoyances here were coming together before my eyes, and I could see that they weren't specific to particular companies or individuals, but a product of the whole system, and that, therefore, there was precious little chance of avoiding it. They're not intrinsically negative things, but similarly to apenwarr, I like small and responsive, rather than big and stable.

In France (and most of Europe in general, it would seem), things are optimized for stability, from the top-down. They have a strong, controlling state, unified almost all the way down, with cities having a little control (not much), and the bulk of decisions emanating from the center. Have you ever wondered how such enterprisey things as the WS-Deathstar ever see any use? As far as making money and keeping things the way they were, they are doing a marvelous job, actually, but when it comes to things like "making a difference" or "doing something I could give a flying fuck about", well, it's rather less than stellar. For example, do you know Bull? No? Never heard of them? It's the premier European IT supplier, something a bit like IBM, but for Europe. They have such giant customers such as Dassault Aviation, EDF, Total, Boehringer Ingelheim, La Poste, SNECMA, France Telecom, T-Com and the SNCF. What, you've never heard of most of these either? I can assure you, they're all gigantic, half of them are or have been nationalized at some point, and the system will roll on forward whether you know about them or not! I do think there is change coming, but the timeframe is in the decade, I would say. I'm not that patient!

At first, I didn't know what to do anymore, and that left me very sad. This being a systemic issue means that finding another job wouldn't do it. Starting my own company wouldn't really do it either, as I'd have this system to deal with (and more pressingly, would quickly have serious problems with hiring).

That last thought kind of surprised me, though, in another way. Previously, I didn't want to start a company. I didn't want to do management, didn't want to deal with the business end of things, and I was rather afraid of the risks. I just wanted to program. But in the last few years, I did management (and actually enjoyed it, I reluctantly have to admit), I got interested in business, probably from hanging out with apenwarr, even if it wasn't to his scale. And ironically, this project of moving to Europe had me face my fear of risks, where I didn't know where I'd work, where I'd live, how I'd get to stay in the country and other such things. So, oddly enough, I'm now considering doing something I can't do here, but only because I have come here!

Now, I'm not just packing up just yet! I still want to travel around Europe some, and I can do a good amount of the early work on just about any potential idea for a startup from here. So I'll be doing that.

For the shorter term, there's a trip to see some of [livejournal.com profile] azrhey's family for Christmas, and possibly a short trip to Barcelona for the New Year, getting pick-pocketed and all, as the tradition requires. And I've discussed some idea of going to Copenhagen to see [livejournal.com profile] skjalm, which would be very nice.

I also met two hot girls on the train, Hungarian and Italian. See, it's not all that bad around here, hehe!

February 2016

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