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12/29/2006

Host on Demand

A former colleague in Germany, who *inherited* the databases and IT applications I had built for our employer there, called me because there was a problem he couldn't seem to fix.

medium_bbvhod2.JPGAt first I tried to walk him thru what I would have done over the phone and with several emails. But after a while we realized, that there was more involved. We figured it would be a lot easier, if I had access to their mainframe - to look at the data and maybe correct the error.

Thanks to the internet timezones and oceans inbetween aren't enough to stop people from working together anymore. IBM's host-on-demand software requires only a webbrowser on the client side, and some administration and security set up on the server side.

I got access to the host in Munich, used my laptop to logon to TSO/ISPF there, and worked for about 2.5 days. I managed to correct the databases and rerun a few reports. The biggest surprise was that, after a year of doing a lot of different things, I still remembered everything needed to work with those mainframe databases.

12/20/2006

Bye-bye Lincoln

OK, this was a *temporary* assignment from the very start - but until about 10 days ago I had been hoping for something *permanent* to open up here. That didn't happen. I was informed that, effective December 22nd, my services will no longer be needed.

We don't have the head-count, we don't have the budget, our sales have been going down, we are trying to reduce the number of contractors , ...... you pick whatever reason you like. The result is still that I will be out of a job two days before Christmas.

But then, there is always a bright side to look at. My assignment at Lincoln was supposed to last 6 to 8 weeks, and turned out to be almost 9 months. I gathered valuable insight into the inner workings of *Corporate America*. I made over a dozen new friends, and only one new enemy (who wouldn't admit that, when asked directly). I aquired new skills and practiced old ones. And I had a lot of fun! 

Facing forward instead of looking back, I think this is a chance for me to free up my mind and re-focus on moving my career back on track. Of course I could do just about *anything*, but why waste my knowledge, expertise, talent, vision, dedication and time - on a job that barely pays enough to survive, much less what I am worth?

The loss for Lincoln Foodservice Products is much greater than the loss for me. They lost an $80,000 p.a. employee (whom they could have bought at half price) while I only lost a $24,000 p.a. job (which shouldn't be too hard to replace).

   

12/13/2006

get the Christmas tree set up

medium_XMasTree.jpgThis is America, and it would be perfectly legal to have a fake plastic pre-decorated Christmas tree sitting in the family room. I don't think I could ever do that though. I'd rather not have a tree at all.

So we drove to Menards and bought a scottish pine, 7 feet tall, with thick branches and long needles. All the ornaments we brought from Germany work just fine on it, except the real wax candles and the red glass top piece.

Now the living room is filled with pine scent. At night we have a fire on in the fireplace and the glowing twinkle of 70 little LED lights on our tree. To make it perfect all we'd need would be some cold and snow outside.

13:10 Posted in 06, Having Fun | Permalink | Comments (0)

12/07/2006

'tis the season

medium_Winter.jpgNow we're definitely getting ready for Christmas. It had been very cold, around 25°F for a high, these past few days. And today we finally got our first *real* snowfall for the season (because October 12th didn't really count).

We have a string of 420 little LED lights draped alongside our front porch, to make the house look more festive. Of course we can't compete with our neighbours here in Pine Valley - but it is a start. We'll go on adding to the decoration in the following years.

And I personally built a German *Adventskranz* to light 1, 2, 3, and 4 dark-red cinnamon-scented candles on over the coming weekends. Now all we need to get is our Christmas tree. Of course it will have to be a real tree - no plastic. But, because of our dog, we won't put real candles on the tree this year. That would be too dangerous.