In a prescient moment in July, I wrote to the Immigration Division of the Department of Justice, Equality, and Law Reform asking for extended permission to remain without requiring a work permit, as I am entitled to do since I have worked in Ireland for over 60 months. After I was told I was RIFed, I contacted the department by phone (itself a long story) and was told that they would be â€œin communicationâ€ with me within two weeks.
That was four weeks ago. My expectation of receiving a politely worded letter from the department having faded, I phoned the department again last week, another long story in itself.
Iâ€™ve called the departmentâ€™s number so many times that I have it on speed-dial so it takes less time to be hung up on because their queue is full. I also have it registered with our â€œFriends and Familyâ€ calling plan so thereâ€™s a discounted tariff. We should save more through the misnamed plan this period than we have for the whole rest of the time weâ€™ve been on the scheme.
The bad news, once I did get through after two days of trying, was that the person on the other end had no idea why I would have been told two weeks for an application sent in July since the department was still processing applications from April. When I mentioned that I was being made redundant, the person said she would look into my case for me after the phone call, since she couldnâ€™t find my details on computer in front of her.
The worse news, when I was called back later, was that while the department did have a record of my sending a letter, they no longer had either the letter or its supporting documentation, and could I send it all again?
The good news from the same phone call was that my application could be fast-tracked since I was being made redundant. I donâ€™t much like jumping the queue ahead of someone who has been waiting since April (and Iâ€™m sure that the person waiting since April wouldnâ€™t much like me either), but waiting a little bit longer when you are in stable employment makes less of a difference than the difference that freedom from work permits will make to my reemployment prospects.
I have installed Xubuntu 6.06 on my (and I use the term loosely) Fujitsu P1120. Actually, Iâ€™ve installed it about six times so far.
Xubuntu promises a lighter weight window manager for use on older or slower processors like the 800 MHz Crusoe in the P1120, but installation from a netboot is not at straightforward as installing the Ubuntu desktop. The instructions at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/InstallingXubuntu help a lot.
The good news is that the display is automatically configured with the right 1024Ã—600 resolution. The bad news is that the mouse freezes after a suspend-resume, the wireless doesnâ€™t yet work though the Networking tool says that itâ€™s enabled, and I canâ€™t yet persuade it to use the pre-existing encrypted filesystem that is happily used by multiple JDS installs on the same machine.
In the same month that I was told I was RIFed, I was given a bonus. Iâ€™m not complaining, Iâ€™m just bemused at how big companies operate.
The call for participation for the XSL FO 2.0 Workshop in Heidelberg, Germany on 18th October, 2006, is at http://www.w3.org/Style/XSL/2006-Workshop/. Now to find the justification (for the sake of the organisers) and the cheap hotel (for my own sake) necessary for me to get there!
For the last ten years, the first line on http://www.menteith.com/ has been “Forgive the spartan appearance, but w’re just moving in.”
It may have taken ten years and there are still a few rough edges, but we’ve, or I’ve, finally moved in.
The website uses Norm’s DocBook Website DTD and stylesheets. It was a learning experience to get it building correctly on Windows (since my Linux laptops will shortly no longer be mine). The best part of the whole exercise was finding the existence of the “hspacer” named template for adding space between the navigation bar and the body of a page. I’ve been wanting something like that for about the last five years, and the next thing I’ll do is update the xmlroff website at http://xmlroff.org/ to also use it. To give credit where credit is due, I found out about it from Bob Stayton’s “DocBook XSL: The Complete Guide” at http://sagehill.net/docbookxsl/WebsiteFormat.html.
When I was RIFed, several past colleagues (both RIFed and unRIFed) sent me their LinkedIn details. Since I hadnâ€™t paid it any attention before, I asked around and was told variously that it was useful, that it was potentially useful, and by one person that he expected to do most of his job-hunting there.
So I joined.
When last I checked, my LinkedIn home page breathlessly informed me that I had over 88,200 connections and that my network had recently expanded to include the Fishery industry. I donâ€™t know that I care. I do know that Iâ€™m not planning on doing anything involving the Fishery industry (though I make no promises that I wonâ€™t), and I also know that the 88,200+ includes, but is not limited to, an Independent Ranching Professional and at least one Railroad Manufacture Professional. The LinkedIn premise of building â€œa powerful network of trusted professionalsâ€ so that I can â€œ[t]ap into inside connections and informationâ€ wears a bit thin when the vast majority of my â€œnetworkâ€ are that far outside my sphere.
LinkedIn may be a useful place to keep your contactsâ€™ information (provided the information doesnâ€™t go the way of 700GB of PlusNet emails), but youâ€™d still want a local copy if youâ€™re writing email while offline.
LinkedInâ€™s real use may be for catching up with people that I used to know, the â€œFind and reconnect with colleagues and classmatesâ€ part of their value proposition, but I have found that thereâ€™s many names for which I searched for which there is no match. I did discover Ikeda-san who I first met when I lived in Japan and did also find the name of someone who was RIFed from Sun Ireland last year. LinkedIn, however, doesnâ€™t provide contact details until you have a â€œConnectionâ€, so rather than issuing a LinkedIn â€œInvitationâ€ and relying on the kindness of people in the USA to forward my invitation through multiple hops and back to Ireland, I used the old-fashioned technique of doing a web search to find him, and tomorrow I will use the old, old-fashioned technique of using the telephone to call him.
So LinkedIn mostly seems to me to be a large, multi-player computer game where you earn points in the game by making connections to increase the size of your network. My character in the game is a 15-contact Personal Account with 90% profile completeness, 33% network completion, 1 endorsement, and 88,200+ network points.
This is the first blog entry for http://tkg.menteith.com.
I have walked my shadow over from my previous, much neglected blog at http://blogs.sun.com/roller/page/menteith (which may soon be heard no more).
The benighted template system for this blog software, which comes with the web hosting service, won’t let me put the complete quote from Shakespeare that I want in the tag line, so here it is:
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5
Here’s hoping that you’ll walk with me as I strut and fret my hour upon the stage (which itself is four times as long as Andy Warhol would have credited me with).