There's probably something inherently unproductive about the first day on the job. There's W4 forms and emergency contact notification to fill out, you don't know where office supplies or the bathroom are, your computer will need at least five hours of tweaking until it's got the background image and color scheme you like yet still accepts company e-mail, that sort of thing. So I wasn't expecting much work from my first day. It turned out my total measurably productive matter for the day was filling out my W4 form and emergency contact notification.
Part of this is for an actually serious reason: the company owner, who hired me last week, was in a car accident and while he's expected to be fine he isn't just yet. He's been in hospital and not in as much contact as would be desired, particularly as he's the only one who knows precisely what my project is to be. I know rough details, but not enough to make a useful start programming. So after I was set up with an office and a computer, and after they determined the reason there was no Internet was because the network card wasn't screwed in (a problem fixed by using the screw that held the computer case's side on for the network card), I was advised to stick around and they'd figure out if it was worth my coming in Tuesday (I'm only three days a week). At 3:45 pm I was told that I should definitely come in, and I'd be able to get organized, and shortly after I received my first phone call, asking me to move my car so the office manager could get his car out. (It's a small company, with a smaller parking lot, so triple-parking and an end-of-day shuffle are inevitable.)
Without much else to do I started reading documentation on the database software I'll need to interact with, giving me a new appreciation for the awfulness of database documentation. It would be bad in any case, but to go (during lunch) from my current read right back to sit-on-your-head sentences like ``A procedure name is unique if it appears only in one place'' -- a direct quote, explaining the obvious in such a way as to be wrong if taken at its word -- is particularly crushing. I do wonder what tomorrow will bring.
Trivia: Thomas Hutchins, the first Geographer of the United States, began the 1785 survey of the Ohio territory at a point he calculated as 40 degrees, 38 minutes, and two seconds north latitude. (Modern methods estimate he was 850 yards farther north than that, well within error margins for the time.) Source: Measuring America, Andro Linklater.
Currently Reading: Notes From A Small Island, Bill Bryson. Let this be officially noted as my giving in on reading Bryson. I haven't been avoiding him particularly -- and I quite liked A Short History of Nearly Everything -- but hadn't got to his travelogues for no real reason even though everyone insists I'll love him. It reached the point that the other day I was told, ``I knew I was reminded of someone by reading him, and I couldn't think of who, but now I realize it was you.'' So I'm giving in.