austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

If I had a set of wings man I know she could fly

I got a field day from the Extruded Office Product. My current hiring is inspired by another customer deciding it wants a project that I'm sure I could do easily. It seemed to be getting data from one database which already exists and passing it to software from a web site that sells this information to anyone. With documentation on how to access the databases required I probably could do this in maybe twenty minutes. But since one of the databases is my company's there may be no documentation of anything anywhere. They'd also kind of like me to learn Cobol.

The important thing is I rode down to the customers with the company owner, in his Corvette, and did I mention he's been taking racecar-driving lessons from a guy who won ``some race'' back 1988 or 89? I haven't felt accelerations like that since my last plane flight, and it's a good thing for my nerves that it was a clear sunny day with little traffic.

On meeting the customers I established that they're all moving from one spot to another and what they want done is pretty much what I imagined. And I got to use the software they want tinkered with, letting me discover it's got a quirky attitude to user interfaces. By quirky I mean awful. I'm not responsible for that, so I can make my part simple and sensible instead.

And on the way back we stopped at the company's other office, a tiny spot in a run-down town with no parking and only a few employees, all of whom smoke. This is very different from the main office, which is larger and has only a few employees who smoke, all of them on floors I'm not on.

Trivia: Contributing to Sir Cloudesley Shovell's squadron's wreck on the Isles of Scilly in October 1707 --- sinking HMS Association, Eagle, Firebrand, and Romney, and damaging HMS George, altogether killing 1400 sailors --- were that the compasses aboard the ships were almost all defective; the magnetic variation of compass bearings was not accounted for; the Rennell Current in the waters around the islands was not known; and the navigation charts showed the Scillies north of their true position. Source: Compass: A Story of Exploration and Innovation, Alan Gurney. I find an irritating disagreement among my references to whether the wreck happened the 22nd or the 23rd, but for what it's worth, it was after sunset too. The accident was attributed to bad longitude calculations, although some modern researchers think the fleet had an acceptable estimate of their longitude. In any case the islands' position on the charts was wrong in latitude and longitude.

Currently Reading: The Great War In Africa, 1914 - 1918, Byron Farwell.


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