Software Engineer

exciting times

· by jsnby · Read in about 4 min · (811 Words)

Lots of good stuff happening lately. First, I reached level 65 in CoD:W@W. Yes, for the first time ever, I’ve reached a level-cap in a video game! I normally don’t have the attention span to make such an achievement, but I’m a big fan of the CoD franchise and am anxiously awaiting Modern Warfare 2. Now I just need to earn prestige…

Next up, how about an update on the house? We heard back today from the seller’s bank. They have agreed to the new lower price (due to the appraisal coming in lower than our offer), but have reduced the amount they are willing to contribute to closing costs from 5% to 1.5%. Our agent believes that we are lucky to be getting anything towards closing costs, so we have accepted the counter offer. We will have a new written approval from our bank tomorrow (we got verbal approval tonight) and will be moving forward on the transaction. Our lender and the sellers seem to be favoring a quick transaction which is in our favor since we have already stated to our landlord that we will vacate our current apartment by September 1. We started packing last weekend. Nothing too serious, just a bookshelf and some random stuff. We’ll get more serious next week once we have a better idea of our timeline.

I’ve really been missing something lately. I feel incomplete and unsatisfied with my current job as I don’t believe it provides enough of a challenge for me right now. I was reading an interesting article on slashdot that talked about how someone noticed that when they weren’t being challenged enough in their IT job, they played complicated games to get the intellectual stimulation that they were lacking at work and that when their jobs had periods where they were challenged, they played simpler games because they were being stimulated enough at work. I think this holds true for me. Lately, I’ve been playing more Magic: The Gathering and reading more about D&D. I play D&D  once a week on Fridays at lunch with co-workers for about 90 minutes, but I’ve been thinking of trying my hand at being a DM. I’m currently reading the 4th edition GM guide.

This lack of stimulation is also causing me to consider returning to school to pursue a masters degree in computer science. We’re moving fairly close to Cal Poly, Pomona, and I’ve begun looking at their graduate admissions requirements. It appears that I wouldn’t have to take the GRE! Once we get settled in San Dimas, I’ll schedule a pre-admissions counseling appointment. If the outcome of that appointment is positive, I have until mid-December to submit my application for the Fall 2010 semester.

One nice thing about work is that since I’m not really being challenged much, I’m spending more time in the design phase of projects instead of just winging it as I go along. This gives me the opportunity to write better, more maintainable code. I’m currently working on a database drive web application for reporting purposes built with PHP5 and MySQL. I made a few mistakes early on and I’ve learned a bunch. I’ve been dealing with a lot of XML lately and I’m not quite sure that I’m fond of how PHP deals with it. This is mainly because I’m new to using stream parsers and I found that they have a bit of a learning curve, but when the input gets large, the only way to process it is with a stream parser. I’m not quite 100% comfortable with it yet, but I’m almost there.

I’ve acquired a new domain name that I’ve been wanting for quite a few years. The owner let it expire and I was able to buy it after the 40 day waiting period. I haven’t done anything to it yet, so you will have to stay tuned for now. The plan is for me to host it entirely myself (similar to this website but not to depend on for DNS services), so I’ll be building a new web server to handle this site plus the new one and DNS. This will be my first time running my own DNS server, so I will probably learn a lot (at least that’s the hope). I think this time I’m going to run either CentOS or OpenBSD. CentOS will be more familiar to me since it’s essentially just rebranded RHEL, but OpenBSD’s focus on security is attractive, plus it gets me out of my Linux comfort zone and back into using a UNIX system (read this as more of a challenge to learn something new).

To recap: things are moving forward on the house and I’m contemplating going back to school for a masters, all the while trying to decide if I want to run a D&D campaign and purchasing a domain.