Monthly Archives: August 2011


Work and life continue. Over here in the comfortable heat and air-conditioned blanket we missed out on the most recent set of London riots; and for the first time in my life I’m quite glad they vanished. Even from here we were genuinely concerned for the well-being of friends and family back there in the face of the mass anger and frustration. Topic-change.

Today I experienced my first earthquake.
The new office occupies the 3X floor of a high-rise block in Center City Philadelphia (genuine Philadelphia, not the one being reconstructed in Glasgow at the moment). In the early afternoon I started getting irritated with all of the fat blokes stomping around my desk, making the floor shake. I looked around to see who the culprits were, but all I could observe was a crowd of slightly nervous looking people. The floor was still undulating. For a split second the idea that the floor below was hosting the Obese Aerobic Olympics came to mind, but was quickly extinguished by the look of fear and confusion on the faces of most people within viewing distance. Someone exclaimed “Earthquake!” which had a mixed reaction. Some people decided to go for the lifts, some chose the OSHA-safe option of the stairs, but the majority of us stayed put, recognising a fruitless situation when we saw one. After a short while the undulation of the floor calmed down, which led to a common calm. The tech-support team continued asking the users at the end of the phone “if it was plugged in” and we all went back to normal. It turns out to have been a big quake – even if not in magnitude then in geological reach.
It’s good to let nature remind you how insignificant you are once in a while.

After work I accidentally went to the Apple Store and bought myself a new MacBook Pro, on which I’m typing at this moment. Buying things in the Apple Store is a surprisingly, or perhaps disturbingly, simple task. Sadly, it is ultimately rewarding. The two events of the purchase and earthquake are probably unrelated, but frankly I don’t care because it feels like using a machine that was built to integrate directly with my brain and body.

The old 2006 MacBook is not ready for the knackers yard yet either – but it’s a tad underpowered for Xcode 4. He will continue to live happily.

Week 1

The new job has one outstanding benefit which eclipses any other: it’s in Center City. Not only does this reduce the commute-stress by 1000SCUM, but it means that a plethora of excellent eateries and boozers are within walking distance from my desk. London friends may wonder why this is notable, but since moving here thus far all lunch options worth mentioning have required a friend with a car. In fairness this has led to many enjoyable lunches in the past; but being able to walk to an excellent sandwich/dosa/falaffel shop etc on my own feels very liberating.

Techwise I’m still out of my comfort zone, but as long as my line-manager manages to deal with my foibles until they are worked out, I’m quite happy. The company makes a product that I like and the entire ethos of the company is anti-printing so, as you may have guessed, I’m very happy about that.

Yesterday a friend from the previous job, Sudatta, arranged a do for a bunch of (ex-)workmates at her house. After my first week at the new job it was really wonderful to hang out with friends from the “old place”. It’s difficult to remember what it feels like to start a new job, and in general the whole thing sucks. It probably felt like that at the last place to begin with but after 3-4 years there the memory is of a warm, happy, family environment. Leaving wasn’t fun, and so it was really bloody great to see people again, especially with beer, wine and astonishing home-made Indian food. Thanks Sudatta (and family).

Objective-C development is proving to be as enjoyable as I’d hoped, even though I am still rusty as fuck. Even though it’s extremely low-level at core, the dev tools allow a level of control that, if used correctly, can get help rid of 99.9% of C-style problems while allowing some serious low-level action.

Apart from watching large chunks of The Martian Chronicles and other good stuff today, I also spent an hour or so talking to the family in England which is always lovely. On this occasion little Lily not only clapped her hands in time with “If you’re happy and you know it”, but she was also introduced to Leo.

Nighty night.