I started working for Hewlett-Packard in 2004 and it went very well for a long time. It was the second time I worked for Hewlett-Packard but the first time I was an FTE for them. Initially I was an Expert in Residence and was almost exclusively technical and spent a great deal of my time:
- Solving technical issues
- Writing white papers
- Creating and then fixing problems in the lab
- Finding new and interesting solutions to old and new problems
- Finding and fixing issues people didn’t even know they had
- Generally helping people get out of the holes they were in which really contributed to what I could do here at joeware.net as well.
However once HP bought EDS in 2007/8 things took a massive turn for the worse as we tried to swallow EDS. In effect I was no longer working for Hewlett-Packard Managed Services, I was now working for “EDS, an HP Company” which later became the Enterprise Services Division which eventually became the primary component of Hewlett Packard Enterprise when it split from HP Inc.
It primarily was not and still mostly is not the old HP, it is in great part still the old EDS. When the spin off of Enterprise Services to CSC completes in April then the Hewlett-Packard Enterprise that is left will be closer to the old HP I worked for in the fact that the vast majority of EDS (in particular upper management) will be gone. I suspect there will be a dramatic and hopefully very positive culture shift back to the older model, at least I hope so for my friends that are still there. I have no clue what will happen to the Enterprise Services group that was sold to CSC but from the things I have heard of CSC I have concerns for my friends still in Enterprise Services, both from legacy HP and legacy EDS.
While I met a lot of amazing people (techies and some managers) due to the merger with EDS, overall the merger was a failure for HP and it also did nothing to help me stay relevant in the tech world as I got further and further away from being where I really wanted to be – deep in the tech focused and sorting things out. Any long-time joeware fans likely noticed that I substantially dropped how much I was doing in the blog and in the tool updates and new releases. This really hurt me personally because I love working on this stuff and sharing it with others so they are more effective and capable and empowered. However as I look back now I realize I spent so much time on work and it was so taxing it killed my creativity and my desire to do much on computers outside of work. The creative spark was quite dim and anything I did come up with I really didn’t have any time to focus on it and develop the spark into a flame. That was due, in great part, IMO, to a once great company which has been stripped down to the bone and forcing people to do way too much way too fast for way too little. We were all doing what absolutely needed to be done to get by day to day which didn’t leave a lot of time for the things that really should have been done though some of us would try to do that as well which caused even more burn out. There is only so much you can do in a day and if the company doesn’t have your back, you are not destined to win no matter how good you are or how badly you want to make things succeed.
Cut to last summer / fall when I was approached about joining another company. It looked very interesting. I went through the interview process and in one phone call where I thought I was going to talk to a couple of managers about the position it ended up being a panel based tech interview and I was super whacked out on cold meds. I know I got answers wrong because while I could barely recall the interview I did recall a couple of things when the cold meds wore off that I got wrong although I knew the right answers to the questions such as mixing up asymmetric encryption with hashes … The power of Sudafed D with some other OTC stuff stacked up and KO’ed my brain. I also recalled that I really enjoyed talking to the people and was tickled to be in a technical interview because I wasn’t expecting it and I hadn’t actually had a technical interview since the 90s. Every job I had since 1996 was somehow related to a previous job and the people knew who I was and had some idea of what I was capable of. Anyway, even though I felt I had blown the tech interview they still were interested and after some discussions I ended up accepting an offer from them.
I have been in that job since early December and even though I didn’t get the last few weeks of December off like I usually do I still have more energy and desire to build things now than I have had in many years. I am slowly getting stuff done around the house that I have been neglecting and better, the creative juices are coming back with a vengeance and I am working on joeware utilities again and have ideas for about 10 or 15 blog posts to put together and this is with me getting absolutely pounded at work trying to spin up on a completely new and different environment that definitely has a lot of systemic and emergent issues. This new job is far more technical than what I was doing and closer to what I did when I first returned to HP. I am solving problems and sorting out how to best move forward in the future for a company that isn’t currently, but wants to become a well known tech giant and I absolutely believe they can accomplish it.
Where I am working now and what I am doing isn’t important here, the fact that I am working on something that has reignited my technical and creative drive is important and the blog and the tools download section should start reflecting that more and more as time goes on. If anyone needs to know what my new job is, I take a cue from my good friend Brett Shirley who shares his job as “Building 7 Garage Door Operator”. My new job is Walmart Greeter Store #3487. Greeter isn’t entirely out of my wheelhouse because Greeters are part of Security. They see everything coming in.
I held off on writing about this new position and its impact on what I do here for joeware because I wanted to see if my guesses were correct and they seem to be. Over the last couple of weeks I have started re-organizing and rebuilding my test labs. Additionally I built a new dev laptop and dug out the source code for AdFind and the associated supporting code modules for it and started working on converting it from Borland C++ Builder to Visual Studio. Note this is something that I have wanted to do and have actually tried to do a couple of times over the last 6 or so years but I finally now accomplished it. It only took 3 or 4 evenings once my brain was de-saturated and I finally had a version of AdFind running that was compiled from Visual Studio.
The results for the VS compiled version currently appear to be showing parity for the side by side output tests I have been running between it and V01.49.00. What isn’t par is that the new VS compiled version is substantially faster than the Borland C++ Builder compiled version; I am seeing it is give results between 25%-50% faster. The binary is also half the size because, I believe, it doesn’t need all of the Borland VCL addon stuff for it. Additionally I converted the char* functions from the older styles to the newer _s (safe) versions which I expected would slow things down. not speed it up. I haven’t released an update for AdFind since two years ago so this is pretty exciting for me. Additionally I have a ton of ideas of things to put into it that have come to me in the last month or so. In fact I have probably had five times the ideas for updates in the last month than I had in the prior two years. I already know that not every mod will make the next release because I want to get V01.50.00 out relatively soon because Windows Server 2016 is available now and I dislike seeing “Threshold” for OS version. That being said, it won’t be another two years after that for V01.51.00. I am expecting that I will be putting a lot of extra new functionality in around ACLs etc and also making it even faster for larger scale environments. If you have ideas of things you would like to see go into AdFind, please feel free to email at email@example.com.