Weekly Blur

Today is… Wednesday. Yes. That seems correct. Honestly, without checking the calendar, I don’t know the days of the week anymore. I know that there are two days of time off every interval, but most of the days have been blurring together.

I think this is because of the weird schedule I’ve been keeping with regard to work and my location. Normally, whatever that means anymore, I would wake up, take a shower, get dressed, eat, prep, go to work; Come home, clean, eat, sleep; Repeat.

Right now, we spend a lot of time doing whatever needs to be done at the time. Sometimes that’s work, sometimes that’s entertaining ourselves, sometimes that’s cleaning up a mess in the house. The distinction is not really made clear.

The only time it is clear is when I’m rotated into going to the office. Since I’m “essential”, I spend some time in the office doing mostly office things. This schedule feels familiar, but I don’t care much for it. Getting extra rest instead of commuting was nicer.

I’m not sure if this whole telework thing is for me, permanently, but I do know that right now, I prefer it. I think a lot of introverts like me are enjoying the “safer-at-home” lifestyle, if they didn’t already live it prior to this whole pandemic mess. I also think it’s going to change the way we think about work. Some for good, some for bad.

Honestly, a lot of the work we do is now able to be done remotely, so long as the infrastructure exists to support it. This has been a live-fire test showing that lots of companies can support it. Whether we do or not going forward will be up to us all.

What I’m Feeling

The world is getting a face full of COVID-19 and is not taking it well. Many places are closed or have changed their procedures. Places like Starbucks have gone to drive through only. Other places where people congregate have just closed altogether. Techy companies are moving any available workers to remote-work.

Except me. I’m here in the office. I was actually looking forward to working from home, since it’s a much more comfortable environment and I could get some stuff done. I’m a home-body, so I think I would have really enjoyed it.

Well, I’m somehow deemed “critical”. So much for that staycation.

Additionally, Animal Crossing is delayed delivery due to this stupid virus. Our anniversary trip to Disney is canceled. Our Disney cruise is also similarly canceled. My son now has to take his instruction via the web and even my goddamn weigh loss group is going to Zoom.

Work is also piling on. We have constant meetings with Microsoft regarding issues with their Outlook client. Demanding logs of all shapes and sizes be uploaded and proof, undeniable proof, is levied before they lift a finger. I also have been conscripted to develop PowerShell scripts that I’ve never done before, and for deployment to masses of users.

I feel beat down. Burnt out. Tired.

I tried to take a walk. I was interrupted for more work.

I finally got outside. It feels like a middle-finger seeing all the people out, having a good time, walking and talking to friends. Basically the opposite of what we’re supposed to be doing.

I just don’t care anymore.

GNUThink

I sometimes get to a point where I question a lot of what I do and what matters to me. Sometimes it’s because of simple things, like a broken tool, or a frustrating problem. Sometimes it’s more of a philosophy problem, where I question how I feel about something and if I should change my ideas or mannerisms behind some action.

Lately, it’s been a little of both. I use an iPhone, Apple Music, iCloud (storage, etc), Office 365, and probably other tools and services that would be considered “non-free” in the “libre” sense. This has lead to me thinking about what I actually want out of computing. It’s such a thorny question, because there are so many comfortable choices that I’m in, that upending them would probably throw my life (and my family’s) into temporary turmoil.

For instance: Office 365. I pay for just the Exchange Online component, because I don’t need the actual Office suite as we (my family) get it free from my school and other organizations that we’re associated with. Exchange Online has been fine from a end-user perspective. Very rarely do I have any real issues to speak of, other than paying for it. My real problem here is that it’s a very proprietary platform, and because of that, it’s moderately difficult to get out of and to connect to with free-software tools. The IMAP support is… functional, but the contacts and calendars are tied down.

Similarly, I have lots of Apple devices and services. Like Office 365, I don’t have any complaints, per se, it’s just that they’re extremely proprietary and that means getting out of the ecosystem is difficult, and like above, connecting using free-software tools is straight up impossible.

The reason I have these things in the first place is that my family, who don’t hold my free-software ideals, want/need access to reliable tools they can use from multiple places. This is not an unreasonable request, and is one that can be solved with enough time, free-software, capital and expertise. Unfortunately, I’m not willing or able to host all of that, or even administer it. I don’t have the time, and I certainly don’t have the specific expertise to do all of it. Hence the current implementation.

Balance between freedom, convenience and cost is a tricky one. While I’d personally like to model myself more in line with the FSF’s computing ideals. The problem is that I have family members that I have to support as well. I’d also like to move them toward more free-software systems. While I recognize their choice in platforms is their own, I also get to say what I will and will not support (kind of, family is so complicated).

I don’t have any kind of resolution for this, I’m still trying to figure out what kind of path I want to take. Is pragmatism the smarter choice? Idealism feels right, but is massively more difficult to implement. There is probably a good middle of the road, but I don’t know if I’m on it. Maybe it doesn’t matter?

What should I do?

Featured Image

“Ugh, a Mac”, by Joe Wilcox – License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Goodbye CCAT

So, it’s ending all over again. This time I say goodbye to a really excellent organization known as CCAT. These last (almost) 2years have been a huge learning experience for me and something I’ll take with me as I move on.

I’d really like to thank the excellent non-profit clients we have herein Florida for being such a big reason that I got up every day. Places like United Way of Northeast Florida, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida, Family Foundations, Leadership JAX, Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, Non-Profit Center of Northeast Florida and (of course) the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. Every day, these organizations and their volunteers and employees made my job one I truly enjoyed.

I also wanted to thank my excellent co-workers who, despite it all, helped me grow as a person and as an employee. I’m really fortunate to have had such patient and understanding people to work with and for. Their dedication to my own success, as well as our clients, is really just outstanding. I wish them all the best of luck in their future endeavors.

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

Douglas Adams

Florida Coastal School of Law

Today is my last day. I’ve worked at Florida Coastal School of Law for about 11 years now. I’ve been everything from a Help Desk jockey to the Webmaster. With today being my last day, I can’t help but to look back and remember all that I’ve done, all that I’ve grown and all that I will miss from that place.

It’s surreal, really. I feel like I don’t have any idea of how things are done in the “outside”, because I’ve been there for so long and done things a certain way there for so long that new ways of handling things seems so foreign.