Today was my first day at the Department of Education and Children's Services (or DECS for short). I guess it's pretty normal to make comparisons, but here's what I've noticed so far:
- Nice, friendly people (though it is different working on a floor with heaps of other people, compared to a small team).
- Good induction experience.
- Lots of documentation and things to learn/remember.
- Weird using WinXP with 1Gb ram and a single small monitor. Most other people have dual monitors and 2Gb, so I might ask if there's any chance I can get a hardware refresh.
- My login and email were all ready and waiting for me (that is impressive) which meant I could get started straight away.
- There's no tea or coffee or milk - everyone brings their own! Might be easier (and healthier) to stick with water.
- I do have Admin access to my PC (wasn't sure if I would get that)
- The image they refreshed my PC with must be a couple of years old, as a fair bit of my time was spent installing patches and updates.
- Visual InterDev and Visual Studio 2003 - Not something I ever thought I'd be using again, but there you go. They're talking about Visual Studio 2008 coming soon - not soon enough I say!
- Sounds like some people do ride to work (and there is a shower), but I'm not sure if there's any lockers.
- I'll have to figure out what time the tram goes past to get to the train station on time.
- They're using SQL 2000 with Reporting Services, so I'll be sure to give the Adelaide SQL User Group talks a plug. Not that I think they'll be moving to SQL 2008 anytime soon, but it's good to know what's possible.
- Interesting experience with Internet access. There's no obvious proxy server, but some sites are blocked (Facebook is one example). They're also not too keen on IM by the looks of things.
- One of my colleagues mentioned to me that our manager is probably the best he's worked with. That's encouraging to hear.
So it was a pretty full on day. Certainly a huge change from what I was used to, but I think it's going to work out ok. And as I said before, the people seem really nice, which helps a lot too.
Last month I ordered a few books to add to my "programmers" library.
A few days later, I added an extra title to my order:
Because MCPD 70-547 Exam Prep: Microsoft Certified Web Application Developer Exam (by Amit Kalani) was supposed to be published by 30 March, my order was held over, however when 1st April came around and it still wasn't available, Amazon kindly split my order and sent the first three books.
It still wasn't available a few weeks later, so they shipped the Facts and Fallacies book and gave me the option of cancelling my order for the remaining book.
Seeing as I have an exam voucher that expires June 30, I'd like to get some study material before that date to give me a good chance of passing. So I did cancel the Kalani book and I've gone with the Microsoft Press book instead - MCPD Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-547): Designing and Developing Web-Based Applications Using the Microsoft .NET Framework.
Even if not all the reviews of this book are glowing, at least it has actually been published!
Coming soon - my reviews of these books....
Following on from my list of Firefox extensions, here's a list of the applications I've been using on my work PC:
- Adobe Reader
- Beyond Compare
- CruiseControl.NET CCTray
- IBM Rational PurifyPlus for Windows
- Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar
- ISO Recorder
- Microsoft Office 2007
- Microsoft SQL Server 2005
- Microsoft Virtual PC 2007
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2005
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2008
- Developer Express CodeRush for Visual Studio.NET
- Developer Express Refactor! Pro for Visual Studio.NET
- MbUnit 2.4
- PageMethods for VS 2005 and 2008
- Professional Validation and More
- RadControls for ASP.NET
- Mozilla Firefox
- Mozilla Thunderbird
- SnagIt 8
- Red Gate SQL Comparison Bundle
- SQL Compare 6
- SQL Data Compare 6
- SQL Dependency Tracker 2
- TFS Administration Tool
- VMWare Infrastructure Client
- Windows Live Messenger
- Windows Live Writer
- Windows Media Player Firefox Plugin
I've just reinstalled the home PC (it was running XP Pro through a work license), but as Monday is my last day at UniSA and I plan to keep the hardware, all UniSA-licensed software has to go.
Fortunately, the box came with an OEM license for XP Home, and the timing was pretty good in that XP SP3 is being released. I still had access to a MSDN subscription, so managed to download it a few days earlier than the general public.
Reinstalling was relatively painless, and it is nice to have a nice clean OS again, without years of accrued bits and pieces slowing it down.
One thing I did need to wire up again was getting Thunderbird talking to my GMail account. The basic instructions are listed in the GMail Help Center, but there's also these additional steps to better hook up the Spam and Junk Mail folders.