Addenda 6: Before Pragmatic 85

5 April, 2018


Before Pragmatic Episode 85 Vic and I talk about why I went quiet for 4-6 months.

Transcript available
People that may have been wondering why I've been a little bit quiet recently. So I just want to track this back from the beginning. So things sort of started going a bit interesting in about September last year. So if you remember Vic, I was given a promotion within the group to Technical Engineering Manager for Automation Systems. I do. Yeah, now that was a that was where things started to go a little bit. Hey, why mainly because there was a huge ramp in responsibility So I had a team of 12 people reporting to me at that point and I was doing all of their All the management stuff as well as the continuing on doing the technical like doing the technical standards reviews And I still had a couple of projects I was pushing along as well So there was a lot of extra work and that sucked a lot of my time and then when it got derailed even more so, although I realized you can only derail a train once, but nevermind. Um, the company that I was, I'm working for, uh, announced about two months later. So, it was about December-ish of last year that it was going to downsize my entire division. Um, at the time we had about 1,600 people working in our division and they were going to chop that by 40% headcount reduction. So, we're ending up with about 950 people, something like that anyway. Now the focus on this was middle management and yay guess what I'd just been made I'd been a superintendent then for a while so I was basically you know basically yeah I was a prime candidate for this chopping block. Yeah, pretty much. So, yeah, it was very, very, very hard. Probably the hardest four months of my working career to be perfectly blunt because I had actually gone through downsizing previously back in Nortel in Calgary and that was in 2001. But the difference between then and now was that now I had five people depending upon me. Back then it was just me. If I failed, I just pack up and go home and, you know, hey, shrug, whatever. Which is actually kind of funny, that's exactly what I did do. But this time, no, this time, no, no, no, no. Serious wheels would fall off. So, I did everything that I possibly could within reason and pulled out all the stops. And unfortunately, yeah, anyway. So, that made it very difficult. It's amazing what it does, actually, that sort of mindset and pouring everything into work, into your J-O-B job, the one that you need to survive. and for your family to survive. It saps your creativity. It saps all of your desire to be creative. It just, yeah, you just walk around flat all the time and it's been very rough. So I kinda, and I guess I'm just sort of, I'm not the only person in the world that's ever been through this. I know that. And it sucks. And there's no positive way of thinking about it other than I got news recently. So depending upon when this goes out, it'll be a week or a few weeks, But basically, yes, I do now have a new job. And that is to say, I was given a different role in the same organization, in the same division. So I'm no longer the technical engineering manager for automation systems. My new role is basically the cyber security lead for operational technology, which is basically all the controls equipment in the entire organization. No pressure. Just a little. Irrespective of that, it's a new challenge. It's a new role. It's one that I'm going to be tackling with a lot of enthusiasm because it's something that I do have an interest in. It is a bit of a change of pace, but at the same time, it's something that I've done a lot of research into previously. People that have listened to early episodes of Pragmatic when I covered Stuxnet. I have covered things like this previously as well in other areas. So, it's not something that's new to me, but it's something that I can really sink my teeth into. So, I'm feeling relieved, rejuvenated. I feel like I can start living again and I can start taking plans that were on hold back off hold, which is great. And that means basically I'm feeling like it's time for me to start churning out some content. So, a lot of stuff that I wanna start covering in the next six months is stuff I've been actually stewing on for a while. So, it's gonna be interesting. Anyway, what I did do in my spare time, The funny thing is that I found that it killed some of my creative juices, I guess you could call that. But the other thing that I found as a great way to pass the time and to focus is to do programming. So, I actually spent a lot of the last couple of months, I know, I actually spent the last couple of months working on some Python scripts because I was... - Oh. - Come on. Yeah, you want me to program in Swift and Objective-C, but no, I'm sorry. - Anyway... - Well, it's just one of those. I know. Anyway, well, anyhow. So the Mastodon automated posting now works for the first time. I got that add-on working from Statomic. So I'm still running Statomic version one. And so yeah, I now have an add-on that will post automatically to Mastodon, which is awesome. Well, I think it's awesome anyway. The Mastodon to Twitter Python scripts selective posting is working again. It broke there for a while. There was an update to Mastodon that broke in the backend. I've now fixed that as well. Vacation on the site has been all cleaned up and it should be a heck of a lot faster page load times now. So the other thing, yeah, the other thing though that I had issues with that's also slowed me down recording was I had issues with my Onyx Blackjack. So my Mackie Onyx Blackjack. It's been my trusty USB A to D converter, mixer, whatever you want to call it since, well, for years now. Anyway, long story short, there was an increasing amount of noise, static and crud that was coming through on, and it was a direct result the potentiometers, potentiometers was sealed. So, I couldn't clean them, you know, it could only replace them. So, I stripped it, reply, I bought a replacement potentiometer and put it in and it kind of worked, but it, it had had its day. And I did a couple of episodes of, of Analytical and one bubble sort with it. And there was just no, it was time to go. So, I've been I've been saving Patreon pennies for a while and many thanks to all of the patrons of the show. And I also, we also have a sponsor for the next month or two. And I put all that into buying a brand new mixer. So I've got a MixPre 3 now which I'm recording on. I also have a new mic which is a Shure Beta 87A which is a beautiful microphone. and I also have an acoustic shield and some more soundproofing in the room that I've also put in. So hopefully I'll sound a little bit nicer as well, a little bit less noisy and should make editing a lot easier as well, less clicks and pops and other stuff to get rid of and such. And we'll pour one out for the Blackjack? Yeah I think so, it's going to go into the drawer as a keep that for if anything ever happens to this MixPre 3. But I'll tell you what, it's gonna be hard to go back, this thing's beautiful. Yeah, it's very, very nice. But anyway, so. Alrighty, so yeah, that's what's happened. And back on track, creative juices flowing, rock on, moving forward, all that other good stuff. I'm running out of euphemisms. I've run out of euphemisms, that's it. The well hath run dry. It hath indeed, sir. Anyhow, alright, cool.
Duration 7 minutes and 45 seconds Direct Download

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John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

Described as the David Attenborough of disasters, and a Dreamy Narrator with Great Pipes by the Podfather Adam Curry.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.

Vic Hudson

Vic Hudson

Vic is the host of the App Story Podcast and is the developer behind Money Pilot for iOS.