BBQ For Me And You  

vrec_dawn 39M
854 posts
4/21/2006 2:58 pm

Last Read:
4/21/2006 3:04 pm

BBQ For Me And You

Today was a good day at work. We had a company BBQ ... which is a rare but enjoyable time when the company buys a bunch 'o food and lets a couple of employees cook it for us and serve it up for lunch. For free. It's great.

Of course I was naughty. When it's free, and yummy, why not? What better way to celebrate just getting over a stomach flu than by eating yourself sick? So I had a BBQ cheddar cheeseburger, a BBQ cheddar brat, a chicken breast, and two little 6-8oz steaks. Oh, and four cookies. Yum!

I also stocked up three snack bags of chips for my emergency provisions. You never know when you may get stranded in your cubicle after all. Or, you know, snacky...

And hours later I'm still monumentally stuffed. I doubt I'll bother with dinner. No need. But at least I'm still on my smallest belt hole. Even after bloating myself silly, I'm still on the same belt size. Not bad.

To make the day even better, El Reg ran a BOFH and FotW. Always fun stuff to read.

But best of all, I got to spend my day working on graphics instead of coding. I love that stuff. And the icons for this special occasion aren't the typical size. This time they're in-program status indicators that are 90x90 pixels. So that was a lot of fun. It's funny that while Adobe Photoshop does a lot of cool things, it fails in two areas that I need. It doesn't alter single pixels without affecting other pixels around it (or if you can draw that way, I haven't figured it out) and it doesn't support the XPM image format.

Mostly I need the latter. Though for icon work, the former helps an awful lot.

We started using XPMs at work because it's a text-based image format (great for turning ASCII art into pixel art), which gives us more options in CVS (our code versioning software) than binary formats do. But also we use Qt, and Qt supports XPMs nicely. (Even internally using them to embed images into code.) But also, I've noticed that they're good for another reason too. JPGs are lossy. GIFs aren't compiled into our code because for algorithm IP reasons. (Even though I thought the algorithm went out of copyright a while back.) BMPs suck. PNGs aren't bad, but have alpha channel information. (Which I've found slows down Qt badly to handle alpha blending, even when the only blending that exists is for flat out transparancy.) So XPMs have transparency, no loss of quality, bitblt fast in Qt, and are IP free. If only it wasn't such a space hog of a format.

So anywho, the moral of the story is, that for as great as Photoshop is, I still need to use The GIMP for XPM support if for no other reason.

The only problem is that over the course of that much graphics work my contacts dried out. It can be a real eye strain staring at a computer monitor intently while you try to get the mask for blending layers just right. So that was irritating, literally. Still, I love days where I can do that instead of code.

The only real bummer so far is that I found out that a great employee was just sacked. He was a cool guy that really knew his stuff, and used to work for the company. But he left when the company started firing people left and right to have a better quarter after going public. I almost think he was pushed out the door, but I don't know that for certain. Anyway, he recently got hired back, and had my support as he was doing a lot to challenge the lazy-assed corrupt system in place at work. Especially in our service department, where he worked. (Which has made our service department a global laughing stock. And I'm not overstating that any. It really is.)

He was getting a lot done to help customers, and to change the system around work. But I guess he rubbed too many high up people the wrong way (and for the most part, it doesn't get more lazy and/or corrupt than it does at this company's highest management levels), so they fired him.

Which sucks. Because, as I said, for once things were actually getting done. Now they'll go back to sucking again.

That's just the company politics for you. In that, my company really bites the big one. There are times I've considered leaving the job just for that alone. Frankly, I don't know why I haven't been fired any number of times for that reason. I've fought the system for the customer (and at times even purely for the benefit of the company) a few times in my years there, and managed to piss off a number of folks. Sometimes though you just have to stand up for what's right, no matter how 'unpolitical' it may be, you know?

Sometimes the truth hurts, and that can get you into a lot of trouble when the people it hurts don't like looking bad and are high up.

But anyway, other than that, it's been an awesome day so far. Now to go for a walk in this nice cool weather and burn some of this fuel in my tum tum before it rains tonight!


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