fighting the lack of good ideas

why i’m not moving office spaces

I follow Joel Spolsky’s blog/news site, His most recent addition is “Adventures in Office Space“. Apparently, they’ve run out of space in their 8th Avenue office, and will be moving to 55 Broadway in a couple months, once their renovations are in-place.

The reason I mention this is that I interviewed with Fog Creek last December for a systems administration position. They flew me up, put me up at the W on Times Square, and reimbursed my food and parking garage fees for leaving my truck at RDU for a couple days. All-in-all, it was a fun two days.

After my interview on Wednesday, I went to see Cirque du Soleil‘s Wintuk.

I did not quite fit their employee model, because I was not offered the position. (Joel relayed the interview results to me directly, and indicated that it was not a technical issue, but that the personality fit didn’t seem to be there.)

I’m still interested, potentially, in getting a job in “real” city (not that Raleigh is not a ‘city’, but it’s not the same as a San Francisco or a New York), where walking to work seems normal, but for now what I’m doing with HP’s professional services is pretty fun and challenging.

So, my hat is off to Joel and his crew, because they must be doing something right to be needing more office area. Best of luck!

charley o’s

I’ve now been to 1611 Broadway twice. Once last December when I was interviewing at FogCreek, and then again Tuesday this week after hitting the Museum Mile Festival in Manhattan. As a side note,walking down the middle of 5th Avenue is a blast – what’s normally a bustling, jam-packed 20 blocks was cordoned-off by the NYPD, and open to pedestrians wanting to see the various museums on the mile-long stretch. I went into the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and though several areas were closed-off to the throngs massing through the giant block party outside, it was still kind of interesting.

They advertise themselves as offering lunch, dinner, and pre/post theater drinks.

Both times I have been impressed. And both times I got nearly the same thing: portobello mushroom sticks. Last night I ordered a bowl of vegetable beef soup, too.

Mushroom sticks sound pretty weird first-off, but were awesome (both times!). They take strips of portobello mushroom, wrap them in cheese, coat them in batter, and deep-fry them – they’re like mozzarella sticks, but with no mozzarella and they add mushrooms.

I must say that I wasn’t as impressed by their vegetable beef soup, though, as I was the mushroom sticks. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t spectacular.

For you beer folks, they only have a couple on tap. Last night it was Guinness, Stella Artois, Bass, and Bud Light. (Not that the last one is “beer”, but it was there.)

I have no idea how their entrees are, as I’ve only sampled their appetizer menu, but the dishes I saw being brought out looked good.

When I eat out by myself (which happens a lot when I’m traveling), I like to sit at the bar because it’s not weird to just start chatting with the bar tender, other patrons, or passers-by. Whereas if you sit at a table, it’s kinda weird to just start chatting with someone a table or two over. As a little bit of “it’s a small world”, the bar tender grew up about 2 miles from where I did in upstate NY – he’s from Waterford, and I grew up across the bridge in Cohoes.


Continuing my new theme of including restaurant reviews of places I have been, I must praise Virage in Manhattan. On the corner of 2d Avenue and E 7th Street, is a self-proclaimed “mediterranean-style” restaurant.

I ordered their Monday special, which on that visit was lamb chops with roasted gnochhi and a charred tomato and pepper hot salad. For dessert, I went with their house sorbet – they had raspberry and lemon to choose from, so I got both: and the side-by-side presentation and flavor was delightful.

If you’re a fan of drinks, they have $5 margarita Mondays, and every one that went by on a tray looked really good.

As with most cities, there are hundreds or thousands of places to eat in New York. I can’t say I intend to try every one, but Virage was well worth my 45 block walk.

god bless the lugs

I’m a member of TriLUG – the Triangle Linux User Group.

Mostly I’m on the mailing lists as a lurker, sometimes as a contributor.

But this week I asked a couple questions which the friendly community jumped-on to assist me with.

Thanks guys!


I met a friendly girl (Shelly) today at the subway station at 40th and 8th in front of the New York Times building.

But the only reason I bring this up is because she asked me how to get to the number 7 subway.

There I was, calmly reviewing the subway map so I could get to the Museum Mile Festival, and she comes over asking me if I knew how to get to the #7. Mind you, I live in Durham NC, and have only ridden the subway in Manhattan once before today. But she asked me how to get back to Main St in Flushing.

I must have inherited the “ask me directions to anywhere, I can get you there” invisible sign that my dad has. I’ve been asked directions, now, twice on this visit to New York. I couldn’t help the first guy, but Shelly I could.

I pointed-out to her that she had gotten off at the New York Times, and not Times Square. I showed her on the map where the 7 terminates on its west point (Times Square), and mentioned I was heading there myself. To which she asked if she could follow me. Sure, why not?

So up the stairs we headed towards Times Square. Once there, we headed into that subway station, and she found the 7 with no issues, while I went over to find the 3 to head up to Central Park North for the block party thing.

I really do wish I could see that sign, so I at least knew I wasn’t crazy the next time I’m asked for directions by some random person on the street – because I know it’ll happen again.

metering bandwidth

A horrible comparison has been drawn in the following AP article about TimeWarner: “You’re used to paying extra if you use up your cell phone minutes, but will you be willing to pay extra if your home computer goes over its Internet allowance?”

There’s a problem with that statement: lots of cell phone users are going to unlimited time and text plans. I just switched because my personal phone is also my home phone is also my work number. So, switching made a great deal of sense.

My roadrunner bill was for “unlimited” usage. Of course, it’s de facto limited by the speed cap. If they want to meter usage, they could just drop the top speed. It’s how my hosting provider operates: I pay for an “unlimited” 2Mbps pipe to the outside world. I can’t push content faster than that. No per-gig funkiness required.

(Thanks to Ben P on the the TriLUG mailing list for pointing this story out.)


Since I now have a job that involves traveling quite a bit, I am going to start writing about the better-than-good places I find when I’m traveling.

Allora Ristorante, Marlborough Massachusetts. 139 Lakeside Avenue.

Entree prices range from $15-market (for fresh-caught lobster, etc). The first night I went, I had a fantastic lamb milanese.

Lamb milanese is like a parmigiana, but served over mashed potatoes. In the case of Allora, there was an arugula and caper hot salad with some sort of light dressing over the the top of the whole works.

I ended up eating at Allora all three nights I was out near Boston because the first night was so good. And each night I ordered something different, and was not upset with any choice.

If you have a reason to be out near where the Mass Pike and 495 cross, take a little time and pop north on 495 to exit 24A for route 20, and head east about a half mile.

You won’t be disappointed.