1World Logistics

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This week has been so busy I haven’t had time to finish up any of the posts I began. So I’m going to try and catch up on a few of them and have them posted with time stamps for the days they were intended for.

A New Job

It may be a little bit of a surprise, but I’ve been looking for another job for about 6 months now. Actually, I think it was around May 1, 2004 when I read the proverbial writing on the wall that 1FN wasn’t going to be a booming success we all hoped it would be. Serious efforts began in June, then subsided again until October then stayed high until now.

The details aren’t really important, and over time I’ll share them, but I start a new job today for a new company called 1World Logistics.

What is 1World Logistics?

They are a new company that does domestic shipping and fulfillment (soon to be international as well). They were in desperate need of an IT manager and the CEO, Greg Bertola, found his way to my friend, Troy Stott, who recommended me for the job. A week later, I’m starting.

1World Logistics (hereafter 1WL) has its office in a huge warehouse located at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon on Highway 6. For those of you who don’t know where that is, suffice it to say it’s far[1]. I watched the distance and round-trip it is 101 miles, taking about 58 minutes to drive each way.

As I drove past Orem, then Provo I thought about all those guys I used to make fun of at the Church who commuted from Orem every day[2]. When they read this they will be laughing in their graves (unless they are still alive, which I have every reason to believe they are — but if they were dead, they would be laughing in their graves)!

How Big is 1,000,000 sq. Feet?

Before I went down the first day I knew they were in a 1,000,000 square foot warehouse. Now I’m smart enough to know that is big — but how big is that?

I found out that my local Super WalMart is only 85,000 square feet, less than 10% of this one. Knowing my house is about 2,000 square feet, this warehouse would hold 500 houses. That’s pretty hard to imagine.

So when I arrived I saw that it is big — and when I say big I mean ginormous[4]! I also found out that 1WL is located in a section of the warehouse that is only 300,000 square feet, and only 100,000 square feet is being rented (the rest is just open and empty).

This place is so big they had to buy golf carts to take them from one end of the warehouse (where the office is) to the dock doors (on the opposite side). Crazy!

A Startup Company

1WL is a startup company with a very aggressive time line. Much to my shock when I arrived at the office, there was no furniture, no computers, no phones, no infrastructure and no people. I quickly met the other 7 employees (all of whom have warehouse experience) and found that I have a lot of work to do. Wow. I was lucky there was toilet paper in the men’s room!

So to help me out, Greg Bertola took me to the XanGo office at Thanksgiving Point, where I could meet with some of the technical people who have been looking into what would be needed — in terms of IT — to get 1WL off the ground. There I received a loaner PC and a desk at which to sit — temporarily. No phone and no garbage can. Also, if I go to the restroom I get locked out and have to call someone to let me back in. XanGo is an interesting place.


fn1. If I were still in high school I would claim it’s in somewhere very far past BFE, which we all agreed encompasses south Jordan. I even remember saying I would never date anyone who lived past 9000 south. Not only did I become a liar — dating Cynda Craig who lived in North Ogden, then later Tristan Larkins who lived in Kaysville, UT then Preston, Idaho — I also promised myself I wouldn’t work somewhere where I had to take a freeway to work.

fn2. A big shout-out goes to Craig Butler, Troy Stott, Aimee Shirk, Michael Short, and many, many others who live(d) in Utah County.

fn3. Ginormous isn’t a real word, but one I made up that combines giant and enormous. It’s about as big as I can describe.

Wired Article on FireFox

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I’m getting really disappointed in Slashdot lately. It seems that a good portion of their articles — or at least more than I think should be there — are references to articles from Scientific American, New Scientist and Wired. Maybe I’m just disappointed because by the time that Slashdot carries an article about them, I’ve already read the original article and have recycled the magazine into a fly swatter or wobbly-table level’er. I suppose I’m most disappointed that I don’t write about these articles first (like the cool article in Scientific American about quantum encryption and the new search engines) and make Slashdot look like old news[1].

So here I am hacking at an already published and already Slashdotted article but I have a different spin on it. The original article in Wired, The Firefox Explosion can be found here. Although the article was interesting, I found the full-page illustration intriguing. It features a graphical representation of Open Source Software that competes with Microsoft products. It thought it was interesting. Luckily, Wired has this image available on-line so I didn’t have to scan it.

You can see the image by clicking here.

I think old Tristan Eaton[2] should take this illustration one step further and create a composite image of all these OSS characters in some kind of phalanx pose saying something like “We’re coming for you!” or something. That’s a T-Shirt I would buy. But it would have to be black. And XL. And have a crew neck. But I would buy it with money.


fn1. I did manage to talk about SmarterChild before it make it’s way to Slashdot, however. And I sat on that one for a week. Well, that and I really try not to make more than one post a day because, let’s face it, a double dose of me in one day could be lethal — you ladies know what I’m talking about.

fn2. Tristan Eaton is the artist that created the image for Wired. Interestingly, I have known a girl with the first name of Tristan and guy whose last name is Eaton. The former was a former girl-friend of mine who I dated after Victoria but before I met my wife (who was the last person I dated). She now lives in Idaho on a dairy farm, if I recall right. Todd Eaton was a fellow I worked with at the Church who taught me how to golf. I always wanted Todd to open a restraunt and call it “The Garden of Eat’en” a play on the name Garden of Eden and of course, his own last name.

Stupid Instant Messengers

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This is not a follow-up article to the SmarterChild IM contact I did yesterday (and Kathy Heisey can attest to that because she heard me talk about this last week) but it does have something to do with Instant Messaging clients, so I can see where some people might think it was related. Anyway…

I have a complaint. My instant messenger does not really know when I’m at my computer and when I am. I know it tries by looking at mouse movements, key stroking (which sounds dirty), but it seems that it can’t ever do a good job. This is even more surprising because I know toilets that DO know when I am there and when I’m not — and they even flush for me. My local WalMart not only has toilets but also has a sink and towel dispenser that I don’t have to physically touch — they know when I am there and when I’m not. So why can’t my $2,000 computer do it?

Is there software out there that would work with a web cam and watch to see if I’m there or not? Or monitor the microphone to see if I’m talking or not? Or some kind of motion sensor USB thingie that would tell the IM when I’m there?

I suppose if there aren’t any, I could become rich by inventing one.

Does this bother anyone else or am I the only one?

SmarterChild

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Every once in a while I stumble upon something truly, truly cool. SmarterChild is one of those things. SmarterChild is an IM accout that has built-in Artifical Intelligence (which is really just a bunch of complicated Perl scripts, but I digress) that will help you and have conversations with you. I’ll quote from the website:

SmarterChild is an interactive agent built by Conversagent, Inc. Interactive agents are software applications, often called “bots,” that interact with users on Instant Messaging or other text messaging services. You can “chat” with an interactive agent, whether on the web, over IM, or on a wireless device, the same way you talk to any other contact. To talk with SmarterChild, just send him a message saying “hi!”

But it can do a lot. After some initial questions about my hobbies and other demographic information, it gave me a list of commands and functions it can perform besides casual conversation. For example, I can get news, wheather, sports, answer questions about geography, Shakespeare and US presidents, play games, search for stuff, store information, have a planner, take a poll, send a “crush” a message and tons more online translations, etc. Here is a transcript of a conversation I had.

[16:43] The Man: Do you know what a “brown study” is?
[16:43] SmarterChild: Definition provided by The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Other important copyright information here.

brown study:

Noun
A state of deep thought.
Etymology
brown, gloomy + study, mental state.

Next time, just type “define brown study.”

[16:44] The Man: What’s the weather like today?
[16:44] SmarterChild: Current weather conditions for Salt Lake City, UT:

Currently: 30 F
Condition: Mist, Overcast
Wind Chill: 23 F
Dewpoint: 27
Humidity: 86 %
Visibility: 2.5 mi
Wind: W/7 mph

To get the forecast for Salt Lake City, UT, just type “forecast.”

[16:47] The Man: What’s my horoscope today?
[16:47] SmarterChild: Here’s your Cancer horoscope for Monday, January 24th, provided by Astrology.com:

The best way to fight corruption is to stay strong and pure. You don’t need bribery or influence to gain power. Most people still believe in strength of character and the goodness of a heart. And you have both.

[16:48] The Man: what movies are playing tonight?
[16:48] SmarterChild: Movies playing in or near Salt Lake City, UT (84115) on Monday, January 24th:

1 Meet the Fockers [PG-13]
2 Racing Stripes [PG]
3 Elektra [PG-13]
4 Coach Carter [PG-13]
5 Are We There Yet? [PG]
6 Assault on Precinct 13 [R]

You’ve got to try it!

Ringers: Lord of the Fans

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Last night I went and saw a movie named Ringers: Lord of the Fans which is a documentary about the history of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and the fans who love it.

The move was part of Slamhdance[1], an alternative to the Sundance Film Festival and was shown in the Murray Theater, home of that hypnotist guy.

My companion for the evening was Dexter Beach, my 7 year-old nephew and avid lover of all things Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

The movie was not that great[4] — I’m not surprised it wasn’t picked up by Sundance and I’m also not surprised there were only 50 people in the theater. Dexter and I sat on the front row next to three girls dressed as elves[2].

The best part of the show[3] was the interviews with the “freaky” fans — like the lady who collects the action figures and takes pictures of them in famous places as if they were really visiting them. She even makes custom clothing and furniture for them. Remember – these are the action figures. And there was the discussion about whether hobbits are better lovers than elves, which I hope was purely speculative (they agreed that hobbits would be better because they have unusually large feet — however they are the size of children, so what does that say for these women?)


fn1. A kind reader, named Joey, pointed out that the festival is named Slamdance not Slashdance as I had previously noted (I’ve corrected this in the body of the post). Sorry about that.

fn2. The three girls were quite delightful and we talked some (Dexter was un-interested, but hey, he is seven). One of them showed me her hand-made purse composed entirely of empty Capri Sun bags — very original.

fn3. In retrospect that wasn’t the best part of the film. The best parts for me were the historical information about J.R.R. Tolkien and how he came to write the Lord of the Rings and his other books. So the documentry parts were the best, but the interviews with the strange people was the most entertaining.

fn4. The reason the film didn’t work well for me was that it didn’t flow like a documentary or regular film would — not that it has to, but it seemed choppy and could have been edited better I think. Nevertheless, I had a good time watching it.

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