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another day, another job

<< Dec 14, 2004 @ 19:15 >>

So I went to bed twice on Monday... once at 4am and again at midnight (fine, 11:59pm for the critics). Why? So I could get up and commute to St. Paul for my new American Radioworks / Minnesota Public Radio job of course! They're pretty much going to pay me back all the money they got from me as a member, and then some. I find that amusing.

So MPR is pretty big. It's across the corner from the Wells Fargo building in downtown St. Paul. It employs like 500 people. When you get there, and you aren't an employee yet, you go through the revolving door into this big lobby with an ancient radio and a big desk and tell the nice lady who you are there to see. She then presses some buttons and talks into her headset and your person comes down from upstairs. It reminds me of my past discussions with Dan regarding building designs for our evil corporate conglomerate. Well, that and the South Park episode with the Walmart desk in front of the vast warehouse. You gotta make people walk through a long, oddly acoustic, sterile corridor up to a small desk in a huge room. Just to fuck with them. The target ambience is "creepy." Incidentally, the Family Guy episode last night that was a Willy Wonka parody but with beer also reminded me of these conversations, but specifically nurtured my desire to some day be the faceless, eccentric owner of a vast business so that I can place 6 golden tickets into the merchandise.

Anyway, back to MPR... I got a bit of a tour. They walked me past the studios and more interestingly the NOC. Their NOC looks very NOCy (read: "nockie") and cool, with walls of electronics and this big LED board marquee that says in green "ALL SYSTEMS ARE OK." You gotta love that.

After the tour was the 10am new media meeting-- naturally delayed until 11. I wouldn't have even mentioned it if it weren't for the teleconference to California using this sound-responsive camera that never seemed to be able to pick out who was talking. I mean, it was supposed to automagically (SkyNet mode as one person called it) pan, rotate, zoom, focus, etc onto the person talking but instead seemed to find itself pointed at plants and folded hands. Everybody laughed like it was some third grade shit-show every time the electronics fucked up. It was kind of refreshing that they weren't all professional about it.

I'm a little disappointed though. My workstation is Windows and it is only equipped with Internet Explorer. For web work, I find OS X with BBEdit to be much, much, much more productive. This is of course in addition to my general hatred for Microsoft software, and worse, operating systems. The fact that they use Internet Explorer is wrong. I mean, they are in the wrong for using it. Every single credible (CERT, Counterpane, etc) security agency and others (the Department of Homeland Security, Penn State University) have been loud and crystal clear about Internet Explorer being nothing short of dangerous to use these days. This is in addition to the fact Internet Explorer often blatantly disregards web standards which makes for a very irritating design experience. Also, they have a network / hardware department, a programming / IT department, a new media department, and finally the web documentary group which is seemingly at the mercy of all the aforementioned. I hate that. MPR at least uses PHP and MySQL instead of ASP, but my access to those technologies is abstracted away by the server people. The idea for the web documentary people is to design offline and then upload I guess. That's crap. If they ask me to do anything that I'd normally do with automation I'm going to fucking code the automation up in my own web space if they won't let me have a shell account there with PHP access. And if they don't like it I swear to god I'll quit on the spot. Their four month, almost-nothing paying internship isn't worth the stress of doing anything by hand that I could do in one tenth the time if they got their productivity-stifling heads out of their asses and let me have my PHP. Somebody needs to tell them so.

Shifting subject matter, I'd have to say that if anyone wanted to accuse public radio of snobbery they'd probably be right. I saw neck handkerchiefs, mittens, ponchos, Nalgene bottles, fleece, long skirts and more. However, everybody was very nice and laid back.

Good things about the job? Well, I already mentioned the cool factor of the building and the NOC. There isn't a dress code to speak of. That's rad. I overheard a charged, scoop-filled conversation regarding landfill conspiracies and the intern sitting next to me was interviewing doctors about HIPPA all day on the phone. Also, while familiarising myself with the American Radioworks site I read some biographies including Chris Farrel's of the Sound Money program. That is when I realised that all my favourite MPR celebrities were actually in the building with me, and I might actually encounter Lynne Rossetto Kasper, Chris Farrel, Michele Norris and so on. A bit star struck, I looked up for a second from my computer to suddenly discover that Chris Farrel of Sound Money's office is literally 5 feet away from my workstation and there he was sitting at his computer. Cool stuff. Great program-- I never really cared about or understood economics before as I do now. Oh, I also read my boss's bio and apparently he used to work for Larsen. Interesting.

Our wing of the office also contains the desks of the Speaking of Faith program. As far as religious programs go this one is rather agnostic so hopefully me being the great satan won't cause too much trouble.

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Reader Comments...

December 14, 2004 @ 19:37:38

marilyn.pngsith33 (#999)

I feel a need to comment, but that was so dry that I was left thinking of the turkey from thanksgiving of '89.

December 14, 2004 @ 19:55:00

coleco.pngxopl (#001)

Come on, that had all the aspects of a good story: NOC's, LED's, plant cams, Garrison Keeler...

December 14, 2004 @ 23:57:29

marilyn.pngsith33 (#999)

Oooo, pagination, you're so sexy with your php. And now you statically generate your pages too? Worried about the slashdotting?

December 15, 2004 @ 08:18:00

coleco.pngxopl (#001)

What're you talking about, "And now you statically generate your pages?" What to you mean "now" I am? What makes you think that?

December 15, 2004 @ 08:39:13

marilyn.pngsith33 (#999)

Sorry, I was under the impression it was a new feature. Or, are you doing server side include php or something? That would be hip.

December 15, 2004 @ 09:04:03

coleco.pngxopl (#001)

I'm still unclear as to why all of a sudden you think something server-side has changed?

December 15, 2004 @ 11:02:37

marilyn.pngsith33 (#999)

I guess I'm just an idiot.

December 15, 2004 @ 13:29:53

suits.png74 (#074)

I agree with the idiot, your page design is troubling at best. Nice and secure though ;-)

December 15, 2004 @ 16:55:25

coleco.pngxopl (#001)

Now neither of you make any sense. All I change is pagination and sith suddenly thinks content is statically generated. And 74... sith was talking about the software not the design so god only knows how it is you can agree with him on it being troubling.

For the record I use PHP-CGI, not the apache module. None of these URLs point to real files, instead the URL is parsed and the appropriate database rows are dynamically puked onto your screen. As for the design... it can either be ugly or gorgeous, but certainly not troubling seeing as it is very functional.

December 15, 2004 @ 17:34:42

coleco.pngxopl (#001)

Ok, I've got 74's comments figured out. Now its just the dark sith who is obviously smoking crack for suddenly realising the pages end with .html or something.

Considering who 74 is I should have realised he was probably refering to architectural design rather than asthetic design.

December 15, 2004 @ 17:44:58

marilyn.pngsith33 (#999)

Z-dog, you're kind of scaring me with this multiple personality shit.

December 16, 2004 @ 08:04:38

suits.png74 (#074)

I would never talk about graphical design, i know nothing about what looks good. I was just talking about code design, but we already had that conversation last night, didn't we

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