published on in Featured Geekyness

hello bay photo lab

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From one Lab to another

After 9.5 years with one employer (LLNL), I joined Bay Photo Lab in Santa Cruz.

This has brought on many changes, not just a career change but a significant change in my way of life.

First off, I’m renting a room until my family gets down here. I have this weird double life now, where during the week I live alone in a small room with no heating, and then I go back home on the weekend. Not seeing the kids is the hardest part. We typically do a video chat on Wednesday nights, but when I come home Owen is usually a little stand-offish and Caralyne is unhappy during the week (especially when I have to leave). Its sad.

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Here was the bathroom in my place for the first week. As in, I did not have one.

Like a kid fresh out of his parents home, I have to do things like laundry, and all of my own dishes.

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I’m in no hurry to hurry back

My commute is significantly different. I drive a lot less during the week, I’m about 3 miles from work. Some days I choose to walk, and other days I’ll drive in after jogging back home during lunch. It is pretty awesome, it has been 12 years since I have lived and worked in the same place.

Let’s talk about Bay Photo. I had a slight idea of what they did when I initially interviewed with them IT team here (Rob and Patrick), and I did some simple Google-ing. However, after working here for two months, it is incredibly impressive how much they do and how great the people are.

Bay Photo Lab has a nice small company feel to it, and it is inCREDIBLY friendly here. People are pretty passionate about the work they do here, and so is the IT team.

This has been really awesome, as passion (and really, it should be called “the desire to do the right thing”) was something LLNL did not reward or encourage.

Rob, my counterpart here, has been essentially on his own and he has a lot of great ideas that I can help him implement. We both really love technology and open source, so we hardly have to bring each other up to speed. I no longer have to talk until I’m blue in the face to extol the virtues of FreeBSD, Puppet, Bacula, Wiki’s, Git, code management tools, etc… they are accepted as a matter of fact. I’m also allowed to run whatever OS I want for whatever reason. Rob and I were talking about DragonflyBSD’s HAMMER filesystem, and how we are both just looking for an excuse to use it.

I couldn’t even afford to entertain that though while at LLNL. It was hard enough getting OS’s approved, because it was never about technical merit, and the thought of trying to defend yet another OS was enough to prevent me from using it.

Work has been rewarding, and I can honestly say that I’ve never worked harder. I’ve refined my workflow a bit, and with the help of my friend Steve, I’ve been shown how to use JIRA and FishEye to keep track of my projects. Now when I come in to work, I don’t have to sit here and think about where I was yesterday, I an just pull up my project page and review my tasks.

I also now have somewhat of a social life, which is pretty exciting! Tuesday nights I drive to Monterey and have dinner with Glenn and Erin:

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Glenn and Eric cookin’ in the kitchen

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Delicious pizza!

We have dinner, converse, and then we bust out the instruments. I had to drop my music class at DVC, but having someone to be musical with is very fulfilling. No tour dates or T-Shirts just yet, but we have a great time. I’m looking forward to getting my gear down here so we can get really crazy

I also get to see Steve and Summer a whole lot more, and we typically meet up on Thursday nights. It will be nice when I’m finally moved down in the area so we can do that on the weekend, have a BBQ or something.

Well, that about sums up the last two months I’ve been here. I’ll be moving to Felton in the beginning of the month, so more after that!