Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Brasilian Wings

Moving/PHL things (mostly notes, possibly uninteresting):Applying to more jobs. I learned the name of the lousy software that so many universities (unaccountably) use: PeopleAdmin. Yuck. This planning-to-move is oddly stressful, which I am telling myself means that I should've left a long time ago before I got so comfortable here.


  • I'm pretty irritated at a certain apartment search website that is massively spamming Craigslist's apartment section; virtually every post they make violates Craigslist's TOS (and is utterly useless), and their posts account for about half of PHL's apartment postings.
  • A bit west of the city is much more affordable than in the city. Apartments for $700-$1000/month if I'm careful. Will need to figure in transit costs/time if I work in the city.
  • PHL's transit system: designed by aliens and a bit more expensive than Pgh's. An everywhere pass runs for about $190/month (compare to Pgh's $130 for the same), and doesn't seem to have a yearly option. Upside: Cheap busses and rail to just about everywhere else on the east coast! (the below are roundtrips chosen on nearby random-ish date, on MegaBus)
    • NYC - 1 hour, $11
    • Boston - 6 hours, $30
    • DC - 3 hours, $20
  • Zipcars: Plenty in the city itself, very few further out (where rent is more affordable).
  • Do I want to actually own a car again? Maybe!
  • Seek new ISP? Current ISP (Speakeasy) was swallowed by Covad, and it now only seems to be marketing to businesses. Sigh.
Job Applications:
  • Feelers at Drexel based on professional/personal ties, no actual applications. May still land something interesting
  • Haverford network/admin type jobs
  • UPenn Bioinformatics job
  • Might look for remote work
Current Plan:
  • Wait a bit longer to see if I get an interview/job lead that'll narrow down where I want to live
  • Failing that, either:
    • Get a place in Bryn Mawr, which has affordable housing, a Zipcar location, and is near some west-suburb colleges where I've applied for a job. Rail service to downtown PHL is about half an hour. This is a relatively low-population-density option (PGH-level?) and yes there are Indian Restaurants nearby!
    • Find someplace more central (Walnut Hill? University City?). Possibly more interesting, definitely more expensive, more zipcar-friendly, would be better if I get a job at Drexel or UPenn. Culture shock is very likely. There are very few trees! (were I in NYC, Central Park would probably be my island of sanity)
  • Currently investigating exactly how long I can last without a job. In Pittsburgh, if I were to trim my spending, I think I could last 3-6 years with my current savings (not touching my retirement). In PHL, this would obviously be less.
I can tell I'm nervous about this by much I'm planning it. It helps knowing that if I really can't fit in there, or if later it feels right, I could come back ti Pittsburgh. Maybe someday I'll feel enough at home somewhere that I won't miss the past places and times so much; anicca aby.

Recently I've been playing with Calibre to manage the documents I'm sending to my Kindle. I'm not entirely happy with it, particularly in that it takes an iTunes-like (WRONG!) approach to manage my documents (I WILL MAKE ANOTHER COPY OF ALL YOUR STUFF). It's still better than anything I've seen, but I basically just want a tool that will work with my existing formats (and edit their metadata as needed), not something that will entirely redefine how I work with documents.

I've spent much of my adult life trying to stretch my mind in these directions (and have the requisite information needed to do so), but this is a nice shortcut. The basic idea is that almost everyone in the world is understandable, even if they're working from different philosophies and information. Universal tolerance of all worldviews is not possible/wise/self-consistent, but we can try to understand most coherent worldviews and make a good effort to tolerate any that can fit with ours. An empathy that stretches over all of humanity is something to strive for (even if it alienates us from the very natural dehumanisation that most people do).

I recently tried Gnome3, which is a major reworking of GNOME. I initially was not inclined to like it (because it doesn't offer a minimise button!). That's still really irksome, but the rest of the interface is interestingly different. It feels like it's not quite designed for computers though; perhaps it'd run best on a tablet or a cellphone? It's suitable for a "lesser computing device", but would be pretty poor as a main computing device for a Unix geek. With any luck, it'll get people interested in alternative Window Managers again (and maybe it might derail the current terrible trajectory of Linux graphics towards Wayland? I hope!).


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