New year’s revolutions

I’ve arrived home from Markham – my work term officially concluded on December 22nd – and I’m settled in, for the most part. The entire Christmas holiday seems to have gone by far too quickly, because I’m headed back to school within a day. For the most part, my preparation for classes has been limited to updating browser bookmarks and ensuring all of my workstations are functional. The usual administrative tasks, such as securing textbooks, will be performed on Wednesday through to Friday this week.

It’s unfortunate that I can’t check my exact UW schedule at 2am: I tend to work best in the evening hours, on an offset timeframe. Not having Quest (the student information portal) available past midnight necessitates some planning.

My class hours reflect this alternate way of operation. My goal for Winter 2007 was not to start any class before 11:30am, which I’ve achieved with an early start on course selection. In return for the late start, I give up my afternoons and tend to work well past midnight. My rationalization for this operation is that I woke up early (7am) for four years during high school to catch the bus, and I deserve to sleep in when I can. While sleeping until 11am isn’t really a valid option while on a work term, I did use some of the flexibility available at IBM to delay my start time until 9:30 – 10am when I could.

Besides continuing to work for IBM as a student on-call employee, I’m now starting the job search and application process. (The Student On-Call process can involve working on-site on alternating days, or in my case, working on an “as available” schedule remotely.)

My resume is nearly complete, and is in a publicly available state. I’m debating removing some of the work experience information from Maplesoft, or compressing the Summer 2006 student on-call position experience into the previous co-op term. One thing that was mentioned to me was that the entire “student on call” process is indicative of a job well done while physically on-site. Yes, this is shameless self-promotion, but my point remains. 😉

I’ve also been managing my time with some PC repairs on the side. Together with Dave and Warren, I fix software and hardware issues on-site, on a small-scale word of mouth basis. When I’m on a co-op term, in order not to interfere with my professional responsibilities, I redirect client calls to Dave or Warren, depending on the situation experienced. When I’m living in Waterloo, I additionally build or repurpose PC’s for clients.

Usually “software” issues are the result of spyware or malware. It’s extremely rare that I’ve seen an actual virus on a system – most computer problems I’ve seen are caused by malicious browser toolbars, or don’t explicitly fit the criteria for a virus.

Unfortunately, spyware can be just as painful for end users, and is much more deceiving in its appearance. Perhaps the worst case of spyware I’ve heard of is an application called “MSN Block Checker”, which completely demolished a Windows installation, necessitating a complete reinstallation of the OS.

For now, though, I’ll enjoy my last day off before it’s back to the grind.