Luke’s Life

summers already half over!

Posted in San Antonio, work by lrobison on July 17, 2007

how did that happen so fast?

I’m well settled in at SwRI again, working for the same guy as last year and with the same people, but on different stuff. Although just last week a bug from some of my code last year came back to bite me… old code never dies. Interestingly enough, I saw Tarun and Mickey at SwRI today. They were there with the UT Robotics DARPA Urban challenge team. Apparently DARPA is doing some qualification tests for the teams on the Institute campus, so I was able to watch the second half of the qualification tests and hang out with the team for a little while. All went well and there was much celebrating.

With Elissa spending the summer in Austin rather than Houston, we’ve been able to visit a lot more often (and with much shorter drives). I think we see each other something like 2 out of every 3 weekends. She made it down to San Antonio for my birthday/4th of July (kinda the same event) and I’ve been up to Austin several times as well. Next weekend is the official celebration of Mike getting through Marine boot camp without dying… which means I’ll be back up in Austin again :-).

I’m getting kind nervous with summer going by so fast. I had several things I’ve wanted to do:

  • Fix my bike tire so I can get in shape
  • Fix my huge old speakers for next year
  • Fix my kitchen chair so I can sit down next year…

I guess thats it. When you work from 8-5 it’s easy to put off those sorts of things to the weekends, which I spend in Austin most of the time… which means they never happen :-P. Things I have done:

  • Start pressure washing alllll of my house’s concrete surfaces
  • Take care of my registration ticket
  • Decide my ranger ham radio from the 70’s is only eye-candy and will never transmit/receive again, at least not under my supervision.

My family and I have been watching season 1 of 24, and only have two episodes to go. Hopefully after that season is over I won’t waste my time in front of the TV after the workday is over.

All this isn’t to say that the summer has all been work for me and my family.  We went to Houston for a wedding of some old friends, and then they dropped me off in downtown San Antonio at a wedding of one of Elissa’s friends (a very nice Jewish wedding… my first).  Another weekend we got to go water skiing on lake McQueeney with my cousins Tom and Dorothy.

Dr. Robison, PhD of Computer Science… hmmm I like it

Posted in work by lrobison on August 3, 2006

My recent feelings toward my job here at SwRI has been that while the field i’m working in is kinda cool, and the people I’m working with tend to be the fun, non-corporate-droid types… I keep feeling that I wouldn’t be happy here for a long term job. I think I finally boiled it down to the lack of new things. You work on projects that you don’t pick, you work with the same people over and over. Sure there is lots of traveling and thats fun, but travel is to install systems, your personal interactions just aren’t that extensive. I spent the summer sitting in my cubicle alone all day.

But isn’t that what I said I wanted to do? I spent a summer working at Sea World, and I hated dealing with stupid customers that have you by the balls because they are paying you. Then I worked as a PC technician, and the small business jobs were cool, but the residential clients still drove me nuts. Both years I looked forward to a job alone with no annoying people, and here I am and now I’m worried that my circle of friends is set for the rest of my life as the 10 people around my hall. In what job can I talk to interesting people and not sit in my office all day yet still do the programming that I truly do enjoy?

Right now I’m thinking being a professor would be really good. Its the only job I can think of where you interact with cool people (both students and other professors), you get to travel (conferences, talks), you get to decide what you’re working on, and your projects don’t have to all be money making, fine-tuned products (only your papers have to be fine-tuned). Plus, how cool would Dr. Luke Robison sound? Oh I know professors have long hours, but they also get to stay in thriving, alive environments. And one more word for you: “Tenure”. SwRI is a cool place, but it still seems dead compared to UT.

Time for some audience participation: Can anyone suggest another job that is dynamic and interesting yet stable for long term employment, and provides a fair amount of personal interaction without having to bend over for a client?