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Foveaux  ·  76 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 22, 2020

Work is finally looking at adjusting my contract to match the pay with what I actually do. During their massive 'restructure' (mass firing and culling of roles) I was dropped down a level - I fought to keep my salary the same and they agreed, but the lower level meant my pay increase ceiling got much lower and I've now hit that ceiling after only 2 years in the job.

So my boss and her boss and his boss have agreed to figure out a way to keep me on board, because if I can't keep making money I bounce. If I bounce, an entire Department goes tits up as well as any others I was supporting in my spare time. When your restructure planned to cull about 100 jobs and you lost nearly double that, things get a little hairy and you suddenly ask even more of your remaining staff than ever before - thankfully, I like being needed. But I also like being paid.

Current plan is to reinstate me at the higher level, which should allow for about 3-4 years of pay rises and by then I'll have ideally moved to a higher up job.

However, nothing will compensate me enough for being the in-house "tech support" for a bunch of Academics. Some earn around 180k a year for a cushy post-medical role. One used to be a neurosurgeon. Operating on brains with precision and an absurd amount of knowledge crammed into his head; but I got a call from him asking if I knew how to attach a document to an email. Another stormed into my office saying her computer had died - so I went in and pressed the power button.

They're good people - just amazes me what they appear to have traded in for the pursuit of academia.

Got a collar for our cat - he ventured outside for the first time since we got him! There's a lovely three part photo series of his wander - first he is sitting by the open door, next he's outside looking back through the glass and realizing his safe space is actually in there, the third photo is a blur as he streaks back in to safety. Still, he went outside again soon after and seems to be happy to try his paw as he feels comfortable.

Cumol  ·  76 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It amazes me how little academics know about computers. And some of that stuff I thought was common knowledge.

A post-doc came to ask me yesterday how to connect to the network printer... Google "how to connect to network printer"... I am completely puzzled. For basically every computer-related issue, I am the #1 person to ask. I never say no. I want to help. But sometimes it really makes me wonder how those people manage their day-to-day life.

But there is another level of weird. Does something like "programmophobia" exist? Some deeply rooted fear of anything coding/programming? Because I swear, academics (specially in biology and medicine) have a major case of that.

The moment my boss was not able to open a file (with 10k rows and 40 columns) in excel, it probably downed on him, he is doomed. Instead of accepting that he has a problem that he needs to fix (learn coding), he directs it to other (like myself).

The battle between us started 3 years ago when I started using R to analyse my data. Since then, I have been constantly told that my data analysis is "too complex". I have a few terabytes of firing neurons that I need to make sense of. How the fuck am I supposed to deal with that???

I think anyone in science that is under 50 and cannot code (or is not learning coding) will be jobless in 10 years. No way around this.

kleinbl00  ·  76 days ago  ·  link  ·  

So here's the thing. For whatever reason, roughly 80% of any given task can be accomplished without too much advanced knowledge. That probably seems like a gross oversimplification but if you think about your day, how much of it could someone else do with some rudimentary instruction? Now granted: the roughly 1/5th of your day that requires your advanced knowledge and experience will likely tear down all the good the 80% has (and then some). More importantly, you as an expert likely have a sense of where the dividing line is: they won't be able to fly the plane into the ground if you hand the stick over at 30,000 feet but if you go take a leak while you're on approach, there might not be a cockpit to come back to once you've zipped your fly.

The people you deal with? Yeah. Nearly all of the stuff they're asking for they can handle. But they don't believe that. More than that, they don't feel familiar enough with the technology to be able to distinguish between the stuff they can screw up and the stuff that ends up as twisted metal.

Dollars to donuts every single one of them has a story where they were simply following directions on the Internet and before too long they'd BSOD'd the entire lab. "How to" and "network" often give you results involving "sudo" which gives you dire warnings about passwords and thermonuclear armageddon and frankly? Scaring people who don't have the confidence to hack at root keeps a lot of trees from dying.

I find that the more intelligent a person is, the more weight they give to the risks of attacking something they don't understand. And unlike you, they didn't grow up with it - they were peacefully typing on an email and then all of a sudden they need to figure out what Dropbox is. Before too long they're expected to screencast their lectures and have their notes up on Canvas and every year brings yet another digital encumbrance that they're having to integrate into a practice that was working just fine, thank you very much. And really, it's all just an excuse to be laughed at by the people who understand it. You say "learn coding." They hear "learn Hindi." How do you start that? And how do you keep the nose up while you're doing it? Because if you're doing it on work stuff at least you're getting paid, but you're also likely to go Tango Uniform. If you do it in your off hours you now have a thoroughly lame hobby.

I think you're right - if you can't code under 50 you're screwed. But I also think that you can make your own life a whole helluva lot easier if your instinct is to sherpa them through the nasty bits. You have a skill they don't and if you can be open and forgiving and friendly about their shortcomings they will come to you for help and it's always great to have a superior that depends on you for the stuff they're too embarrassed to be able to figure out.

Cumol  ·  75 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I get your point. Showing them (and explaining) how it is done is the better solution for all, but it takes so much more time than doing my 3 clicks, specially on tasks done only once on a machine (like the network printer).

Funnily enough, my boss seems to try and get rid of me. Even though I won the coding battle (the whole lab is learning coding now) I seem to be someone he doesnt want to have around too long. There could be many reasons (I am not easy to control) but it still feels weird. When you feel like an asset to the lab but it's not enough to be kept.

kleinbl00  ·  75 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Consider it an investment. It will pay off. Unless they're assholes in which case they resent you for knowing stuff they don't and shit like that. Those guys? They can improvise.

goobster  ·  76 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I was a SysAdmin at NASA in the 1990's.

Best SysAdmin job ever. Geeks everywhere, who WANT TO KNOW why something doesn't work, or how it is supposed to work.

I even had lunch one day sitting on a decommissioned one of these:


Foveaux  ·  90 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski Craft Fair v1.25 - January 8, 2020

Alright! So, garden. Please ignore the messy soil etc, we've had winds so strong someone is in hospital after a branch fell on them walking down the street - all kinds of crap has made it's way in but it shall be tidy again! I would like to pour one out for both my spinach and my capsicum. The spinach grew well. Too well. It went to seed rapidly and we had to remove it before ever trying some.. Next time we'll be better prepared! The capsicum, well I planted four and one by one they literally disappeared. I don't know what happened to them. Maybe a large enough bird took a liking and just ripped them out?

Firstly, my peas. Growing nicely, got them on stakes but they're producing pods and becoming full without getting much taller so it may have been overkill.



Now, the carrots - and some chives in the bottom left, apparently chives help keep some sort of bug away that will otherwise consume my precious carrots. The carrots are far too bunched together but I planted them in a very hectic time and we weren't able to visit for a while, they have been thinned at least! The tiny ones I unearthed during this process were delicious.



The spuds! I planted 9 spots, only three have taken. Apparently the soil has been used as a dumping ground for a few years, so it's time to make it happy again. This is a good trial run at least. I worked the soil over initially and I found plastic, beer bottle caps, glass! So in time I'll be able to get it cleaner.



The cat! Elvis is settling in nicely. Even handling the various visitors we've had over the past couple of weeks. Normally he'd shoot away as soon as you sneezed but now he sticks around to receive pats from strangers. Still can be skittish and does not like to be looked directly in the eye. However, he has this fluffy gray blanket he loves, and my partner's mother got us this floral bit of fabric for him to scratch up, ideally saving our furniture. Gonna come in handy as we're replacing these light brown seats for a larger L-shaped sofa and I have no doubt the wee man will tear it up. But look at him! He's so comfy now.



To a slightly different project, the road to the 140kg bench has begun. I was meant to have this done last year, but it was a very messy year and training seriously fell by the way side. Below, is 115kg - a weight I've dropped down to focus on some technique tweaks I want to try. Basically revamping my entire setup. My current max is 137.5kg which is frustratingly close to 140 but, gotta earn it I guess. I know this and the cat aren't exactly a craft so I won't be updating on these part, but they're a "project" of sorts so I included them once for my peace of mind.

Foveaux  ·  111 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: December 18, 2019


He likes my partner a little more but I think that's because I'm bigger/clumsier/louder. If I'm not moving too much he'll come sit on me, like so: https://imgur.com/a/PtPS5SO

We've been systematically introducing him to our new place room by room so he doesn't feel overwhelmed, last night we left our bedroom door open a crack and he barged through at 1am purring like a V8 and slept pretty much on my face. It was rather endearing even if I didn't sleep very well. Knowing he's becoming more adjusted is well worth a bleary-eyed morning. Usually he won't come out during the day, and stays under his chosen couch of solitude. But yesterday he came out as soon as one of us got out of bed, meowing for the first time and generally getting under our feet like a regular cat.

I was playing on my newly built PC with some friends, and they were using Discord to chat so I hopped into their server - I normally only play with other New Zealanders because of connectivity but there are a bunch of Americans in their chat so I was talking to them, and man the accent is actually adorable. I think they feel the same about mine but they had to get me to repeat things as a result of the Kiwi tendency to blunt vowels whenever possible.

Two more days of work - today and Friday, and I've just sat down at my desk with very little to do. I reeeeeeally need to finish the present shopping..

Foveaux  ·  167 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: October 23, 2019

Less than a month till Japan - woo.

Rugby World Cup has entered it's nail-biting stages. I thought NZ v Ireland would be a huge task, but we won convincingly. Onto England in the Semi-final and if we overcome them, it's either the old foe South Africa or Wales in the Final. Before the whole competition began, people were picking NZ v South Africa as the final so there's an almost inevitable feel about what will happen. Still, two matches to decide what really will eventuate. Japan have been, undoubtedly, the coolest hosts this sport has seen.

Their fans have been routinely printing off the lyrics to other teams anthems, attending the matches in the outfit and singing along. They don't have to do that, they don't even have to attend but they rock up to every match and add their voices to the occasion. It's just so damn wholesome.

Also, the NZ Haka got drowned out by the Irish singing Fields of Athenry which never fails to send chills down my spine:

Finally got in to see a physio about this weird lower back pain I've had for a month. It's been affecting my training which affects my mental health so I'm glad I finally went in to see them. She's been great, really understanding and has a very clear plan in place. So far, I've noticed less pain on a day to day basis which is excellent. Turns out, the injury is probably not what I thought it was. I assumed I was being foolish while warming up but she thinks the culprit is my SI joint as the pain seems deeper than ever before, and I can still quite literally bend to touch my toes without any pain. As well as squat with a heavy load. Turns out I may have been exaggerating some kind of pelvic tilt in an effort to save my lower back from aggravating an old injury, then the joint took too much on board as a result of the tilt. She popped me on the table and used an ultrasound to watch my transverse abdominal muscle work which was cool. We were initially confused as she thought I may have neglected glute work and so perhaps they were the weak link, but she got me to do an isolation exercise and was expecting me to find it hard after 20 reps but I wound up getting to 55 before she made me stop, so clearly that wasn't the case. I wouldn't have minded having such an easy answer, but hey at least I'm thiccer than a snicker.

TBH, I think training will take a big back seat until the New Year. I'm shifting our Dept across campus once more, then shifting things into my new place, then Japan for two and a bit weeks, as soon as I come back I properly move in and clean up the old place. Then it's Christmas! Hoping I can launch into training with a belly full of beer and Christmas ham, then set a PB by squatting Jupiter.

Most of you are in the States right? Always wanted a winter Christmas, but mine have all been beach related. It's really nice but there's something magical about snow on Christmas, everyone tucked up next to the fire.

Does Hubski do a Secret Santa at all? Was wondering about that - not sure if the logistics are too difficult for people to take part but I've always enjoyed sending gifts to other parts of the World.

goobster  ·  166 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The RWC has been amazing. I wish Japan had been able to give RSA a closer match, but the score line didn't represent how close the game actually was. Japan has put Tier 1 on notice, that it is coming for them, and coming at them hard and fast!

I'd like to see England put away New Zealand. They've worked hard for it, and if they can keep their head together and just execute execute execute 80 minutes of focused rugby, they can do it. But those damn Barrett brothers are a force to be reckoned with...

Sadly, I don't think Wales can beat Faf de Klerk. That guy is unreal. Wales is a solid team that gives other Tier 1 teams a very strong competitor, but they aren't a world-beating side yet. RSA is.

So I could see an England vs RSA final. If it came down to that, I'd bet on RSA, but cheer for England...

Foveaux  ·  166 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I am hoping that Japan can join the Rugby Championship - SANZAAR would be insane not to want them in. So much money to be made and Japan can clearly foot it with the best of them now.

I am a little nervous about England - NZ playing Barrett at 6 leads me to think they're going to try and get parity in the set-pieces. If NZ can do that, it's their match to lose as they have too much firepower out back to be contained. However, if Underhill and Curry can pressure the 9-10 axis in Smith and Mo'Unga they're in with the best shout of any team.

Though if NZ do win, I'd expect them to beat either Wales or South Africa in the final - Faf de Klerk won't have the awful game he did when the two met in the first pool match, so that will be a bruising encounter but I do think NZ have finally laid their cards on the table and it's up to someone to try and counter it.

goobster  ·  165 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My excitement for Japan is two-fold: another culture represented at the highest levels of rugby, and a model the US can follow to build a world-class rugby program.

15 years. Japan dedicated themselves to it, and in 3 Rugby World Cup cycles they went from a joke to a semi-finalist that has earned the respect of the Tier 1 nations.

After decade of the MLR in the USA, I expect we field an Eagles World Cup side every bit as exciting and competitive as Japan. Heck... with our population and the NFL talent pool to pull from, I could see the US being competitive in the next RWC, and a semifinalist in the one after that. TODAY's high school kids would have grown up with rugby in schools, pro rugby on TV, and a mature league to play in... if the sponsorship dollars start flowing in ASAP, of course. Rugby in America dies in 24 months if the big names don't start opening their wallets...

Foveaux  ·  162 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Ahh well, I can talk about it now. England did eactly what I hoped they wouldn't - Curry and Underhill dominated the breakdown and the entire team got in our faces. A deserved loss but one that stings given how ready we must have thought we were.

A silver lining though, the 2007 loss entirely revamped the NZ rugby structure and mindset, the 2019 might do the same.

goobster  ·  161 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I have never seen another team so effectively take all of the All Blacks toys away.

It was an heroic effort by England, who were firing on all cylinders that day.

It's what I love about rugby: Any day can be any team's Good Day.

Foveaux  ·  208 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Down the rabbit hole of 4chan, we find: Death.

That was a hell of a read.

I don't know if I should thank you for posting it.


Foveaux  ·  217 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: First I lift. Now I teach the lift.

I'm really finding that to be the case. I have a blast learning about it all and applying it, but being able to watch someone, tweak things and watch them go about it is a whole 'nother level.

Foveaux  ·  1427 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 11, 2016

I've been on holiday for my birthday - here is a photo from up Mt Roy, in Wanaka - New Zealand. A magnificent backyard to have, I assure you.

thenewgreen  ·  1426 days ago  ·  link  ·  

gorgeous! Enjoy the journey

Foveaux  ·  1458 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Deeply Moving Message from Bernie Sanders - YouTube

I still get so.. overwhelmed when I realize how hard obtaining medical treatment it can be for people in USA.

Let's say, here in NZ - I damage my knee playing Rugby. It's an accident, no previous history with knee injuries, and I've torn my meniscus. The government funded scheme would cover my Ultrasounds, eventual MRI, surgeon meetings, the surgery itself and all the Physio/rehab required until I am fully fit and back at work. The same scheme will also cover my wages/salary while I'm off work (at 80% of my normal pay). I mean, they'll even cover taxi rides to and from appointments if I live alone or am otherwise unable to get transport for myself.

My Dr visits at most cost me $30 (much less for students, children and the elderly), I dunno what the dental care funding is like there but mine was free until I turned 18 - prescriptions are no more than 5$ for 6 months of antidepressants, or things like Omeprazole. Shit if I needed ambulance transport in an emergency the most I would be charged for is bang on $88 dollars.

It's scary to think there are people out there who literally have to stay sick or injured so they can afford the rent, and food, and heating.

thenewgreen  ·  1458 days ago  ·  link  ·  

When this happened:

A few months later we were given a $500 bill for the ambulance ride. Luckily with some finagling and a consult with an attorney friend of ours, we were able to get it waived. But this is because we are educated and know attorneys that could help us craft the letter.

Imagine being poor and getting that bill. $500 is a lot of money to many people. The system sucks. It makes no sense.

Foveaux  ·  1457 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Fuuuuuck me that is nasty. You had to seek legal advice because your child arrived and an ambulance was required.

I'm sorry you had to deal with all of that. There are some issues within NZ, like any country, but these stories make me very thankful to be in a country that bends over backwards to make healthcare easier for it's people.

I just remembered something - that govt scheme I was talking about? That applies to people who aren't NZ citizens. If you're in NZ, on a working holiday VISA or similar and are earning/paying tax - you're eligible for cover. You can come here to travel, work in a fruit orchard for a bit of cash, get injured and we will patch you up and cover you until you're ready to go back to work/travel. It blow's tourists and immigrants minds alike and it's something I totally take for granted.

briandmyers  ·  1457 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Just to be clear - this accidental-injury coverage (it's called ACC) applies to everyone in NZ - including tourists and illegal overstayers. Everyone.

Foveaux  ·  1456 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yes, very true. Sorry I'm never sure how much detail to go into with it. I actually work for ACC so I quite often get focused on small things and forget to explain the bigger, main picture - and quite often do a terrible job of it

briandmyers  ·  1456 days ago  ·  link  ·  

No need to apologise! I became a big fan of ACC when my son broke his neck a few years back. They covered everything including 80% of his salary for the three months or so he was in a halo vest. Without that support, he would have been financially ruined; instead, he didn't even lose his job.

OftenBen  ·  1456 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That's so great to hear. I used to work in insurance and sold policies that did essentially what you described.

Saved more than one family from a serious financial crisis.

steve  ·  1458 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Dang dude... $500 for an ambulance is cheap! I know a guy who got three bills for one ride: $850 for the ambulance ride (less than 3 miles), $280 for the paramedics, and $125 for dispatch service or some such thing.

This is a guy in his 70s who is on medicare... it's insane.