Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
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   rust belt job interview
Wednesday, December 14 2011
Kingston, NY is a rust belt city containing the ruins of numerous beautiful factories as well as a large IBM office that was abandoned in 1994. Like many such cities in the greater Midwest (which I define as starting at the Hudson River), Kingston has shed population and fallen, in some places, into a state shabby decline, the kind of decline that has preserved a lot of what made this and other rust belt cities great. Still, it's not the place you think of when you're in need of a job. There just aren't many people there willing to pay for services. For example, back when I was doing computer housecall work, I almost never got any work in Kingston, even though it's the largest population center in the area (and the largest in the Hudson Valley between Poughkeepsie and Albany).
Today, though, I actually had a job interview in Kingston. And it wasn't at a Taco Bell, a vinyl siding installer, or a muffler shop, it was at a web development firm. Who knew such things could be found in such a place? But there it was. I walked in, and it had the same cheerfully designerly open floor plan and rows upon rows of computers I remember from Of course, times have changed, and all the CRTs have been replaced with sleek LCDs. Also, in this particular web development shop about 75% of the workstations didn't have employees sitting in front of them. Soon I'd be learning why that was.
I ended up talking to two different guys, one of whom owned the company. I liked them both and the interviews went well, to the point where I veered off the subject of LAMP stacks and why I never learned Microsoft .NET into a tangent about my Arduino-based solar controller. They were both a little surprised not to have heard of me yet, so I explained that most of my work has come from contacts in California.
It turned out that this particular web development firm had actually started out in Chichester near Phœnicia, where it took advantage of the bandwidth afforded by the fiber optic internet trunks that run up Route 214 to Tannersville. The problem there, though, was the number of web developers that could be extracted from such a depopulated area. For this reason, they were forced to move into Kingston (though I have trouble seeing how that would have solved their problem). More recently, they lost their largest client, which accounted for the many fallow workstations. Still, they have a need for developers, particularly people like me they can call in as needed to handle projects as they arise.
So in the end we agreed to stay in contact so that I could be part of their stable of possible developers, allowing them to potentially take on larger projects. The guy who owns the company even said he would be sending me invitations to "fun" company events. Even if nothing happens professionally, it would be great to have a local group of people who are into tech the way I am; I haven't had that since I left California.

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