Friday, August 31, 2007

Welcome to effectiveUI

posted by John Blanco @ 7:37 PM


My first week at effectiveUI is complete. Overall, hard to say, I spent only a small part of it not pouring through source as a learning exercise. However, I do love it. Very excited for my second week now. :-)

Here's a little tour.

WARNING TO FISERV EMPLOYEES: This blog includes pictures which will not match your idea of what an office is supposed to look like. Do not be alarmed.

First, here is my desk...

This definitely doesn't look anything like my Fiserv cube. Many of my adornments simply did not make the cut, including my wall. This is because, well, I have no walls. Nor does anyone. So, you'll see some statuettes on the left, photos on the right, and a big freakin' bottle of Jelly Belly's (eat your heart out Ronald Reagan).

At the very left edge, on the floor, you see a pillow. That is for one of the company dogs, named Cooper. We have several dogs, owned by various employees. :-)

Here's the rest of the office...

See? Still no walls. :-) If you look way back at the door and then shift your eyes slightly to the left at the monitor -- yes, that's the President's desk. It's not all bad for him. That monitor is a 30" LCD screen. (Actually, I'm not sure how his eyes perceive it.)

For those that know Sean Christmann, his brother is sitting at the table in the black shirt. They have the same mannerisms. It's freaky.

The other side. This includes the full dog pillow. See the gathering of people in the front? That's the conference room. ;-) Good luck with that. On the other side of the wall is construction. Comedy is seeing the Marketing Director try to give a talk during the company meeting over the sounds of drilling. Alas, soon it will all be quiet and serene...yeah, maybe 4 months from now. :-)

See the monitor that's positioned vertically two sets of tables from mine? Near that brush looking thing on the pillar? That's Tony Hillerson's desk. :-)

What the hell is that? Well, first, that's Michele's left half. :-) But, what's the thing on the wall? Yes, people. THAT is the bathroom key. You see, the office is under construction and there are no bathrooms. Luckily, the gym in the building behind us doesn't open until 5 PM and they let us use this key to get in and use the facilities until ours are completed. One key. Fourty employees in the office. Not fun. Luckily, I got the desk right next to the key, so I can snag it very quickly when it comes back. ;-)

This is the back door; the door everyone uses if they wish to avoid inhaling sawdust. Luckily, the scan card system started working this week, so I can get to work early if I want. :-) This area is used to store the several bikes that people use to get to work. It's also used for phone calls. Who's walking around back there? Yep. Sean Christmann. His ghost haunts the place during work hours.


Yep, so there is your tour. Hope you enjoyed. :-)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Mootix Doesn't Like Ice Cream!

posted by John Blanco @ 8:56 PM


After four days in to the new job, I think it's a good time to blog about it. As Jackie says, "Whew! What a week!"

Monday found me taking my first solo LightRail ride to get downtown to the new place. It was a good time -- but I spent half the day essentially waiting for someone to tell me what to do. After finally getting some direction on my first project, I got some lunch at Wall St. Deli (I can definitely see bringing my laptop and doing some work there!) and then got my new machine when I got back. The rest of the day was a sort of "WTF is this Mac?" experience.

Tuesday, was a really tough day. I felt pretty lost and overwhelmed. Did some more requirements work on the project, but still not doing much of anything. I left at 6 PM with a huge headache and worn out and pretty bummed.

Wednesday, I worked from home since I wasn;t doing much in the office. I poured through source code and got myself a little more comfortable with what;s going on. A conference call in the morning was the only project work I could do.

Today I was back in and literally had no project work to do. Long story, but we're waiting on the client. However, I did get deeper into Flex and actually wrote an AIR app that I found kinda fun. :-) I also did some loose UML markup for the new project, but nothing official.

After four days, I really like the office and's just a bit frustrating that I can't seem to pay anybody to give me work! Since my last 4 years included ActionScript 1 work primarily, I need to get into the new stuff...and the only time I have been able to is my own tinkering around.

I simply can't wait to get this project going. The perfect mix of chllenge and fun. :-) Oh well, I'll just keep doing my own thing...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Effective UI: Let The Games Begin...

posted by John Blanco @ 8:32 PM


Tomorrow is my first day at Effective UI. This, I believe, is m first real shot at "The Majors." My new position will offer me a challenge that will involve tougher work, tougher constraints, and a necessary desire to be something better every day.

To be honest, I am a bit intimidated. That's a good thing. :-) If I wasn't intimidated, I would be bored. This is definitely different work than I'm used to, but it's work I am so eager to get started in.

Game programming? That will be a big portion of the work. Flex UI? That will be most of the rest of it. Some back-end work? Perhaps. And if so, I will likely get to work with Ruby on Rails more, too. :-) I am so ready.

A lot of changes on the home front have gone on in the meantime, too. The most noticeable is that I've decommissioned the PC. W00t! My laptop is now on Michele's desk, and she's been made a user. Basically, she'll use this laptop primarily. I am getting issues a Mac OS X laptop at the new job, and so I've cleared off my desk for it. I'll still need this laptop for my sidework at times, but overall this is now Michele's machine and I have a user account on it. ;-)

Also, I bought a portable MP3 player. I can listen while I ride mass transit, which is the third big change...

Yes, I'll be taking LightRail to my new job downtown. And it doesn't stop there. I'll also be selling my Volkswagen. WOW! My college car is going to be leaving! This is good though. Chester is getting up there in age, and I'll save a ton of money each month by getting rid of it. (Insurance, GAS, average cost of repairs per month, oil changes, etc.)

I feel real good about all this. The only detriment to any of it is that I'll be spending more time commuting. But, so many things will make up for this -- Michele and I will be adjusting to the new routine very positively I predict.

Bring it's all starting...NOW.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Last Day of Fiserv...

posted by John Blanco @ 11:11 AM


Wow, here it is already. The last day. Eerie. Well, it's especially eerie now because the office is empty due to the Indian potluck going on upstairs. :-)

The going-away lunch went well yesterday. About 25 people and I gave a speech. Michele and Cedric came, too, and Cedric was a little fussy from the noise. Poor guy! I got a Gamestop gift card which was very nice of everyone and Dorrie gave me a card with a bunch of signatures on there (I liked Kappan's). Oddly, Dorrie didn't even sign it.


One more afternoon to go now. The odd highlight is my car. I took all the bumper stickers off yesterday evening. It looks naked. It's just plain weird...I'll have to take a pic. :-)


Thursday, August 23, 2007

2 Days of Fiserv Left...

posted by John Blanco @ 6:48 AM


Today is my going-away lunch. Mmmmmmmmmmm....Italian Nachos! :-) Can't wait! Michele and Cedric are coming as well. Will be a good day.

Also, I am giving away some books. Anyone want Bill O'Reilly's novel??

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

3 Days of Fiserv Left...

posted by John Blanco @ 8:33 AM


3 days to go, but not without annoyance. My engine light on my car is on again. How obnoxious. I plan on selling it soon. Looks like Chester will say goodbye with one last repair! (And if it's too pricey, maybe time to say goodbye?)

A nice rainy day, today. Finally, a break from the mid-90's temperatures.

We're halfway through the week!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Google Search via

posted by John Blanco @ 1:22 PM


4 Days of Fiserv Left...

posted by John Blanco @ 8:08 AM


Well, come to find out my going-away lunch was moved up to Thursday because of a scheduling conflict with an event that was scheduled a week after mine. Ah, Fiserv. :-)

4 days to go. Still working on my last project, and it's been a bear. But things are really starting to gel lately. No way I can finish it by Friday, but I can get it as close as possible for the poor guy who has to finish it up...I volunteer Arthur. :-)

Another scorcher today. I remember when I was a little hesitant to wear shorts in this corporate atmosphere, but now it's a no-brainer. Next week, I won't have to even think about it. My new decision will be whether to wear sandals or not. (Hint: Yes.)

Monday, August 20, 2007

5 Days of Fiserv Left...

posted by John Blanco @ 11:30 AM


Well, it's my last week at Fiserv. I have a big project to finish up, a desk full of stuff to clean up, people to say goodbye to, and a going-away lunch to end it all.

Let's do this thing.

Playing with my new MP3 player today. I got it this weekend to listen to on the train starting next week. I hope to listen to my podcasts while commuting. Will be fun. :-) Also, did some other shopping so everything is fresh for next week.

Concentrating has been hard the last 5 days, but I'll bare down...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More Details On The New Job

posted by John Blanco @ 11:52 AM


Today I learned that a lot of people at work read my blog. :-) News has spread quickly here. Just about everyone knows I'm leaving. Guess it's good to get it out of the way.

For those that read the blog, here's my Top 10 Reasons I Accepted The New Job:

  1. Downtown Denver here I come!
  2. It's on the same block as the best Mexican food in the world: Mexico City!
  3. No dress code...I can wear sandals to work if I want to! (And I do want to!)
  4. Free drinks in the refrigerator.
  5. They have an XBox 360 room.
  6. It's freakin' game development!
  7. No project managers.
  8. I'll be using Mac OS X.
  9. 20" LCD monitor.
  10. No QA! (Just kidding, Dorrie)

Monday, August 13, 2007

My Bro and Brother-In-Law

posted by John Blanco @ 10:04 PM


I like this pic. My brother-in-law, Al, is on the left. On the right is my one and only brother, Mike. :-)

I am now a (Professional) Video Game Developer :-)

posted by John Blanco @ 8:00 PM


The final is in.

Today, after 3 years and 11 months as a Senior Flash Developer at Taliant/InsureWorx/Fiserv, I officially resigned.

I have a brand spankin' new gig in downtown Denver as a video game developer. Yes, my dream job since I was a little boy. :-) OK, well, once my aspirations of being shortstop for the New York Mets dissolved in High School.

My memories at Fiserv will last a lifetime, but it was time to move on. Working with an obsolete language for 4 years warrants it. But I put in my time. No, new adventures await.

I start the new job August 27th. :-)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

In 13.5 hours, I'll know...

posted by John Blanco @ 9:39 PM


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Anyone Regret Voting for Bush?

posted by John Blanco @ 10:04 AM


Frequent tours for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have stressed the all-volunteer force and made it worth considering a return to a military draft, President Bush's new war adviser said Friday.

Sleep well, kids.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Need Exercise Motivation? Journey With Us!

posted by John Blanco @ 1:25 PM


Journey is done and in production. Actually, it's been there for about a month, but I didn't want to announce it publicly as a small group of us have been using it as a sort of way to beta test.

It's performing brilliantly. :-)

So, I'd like to introduce Journey to you all. Journey is a site that does pedometer tracking. The idea is that you were a pedometers every day and at the end of each day you log your steps. There are all sorts of statistics Journey will keep track of for you to make your exercise fun and entertaining. It's been a real kick the butt for us as Michele and I have gone on many long walks, especially on weekends, to keep up in our daily average.

Give it a try! I guarantee you'll be more motivated to get that extra exercise each day!

Try Journey Now!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Ummm, What Is This Pic?

posted by John Blanco @ 11:18 AM


CNN is currently running this photo on their front page:

There's just something disturbing about this picture and what it looks like he's doing. haha... :-)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Note to Christmann...

posted by John Blanco @ 7:21 AM



Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Project: DENSITY

posted by John Blanco @ 10:55 PM


I've been pondering the last week or so about how to design my Web site for Rapture In Venice, which is currently blank. I decided I wanted to do something different -- an interactive logo page.

And then it came to me today. A game idea that I'm very excited about. I just prototyped it and it's technologically doable. So, soon a new game will be available and my logo will incorporate it as well.

Get ready! :-D