The first update in what must be well over a month... the biggest change in my life has been at work (I'm sorry to say).
As part of Sun's drive to maintain profitability they have begun outsourcing some of the more basic work to partner engineers in Poland. This has both pros and cons:
The plus side is that I no longer have to deal with some of the more mundane problems like disk swaps, memory DIMM replacements and so on. It also means that, as Sun made a profit, I got a bonus. It wasn't much to write home about though... my quarterly bonus was calculated as 128% of 0.8% of my base salary (don't ask), except in my case, they worked it out pro-rata for the number of months I'd been working. In the end I took home a whopping £67 (pre-tax) this month(!)
The downsides are that Poland get their hands on some calls before we do... in the longrun this can cause more work for us. As well as this, Sun had to let go a number of employees. Fortunately the large majority of those let go put themselves forward for voluntary redundancy, so I like to think it worked out well for most involved.
Guillemont Park, the main campus for Europe and the Middle East (EMEA), now has a desk:engineer ratio that is looking a little underwhelming. During the last two weeks most of us have moved desks; instead of being spread out over two sides of the building, we're now all on one side, and I believe there may be plans underway to move engineers from another building to the now vacated side. This is all rumour though, so who knows what will happen.
I'm happy with my desk relocation; it's obviously not great to leave behind people who I've been working closely with, but the benefit to me is that I'm now sat in an OS/kernel/software community. Over the coming months I'm trying to move into a more software role, although I will still be expected to handle other types of calls as they come in.
Furthermore, I am no longer in a team that deals exclusively with a large telecommunications company based in the UK... I now support this company, as well as a number of other important Sun customers, including investment banks, telcos and so on. I am a member of the so-called 'elite' team. (it refers to the customers, not the engineers!)
With some team members leaving, there was cast-off kit going round and somehow I've managed to upgrade myself from a single 19" CRT with Sun Ray to a dual-headed 19" flat panel Sun Ray config. In terms of desktop real-estate, this mirrors my home setup, which is handy.
Hope everybody is having a good December... don't forget to fire up xsnow!