After humping it for quite a few years with family and Contegix, it is now time to get back to blogging. It has been too long. I already have a few posts in draft format that will be ready to go over the next few days and weeks.
There will be a few changes. First, the blog at porterhome.com will be mostly focused on the personal side of the topics – family, tech, Contegix, and entrepreneurship. These will be more related to me and my personal experiences. Contegix Thoughts From Insider The Ether Blog will contain Contegix business, our infrastructure, etc. Keep checking it out!
For entrepreneurship, I will be launching STLEntrepreneur.com in the near future. Keep watching there!
And keep following my tweets…
Ah, travel. It’s one of those ideas that seems really sexy when you are younger. See new places, meet new people, all without hassles thanks to the modern day conveniences. In a past life, I even took advantage of those fringe benefits such as frequent flyer miles. This allowed me to earn premium status on American Airlines at one time and pay $25.00 to take my family to Florida last summer. Never once had those horrible trips described in magazines and folklore… until recently.
I needed to head to Portland, Oregon for business. My goal was to leave Saint Louis on Wednesday, February 6, 2008 and return the next day. I had arranged for 2 meetings in the late afternoon before heading to dinner with another customer. Patrick Lightbody and I had plans for breakfast the next morning just to catch up. Plus, I still needed to deliver off his wedding gift. Then, I would take leisurely metro ride to the airport before heading back to Saint Louis.
I had the airplane (with a stop through Seattle) and hotel booked. Everything was prepared and ready. I am an old pro at this having racked up over 300k frequent flyer miles. Hell, last summer, my wife and I took our 3 children all under the age of 3 to Florida. Yet, that’s when American Airlines and Marriott decided to tag team me into trip hell submission.
First, my flight departed from the gate as scheduled. This departure consisted of backing off from the gate by about 15 feet and, then, rolling back to the terminal. The pilot stated that a problem was found in the center fuel tank pump. It was failing to start and maintain consistent pressure. He hoped it was just a sensor reading. Since the all fuel tanks are needed to complete the trek to Seattle, this needed to be corrected.
After waiting 45 minutes, concern hit about whether I would make my connecting flight to Portland. I was advised by the flight attendants to depart the plane and talk with the gate agent which I promptly did. The gate agent assured me hat we should be taking off shortly and there would be plenty of other flights should I miss my original connection. While chatting with the agent, the pilot stepped off the plane. I am not an expert in the workings of an airline by any stretch of the imagination; however, I am pretty damn sure this is never a good sign.
Over three hours later, we finally depart Saint Louis. Curious what happened with the fuel pump? Well, that problem could not be corrected according to the pilot who was always polite, professional, and kept the passengers informed. The center tank was drained of the fuel. Therefore, we would be making a stop in Denver, Colorado for more fuel in the working tanks. This means that we needed to alter the flight path which would result in a longer flight.
At this point, we are late taking off, need to make a stop half-way, and my original connecting flight will be gone. American decided that these inconveniences were not yet enough. The flight was stocked with a complete lack of snacks for every passenger. By the time I was offered something, my choices was a candy bar or to suck down more recycled, pressurized air. At what point when we sat at the terminal for 3+ hours did American decide that people want to site on one of their fucking spacious airplanes for 9 hours without a drop of food with real substance? Maybe this is part of their grand plan to fatten the passengers so that we can buy two seats and have the extendo-belt.
I finally arrive in Seattle after 3:00 pm local time, but American is far from done kicking me. The gate agent informs me that he has little information on my connecting flight other than which concourse. I phone the AA reservations desk where I discover that I have been booked on a United Express “puddle jumper” flight from Seattle to Portland. If everything goes right, I should arrive in Portland around 6:00 pm local time. I may have missed my 2 meetings but will be able to have dinner with the customer.
Unfortunately, American Airlines has locked my electronic ticket. It takes the United Express gate agent five phone calls over 30 minutes to find someone at American to pick up the phone. The AA supervisor contacted then has no clue how to unlock it. Another 10 minutes go by. Finally, someone at American corrects the problem. I now have a plane ticket and head to grab a quick snack.
Thanks to delays imposed by Seattle Airport, the flight is restricted from departing for approximately 1 hour. It is just after 7:00 pm local time when I arrive in Portland. Thanks to American, my bag containing my phone charger and Patrick’s gift are lost. The United lost luggage agent informs me that there exists a possibility my bag was sent to New York by American. Once again, let me reiterate – I am not an expert in airline logistics; however, I do not believe the direct route from Seattle, WA to Portland, OR is through the east coast.
After an enjoyable dinner (thanks Eric, Michael, and Justin from fmyi.com!), I head to the Marriott with visions of my bag awaiting me. This dream even seems a reality when I check in at the front desk. The desk clerk informs me that I was already checked in which is probably because my bag arrived and was delivered to my room. Instead, American Airlines tagged the Marriott to continue the match in a move that would make The Road Warriors proud.
When I open the door to the hotel room, it is obvious that the room is not empty. How do I know? The naked male who attempted to engage me in a vulgar conversation on why I entered his room provided me a hint.
In all fairness to the Marriott, I was placed in another room and given a complimentary breakfast. Someone checked in under my reservation for the pre-paid room. Since I worked at the Saint Louis Airport Marriott in college, I can understand how this mistakenly happens on rare occasions. Sincere kudos to the staff working that night with their apologies and attempts to make it better.
I finally got my bag the next morning right before heading to the airport. This was after a good nights sleep and an enjoyable breakfast with Patrick at a local pancake place (beautiful blue corn pancakes!).
We recently advertised for a new administrative assistant. This person will have contact with our customers and have some minimal billing and HR responsibilities. Both additional responsibilities are relatively minimal since we have other people in billing and outsource HR to a third-party. I took interest in this hire since this person will be working directly for me.
After pushing through 60+ resumes on a plane ride, I decided to write this blog post. We received a number of good and a few great resumes; however, I was utterly surprised by the people who do not know how to apply for a job. After reading our replies for Linux admins, this holds true to those applicants as well.
There are probably a few hundred other points I should make, but these are the ones that constantly came up.
A few weeks back, we posted a job opening on Monster.com. We have found some truly great employees through the site. One of the worst parts of Monster.com is the recruiter spam. This would not be offensive if the spammer was actually applying for the right bloody job.
Below is an email we received to our Monster.com only resume address. This is from a random recruiter trying to sell her client. The only jobs we have posted on Monster.com (and thus have associated with this email address) are for Linux engineers.
I am attaching the resume of Radha, Sr. .NET Consultant.
Â· Over 7 years experience in software design and development of n-tier business systems using various technologies.
Over 4 years experience in OOP with various .NET Technologies, C#, ASP.NET, ADO.NET, VB.NET, VB 6.0, and Web Services.
Expert in managing projects and exposure to all phases of SDLC.
Excellent exposure to the following Domains: Finance, Telecom, Healthcare, Accounts Management, Retail Finance Management, Production management, Inventory/Material Management, Sales / Purchase Management.
Worked extensively on databases like Oracle 9i, MS SQL Server 2000, MS Access 2000.
Rich knowledge in writing stored procedures, triggers, functions, establishing ER Diagrams.
Extensive experience in generating reports using Crystal Reports, Data Reports.
Extensive experience in gathering the requirements from the clients with different kind of domains.
Strong knowledge on latest configuration management tools like Microsoft Visual Source Safe, CVS.
Experience of Object Oriented Design and Development using UML based tools (Visio).
She is available immediately and willing to relocate nationwide.
She is available at $65 per hour.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need further details.
Sorry Tina – but you are officially an idiot. Radha, you are represented by an idiot.