The Aftermath

Or, Where can I go from here?

Knowing that things were going to get worse before they got better, I immediately began seeking another position. It was not easy, and it took me almost a year to land a contract. I was brought on by a unit of Hewlett Packard to help with the final testing on an Android based netbook. The Air 100 was intended for a Spanish telecommunications company. I did a lot of various tasks at HP. I tested the hardware and the software of the netbook. I also tested the compatibility of software downloaded from the Google store with the device. When that project was completed, I began to work on adapting the Google Chrome OS to our existing hardware. The stated intention was to develop a Chromebook, but before that could happen, HP aquired Palm, and the project was scrapped. My group transferred to Palm, but there was nothing there for me, so I began seeking a new home.

Happily, just as my contract was coming to an end at HP, I was able to land another with a unit of Panasonic. We were trying to create a hand held gaming device with wifi and eventually cellular access. The idea was to have a hand held unit that would allow gamers to play social games on the fly. It was a neat concept, but never destined to come to fruition. We did some pretty nice prototypes, but there were issues of interface design as well as some teething pains with the hardware. The main downfall of the project was the attempt to create an entirely new operating system from scratch. It was a highly customized shell on top of Linux. That is not a bad thing in itself, but there was just not enough time to iron out all the issues before the parent company pulled the plug. I understood, but it was still sad. I enjoyed that job. Learned some good stuff there. I got a chance to create a small test web site that used a combination of html, CSS and Javascript. I created some Flash .SWF files that actually broke their flash viewer. I was the domain expert on a browser game called Dark Orbit. (Sadly, I became addicted to the game and have played it ever since!) All in all my time at Panasonic was quite educational. I'm glad I got the chance to work on that project. They laid half of us off in mid December. I felt some vindication when the project was axed and all the rest let go the next week. Once again I was hard at work looking for work. I was sure that things weren't improving fast enough to get me a place as an employee any time soon. I was willing to take any contract that I could get.

It took me six more months to obtain the next contract. By that time I was getting pretty worried and I was thankful to do anything that brought in a paycheck. The contract at Luida was in one way a change of pace. In another, it was a return to my first days in QA. I was testing a standalone product rather than a web connected one. The software was used in conjunction with hardware that was required. Luidia makes distributed whiteboard hardware and the software that works with it. It's a clever product. A sender device is attached to one corner of the whiteboard. This sender talks to special pen and pointer units. The software I was testing was used to create presentations using this setup. They already had Windows only software that did the job. They needed to have Mac and Linux software that did it to. The decision was made to use a cross-platform application framework called QT. The idea was that it could be written on one platform and used on others with minimal modification. While I was there, I tested on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. The contract was supposed to be three months, but it stretched out to four and a half. My last day there was the final working day of October 2011.

At the time of this writing, I am still looking for work. I hope something comes along very soon.

homebutton.GIF (3914 bytes)