Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Working in Canada, Day 1

Today was my first full work day in the Markham office. They set me up with a small cubicle. Last time I was here, I asked for a monitor. I think the admin was going to give me a old CRT but my buddy Larry, the help desk manager, set me up with a new LCD panel (Dell 22" widescreen); a new hire didn't show up so it was reassigned to me.

My little cubicle

As I was setting up the LCD panel and docking station (I brought that up from Irvine myself), the mail room delivered another LCD panel (same model) to me. Both were FedEx'ed from our office in Richmond, British Columbia. Earlier this evening, I got a call from the help desk in Richmond, asking me to ship the other LCD panel back to them. For a moment, I thought I was going to have a dual widescreen setup.

I spent most of the day working on my normal job stuff. The network connection back to our Irvine data center is horrible. I would double-click on Excel files and it would take minutes to open. I ended up connecting remotely to my 2nd work computer, normally used for presentations, so I can get work done. They're also using the old AMD phone system until moving day next year. To call long distance, you need a special passcode. I think each person has a code; the finance manager gave me his code to use but told me not to call any 900-numbers (mostly phone-sex hotlines). I think he was just kidding. I also haven't figured out how to connect to the network printers yet so I can't print anything.

At around 4pm this afternoon, it started snowing and it's still snowing six hours later. Good thing rental cars come with snow brushes. My parents were in Scarborough visiting some friends so they came by to have dinner. We went to some Chinese restaurant nearby; there must be hundreds of Chinese restaurants in this area. After dinner, I stopped by a supermarket to pick up some sodas and water. Groceries are more expensive compared to the U.S., even after converting the currency. The average salary is lower and the weather sucks; I wonder why so many people live here... :)

I tried taking a picture of the snow as I was leaving work. It was already too dark and the flash just reflects off the falling snow.

AMD parking lot. The building we "kept" doesn't have an underground parking garage whereas the AMD building next door still does. Since their old badges still work, some ex-AMD people are still sneaking in and parking in the underground garage. My Broadcom badge doesn't work at all here and they won't give me a temp badge to open doors. In addition, the receptionist is making me sign in each morning as a guest since my badge doesn't say "Markham" on it. I've been to our offices in Vancouver, San Jose, Singapore, Taipei, and Beijing and never did I need to sign in as guest as long as I had my work badge. Lame.

Parking lot outside restaurant. It's only -2°C outside so the snow is fairly wet. Only the large roads are salted before a snowstorm so driving in the parking lots is a bit slippery. I fishtailed the SUV a bit coming out of the hotel driveway on the way to dinner... fun!

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