November 30, 1999
My Massage Day
Today was a complex day.
Work was very interesting in that I had the rotating job of being the "smoke test engineer". Basically, that means I run everything and see if it works at a fundamental level. Mostly, I just run things and see if they run, and not worry about the exact details of what they're doing. The reason we call it a smoke test is because in hardware the most fundamental test you can make of a system is to plug it in and see if it smokes. We're still a ways away from a system that will actually ship to customers, so it didn't really surprised me that a small section of the application smoked.
In order to do the tests I did, however, have to touch every part of the system. That was one of the reasons why I was installing all the other tools yesterday. Every time I have to exercise sections of the application that I do not normally work on I learn more of its capabilities as well as some of the limitations I hadn't known before. So it is a job that I like, even when it keeps me from all the other things I should be doing.
An added complexity was one that I imposed on myself. Lately, I have been reading quite a lot of material off of The Motley Fool, and when someone asked a straight technical question that I understood the implications of on the Xilinx boards I answered. The answer I gave had only public information, i.e. information that was in the specification books that distributors handout everyday to any engineer that asks for one, in it. Someone then asked me for my credentials, wondering if I had ever worked in the field. So I gave a full disclosure, not only of my past, but of the simple fact that I actually work for Xilinx. A co-worker then wrote to tell me that there was a company policy that all employees were forbidden to post anything on any of the stock boards because there might be the possibility of a suit simply on the weight of my being an employee, even if I stated that it was my private opinion and even if I only stuck to public information.
Now, being an employee of high-tech corporations for most of my life, I have always known about the SEC regulations on public disclosures of proprietary and inside information, i.e. you cannot do any of that. The rules are for good reasons. But this guy was implying that even my private opinion, which had nothing to do with the company and was on my own, private account which had no connection to the company could be somehow connected, simply through the fact of my employment. If it had been in any other type of forum other than one that so closely resembled the old Internet, I probably would have just believed him and stopped. But I've been dealing with these types of issues for all of my life, and even more recently and in deeper detail with this journal.
So I read every bit of policy that was published to employees, and even went through the entire legal section. I then wrote HR and legal to ask them specifically if there was a company policy as the co-worker had stated, because I couldn't find any in the documentation. Instead, I had found only the good sense restrictions and rules that every company I have ever worked for had. HR didn't know, but they pointed me to a specific person in legal who could answer my questions, and told me that they would be happy to talk with me. In fact, the documentation I did find said that they would be much happier having an employee ask in times of doubt. That part of the documentation was new to me, so I wrote legal and got an instant response. A good conversation later, I found out that it wasn't company policy, and I also found out all the reasons why one needs to be careful was most what one needs to be careful of in situations that are specific to a stock forum. The main point of contention is that I am talking directly to shareholders, which doesn't apply here, though some of the more common sense things do. The very good thing about the whole conversation was that I now know what to be careful of, and I also know, specifically, that there is no blanket gag order. This place really is as reasonable as I have always believed it to be.
That was a very good thing to learn, even though I initially panicked at the initial letter from a co-worker. It wasn't fun, but it was very useful. Yes, I'll continue posting there, but folks there will probably see more disclaimers from me.
My appointment for a massage was for tonight, and John took good care of me, dropping me off and picking me up at the appropriate time. It was actually a pretty hard session, because I still had a good amount of stress still lodged deeply in my muscles. The muscles supporting my lower back were all terribly painful. She had worked on the right side enough, last week, to have loosened it up significantly; but it still needed some maintenance and the left side got neglected a bit more than I liked. But the session overall was painful enough that I was glad to have it worked out.
My left hand is really feeling bad, so I'm likely going to be dictating more of these as I go.
On the way home John picked up a pizza and some beer at the Erie liquor store. It amused me a lot when John said that the pick-up deal (i.e. you get about $5 off a pizza you pick up instead of having it delivered, I really like that... 'normal price' for Free Delivery! but you get a huge discount for picking pizzas up, now THAT is marketing at it's finest, everyone feels good) made it perfect for Massage Nights. I really am in absolutely no condition to cook after one of these all-over massages. So he is a very wise man, it's just interesting to see habits change so quickly, so that it even gets a designated Night.
The pizza was very good, and after I ate I took CeLena's advice and soaked myself in a good, hot bath with Epson salts by the handful. The salt really helped pull all the soreness out of my muscles, all the stress that she had loosened up soaked out of my muscles with the long, hot soak by candlelight. When I folded myself into my bed, sleep fell on me like a friendly elephant and for the first time in a while I went into a deep and completely painless sleep.
Brought to you by Dragon System's Point & Speak.