Friday, November 30, 2007


I feel a bit overwhelmed at the moment. I've got myself a nasty cold since yesterday. I actually ended up canceling my afternoon lecture yesterday because I was feeling miserable, and thought resting up for my telephone interview was a higher priority. I might likely have put off the class in any case, the way I was feeling. I'm glad I took the rest though. Despite not feeling quite 100%, I did alright.

I think I remain a rather strong candidate for the post. I had one more question when they wrapped up because of time constraints (the interview was scheduled to last 20 minutes). So, I emailed the chair of the committee. This morning, he sent back a clear and thoughtful response to my inquiry (and cc'd the entire committee). I think that's a good sign that they're still taking me seriously. We'll know soon enough. I would very much like to be offered this opportunity. And I'm rather disinclined to apply for any other positions.

That leads us closer to our (well, not decision point) but our point of movement. Decisions have already been made; we're simply waiting on the few factors that are out of our hands at the moment, before we finalize details. Rocket has now given notice to her supervisor that she'll be taking off before the holidays. That gives her less than three weeks before her hypotheticals become realities.

I'll know in the next couple weeks if I'm out of the running for the post at Miwla College, but perhaps more likely, I'll simply find that I'm still under consideration, and things will remain up in the air a bit until February or March. Meantime, what do I do with my research firm? Ah yes... that's still on my mind.

Tonight I was scheduled to have a conference call with the two programmers I've been meaning to hire. Things got far more complicated in the weeks following our initial meeting. As I wrote before, they finally sent me a rather terse document, which I found unacceptable as a work agreement. We spoke a couple weeks ago, and agreed to revisit the issues today. This morning, I received an email from them with a new draft agreement and some feedback and questions on my original specifications document.

There were certainly some improvements in this work agreement, especially in terms of clarity. But I'm a bit leery of a few items, in particular regarding sharing "partial credit" for potential patents. I'd like to run the document by an attorney. More importantly, I really need some more time (and energy) to review it, which currently I'm too wiped out for.

So, I sent off an email postponing the conference call, suggesting that I'll plan to call them in the next couple weeks. Partly, I'm feeling inclined to revert to my plan to simply do the initial programming myself, despite the fact that it looks fruitful for me to abandon my initial forays in C++, and take up learning C#. Of course, with Rocket off of work, and our planned move to parts remote in the coming months (regardless of the outcome at Miwla College, I might possibly have some company learning and programming.

I guess what I realize is that while their assistance would be helpful, their experience would likely save me a great deal of time and trouble, and I'd likely have a workable toolset sooner, I'm not convinced that it is absolutely essential, certainly not enough for me to hand over any credit ("partial" or otherwise) for their implementation of my algorithms. Their new document specifically states that they: as implementer shall receive partial credit for any and all [blahdiblah] pertaining to the work of this agreement that results in a patent both during and after the execution of this agreement.

While, the statement is rather vague (I mean, I could grant them .005% of my company's future profits, which would be "partial credit"), I'm just not sure that their work at this point would warrant it. And, I'm not sure what the legal ramifications would be for my agreeing to it (hence the need to consult with an attorney).

In any case, I'm feeling quite a desire to hibernate from the world for a few weeks. Unfortunately, I've yet another few weeks of obligations (grading, teaching) to Lemon. But, I plan to get my rest as I can, recovering from this nasty bug I've caught, and putting off these programmers until I'm up to dealing with the issues properly. If it means I'm back on my own, then so be it. One thing I've learned this term is that working 25-30 hours a week on teaching, plus a 9-12 hour commute, is incompatible with me building a research firm.

When I started the term at Lemon, I thought I'd have about 1.5-2 days per week for my research. Once grading kicked in, that was impossible (at least without sacrificing my home life). Important to keep that in mind. If Miwla comes through, I would hope that the significantly smaller class size, the full-time office, and a negligible commute would facilitate both teaching and research. And if it doesn't come through, I've got all the time I want (limited only by the reach of our savings). For now, I can only hope.

It'll be nice to have Rocket around more, once she takes off on leave. And it'll be nice to be free of the long (pollution-filled) commutes to Lemon. Soon enough, soon enough.

Who knows... maybe I'll get a pleasant call from Miwla in the next week.

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