No matter what good things I say about my job, something happens right after that tops it all. So after taking me to lunch for my birthday, today my boss and buddies Brian 'n Scott at work, decided to take me out to dinner. We went to this cute little restaurant in downtown St. Petes near the ocean-front. It was a British-India style restaurant with a wide variety of dishes on the menu. For me, it was Chana Masala. For them it was Chicken Tikka, Pasta, Salad, and Chicken Burger. We talked and chilled for about two hours and topped it off with yummy deserts - Chocolate Volcano for me :)
One of the reasons I love this job is not just the atmosphere but the real work itself. Right now I have to setup our inventory with barcodes. So here's the plan. We purchased Symbol PPT 8846 barcode scanner. It's runs WinCE 4.1 on Pocket PC x86 hardware. This tiny little device has a built in scanner, wireless ethernet card, and support for Microsoft .Net Compact Framework. It used to be that if anyone wanted to program devices like barcode scanners, remote controls etc., they would need to interface directly at the low hardware levels with the devices. Not so anymore. I can write full-fledged Visual Basic.Net or Visual C# applications that will run in the tiny 32mb ram scanner and perform all the required functions smoothly.
So basically I'm gonna have to program it in VB.Net to talk to our internal web server running WAMP (Windows, Apache, MySQL, PHP) over 802.11b network using XML. Here's what will happen: Anytime the scanner scans a barcode, it is sent to the web server that process the input and sends back an XML document which will be parsed by my VB.Net software and displayed to the user for further input. So basically, I can walk around with the device and scan random barcodes of all our inventory and simply enter the physical quantity of stock and all the computer systems will be automatically updated. This is by far one of the coolest things I've ever worked with. I can barely sleep at night because I'm thinking about what I want to program the next morning. Eight hours of coding a day is simply not enough. I want more!