ITIM 5.1 is released!

After ~1.5 years in the making, IBM Tivoli Identity Manager 5.1 was released today! This version adds support for role hierarchy, enforcing separation of duties policies, endpoint group management, and user recertification. Performance-wise we addressed some minor defects and made better out-of-the-box indexes for use on Oracle and MS SQL databases.

My big post-release todo is to finish updating the Performance Tuning Guide and get it released by the end of July. With luck I’ll have it done by mid-month.

IBM raises (or lack thereof) arrive

Despite the economic turndown IBM did in fact give out raises this year, albeit meager ones. Unlike last year where there was an MRP adjustment in addition to a merit-based adjustment, this year it was only merit-based and it only applied to those who received PBC ratings of 2+ and 1. That was disappointing for me given that I received a PBC rating of 2 largely due to my recent promotion. So my salary remains unchanged. Not that I’m at all complaining given that many companies are reducing pay across the board by a percentage.

On the plus side I did find out the new MRP range for Band 9s in my region. I’m currently sitting at a MRP of 46% — or only about half way to the midpoint of the range — so if they opt to do MRP adjustments again next year I have lots of room to grow.

Looking back on it I’ve decided I’ve been on the wrong side of IBM’s MRP program. Every time they’ve decided to do MRP adjustments I’ve made a high PBC rating and qualify for merit-based adjustments but the pool of money to allocate is smaller because of the mandatory MRP allotments. The time they decide not to do an MRP I have a lower rating that doesn’t qualify for merit-based adjustments.

World of Goo Soundtrack

World of Goo is an amazing puzzle game available for on Wii, Windows, Mac and Linux. The game play is inventive, the physics are well done, the sign painter is wonderfully snarky, the puzzles are challenging but achievable, and the music is original. Amazingly original. Oddly catchy even.

Today I stumbled upon the World of Goo Soundtrack — free for download in all it’s 85MB 256kbps MP3 glory! 2d boy, you rock!

Time off this summer

IBM is offering a voluntary pilot program called TakeTime this summer. The concept is rather simple: with management approval you can take between 10 and 20 days inclusive off in the months of June, July, and August and get paid 1/3 of your pay for the days you take off.

The days need not be taken contiguously and the money is taken out of your September paychecks in equal amounts allowing for folks to plan their cash flow. The days off are separate and distinct from your vacation. During the time you take off you’re still a considered a full-time employee without any change in your insurance coverage, vacation accrual, etc.

IMHO this is a very exciting program because IBM is a stickler about vacation: you can’t roll unused vacation over and you can’t buy back vacation days — what you have based on your tenure is it. For me that means 3 weeks of vacation which have been eaten up by travelling back to Texas for holidays the past two years.

Originally I wanted to take the full 20 days off but that didn’t cash-flow well with travel expenses we’ll have over the next few months and the tuition for Benjamin’s summer classes. Instead I opted for the minimum 10 days. I’ll be taking them every Friday in the months of July and August (8 as July the 3rd is a site holiday and I have off anyway) and 2 floating dates that I can use whenever in July or August.

What will I be doing with my Fridays off? Some of those will be spent visiting friends during some of our travel. Others will be spent doing some coding for PGDP. And yet others may be spent reading a book by the pool :)

Anniversaries: Personal & Professional

Monday, June 1st was my 6th-year anniversary with Benjamin. We met 6 years ago on a blind date set up by a mutual friend to see Miss Saigon. We celebrated it by recreating our second date: we had dinner at Schlotzsky’s and then proceeded to see the movie Up which was amazing. Well, technically our second date was dinner at Schlotzsky’s and then dancing lessons at RCC so it wasn’t a total recreation — but neither were we 6 years younger either :) Benjamin did seem to enjoy his dozen + 5 roses.

Tuesday, June 2nd was our 3-year marriage anniversary. To celebrate that we’re seeing Rent next week and staying in a hotel downtown.

Today, June 5th, is my 9-year anniversary at IBM. When I was hired at the peak of the dot-com boom I never thought I’d be at IBM for 5 years, much less 9. During my second performance evaluation roughly 18 months after I started I was told that I was getting a raise, not just because of my good performance but because if they didn’t new hires would be making more than I did. It was then that I discovered that the hiring managers didn’t consider me a strong candidate and weren’t going to offer me the job until one manager stepped in and said he thought I’d be a good fit and would vouch for me. I never did end up working for him though. Thus I was hired at the lowest salary they could offer a college graduate (which was sadly the highest offer I received by far during my job search). Since then I’ve proceeded to impress folks — at least according to my performance evaluations. Here I am 9 years later a well-respected Senior Software Engineer (band 9) and a performance subject-matter expert on all things ITIM, including the IBM LDAP server and DB2 database. It’s been a fun ride! I’m looking forward to an extra week of vacation next year and seeing where IBM’s headed from here.