So I've been at the new gig for a week now, and so far everything is going beautifully. Even though the company is headquartered here in Charlotte (500+ employees worldwide), the office here is small...maybe 30 or so folks, evenly split between Financial/HR and geeks (infrastructure, coders, and analysts) along with CxO offices. That makes for a pretty quiet workplace, which is a huge plus.
The development environment itself is also quite nice...I was bestowed a laptop on day 1, a fairly tricked out Toshiba Tecra which docks to a spiffy Dell 2007wfp display. Not as great as dual monitors, but definitely better than a lot of other environments I've worked in. I can use the laptop panel as a small secondary monitor if need be which works out quite nicely. I was a little dismayed at first when I discovered they keep the laptops locked down (no admin rights at all, which means no installing software...though I did manage to get Firefox installed since you can run it from any directory on your machine), only to realize the system they have in place more than makes up for this.
The development environment is a sandboxed network (as it should be) that we remote/tunnel into from our desktops...the machines are hosted out in Seattle HQ and have all the niceties of a normal network such as SAN backends, fast backbones, etc since they are all on the same rack (both workstations AND servers). This means we can trash it to our heart's content...if something goes wrong we aren't down longer than it takes for the infrastructure staff to do a restore. Need more RAM? No tech coming by your desk, installed directly in the rack. Need a new development server? Done. Accidentally format your machine? No worries. It's all centrally managed out of sight somewhere. Latency could be a bit of an issue at times, but the flexibility of this setup more than outweighs any of the drawbacks.
So far I'm in maintenance mode...that's the norm when ramping folks up. I also heard my teammate here in town utter the words I love to hear: "Don't worry about breaking your neck getting the UI perfect, there is an entire team out West who's entire job it is to clean up the CSS, add master page type stuff, etc." Music to my ears. That let's us focus more on the task at hand, and earn our keep doing the nuts and bolts type stuff.
A Seattle trip is looming with my teammate Chris, probably towards the end of March but no firm dates yet. Hopefully I'll be able to catch up with some blogging buddies when I get out there. If you're in the Seattle area and I don't know who you are, drop me a line and we'll get something planned up.
So far, nice and dreamy. Pics to come once I get my workspace decked out and cozy.