Friday, June 06, 2008

A Few Things For Friday

There is an actual post coming later today, but I wanted to go over a few things this morning.
First, you absolutely must go to the website for the New Zealand Book Council. Immediately.
Second, in the meeting yesterday morning where we all go over the list of tasks and call out "percentages complete" while sitting in a circle, it was decided that we needed to track server deployment as part of the process.
While I understand the desire to have an accurate count of servers ready for use, no one in the meeting actually deploys servers. No one in the meeting has any control over that, either, so no one can call out a percentage with any kind of authority.
In fact, last Friday I went to the data center for the first time. I didn't have anything to actually do there, but the "Proactive Team" was given a tour by the same guy who gives tours to (I would guess) the 5th grade science classes.
We saw servers. We saw a giant mainframe. We saw about a zillion batteries being used for back up power. We saw something which disturbs me to the core of my being. And then we left, never to return. It was a big nerdy field trip.
Hmm . . . Where do I go from here? Do I talk about the thing that disturbs me or do I switch back to server deployment being added to the morning meeting form?
*flip coin*
What was tails?
Screw it.
Okay, so the form, right? The Keeper of the Plan (as I have come to call him) pasted the worksheet the Server Deployment Team uses to track server builds into our old sheet and mailed the compiled document to everyone.
The first thing I noticed is that the Server Deployment Team loves color. Their completion schedules are a rainbow of productivity.
What I learned about that is that I hate color on project plans. Especially big streaks of it on top of my own tasks which makes them appear highlighted, crossed out, or puce.
I opened it and said (in, apparently, my "outside voice") "Holy crap! The colors are freaking me out!"
So now I have a "random" urine test this afternoon. A "random" test which is nowhere on our project plan, by the way.
Anyway, each of these "completion zone" colors is labeled by letter. Phonetic designation, in a way.
There is a standard for that which is different here, too. And by "different" I mean "wrong".
A = Alpha -- We agree there.
B = Beta -- Okay. Looks good.
F = Frank -- Hmmm . . . Western Union Standard, I guess, but NATO (and me) calls it "Foxtrot"
H = Howie? -- No freaking way. "Hotel" or (maybe) "Henry" is correct.
K = Kaiser? -- What the hell? "Kilo", people. "Kilo". Or "King" if Western Union is less litigious than NATO.
L = Lemo? -- That's not even a freaking word! It should be "Lima" or "Lincoln".
M = Mint? -- No. "Mike" or "Mary", depending on which team you play for.
N = Nurd? -- This is an official project plan! "Nerd", while at least spelled correctly, is still freaking wrong. Say it with me: "November" or "New York" or "New York in November".
O = Oprah? -- I quit. I've never seen such a phoned-in phonetic alphabet ever. For the record, "Oscar" or "Ocean", for the win.
P = Plato? -- Points for looking like they are trying here. Points taken off for being wrong. "Papa" or "Peter" would make me less stabby.
R = Ralph? -- Hell, no. "Romeo" or "Roger". I, of course, prefer the NATO.
S = Sam? -- Is freaking Google blocked from their work area? "Sierra" or "Sugar" would match the phonetic alphabet the rest of us are using. Join us.

Okay. I'll be alright. The important thing is that while our task list now tracks the work these people are doing, none of them are invited to our meeting anyway. Therefore, any laps full of hot coffee they may receive today will not be a result of my flinging coffee while yelling "Take that!"

Why is there a quarter on my desk?

Oh yeah.
So during the data center tour we saw the mainframe. Actually, there are a couple of them. They are huge and black and process stuff. It is capable of processing a lot, in fact. Like over 30 Billon instructions a second. I didn't make that number up, either. It is one of the fastest computers in commercial use on the planet. I think literally the second or third fastest.
It is labeled "The Pig".
Everything else that happens here in computing (all of the Windows crap I do all the time) just exists to extract data from and push data to these mainframes. My whole business unit is, in fact, nicknamed "the lipstick on The Pig".
Oddly, I'm not disturbed by this.
I am disturbed by our tape back up system. There are "virtual tapes" for most things, but there are still a lot of "actual tapes" and system data backup activities happen all day every day. Our back up system is also one of the most advanced on the planet. I have nothing to do with that.
To be completely hpnest, the people who work with it don't have much to do with it either because of the robotic tape libraries. Plural. Like two dozen robots the size of my car which pull tapes, replace tapes, restore tapes, scan tapes and label tapes all day every day.
It is only a matter of time before they grow bored enough to revolt and kill us all with the grim efficiency coded into their silicon souls.
I've plotted my escape route (two stairways and a dash through the bushes, for the record) but I have not color coded it. Nor will I.

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