Friday, January 08, 2010

What I Do

I hope my utter lack of details has left many questions as to what it is, exactly, that I do professionally.
I like to think it conjures an aura of mystery about me.
I do know that my family has no idea what I do, only that it involves computers.
When we lived in Houston, one of Shana's friends wanted me to meet her husband since we did the same kind of work and would obviously get along.
We met and talked. I told him what I do and he explained that he is actually a medical doctor who wrote and supports a program which sequences and indexes DNA, the very building blocks of life itself, to work out complex treatments for diseases and extend our lifespans.
There was a moment of stunned silence from me, after which he added,"Of course, that just means my family calls me whenever they can't print."
Wow. Our jobs are somehow fundamentally identical.

Anyway, I have a group of developers. Here is a picture for reference:

I don't know what their code does, technically, and the end result is some kind of math or something so I'll be the first to admit I don't care. However, I currently need them to test it.
I can't do this for them, and I'm not their boss so I can't make them.
Their boss has been emailing me directly about their progress in testing everything. While he can apply the needed pressure, he'd rather not. He has asked me to prod them into action.
So, this morning my job is, effectively, poking a bunch of cats with a stick and hoping that the outcome is that they all move, or at least shift, in the same, and desired, direction.
As my own research, I tried this on a couple of cats we happened to have laying around here.
Of my three test subjects, one bit the stick, one rolled over and rubbed her cheek against the end of the stick and one did not take any action at all. Perhaps I need to poke harder, but she looks so adorable all curled up and sleeping.
I suppose that is the issue I have with this whole process. I can't bother a sleeping cat, who statistically speaking probably spends upwards of sixteen hours per day sleeping. Bothering a human to do some testing of stuff they probably broke anyway is easier, but in principle exactly the same.
I hope this sheds some light on what I do, but not enough to pierce this oh-so-sexy veil of mystery.

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