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Monday, February 25

I Wouldn't...

There's an old Irish joke I rather like. The fact that it's basically racist against Irish people is not so good. But maybe it's not. Maybe it reveals a distinctly Irish perspicacious philosophy, since I like the joke for the wisdom it reveals, and not the "aren't the Irish a bit stupid" sentiment. The joke goes like this:

A man stops his car at the side of a road in Ireland and asks a passerby for directions. "How do you get to the Church?" he asks. The old man on the pavement thinks for a moment and then says "Oooh, if you're going to the church, I wouldn't start from here."

It's something I can relate to. I am mid-way through a number of things I'd like to finish. If I could give myself directions, I'd definitely advise not to be in the place I find myself trying to complete the task from. I wouldn't necessarily start from here.

Today, however, has been a relative success in terms of moving in the right sort of direction from here. I'm not 100% happy that one of my co-workers is taking a huge amount of pressure on his shoulders regarding this work, though I know he's hungry for success and I know that he'll do his best to deliver. He's going to do it at his own expense, though, if I let him.

Anyway, today we had a new person start. I requisitioned this particular worker to take on a role which I believe needs to be filled with someone effective. He seems to have hit the ground running and seems to be pulling together a lot of data which will basically give us some sense of where the "there" and the "here" are, so we can get from "here" to "there". That's probably a pre-requisite to completion, but it's nice to have managed to get this sort of thing going before we discover that we thought we were "there" in the nick of time, but we're actually "over there" and way off target.

Is this even a metaphor?

When the new guy had gotten up to speed, and after I'd managed to purge my email box of all the stuff I'd wished I had someone to look after for me, I headed over to Heathrow airport to see whether things were about to go wrong. I've been responsible for a tool which can be used to update software. We want to make the software update, but early experiments with this tool, seemed to have resulted in not so much an update as a seek-and-destroy on the software. On Friday, having had some good thinking time on a car journey, I knew the problem and solved it. However, I didn't trust it to work (despite all of my tests) without being watched closely.

So, I went to Heathrow backed up a device, set it off and watched it succeed enough to call it done. Then I watched the users of the machines demonstrate why they go wrong. Having seen myself the effects of the problem and having had a chance to do some experiments on a recently failed machine, I was able to give a detailed report of what I felt the problem was to my hard-working colleague back in the office. Then I sailed off to my next location.

I didn't sail. I drove.

I arrived around 5ish and got a smoothie to take in with me. At the next location I managed to get another one of these new devices up and running and also helped the guys there to get their old device working. What's the device? Just some handheld computer that does stuff. So, since leaving my desk, I'd managed to get 4 devices (two in two locations) up and running and troubleshoot some problems. Neat.

I got back to my desk after 7pm. I worked another couple of hours, including making a couple of changes to the system to incorporate the fixes that my colleague had thought up since I'd reported the problem to him. These fixes are now ready to roll and should be on the Heathrow devices shortly, owing to the now-functional software updater.

At 9pm, I headed home, got changed and got down to some serious painting with my housemate. The kitchen ceiling and walls now have their second coat of the proper thick kitchen paint stuff. This means that the only painting left to do in their is wood-work. Door frames, architraves and skirting boards abound in there. The fridge is still not allowed in. Soon, though. Soon.

It was 12.30 when we stopped work and I managed to get the time to get something to eat. Rice pudding, fruit and some of yesterday's birthday cake. Nice cake.

It's a way of leading one's life.


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