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San Francisco Mission District rent control demonstration.

February 3rd, 2003

Anyone Else
Many things to take care of at work; arrived early, one of the mail servers down, news that a friend who's the company IT manager at a local office had run his bike off the road up near Lake Berryessa on Sunday - a broken arm, cracked ribs, punctured lung - but otherwise, speaking strictly for me, not bad. Clear headed (some of the time), plenty of energy, the day gone like the wind. No complaints.

No complaints? Now I'm worried.

They've all been some flavor of moan and groan these last few months. I should learn from my words and maybe I do, maybe I will, but then again, maybe I don't. Just a somewhat more subtle form of moan and groan, don't you think, moaning and groaning and saying you don't care one way or another? Still, that aside, a good day, the sun shining, Oakland another day closer to Spring. It is five-fifteen and the sun is throwing a low warm light on the building across the street.

I finished an Elmore James book last night. The second or third, actually, but you can't really tell much about an author who's written some thirty-nine books these last fifty years until you've read more than one. I'm in the middle of Rum Punch, which was the basis for Quentin Tarrantino's Jackie Brown. Leonard's books have been the basis for movies such as Hombre, Valdez Is Coming, Get Shorty and a whole lot of others, so it's a little surprising I hadn't read anything by him during my twenties or thirties. They talk about his dialogue, his ear for speech, and I can see that. Very clean, no clunky little adjectives to slow you down. Still, I wonder. I liked the three movies I mentioned, but they were not movies that demanded I go back and read the source. So I didn't. I'll think about what I've read so far, maybe pick up one or two more. In paperback. At the used book store.

I ran into a fellow worker coming down the elevator who'd been laid off this morning. Some email going back and forth wondering what was going on out in the field. They seem to be outsourcing everything that's not nailed down, to the point fewer and fewer of us have direct knowledge of our own systems.

You need people who know how you do business and what's under the hood. This takes time. You can't really bring someone in, no matter how bright, perceptive, experienced, and have them understand how all the code fits together, how all the databases fit together, in a day or a week or, with some of this stuff, a number of years. If it breaks, the outsource programmers have to fix it. If it breaks and they can't fix it in a period measured in days and sometimes hours, the company flounders. I have no idea how much thought has been put into any of this or what longer term experience others have in moving their core systems off shore. Nor, I suspect, does anyone else.

The photograph was taken at a rent control demonstration in the San Francisco Mission District.