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Under Construction
Oakland Chinese community street festival

November 11th, 2006

Of Excitement
Thursday. The week has gone quickly, work hours deflating to the forties, the project I'm working on coming into focus. I figure by the time it's finished I'll know how it really should have been done when I started. No complaints. The way of the world.

The data center move is coming the weekend before Thanksgiving. Think of a room the size of a football field filled with computers, the contents of which, not necessarily the computers themselves, needs to be moved from one city to another in the space of twelve hours. Understand that these computers comprise mainframes, Unix boxes in various flavors of AIX, Sun and Solaris, all of which have evolved over a period of many years, all of which were shaped and maintained by people who have long since left our company, all of which are currently maintained by people (who are quite experienced and skilled, but understaffed and stressed) who didn't originally write and therefor don't really understand the complicated code that's running, let alone how these machines were originally configured; think of a hundred Windows servers with a similarly twisted history; think of figuring out what's important about them, how to recognize what data is crucial, what data is not and you begin to get a feel for the current situation. This is not to mention the fact the test sessions for the move, advertised to senior management as successes, have all been failures.

I have no idea what's going to happen, I don't believe those intimately involved know what's going to happen, but the general mood over the last few months has been grim. Will it go well? Will we have a week in hell trying to patch it all together after the transfer is made? If it's made? Will it cost the company millions? Hundreds of millions? Will it go without a hitch? Will we be knocked off the companies with great computer organizations list? Anybody out there know how these lists are compiled by the way? How we've been so consistently ranked amongst the best during a decade of failures? Is it all hype and how much vendor money you've spent in the last number of months? Whom you've taken to lunch?

Saturday. Five hours at the office, the head a block of cement. The head less a block of cement as I write this in the late afternoon wondering what I'm going to do this evening and how long is this aching head thing going to persist. It doesn't have the feeling of something that's going to kill me, but how many times have I been killed? I suspect the bullet can come in any guise from any direction. Still, in the interim, until this thing sorts itself out, one must contemplate a Saturday evening. Soaps? Sake? Cheddar and crackers? Feet up watching television?

I'm afraid I've been going off my Saturday night Asian soaps these last many weeks. I suspect there's only so much you can do without speaking the language. That and the realization most of them were written as morality plays for children. I have three Netflix DVD's sitting on the player and they've been sitting there now for at least two weeks. A sign? Probably. Three bad choices on my part and I'm too lazy to put them in their sleeves and return them? Maybe. The result, perhaps, of a terminal summer long funk? Wouldn't surprise me. At least there's a data center move and a mass IT layoff coming to maintain an element of excitement. Here in Oakland.

The photograph was taken at an Oakland Chinese street festival with a Nikon D2X mounted with a 70-200mm f 2.8 VR Nikkor lens at 1/250th, f 2.8, ISO 100.