Friday, March 23, 2007


The BEST thing about working at home is... you don't have to go into the office to work.

The WORST thing about working at home is... you don't have to go into the office to work.

I've had lots of things to write the last couple days, but I haven't been able to commit it all to the screen, for a coupla reasons.

First, the sinus infection I've been working on the last two weeks, decided a couple days ago to descend into my chest and become bronchitis (sort of... the sinus infection weakens the immune system and drains into the upper respiratory tract which then gets mucused up etc... etc...).

Anyway, it sucks, and it's debilitating and irritating (literally); but due to the joys of working at home, I've had a couple of irritating work days.

Now, working at home definitely has its advantages. I haven't missed a single day of work in the almost year since I started my current gig. I haven't taken a day off either (though a couple half days). We are going to take a couple days this summer to go to the NOR event though.

Of course it also means you end up working when your sick, feel like crap etc... and that you can work when you really should be relaxing.

Part two, is that I've had 27 one hour meetings this week.

Yes, 27.

Thus is the corporate culture I work in.

Of those, 12 were actually useful, important, productive etc... most of the rest have just been crap for project managers to justify their own existence.

Now, with 27 hours of meetings, you can see I don't actually get a lot of time to... oh, I dunno... get any damn thing done?

Which is OK though, because nobody else gets anything done either. In fact, I'm one of the most productive and hard working people I work with; and I'm constantly (as in several times a week) being commended for how much work I get done, how efficient, and fast, and customer focused I am etc...

Everybody is busy, overbooked even (my team lead had 46 meetings this week; he's double and triple booked several times a day... as am I on tuesday, wednesday, and thursday); but because everyone is doing nothing but meetings, nothing actually gets done.

For example, today was our kickoff meeting for the certification process for Redhat Enterprise Linux version 4. The process of certification is expected to take approximately six months.

There's only one problem.

RHEL 4 was released a little over two years ago; and 5 was released two weeks ago.

You would think that we would be starting certification for 5 right? Nope, that won't even START for another ... ohhh 18 months or so. It will go to our "innovation council" for about six months, and then our "Enterprise Architecture Committee" for about six months after that; and then finally through our "technology adoption process", and our "Standard Build Development" etc... etc...

Basically, we tend to adopt software just before the next version comes out; and so we end up spending literally millions of dollars a year in extended support fees.

Hardware isn't much better. We began certification on the SUN T2000 server, a couple months after it was released. We got our hands on one last February, before they made it out to the main distro channel; and we actually started our process right away.

We've finally installed the first production T2000 servers in the datacenter a few weeks ago.

Anyway, I think I've made my point.

So what does that have to do about me not writing new content in the last two days?

Well, that's part three.

Remember this:


Friday, October 27, 2006

So, there I was, minding my own business, when WHAM!!!

Actually what happened was, I closed the lid of my laptop normally. I didnt feel anything wrong, I didnt drop it or hit it; there are no marks on either the outside or the surface of the screen itself, but when I opened it it I had this:


To make it worse, I have a rondelet going in my head of Gilbert O'Sullivans "Alone Again, Naturally", Julie Andrews singing "My Favorite Things", Charlenes "I've never been to me", and "We Don't Have to take our clothes off" by Jermaine Stewart.

Truly, the gods are punishing me today.

Ok, so that was October 27th, 2006.

Unfortunately, the repair was out of warranty; because as with most laptop warranties, physical damage to the LCD isn't covered.

I don't know if you've ever had an out of warranty repair to a laptop, but they are RIDICULOUSLY expensive. A refurbished Thinkpad T-43 is just about $750 (or about $2500 new as built with 2 gigs of ram, depending on who you buy it from). An out of warranty LCD replacement for that same T-43 is... $750.

I could buy a new LCD panel for the thing, for about $180, and fit it myself in about an hour (I've done LCD replacements on a couple dozen thinkpads at this point); but of course that isn't allowed, it has to go through factory service. Of course with items over $500 there has to be a funding approval, which takes a few weeks...


We closed our budget books for the year on November 8th. The repair wasn't approved until November 18th. Of course then, because the budget was closed, we had to get an exception approved, which also takes a couple weeks.


There were so many BIG exceptions that had to be approved, and processed, that this little exception wasn't approved 'til December 22nd.

A approved budget exception must be spent in the month it is approved. If a service request is open without funding for more than 30 days, it is closed. It takes two to seven business days to get a new SR opened, processed, approved again and sent out. During that 7 day period was both Christmas, and New Years.

Yeah, they didn't even bother returning my calls until mid January.

Of course we were now on a new budget year; and I had to get new approvals, and exceptions etc...

Only now, all of the exceptions that have been delayed since November 8th, when we closed the books, are ahead of mine.

In January, I asked that it be put in the queue for the budget for the quarter, and the month. I was put in the quarters budget approvals, and then put in line to get a purchase order. It wasn't processed in January, or February. BY mid-march I had to step it up or I would go into the next quarters budget, which would require a new series of approvals etc...

Monday was March 19th, 2007; and that's when the repair for the laptop screen was finally authorized, processed, and paid for.

I recieved the mailer on Tuesday, sent the machine out Wednesday, and it arrived at the repair depot at 5am this morning. There was no status reported on the repair as of 5pm today, so at the earliest I will receive the repaired laptop tomorrow; but it is more likely that I won't receive it 'til Monday the 26th, or Tuesday the 27th.

5 full months, during which time my laptop, has been a dekstp; tetherd to a dicking station and external display.

At any rate, the machines hard drive ('pon which I have all the files and drafts relating to what I would otherwise be writing about) is sitting on my desk, waiting for the return of the laptop. THe last two days, I've been working on my wifes linux laptop, or on the desktop, neither of which are conducive to me writing at the moment, nor have the files I need for the posts I'm writing.

Normal posting will resume when I get my laptop back; or when something irritates me enough to write something other than this bitch, on the linux box or the desktop; whichever happens first.