Tuesday, January 26, 2016

And Here We Are

     I let my bosses talk me off the ledge last week.  I was feeling really burned-out but one does have to go on.  At least we're a little more on the same page with some of the deadlines.

     One of the most deadline-driven projects keeps growing on me, not all for the worse.  It started out as an improvised answer to a government mandate and as they have added requirements, I've added layer after layer of gadgetry.  The latest addition was the last straw and not jut for me; there are times of day when the thing can be bypassed and we're going to do so.  This is all well outside the function of our core devices, so I have had to put the thing together from various functional blocks.  With a bypass added, I will be able to check and adjust them offline.

     Project number two is a "Robinson Crusoe" project.  The goal is, say, "build a canoe."  But you can't build a canoe without a tree.  You find a tree, but you haven't got an axe.  So you find flint, knap a hand-axe and chop off a suitable branch for a handle, but now you need some way to fasten the axe head to the handle.  So you find fibrous plants, bind the head to the handle, and cut down the tree.  You can rough shape it with the axe but you need an adze to scoop out the inside, so you go back to the flint and make one, and so on and so on.  This project, I need to make some changes to a device, but to do so, I must update the firmware.  But I can't update the firmware without the interface program, and that must be downloaded from the manufacturer.  They sent me e-mail with a "download now" button, but my employer's security software suppresses the link....  And this is all before I load it onto an available Engineering laptop (IS has most of our desktops screwed down tight: users can't add or remove software, period) and try to get it work.  I got as far as getting the interface software from their ftp site, after a little "what do you mean, the button doesn't work?" with the support guys.  Any day now, I'll have that canoe finished!

19 comments:

rickn8or said...

"Robinson Caruso project."

Most excellent analogy.

Raz Raxxaffian said...

Rather than Caruso, singing out in protest, how about Crusoe, master of creativity and one-person warrior is the battle if Sisyphusian tasks...

Raz

Roberta X, remotely said...

Okay, Raz, okay. Will fix ASAP.

rickn8or said...

Well, I got it wrong too...

D.W. Drang said...

Wouldn't it be a Robinson Crusoe on Mars project, this being the Hidden Frontier and all?

Anonymous said...

Glad I'm not alone... IT downloaded application but not the templates and stencils... asked for the templates and stencils but they can't provide because it wasn't included in the initial cost of the software when they purchased and they don't want to go back and buy it... So let's buy a hammer and forget to include the head in the purchase... smaller scale version of your issue but sheesh, I wish the IT departments would stop trying to help us

Ken said...

Frothup will come to fear Miz Ecks' engineering powers.

Roberta X said...

One would think. At present, it is more the other way around. I can only hope to be building momentum.

My actual list is *considerably* longer.

D.W. Drang said...

Is that the list of tasks to complete, or the list of... Um, never mind.

CGHill said...

If this were really a Robinson Crusoe project, all the heavy lifting would be done by Friday.

Don't look at me like that. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you are still employed more or less happily. Usually less stressful.

Antibubba

Anonymous said...

"At least we're a little more on the same page with some of the deadlines."

Had something similar once. Had the sit-down, got the air cleared.

Or so I thought.

The problem was, they were just in appeasement mode, just trying to defuse the triggering episode. All the right things said, ect, ect, ect.

Count on their memory being conveniently short.

You might want to consider documenting your job, starting with the fresh memory of your meeting. A daily log. All the aggravations.

When it will likely degenerate back into what it was prior, you'll have a record of how you got there in the first place.

Document, document, document... :)

Roberta X said...

Document in one hand, price of a cup of coffee in the other, which one is of more use to me?

My department head is a corporate VP. There is no one above him who truly understands what he does. (We're fortunate to have a corporation president who is deeply clueful, but he's very aware that a lot must get done and would cheerfully throw any of us into the gears if that's what it took.)

Either I am willing to put up with the pressure or I'm not. My bosses can make it a little more or less irritating but that's all.

Roberta X said...

...Speaking of coffee, I do wish they'd do something about the coffee situation. The break area at work has a machine that makes lousy coffee, for 79 cents a cup. There are a couple of smaller machines similar to Keurigs that make adequate coffee at 75 cents, and the economics work just like you'd think. It's a pity the majority of my peers can't be trusted with a communal machine, but many of them won't even wipe down the microwave ovens after use.

Raz Raxxaffian said...

Bobbi, not trying to be a literature boffin, just exercising my ill-advised (non)sense of humor. No harm intended.

Mea Culpa!

Going back in the thread, when situations such as yours become routine, they are, like some diseases, incurable. Only the symptoms get addressed. The underlying core of issues remain untouched.

One then had the choice of tilting at the windmill or moving on, your choice. Sadly, economics make it a non-choice for most of us.

Raz

Jennifer said...

I'm glad things are looking up. I'm right there with you on the over-whelmed front. And I'm so stealing the "Robinson Crusoe project" line.
Best of luck.

naleta said...

Re: Coffee at work.

Have you ever tried a Melitta cone to make your coffee? Once you figure out how much fine ground coffee you need for your favorite mug, you can boil a mugs worth of water in the microwave and pour it through the grounds into your mug. Then you have your mug of fresh coffee, and the slobs just have to suffer through the wonderful aroma and no coffee to be found. :evil:

Ritchie said...

At the place of work, we use 386 and 486 computers for $calibrating $product. The IT department has (1) each chief and (1) each indian. The indian freely admits he knows nothing about DOS. During the last round of overdue just-get-it-working, the hard drive we got back was not the one we sent in, but looked sort of like it. As far as contents. Fortunately, I have this archive of 3 1/2" "diskettes".

Roberta X said...

Naleta: I have a Melitta and a Japanese version that uses a glass cone and slightly different filters. They work well but require a larger investment of time.