I came down with a cold on Sunday, as I was getting ready to leave. This set the tone for the week.
The week was basically split in two. The first part was a company-wide meeting at the office in Minneapolis. (Well, Bloomington, but most folks wouldn't know where that is.) We discussed the company's problems and opportunities, and looked at a bunch of stuff. Lots of complaining and finger-pointing, which probably needed to happen, and lots of discussion about how we can improve the situation. Not a complete waste of time (or a $200 hotel bill, which I got to eat), but not something I'm sure was really needed.
The second part was a trip to Briarcliff Manor, NY, to install a proof-of-concept system. This turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. Our system normally installs and starts running in an hour or so. Not this time. I struggled with it for the entire day Thursday (after waiting till 10 AM for UPS Early AM service, which they claimed wasn't available to that address after I complained - even though they happily accepted it when shipped!), and wound up taking it back to the hotel and working on it there. Note for Unix geeks: Deleting the localhost entry in /etc/hosts is a Really Bad Idea. Verified that everythiing I knew they wanted to see worked, and went to bed about 1 AM. By this time, the cold had abated, leaving behind only a really nasty cough; I hadn't slept worth a damn all week, though, and I was not going to get up at 6 to make it to the customer site at 8, no matter what the reseller thought. I got there about 10 AM Friday, and only then discovered that the customer's whole intent for having this demo was to see functionality that we don't normally set up on demo systems. Left about 12:30, tail between my legs (figuratively). In the process, got called names by the reseller who got us in there, and told by the customer that she sympathized with the position my company had put me in.
As it happens, one major reason that the demo failed was that we hadn't spent the money on a digital certificate from Verisign. Imagine my reaction when I got an email suggesting that we ned to buy new Linksys routers to replace the existing set of Smoothwall boxes on Friday night...
One bright spot was that I went to the NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway at Palisades Center. Interesting experience. In three races at their Daytona simulated track, my best lap time was 49.587 seconds, for an average speed of 182.9 MPH. I'm told that's respectable, especially for a car running alone without drafting. After doing that, I've concluded that NASCAR is like sex: a lousy spectator sport that's quite a lot more enjoyable in the first person. I assume this is true for other forms of auto racing as well. I'm truly mystified as to how anyone can watch auto racing on TV, though, as what you see on TV (or even at trackside) isn't what affects the outcome, but rather second- or third-order effects.
The cough is still present, though it's not so bad that my abdominal muscles are sore any more. I get to spend next week in Scranton, Pennsylvania, installing a new system. Wheeeeeee.
The week in review
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