Tuesday, March 02, 2010

It’s an awesome kind of awful

Tonight we’re doing a Very Large Data Migration Thingee. It’s a gazillion-step process, much of it manual, with long periods of computers managing things very nicely all on their own interspersed with frantic activity on the part of humans to make sure those things were, in fact, handled correctly.

Several team members will literally be up all night, checking the progress on things, sending emails to people, occasionally perhaps calling someone at Wicked O’Clock to say, “Hate to say this, dude, BUT…your house is on fire. Just kidding. But your database is totally hosed. Just thought you’d like to know…”

It’s exciting stuff. And nerve-wracking stuff, too. Basically, tonight is The Night…when my team finds out whether everything they’ve been diligently working on for the last two years works…or doesn’t.

It’s a one, or a zero. Work, or fail.

Do…or do not…there is no ‘try’…

Coming so late to the party, I don’t have nearly the level of nerves the rest of my team is experiencing tonight. (Being a contractor helps, too – my career isn’t exactly on the line, here…nor is my bonus check, or my annual raise, or whether or not I end up on BBC 2 doing the news in Welsh for the rest of my life…) (which would be some trick, seeing as how my command of the Welsh language is what might be considered extremely limited...where ‘extremely’ means ‘completely’ and ‘limited’ means ‘as in none at all’)

I also don’t have the duty of actually sitting up all night staring at the screen hitting “refresh” every so often to see where the process is now…how about now…aaaaand now?…I see, I see…OK…um…NOW?

Mine are more along the lines of “go to bed for a few hours until things are finished and someone calls to say, ‘Hey, Tama, check this, will ya?’ – and then spend an hour or so frantically running tests to see if New(x) = Old(x), how many counts are in what buckets and fire off a whack of emails.

The fun and excitement, it never ends!

The last time I had to do something like this, though, I had to do it in the office. I was literally in the office all night long – arrived at 5:30 on a Wednesday morning, stayed clear through until 4:00 Thursday afternoon.

And then had to drive my sleep-deprived, grouchy backside (and the rest of me, too) up to Walnut Creek to take a final exam because oh yeah, I was still finishing my stupid bachelor’s program.

This time, I can do my geek-thing right here from the comfort of my Den. I can jump into bed when I’ve got those long blocks of ‘do nothing.’ Take a shower, or watch TV for a while. Read, knit, blog…all things that weren’t possible in Migration Thingee times of yore.

The pups in the office are whining and yelping about having to stay up late or getting up early tomorrow; me, I’m just grateful that when I have to get up at Even Wickeder Than Usual O’Clock tomorrow morning, it isn’t two hours earlier than that because I have to drive into the office before I can get my job done.

I just have to waddle to my Command Center, four feet from my bed.

My gawd, but do we ever have it good in these modern times of ours.

Because yessir, back in the day? We had to do these migrations by hand. Barefoot. In the snow. Uphill both ways, to boot.

Heh.

Makes me wonder, though: What will the pups of today be grateful for when they’re my age – which isn’t that old in human terms, mind you, but in Computer Years I’m, like, a dinosaur?

Will the old timers (you know, the thirty-somethings) of tomorrow be all, We only had DSL, too, none of this insta-optics stuff you kids have now…?

And will the pups of Then will look at them, maybe roll their eyes and say, What’s DSL? and then the oldster will have to try to explain the concept of a wired system of communications…?

I can’t even imagine what the Pups of Then will be telling their tailgating generation, when whatever irritation has developed in the computing world by then comes up.

…but I have to imagine it will be something mind-numbingly awesome…why, sonny, when I was your age, we didn’t HAVE site-to-site teleportation, nossir! We had to DRIVE to get places…

1 comment:

Michael said...

You're not even as old as me and yet you notice and appreciate The Difference. Broadband to the house, little tiny computers you can carry over to the big easy chair. With wireless of course.

What will it be like 50 years from now? 20?

Why do I have to take vacation time just to go to Yosemite? They actually want something from me sorta urgently, I think I see a negotiating point here.

Best. Blog. Ever.