Archive for the 'Work' Category

Password Recovery

Once again you find yourself in the familiar situation of having to access something but not having the authentication details to do so. In this case it’s the product documentation system. Everything had been going so well with your latest product release. Developers had signed off on it, testers were ok, and the only sticking point was updating the release notes in the documentation.

The guy who normally updates the documentation is no longer working for the company. Your other colleague with his own login is travelling and is in a different timezone. While the person who was responsible for the original install is long gone. IT know nothing about this system and you have to update it today.

What to do. What to do.

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Cisco 700-23918-01

Step 1: Apply Cisco 700-23918-01 REV D0 to an appropriate surface

Step 2: Attach Cisco WS-C2960G-24TC-L to the Cisco 700-23918-01 REV D0 from step one

Congratulations! Your twenty four port switch is now attached to the side of your office cube

How cool is that? Cisco refer to it as a “Magnet Mount”, and ship them with their eight port switches.

I should also mention that labeling things “Santa Clara R&D” does not prevent them from growing legs, running off, taking long wild vacations, and eventually returning home slightly bruised and battered. Only a large metal box, surrounded in concrete, dumped at the bottom of the ocean can help to prevent that.

No Internet means it’s lunch time

When the office Internet goes down because the IT guys are reconfiguring the network. It is always a good idea to take that opportunity to go to lunch.

<cell phone rings>
IT: “hey, I’m at lunch”
<much complaining about not being able to remotely connect to an office server>
IT: “Strange, that server was working fine when we left”
Me: “oh that’s probably because the Internet is down”
IT: “Internet is down?!?”
Me: “Yeah, that’s why we went for lunch early”

Taking those IT guys to lunch with you however, may not be such a good idea…

Well, it’s official…

Kortrijk, Belgium, 17 March 2009 – Barco announces it has acquired the products, intellectual property (IP) rights and know-how of Element Labs, an LED video systems expert based in Santa Clara, California. With a focus on mid-end market requirements in rental, staging and fixed installations, the Element Labs products complement Barco’s existing high-end product range.
Through this transaction, Barco strengthens its position as a leading provider of LED, projection, image processing and lighting products. This comprehensive product portfolio allows Barco to serve customers with different budget levels in the media and entertainment market. Barco will not book any goodwill on this transaction.

Wit Licht in the Netherlands

Just spent the last two weeks in the Netherlands helping with the Marco Borsato Wit Licht concert (If you haven’t heard of him I wouldn’t worry – you’re not Dutch).

Marco Borsato - Wit Licht

Marco Borsato - Wit Licht

All of the concerts (eight in all) are being held in a stadium typically used for soccer matches. It took over a hundred people a weeks worth of rigging to get show ready. Lights, smoke, projectors, large semi-transparent LED screen, lasers, and a stage full of LEDs.

My job was to make that stage go.

Behind the curtain - Inside the stage

Behind the curtain - Inside the stage

Each section of the stage is perforated with a large number of equally spaced holes containing Helix P1 pixels. Each pixel consists of a single tri-colour LED and is individually addressable. This means that half way through the show the stage can come alive with colour and display full motion video.

Helix P1

Helix P1 pixel

I’m thinking Christmas trees with full motion video…

Driving on the wrong side

My first week in California went by quite quickly as I spent a large amount of my time working. Now with the weekend approaching I manage to convince someone to help me get a rental car. While my hosts have been more than generous chauffeuring me about, a car gives you much more freedom. Lots of opportunities to get lost too…

PT Cruiser

Admittedly I was a little concerned as I’ve never driven a left hand drive vehicle, let alone on the right hand side of the road. Being initially forced to pull out of a full parking lot into a four lane street and then follow a local back to the office while confronted with weird signs and traffic lights in the wrong place was about the worst it got. The whole left/right side is completely overstated. There is little danger of relapse with so many reminders driving around. Biggest problem I had was adjusting for the bulk of the car being to the right of me.

Left hand drive

Oh and the give way rules. While at the rental company I asked several basic give way questions which ended up confusing them. This happens a lot to me in America so I gave up and let them explain how you can turn right on a red light. Still being unsure about the give way rules I decide to give way to everything. At least until I can look up the road code or work it out from watching others.

Turns out learning give way rules via osmosis is a bad idea. Just about every give way situation I’ve been involved in has resulted in great confusion. In one instance at a four way intersection; completely stop signed. I’m in the middle with a car on the left, another on my right, and I ended up going as the others appeared to both be giving way to me

FYI: Give way to your right.

Longest monday ever

Forgive the back postings (there will be more) but I recently went on a business trip and I want the post dates to match up with the actual.

Wildpalms hotel in Sunnyvale California

Today was the longest monday ever. Started as per usual by getting up and having breakfast. Filled in the rest of the morning by doing some preparatory work followed by lunch. Worked for a couple more hours then grabbed a shuttle to the airport. Checked in, waited for plane, got on plane, ate, watched movies, slept, ate, landed at San Francisco International, disembarked, and cleared customs. There was a bit of confusion over who was picking up who at the airport; eventually someone turned up to take me down to Sunnyvale where I checked into the hotel. From there I was taken into the US office in Santa Clara and worked the afternoon. Had a quick dinner at El Torito followed by sweet sweet sleep.

All on a monday.

Onwards and upwards

Early last week was my last day at Day One. While it has been fun, it was really time to move on. Now I’m going to cheat and just paste in the email that I sent everyone (in the event that you missed it, and you actually read this site):

As you are probably aware, today (6th March) is my last day as an employee of Day One Digital Media Ltd. This decision did not come easily, but I do feel that it is time for me to move on. Although I won’t be here for the remainder of this week, I most likely will be back next week on a part time contracting basis. My current plan is some local contract programming with the possibility of an O.E. later in the year.

I will miss all the great employees and excellent customers. Each of you have taught me something new and shown me new ways to go about solving old problems. I can only hope that I have given back as much as I have taken. There are very few software programming jobs where you get to climb around cabling large structures in the dark. Although I never did reach my three double panel quota…

Thanks again, you’ve been great

A client of works just got SideSwipe’d

In this mornings New Zealand Herald; the SideSwipe section contained the following paragraph:

Pete from Tauranga, and 25,000 others, trotted along to see Eric Clapton at the Mission concert in Napier on Saturday night. “A great opening act,” he says. “But what a bummer when a computer ‘error message’ popped up on the huge screens designed to give a better view of the stage. Woops!” – New Zealand Herald

This text is acompanied by a photo of the incident. Unfortunately I can’t find the photo online and it scans terribly. Although just looking at the photo I can tell that the screen was definitely made by monstaVision.