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jethro's picture

One of the worst days ever

Yesterday was an incredibly stressful day for me. I am usually pretty unstressed and have great coping mechanisms for dealing with stress. I am able to easily recognise it and usually am able to manage it well. Stress for me is usually around deadline completion for clients. However yesterday I wanted to rip off the heads of _insert large animal here_ and throw things and scream like a 14 year old teenage girl having a tantrum.

IMGP7120-800 Why?

Our internet stopped working early in the morning.

OK – so why is that bad, and why did it stop working? Well when you build a business that is based on having the internet running as much as it is based on the power running, not having either is very stressful. Made more so when you can do nothing about it. Now in the case of the internet, we have a very good relationship with our supplier, the best ISP in Australia Internode. We have a silver level business grade account with a dedicated service line, short phone queues (typically under a minute to be answered) and very good techs who provide great assistance. However yesterday they could tell me nothing about why the internet suddenly stopped connecting! We knew that the router was working – it was brand new and we switched between it and another one just to check, we eliminated potential network issues here by isolating the network and connecting directly, and they had no known reasons from their end for it not to be working, yet while the modem would handshake and attempt to authenticate it could not get authentication to occur.

jethro's picture

Long day

Yesterday was a long day but very rewarding. I left home at 7:30am and drive until 10 AM to get to a client – through two mountain ranges and beautiful forest parks and past several large dams. Once there I sat in a meeting for 2 hours and then spent 4 and half hours preparing for my presentation at their committee meeting that night. The committee meeting kicked off and dealt with a lot of issues before finally getting down to me. As they IMGP7110-800 had been going for 2 hours at that point I suggested a break first which was gladly accepted. I then lead them through some governance and management principles, using various examples from the previous two hours of meeting time to show where they were acting in a way that was not the most efficient use of their time. After looking at how to reduce time spent in the meeting rehashing the managements decisions on operational issues I lead them through an exercise in looking at the financials from a strategic perspective. It was so good receiving constant affirmations and nods from those present, as well as very positive body language. I closed with indicating the things we will be running through next week when we do some more specific training on how to manage their organisation strategically. Next week I will be travelling up there again to spend half a day coaching on on one with the executive director and then a mock committee meeting going through more exercises. The following day will be spent redesigning their executive reports both operational and financial.

I find this sport of work extremely stimulating and very rewarding. In this case the client is a small not for profit organisation providing a vital community service, but they are constantly tied up in dealing with issues and as a result many of their long term plans never see the light of day. I have been helping them streamline their organisational processes in order to be able to put the time required into the strategic and long term growth plans they have.

After the meeting finished at 8:15PM I drove home picking up a snake for Judith on the way. A long 15 hour day but so much fun. I love what I do!

jethro's picture

Code Sprint

I have entered a 2 day intensive of coding. I am effectively off the air. I have turned on my out of office notification on my email, handed my email over to my personal assistant to manage anything urgent, handed her my phones as well, gone offline on messenger and set Skype to do not disturb. Tweetdeck has been shutdown and i have placed a barrier in front of my office so no one can get in. I have got a fridge full of energy drinks, tonic water and bottled water. I will be posting some blog articles that were pre written so it looks like I’m still here if i get around to it in a break.

See you on the other side.

jethro's picture

Tech Woes

I normally don’t suffer from tech woes – but – this week has been hell!

computer-repair-lady The good news is that is hasn’t affected machines I set up for clients. I set up 2 new laptops with no issues at all and delivered one – one to be delivered boxing day. Each of them has LiveMesh running successfully. When I delivered one last night I et up live mesh on their existing XP PC and synchronised their data. I then set up an old laptop of mine and a virtual machine (running in bootcamp on a Mac) and attempted to install live mesh. No joy. Tried reinstalling Vista 3 times each machine even using different SKUs. Each time Live Mesh fails to start. I have the Microsoft Live Mesh Tech Team looking at it now.

Then to top it off this morning I awake to find my backup production machine (from which I still haven’t transferred everything over to the new machine) sitting there with a blue screen of death. After restarting it and troubleshooting discovered that the main system OS which is a striped raid running on 10,000RPM drives wouldn't boot. Reason, the raid had a failed hard drive. Being a stripe there is no recovery from this. By the way – never set up your machine using a RAID Stripe for system OS unless you never store any data on that drive. I don’t. I do this to gain speed from my system. So I took both drives out, talked to the shop about the warranty, discovered that they don’t have these drives any more, they have been replaced by the 2.5” form factor drives. I will need to get it sent away and replaced. Being Christmas, that wont happen until early January now. So I whacked a 160GB drive that was sitting on my desk into the machine, booted from the Windows Home Server restore CD, (after disabling the RAID setup in BIOS), connected to the Windows Home Server and starting restoring my system. It is telling me 1 hour and 15 minutes remaining. What a blessing Windows Home Server is!

And I am trying frantically to get work one for clients before going off for my first holiday since February 2007 when I had 2 days holiday with the family and friends down at Kingscliffe in NSW. Christmas Day I fly to New Zealand to spend 3 days with my parents and siblings for a family reunion. I don’t want to think about what I need to do when I get back!

PS that’s not me in the picture – just some random lady I found when searching for tech problems. She sums up how I feel today!