feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
Today was the funeral service for Claret, the colleague on my team who passed away on Monday night after a long and difficult battle with cancer.

Aside from myself and [personal profile] lady_curmudgeon, I saw that many people who knew him from our time working together had elected to attend the service. I counted six others in attendance, and there may have been more. Beyond those who had the privilege and pleasure of working with Claret, though, were many, many more friends and family. I met Claret's widow, who was very courageous in the face of such a terrible loss. I met Claret's brother, who looks so much like him I was momentarily taken aback. I also met Claret's father, who looked very sorrowful to have outlived one of his sons... but I can see exactly where Claret and his brother got their features from!

The service was at a Catholic church, one that was simply appointed but very lovely because of that modesty. I can see why it appealed to Claret, as he was always soft spoken and was the type of person who focused on substance instead of on style. I liked the priest's style, and overall it seemed like exactly the sort of memorial that Claret would have preferred. I imagine in the closing weeks of his life, as news from his oncologist went from bad to worse, planning the memorial was one of the burdens that he shared with his wife and extended family.

After service, Claret's cremains were taken for inurnment at the cemetery. I spent some time in the church parking lot, to let the family and close friends do what they must to say good bye (I later learned that one of those things was to release a number of white balloons, so that his eldest son might watch them ascend towards Heaven to be with his daddy). It was a short drive from the church to Claret's home, where Curmudgeon and I waited only a while longer for everyone to return from the cemetery. To pass time we chatted with the folks who were watching the house... family friends, the woman who is a summer school teacher for Claret's eldest son, and a few others.

It wasn't long before everyone arrived. Food was served to everyone who gathered at the house; a very nice buffet-style of delicious Indian fare including naan, chicken marsala, saffron rice, curry, spring rolls and more. Everyone ate their fill and there was still plenty left over, which I think may be good as so many members of both sides of Claret's family had come to see him and care for the kids and his widow after his passing.

All of my time was spent on the porch overlooking the back yard. Despite the higher temperatures and increased humidity, the shade from the many trees and the tents that were put up made it a very pleasant place to be. The landscaping was lovely, the breeze refreshing and as people arrived the conversation was good. I heard many different stories about Claret, from when he decided to go skydiving to how he ran a marathon (I'd never known about either) and much more. To my ongoing surprise, I received thanks from many friends and family members for my support while he fought for his health and life. Several times I was told he spoke often and highly of me, something that also caught me by surprise. No, I didn't believe he thought poorly of me, I just ... never thought of how much work might mean to him while he was at home, lost in a seemingly never-ending sea of treatments. His widow believes, as do others, that by enabling him to work remotely and keeping him involved with the daily activities of the team I helped give him purpose and direction, staving off depression that so often accompanies this sort of thing. I also learned that the day I announced his promotion is the day that he received news his remission had halted and that the cancer had returned with an entirely new vigor.

At one point in the afternoon, a relative of Claret's asked to take a photo of me seated beside Claret's father. I obliged, even if it was something that completely took me by surprise.

In the end, after almost 3 hours of conversation and delicious food, it was time for us to go. Most of the other guests had paid their respects and left, and it was clear that the family was looking for some time to themselves. I thanked everyone again, and then spent a few minutes talking to Claret's wife. While I had given a donation to the family in the card I provided, the one that I'd carried from the office had no such cash within it. None of us could think of a good way to help ease a financial or logical burden the family was faced with. Groceries? Landscaping? Something else? What would make their lives easier and help them face the new challenges ahead? Claret's wife didn't know at that particular moment, and I didn't wish to put her any further on the spot... so in lieu of that I gave her assurance that, once all of the extended family currently supporting her had left, she could always reach me and the office would gather a collection in memorial and provide it to her however she might need it.

The drive home felt a magnitude longer than the drive up had been. When I got home I helped with a few chores, then fell into bed and took a nap for almost an hour. After the nap was over I got up and went to the animal shelter building to finish some tasks left over from last night's transfer of Odessa, but that is an entry for a different time.

Tonight I'm going to think about Claret, his family and all the lives he touched both within the office and outside of the confines of a building's walls. I'm going to think fondly of a man who was soft spoken, confident, knowledgeable and loving. For a while I will reflect on the respect I have for a man who had faith, creativity and a streak of daring within his heart that would occasionally surprise even those who had raised him... and how I perhaps helped make life better for him and his family in some of the darkest hours they had known.
feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
Today was a first of its kind for me, and it is a first that I really could have done without experiencing this early in my career. Today I had the sad duty to clear the desk of one of my team members, going through it and emptying it of any personal effects. The desk belonged to somebody who passed away this Monday night, succumbing after a long and courageous battle against cancer.

I've had to empty out desks for a number of employees who left my team for bigger and better things; those were simply disheartening. This was far beyond disheartening, this was heart-breaking.

I've seen cancer take too many people in my time at $EMPLOYER. Bogie, Tina, Rick... and now another.

This has been a very trying, tiring week.
feren: Feren is silly (Zhivagod_Feren-Silly)
I don't know if this is because sleep and my overly vivid dreams are what I feel comfortable writing about when compared to other things, or what. I guess it doesn't matter, because at least I'm writing here again.

Last night was a ripe example of "Generic Armchair Dream Interpretation 101." First I dreamt about work, which was mostly my subconscious trying to process through some of yesterday's events and the anxiety and uncertainty I felt around it. After processing through it by dreaming about the office, my subconscious decided to show it off in full Technicolor glory by changing to a different dream entirely.

In the second dream I was back at high school. Before you ask, yes, I was wearing pants. I'm not sure if I was appropriately aged, or if I was my current age. All I recall is wandering through my old high school in a sort of aimless manner. I knew that I needed to be in a class, but I wasn't sure which one. I also couldn't remember the last time I'd attended the class, so maybe I was already really far behind! I started worrying about where I needed to be, what class I was late for, where my locker was... so I booked it to the office and stood in line. When finally it was my turn to be helped I ended up quoting a current-day internet meme to the office administrator as some sort of lame response to her greeting, then asked for a copy of my transcript... and my current course enrollment and schedule.

As I said, it doesn't take a highly-trained professional to see that the high school dream was all about uncertainty and looking for my "place" in my current environment. You wouldn't even need any real context of the dream before, you could just ask one or two basic questions about my day/week/month at work or at home and figure out that I'm struggling to figure out where I fit in... and feeling more than a little bit that I don't have a good grasp of everything that's going on, that I don't have control of my situation.

In completely not-dream-related and uninteresting news, it snowed, then it melted. This is the second winter where there's been negligible accumulation by mid-February. I fear we are in for another long, dry and hot summer. What happened to the snow days and blizzards of my youth in Minnesota? Was it just Minnesota? I find it difficult to believe that Illinois in the 80s didn't get blizzards and regularly have snow days.

As the winter winds litter London with lonely hearts
feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
Friday night I had a dream where I was back at the office building $EMPLOYER used to occupy. It was an odd dream where I and some other folks had been invited back to the annex building to review some of the enhancements the new tenant had put in. I remember walking into the part of the building that had been our data center and talking extensively about the number of rows of racks we had when we were there as well as the challenges around some of the design.

I woke up feeling rather melancholy after that. I dream frequently about the old office location, it seems. I am not having them as frequently as I had the dreams about dying in a freak elevator accident at that building, but I can tell there's part of me that wants to go back to that time. Was it a better time back then? I am pretty sure we didn't play mouse-ball soccer and smash hard drives with antenna masts because we were happy. So I'm not sure why itOr just rose-colored glasses on the past?

I can feel my soul, it's bleeding
feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
Courtesy of Jazzy: Feren's Law states: "If a project or change is slated to take 3 hours and affect no-one, budget 24, bring an EMT, and expect torches and pitchforks"."
feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)
Below is an open letter about IPv6 and the Pandora radio service. I have posted this to my personal blogs and also mailed it directly to Pandora’s support services.

Read more below )
feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)

Dear Feren:

Congratulations! This letter is confirming our offer of employment as Senior Manager, Network Systems, reporting to [Feren-Boss] effective immediately.

Yes, I just put my signature on an offer letter of promotion. This is my second promotion in seven months.
feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
Huh, so after almost two years they've finally managed to convict Terry Childs of felony computer tampering for his role in "locking out" staff and other IT workers from the San Francisco FiberWAN.

While Terry's contribution to the incident was certainly ill-advised, I'm not sure a 5 year prison term and felony rap is really in proportion to what happened.

Interesting mixed messages to us IT folks both in and out of the private sector, something that has already been picked up on by some press outlets.
feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
Got into the office around 7:45pm last night (Friday). Got home at 7:30am this morning (Saturday). This is a sign that things did not go as well as I might have hoped.

To begin the night, I did the second Opt-E-MAN circuit cut. This one went much more smoothly than the one on Thursday night. Was done in under an hour (less than half of the total time window I had set aside for the event). This was good.

Then it became not so good. )
feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
I have had some major, incredibly important deadline pushed up by 5 days. We were supposed to disconnect the old datacenter on 2/20, and yesterday I found out we're turning the power off to the old facility on 2/15. Joy.

I was at the office from 1930 last night until 0400 this morning doing the first phase of a circuit migration (using AT&T's "Opt-E-MAN" WAN/Ethernet service). What should have been simple went really sideways and we encountered some significant problems. The irony of it all is that it turns out I had completely overthought the situation and made a simple, elegant solution vastly more complex than it needed to be. When I returned to the simple solution everything started working. Thankfully I realized this at around 0240 and reeled everything back in, successfully completing that stage of the trasition. Hooray for smoke breaks and my coworker NF who let me bounce thoughts off of him (and watched me draw with a whiteboard marker on a non-whiteboard surface. I'll be staring at that for the next 15 years).

Right after I fixed things up on the Opt-E-MAN I got some news from the good folks over at Hurricane Electric's IPv6 tunneling service that made me happy: the tunnel I had requested to $EMPLOYER's router should be fixed (it hadn't been working before). When I tested things out, it was! Not only did I have IPv6 connectivity on the most rudimentary level, my BGP session for IPv6 was also working! After I got home at around 0400, I couldn't sleep (surprise surprise, given the events of the evening) so I settled into the office and did some tinkering to see if I couldn't get $EMPLOYER's IPv6 allocation to be announced out to the global Internet (what little of it that speaks IPv6, anyway) via the Hurricane Electric tunnel. It took a bit of fiddling but eventually I was able to successfully announce 2620:0:1400::/42 out of my Juniper M10i router into the IPv6 Internet (all hail the MultiServices PIC).

So, over a year after I got $EMPLOYER a provider-independent IPv6 allocation, it is finally being announced into the Internet (from ASN 22734). The next step? I probably need to get the traffic through the firewall....
feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)
I opened the floodgates to UAT and the Internet at 2209, with just 8 hours left on the clock.

Thank the big router gods in the sky....!


Nov. 29th, 2009 04:02 pm
feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
I have 13 hours to make the $EMPLOYER student management system go -- something we haven't been able to accomplish in the last 96 hours.
feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
It's O-dark-thirty. Hi ho hi ho, its off to migrate a datacenter I go. Or at least four of the most important subnets. On 3 hours sleep!
feren: Feren in profile (sakuranym_profile)
Here's the schedule for my Thanksgiving, as sent out today:

Schedule begins Wednesday at noon. Whomever is the “Point” contact is expected to be awake, available, connected to the VPN during the time specified. It may be necessary to come in to the office during these times to do a “war room” type scenario.

Wed 11/25
* noon-8PM: NF w/RQ as backup
* 8PM Wed - 4AM Thurs: RQ w/ Feren as backup

Thurs 11/26
* 4AM-noon: Feren w/ NF as backup
* Noon-8PM: NF w/ RQ as backup
* 8PM Thurs - 4AM Friday: RQ w/ Feren as backup

Friday 11/27
* 4AM-1PM: Feren w/ NF as backup
* 1PM-10PM: NF w/ Feren as backup
* 10PM Friday - 7AM Saturday: Feren w/ RQ as backup

Saturday 11/28
* 7AM-1PM: RQ w/ NF as backup
* 1PM - 7PM: NF w/ Feren as backup
* 7PM Saturday - 2AM Sunday: Feren w/ RQ as backup

Sunday 11/29
* 2AM-8AM RQ w/ NF as backup
* 8AM-3PM: NF w/ Feren as backup
* 3PM Sunday - midnight Monday: Feren w/ RQ as backup

Monday 11/30

* Midnight - 7AM: RQ w/ NF as backup
* 7AM - 1PM: NF w/ Feren as backup
* 1PM-8PM: Feren w/ RQ as backup
* 8PM Monday-3AM Tuesday: RQ w/ Feren as backup

Tuesday 12/1

* 3am - 8am: Feren w/ NF as backup
* 8am - 3pm: NF w/ RQ as backup
* 3pm - 9pm: RQ w/ Feren as backup
* 9pm Tuesday - 3am Wednesday: Feren w/ NF as backup

Wednesday 12/2
* We don't talk about Wednesday
feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)
I've been working. Ten, twelve, fifteen hour days I've been dealing with work. Last weekend [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon went in for surgery and my parents visited. We transplanted some trees, worked on my fence line and put up a flag pole. Pictures may come at some later point.

I missed [livejournal.com profile] captain18 being in the state.

And before that? I was working.

That is all.
feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)
Ending 12th consecutive day at work and going home. Generally exhausted. Paperwork and helpdesk tickets await me for the weekend workload.

Day 8

Sep. 14th, 2009 09:56 pm
feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)
Ok, put in a 13.5 hour day for my 8th straight day of work. Not all bad. I go home now.
feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)
At least the faces of some drivers will.

The last two Juniper M10i routers were delivered to the new datacenter today. Sadly, only one of them is usable. The other had damage to the box that made me curious, and the two shock sensors had both been tripped. Opening the box revealed that the handles on the two included power supplies had been smashed and bent inward, and the filler plates had been popped out of the front. Which implies to me a back-to-front shock. But man, what the hell did they do to this thing, play forklift soccer with it?

Tripped shock sensor
Tripped shock sensor
This is not what you want to see on the outside of the box carrying your $20k chassis.

Bent power supply handles
Bent power supply handles
Bent handles on the two power supplies.

Popped faceplates
Popped faceplates
Four or five of the front filler plates on the M10i were popped out from the shock.

So it should go without saying that UPS Ground (the carrier that has their label on the box) is going to be taking a big ol' healthy bite of a $20k shit sandwich and reimbursing Juniper for the damaged unit they now have to replace. Meanwhile I will have to wait for another M10i to be shipped to me as an RMA... argh.
feren: Feren smoking (atomicfiction_ferensmoking)
Dear Lazyweb,

It is under great duress that I am editing my profile in the "$EMPLOYER Commons," which is essentially an internal Facebook site full of rah-rah-rah propaganda. One of the things I'm being told I need to do is supply a "tagline" that suits me.

I need something that will pass the HR/Corporate/Management "sniff test" but still convey a level of snarkiness to those who know me. I'm sure [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus would have a good suggestion, but I want all of you to feel free to chip in too.
feren: Feren is silly (Zhivagod_Feren-Silly)
I love the emails that I get at work, sometimes. I love the opportunity to be a smartass in response even more. For example, I just received this...

From: [DBA]
Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 3:23 PM
To: [Project Manager 1]; Feren; [Feren's Boss]
Subject: Pipe sizing for transfers to new delta production

We were under the impression that the pipe going to production will be getting larger soon.

The last time we needed to transfer a large file to production from delta or delta2 we got kicked out repeatedly.

After a very productive day we are on track to start out database builds tonight and tomorrow.

For one of these databases this will require a 50gb file transfer. With the problems occurring last time we want to confirm when the pipe gets bigger so that we can reduce the chances of restart.

So when will the pipe get bigger??


I carefully considered this for a minute, then sent a response:

From: Feren
Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 3:23 PM
To: [DBA]; [Project Manager 1]; Feren; [Feren's Boss]; [Project Manager 2]
Subject: Re: Pipe sizing for transfers to new delta production

When it works out more regularly and drinks protein shakes.


feren: I AM THE MAN (Default)

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