Kurt McKee

lessons learned in production

Hey there! This article was written in 2005.

It might not have aged well for any number of reasons, so keep that in mind when reading (or clicking outgoing links!).

This Friday was totally money

Posted 22 January 2005

This post is fairly long, so here's the general idea of what's in it:

  1. I'm About Solutions

  2. Walking To Borders

  3. The Stuck Car

  4. Sooners Out Of Nowhere

I'm about solutions

At work I've been having a good start for my 2005. First, I've been replacing awful Eudora with beautiful Mozilla Thunderbird for the people that get a hundred spam emails a day. Everyone I've done this experiment on has just been amazed at how well it works, so I'm slowly making inroads with Brian, my boss, towards my ultimate goal of replacing Eudora with Mozilla Thunderbird.

Further, Brian was talking about purchasing a license for PC Anywhere, since he wants to be able to access files on his work computer while he's at home. Paying for proprietary, poorly-written software being a thing of the past, I suggested he install SSH for Windows on his work computer, and install WinSCP on his home computer. It's free, secure, and continues to get him used to the idea of using well-written software.

And now we've got an interesting opportunity to utilize Linux in a major way. One of our mission-critical applications requires information that another department at Northwestern can provide. To get the information to us, the other department will be transferring the file using FTP (File Transfer Protocol). Now I'm not going to lie to you -- FTP is an absolutely awful way to transfer files. Regardless, we need this functionality.

I've already got a Linux server that's set up to receive files using FTP, but unfortunately it isn't guarded by a username and password. So Brian says "Kurt, I need an FTP server within the week that connects to our Windows username and password server to make sure it's OK to receive the file." I of course have no intention of wasting our money on another Windows license, and the Linux computer will crawl if I install Windows on it. So I reply that my Linux server is up to the task, just give me that week to set it up to verify usernames and passwords with our Windows server.

My problem is that I don't yet have the knowledge of how to actually do what I want to. Luckily, O'Reilly publishers has exactly the book I need. So I called up Andy Collins and said "Hey, I need to get to Borders and pick up a book." Andy was in, so we met halfway between my dorm and his apartment, and headed to Borders. It was a blast!

Walking to Borders

The snow was falling heavily, and there was absolute silence all around. The streets were nearly as covered as the sidewalks, so very few people were out driving. Andy and I ran along the middle of the street and slid around and kicked snow at each other. We glided through intersection after intersection, past red light and green. It wasn't a snow fight, but we had a great time ignoring well-established conventions like "Use a sidewalk" and "Look both ways before crossing the street."

At Borders I went ahead and, following my apparently sappy streak, I picked up "All About Love" by Steven Curtis Chapman. It's got this fun song called "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)", along with a number of other great songs. OH yeah (say it like the Kool-aide man)!

The stuck car

Just outside of Borders was a car trying to pull out from the curb, but it was terribly stuck, so I offered for Andy and I to push, which they were thankful for. Afterwards Andy announced that I was too nice, and that he would have just walked past and laughed at them. I agreed, but Andy continued "...and then I would have KILLED them, took their car, made you push, driven off, circled around, and come back to run you down!"

Thanks for that, Andy.

Sooners out of nowhere

Just a block away from the stuck car, we passed by Chili's. Oh wow! OU people having a party! One of them saw me through the window, so I pointed at my OU hat, gave a big thumbs up, and screamed "BOOOMMEERR!" From inside Chili's the group gave a muffled "SOOONNEERR!" Andy and I continued walking, but some of the OU group came out and yelled down the street "BOOOMMEERR!" I whirled around and hollered "SOOONNEERR!" right back. It echoed all around. University of Oklahoma fans are awesome!

So that was my Friday night, minus mentioning that when we got back to his apartment at around 12:30a we watched "Hellboy", which is absolutely not worth watching. Seriously.