austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Age ain't taught him nothing and it's showing

I had to go in to work Friday, which I know elicits no sympathy from people who have real jobs, but I negotiated myself to a four-day week for good reason. But there was always the qualifier that I'd come in five days if the schedule demanded and this week --- which started strong Monday when I finally got the web service this other company provided to actually work like it was supposed to twenty months ago --- demanded when the owner came in Thursday and was most upset that I hadn't completed the project. Note that I'd told him again and again the other company's services weren't working, and I started out by showing him that they were finally working, which seemed only to confuse him because what kind of accomplishment is it to get the services working?

Anyway, Thursday afternoon he sent an e-mail warning that he wanted working --- or at least significant progress made --- by Monday a particular kind of search database using the other company's services, linked to a perfectly awful terminal program the company wrote, based on the interface, around 1982. (Among its other sins it has a church choir's worth of ringing bells for different activities, and there's no guessing what key you press to get back to the previous screen except that it is not whatever key you used last screen.) I had assumed it was supposed to be a wholly web-based forum because the data being sought makes perfect sense on a web page and has no need to be its own awful program. While I felt it likely I could get this task --- which had never been mentioned before, by the way --- done in eight hours' work, I also guessed it's probably better to take an extra day in the office and see that done.

Well, with this specific (not to mention documented, thanks to the e-mail) task in hand, and the training I got from crawling around inside the services for twenty months trying to make them work, and learning enough about geocoding services to set get that up and running, I had the task completed with an hour to spare in the day. (It's not yet a macro in the unspeakably awful terminal program, but the guy who knows how to hook that up is supposed to be in Monday.) So I needed about seven hours. I suppose that it makes for a fine clutch performance and proves my abilities to my employer, but I keep coming back to wondering ...

Trivia: The Wright Brothers' United States patent for their Flyer was number 821,393. Source: First Flight: The Wright Brothers And The Invention Of The Airplane, T A Heppenheimer.

Currently Reading: The Colonel And Little Missy: Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, and the Beginnings of Superstardom in America, Larry McMurtry. It's a wonderfully amiable, slightly chatty book and I really appreciate McMurtry trying to evaluate legends of Buffalo Bill (particularly) based on what's physically or emotionally plausible for people in the actual factual West. And splitting the Buffalo Bill, Real Cowboy parts from Buffalo Bill, Celebrity Cowboy makes good thematic sense; but it leaves the narrative jumping around to the point if I didn't know the order of some of Cody and Oakley's careers from other sources I'd be wholly at sea.

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