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Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Week Of Late Evenings

The new year's thrill is slowly seeping out of my job, as I expected! I still had a few good hours with the formulation of my model to keep me busy and entertained, but by the end of the week, it was mostly all done. I had fun of a different sort trying to use the equation editor in Word intelligently to put my formulation into a technical document, but that is a type of fun I would rather not have!

For some reason, various meetings kept popping up on my calendar late in the day, forcing me to stay late at work practically every day this week. I would breathe a sigh of relief at another day survived and get ready to leave my desk when something or somebody would come along and drag me off to another interminable meeting. I hope it was a fluke and is not going to continue this way every week. I have had just about enough of these late days after 3 or 4 already!

My project continues to make halting progress, but new problems keep coming up all the time. The latest set of problems has to do with data that is being obsoleted out of the systems they currently reside in. We have not yet fully uncovered the extent of the problem, but some pieces of data that we have identified as needed for our project are actually planned to be obsoleted in their current systems and replaced with something else somewhere else. Some other pieces of data are being moved inside some vendor systems that we bought recently and once they go in there, no other system can get at them because it becomes part of the vendor's data model that is protected by intellectual property issues. Have I told you how much I hate these proprietary vendor systems?

The worse problem is that there is no central repository of knowledge about what is planned on being obsoleted and what the plan for their replacement is. We get to know about various pieces of information on a piece-meal basis from various people we meet about various things. Our IT infrastructure is changing faster than people can keep track of it, and I am sure the end result will not only be unrecognizable, but also completely unusable! There is no evidence of a long-term strategic plan of any sort, which is not surprising to me given the way our IT department works. It is just one more reason why I am sure my project will either get stymied, crippled, delayed or completely shelved.

And all this is happening even as our IT leaders tout the multi-year reorganization underway in the IT department. This plan is supposed to replace the siloed structure of the IT department these leaders inherited with a centralized, planned IT structure in which resources are cross-utilized, and everybody gets visibility into everybody else's projects. The only result so far seems to be that data that was being looked after by at least one silo is now falling into the cracks, and is being looked after by nobody. By the way, the new IT leader is fond of referring to silos as stove-pipes. I remember thinking it was quite appropriate, in the sense that I get the feeling stove-pipes are just silos, but they produce a lot more hot air!

Needless to say, this IT leader did not rise up the ranks of the IT department within my company. He is one of those professional CIO's who goes from company to company, ripping out "old and inefficient" IT infrastructures and organizations, and replacing them with new, unworkable infrastructures and organizations. Everything that was done before was "bad" and everything he is doing now is "good". Obviously until the next professional CIO comes along to declare everything done by his predecessor to be "bad" and what he is planning to be "good". By the time the company realizes they have been hoodwinked, the CIO has already bailed out with his golden parachute and is already on the lookout for the next gullible company to prey upon! And for this he is paid many millions of dollars over and over again!! And, of course, the company itself never learns, hiring one rapacious rat after another, blithely ignoring the cries for help and the sensible ideas emanating from the worker bees in the IT department itself until these worker bees see the writing on the wall and leave!!!

Moving on to happier subjects, my blog saw decent growth this last week also. I published a post on Access about calculating cumulative distributions (CDF's) on Monday. I followed that up with a post posing the riddle of the sudden death and rebirth of my electric shaver. Unfortunately, nobody has volunteered an explanation so far. Wednesday saw another post on Vedic Mathematics. On Thursday, I posted something gadget and tech-related (an old article from PC World) to continue the trend established by the GPS reviews that had occupied the Thursday slot in the past few weeks. On Friday, I published a few more pictures from my humorous street sign collection.

My flag counter widget showed a little more growth this week over last. It is now at 95 flags. I am still surprised that it continues to grow, and even more surprised that the latest flag is from Mongolia of all places! It is a beautiful flag, and I am sure it is a beautiful country, but what interest anyone in that country would have in my blog is beyond me to speculate on!

My kids are now done with the mathematics tests they were preparing for. They claim that they have done well on these tests. We will get to know the results in a month or so. In any case, they deserve a break, and are scheduled to have a few sleepovers in their friends' houses over the next few weeks. Hopefully a few weeks of less-intense schoolwork will reinvigorate them for the next challenge, that I am sure will be right around the corner!

I have had two karate classes in the new year. Two new people showed up in the first class and struggled through the warm-up exercises and basic karate instruction that followed. Neither of them returned for the second class! I continue practicing my Seyunchin kata and my tsai kata for my black belt test. All indications are that the test will take place in the first half of this year, so hopefully at some point in the next few months, my sensei will feel that I am ready to do it. In the meantime, I am also teaching some of the junior students and getting some of them ready for a green belt test.

I haven't been doing my interval training too regularly after the holiday season started last month. I have been putting it off with some excuse or the other, but plan to get it going again before the end of the month. I have never liked exercise for the sake of exercise, so it is always hard for me to start exercising, and much easier for me to rationalize stopping it for a few days and procrastinate restarting it.

The kids have Monday off because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, but I don't. So, it is time for me to get back into the routine, and get ready for another week of work. I have done two loads of laundry already, and have a couple more to go! Oh well, the weekends are never long enough, ever!!

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