May 30, 2006: The Early Shifts Begin

Today is the first day of my super early shifts. My alarm went off at 2:45 and I left from bed and jumped into the shower. I felt like crap but that’s what you get for getting up that early when you are not used to it. Sleeping covered in sweat because the house in eighty degrees doesn’t help much either. I am very sensitive to sleeping in the heat. I can handle it fine when I am awake but when I am sleeping I need to be cool.

I was out the door at 3:30. There were no cars on the roads. It took only three minutes to get to Route 18. Three minutes! I was at my desk at 4:04 am. Now comes the rough part. The office air conditioning was turned off over the weekend and the office was dramatically hotter than the apartment. It might have been ninty degrees. Probably not quite that much but it had to be close. It was unbelievable. I was very fortunate to have purchased a small desk fan last week at Walmart and all ready had that on my desk. It had only been a convenience last week but now it was an absolute necessity. I kept in aimed at my head and kept a wet paper towel and just wiped my head continuously. This is not what I need on a morning after having worked all weekend in a steamy apartment and got practically no sleep and now sit dying in the office at my desk at four in the morning heading into a thirteen hour shift.

I am scheduled to be here all day today. I am covering the “desk” early in the morning before anyone else arrives and then I am going to the first day of my “VMWare ESX” class which will go until 5:00. I don’t think anyone thought about the fact that I had class this week when I got scheduled to come in so early. I didn’t or I might have said something. I didn’t realize that I had class this week either until Friday evening.

I listened to Garrison Keelor’s “The Book of Guys” while I sat in my burning cubicle all alone. It is far from his best work but it helps me get through the morning.

At 6:30 I walked past a guy in the office who was standing with the refridgerator door trying to keep himself cool. He said that at 6:00 it was eighty nine degrees in the office and it was at that point that I was happy with how cool it had gotten. If that was eighty nine then I would guess that the office was well over a hundred when I first got in. I have no idea how they could let the office get that hot. That can’t be practical – to make the entire office building unusable for the entire weekend and into the regular work week.

I finished the first book and decided to get started on Roberts’ Updated “History of the World” which is a gigantic work attempting to cover the entirety of human history. I listened to that book until the battery gave out on me.

At 8:00 I went down to the cafeteria and got myself some breakfast. I was glad to get the break and it was nice to think that I was all ready four hours into my day. My class starts at 11:30 so I have just three more hours to go at the time that I am writing this. Originally this was going to be my super easy week. Nothing but class but it turned into a really crazy week with long days and class just being added on top of my regular work.

I read an issue of “Invention & Technology” that dad had sent down in a bundle of mail a week or two ago. There was an article in there about radio communications with the early US satelillites. I thought that it was interesting that in 1962 the Mariner 2 (which did the first successful fly-by of another planet – Venus) transmitted back just eleven million bit (or eleven megabits) which is equal to the one second raw capacity of modern 802.11b WiFi. One second! That isn’t very much data to collect from such a huge mission. Funny to think of those missions as being hugely successful sending back one second’s worth a data. And 802.11b is not considered fast at all these days.

At 9:30 it is still eighty degrees in the office and everyone is talking about the heat but I know better. This is nothing. They are all just wusses. Wusses! (Is that how you spell that?)

I wrapped up the Linux Systems Administration 301 class from HP that I have been taking. It was a six lesson class spread out over three weeks. I got that completed just in time to not have it overlap with my VMWare class.

Just to show that absolutely anyone can get published by the “government IT trades” here is an article on the US Marshall Service switching to Red Hat Linux. I was so pissed about the blatant lies that it told that I wrote to the author and then, when his email responded as out of office (hopefully out of a job) I wrote to his editor with this:

To the Editor:

I read with interest the article by Michael Arnone which spoke about the US Marshal Service’s move to Red Hat Linux. However, I have to question the reliability of this article. In the tag line it is started that the agency is moving to Linux but when you read the article it states that Linux was the previous operating system and that only the vendor is being changed.

This would be a minor point but the article states, in several spots, that the previous operating system was SUN SCO Linux. There are several issues with this. The first is that SUN and SCO are not affiliated but are, in fact, competitors. SUN is the maker of the Solaris operating system and makes no Linux product of their own. SCO is the new name of the company formally known as Caldera who, once upon a time, made a product known as OpenLinux. SCO, several years ago, ceased all Linux activity and decided to sue Linux vendors and users claiming that Linux was an illegal product containing code stolen from them. This is the highest profile legal battle in the IT world and inconceivable that your publication is not aware of this. SCO has never made a Linux product under its own name and certainly not in association with SUN.

Also the article states that the agency is switching to Red Hat Linux in order to allow them to migrate away from proprietary platforms that they have used in the past BUT you then state that their choice of their previous operating system was based on its ability to run on the standard Intel Pentium architecture. SCO’s product line is indeed aimed at the x86 architecture.

It is also stated that SCO’s Linux was one of the first operating systems to run on the x86 platform but, of all commercial server OSs, it is one of the later being a latecomer to the Linux game being far behind Windows, OS/2, Netware, UnixWare, Xenix, etc. Is this only in comparison to hobby and research operating systems?

It is stated that Red Hat’s Linux product is less expensive than the SUN alternative (I will use it as there is no SCO alternative to consider.) But SUN’s Solaris product is free while Red Hat’s product requires an expensive support license. Red Hat is more expensive that Novell’s SUSE Linux, what once was Caldera’s OpenLinx and, in fact, any other Linux competitor that I am aware of today or ever.

Unlike many other Linux variants it is not easy to download an evaluation copy of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. You can easily obtain a copy of Fedora Linux for free but this is a separate product that would be the equivalent of using a copy of Windows XP to evaluate Windows Server 2003.

It is blatantly obvious that this article is a complete fabrication by a person who is not even familiar with the cursorily of the IT field.

… and then for good measure I included it here. Just for the record. But come on people, just because you write for poorly educated goverment vendors should not give you license to just make up the entire article. I doubt that they even spoke with the US Marshal service. Not one verifiable portion of this article was not fabricated so it is extremely unlikely that the unverifiable portions are true. Why research the parts that people can’t check on when you have all ready blown all of your integrity on the stuff that the average person knows the first day on the job? I also posted the letter into the comments on LinuxToday who had linked to the article. This type of yellow journalism will not be tolerated. I can only imagine that they were paid to write the article but a concerned party and they thought that they could just make up all of the details that they needed.

Here is a point of interest: In is common for those seeking to become lawyers to obtain a JD degree. A JD is a Juris Doctor but is only a first level professional degree. So the personal obtaining the degree is a doctor BUT the degree is below the LL.M. degree – Master of Laws. So the legal profession’s typical degree ascention is doctor – master and then doctor again. Weird. Once again showing how bizarre and non-obvious academia can be.

At 11:15 I and two of the guys that work near me went over to the other building to go to the VMWare ESX class. I was in class until 5:00. The first day was pretty good. I learned some about VMWare and virtualization. It is hard to tell at this point but I think that the class will probably be valuable.

The classroom had the same problem this afternoon that my office had this morning. They had left the air conditioning off all night and they weren’t able to cool down the classroom. The hallways where the cooling was working much better and had thermometers on all of the walls were in the mid eighties. The classroom itself was in the nineties. It was awful. It was all that anyone could talk about all day was how hot it was everywhere.

After work I decided to go over to the Omega Diner and get some dinner even though I am all alone. I got the stuffed salmon dinner that is so good. Then it was back to the apartment. I called about getting the air conditioning fixed in the apartment but they can’t do it until tomorrow because I “overlocked” the door today.

I spent the evening relaxing. Mostly I watched Magnum P.I.. I am quickly wrapping up the first season. I need to get the second season to fill in the gaps now.

My schedule was changed for the week. I am no longer working the super early shift. I am only going to class the rest of the week. That is from 9:30 to 5:00 each day. That will make for a much more relaxing week. I am looking forward to that.

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