Wednesday, May 26, 2010

EMERGENCY! STRESS! URGENT! And then detailed, novel creative work

Even on a good day, I have a hard time getting into tasks that require a lot of focus and concentration. Software development, drafting, reverse-engineering (such as doing a network analysis) all require a lot of effort to get started on.

But when I have a customer with an emergency type of problem, I've noticed it's extraordinarily difficult to get anything else done later in the day.

The most extreme case is a telephone company with an outage. All the real telcos I know of have a Network Operations Center, but the NOC is rarely the true center of activity. The conference call that includes the system engineers, operations technicians and outside vendors is really the center. When something breaks, I'll get on this conference call, login to the system to figure out what's going on, and we get things going again.

What happens next? I've learned that the rest of the day is shot. I just can't get anything done. A lot of my work involves tedious, meticulous, and sometimes creative work. After a big outage, I've never successfully gotten back on task until the following day.

But sometimes there are smaller problems; i.e., they affect just a few people, or the problem is intermittent. Maybe there's no grand conference call with the CTO or VP of Engineering. I'm discovering that this kind of stress can have a similar effect on the rest of my workday.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Live TV Streams for iPhone/iPod/iPad


Watch shuttle launches, EVAs, and endless press conferences live here: NASA TV