06 January 2010

January Challenge #6:
New Job Day 2

Reposted on new blog at http://dynamitochondria.blogspot.com/2010/01/january-challenge-6-new-job-day-2.html.

Microsoft is a big believer in crucible-style OJT. Either you spin-up fast or you flounder and flail a while. This new contract is thus far no exception, but after 3 months at home studying and job hunting, it's a welcome challenge.

Going shopping with the boss was an interesting digression from the normal routine at a big company like Microsoft. We went shopping Man-Style: tools, hardware, cabling. Oh yeah, cabling. Three different employees at Frye's grappled desperately with our cabling requirements. Damn funny. And the pushy sales floor guy who did nothing helpful but poked through our basket so he could write up a sales slip to try and claim a commission? It was very satisfying to toss his little piece of fiction in the trash before checking out.

You know those super-heavy servers of yesteryear, the ones that are seriously obsolete but every company has at least one grinding away in the NOC? Got to play with one of those today, and by "play with" I mean lug it from the 4th floor of one building to the 4th floor of the next building over, yank out one just like it that's not working, install it in place, run some tests, make a config change that I bet would have fixed the other one, lug said other one back to the 3rd floor of the building where I started, and try explaining to the admin assistant that the disintegrating packaging it's in was like that when we got it. Not what I thought I'd be doing today.

But I think the topper of the day was my first time taking apart an Xbox devkit. Before I go any further, read this comic. "Alternative means of entry" is right. These things are seriously not intended to come apart once assembled. Don't be fooled by the Youtube videos of retail Xbox disassembly. Devkits are another beast. There's one step that requires seven tabs to be simultaneously depressed and another step where you have to depress a tab obscured behind two layers of solid plastic, all the while with an extra module dangling by a relatively fragile do-not-break-this-or-you're-screwed-I-fricking-mean-it connector (that doesn't disconnect btw). I've invented a new term for this sort of hardware design: One-Way Engineering.

I got it back together and working. I'm pretty happy about that. Later this week I have forty more coming. Guess what. Rinse & repeat. w00t

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