Thursday, October 16, 2008

NSN Day at Terrigal

The past week has been pretty stressful. After months of testing, our customer launched this prepaid wireless broadband service. Turns out it's not yet ready for primetime. Once in a while, the servers would give up the ghost, and service go offline. When that happens, we get called up 24x7 to resolve the issue. We'll get it running, then after a while, it'll all go bad again.

Today, the whole company is off to Terrigal for a two-day outing. It's true I'm not on call, but that never stopped the customer (and our boss) from calling us at odd hours and asking us to "help out". Well, if other people can simply drop whatever they're doing and have fun, I should be able to do the same. And it looks like the only way I can stop myself from worrying too much is by having a forced break.

We just got on the freeway when we got a call from the boss. Our software team came up with a new binary, and the customer wants it put into production immediately. As in right now. Thank heavens for mobile computing. I had my mobile dialed into the conference call. Using a special dongle, we connected the mobile's audio out to the car's aux in, so everyone in the car can listen in through the car's speakers. My colleague fired up his laptop, and using a USB HSDPA dongle, we got on to the Internet. From there, we used a VPN to connect to our intranet. For power, we had a device that connects to the cigarette lighter to provide 220V AC. By the time we got to Terrigal, we've copied in the new binary to the servers and coordinated with our colleage in Melbourne to confirm that everything works fine. All this time updating the customer in the conference call. I doubt if they even know we're doing all this from inside a moving car.

That gave us a respite to enjoy the rest of the day. While everyone else went for a game of laser tag, we went down the bay to do some fishing. Joined the group for buffet lunch at Crown Plaza. More fishing after lunch. I went around the area taking pictures. At night, we have our Hawaiian-themed buffet dinner. Most of the guys simply put on a Hawaiian shirt for their costume, just like me. Easy. Didn't stay around for the post-dinner entertainment anymore. We headed down to the beach for more fishing. Way too cold for me. Went back to the hotel around midnight.

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