This morning when my first rider got in the car I told her that she should remain seated when we got to her cousin’s house and that I’d call her on the phone instead. She protested, and perhaps even made up a story – I dunno. “I left my journal in her house! If I don’t bring it to school I’ll get in trouble and miss recess!”

Well… that’s too bad. I’m putting an end to the dawdling. I called just as we were pulling up to her driveway, and she came out within 30 seconds. That’s more like it! Then I dropped them off at school and went to work.

Work was busy. We have this deadline, so I’ve been working furiously trying to meet it, but at the same time, I know it’s more than likely going to be a futile effort. We are going to be late. We have told management that we are going to be late, but they keep hanging on to the “best case” delivery date. This assumes that all the hardware is working perfectly and that it will continue to work over a wide temperature range. The only thing missing are the tests to prove it. Except that it NEVER happens that way.

The tests will fail, and the first thing they will do is blame the test. “Look into that” and “Did you remember to do this?” and “Try this instead.” Eventually, we will turn up incontrovertible evidence that thie hardware is at fault, and they’ll bring in the hardware team. The hardware team will need us to make changes to the test software to help pinpoint the problem. And we’ll do that. Eventually, all the problems will be resolved, but this will take a minimum of two weeks. Longer is more likely. And of course, it’s due tomorrow.

Actually, we’re already well into the process I just described. We were able to pretty conclusively determine that the test I am developing was failing because there’s a real problem. We presented it to the guy in charge of the hardware and he told us “That’s impossible.” He basically refused to listen and insisted that he knew more about it than we did, and that what we were contending was absurd. Only it’s not. We pushed back and he agreed to look into it. So – blame the test! The hardware is just fine! Even though we’ve never tested it!

I find it pretty irritating when someone acts the way he did. When someone comes to me and says “I think I found a problem in your code” I put on my humility hat and say “We’d better take a look at that. It won’t be the first time something I wrote was incorrect.” Then I dig into it with an open mind, and we find the problem. The fault is not always mine, but it has been enough times that I’m not going to make blanket declarations about how my superior engineering abilities immunize me from error. In my 20+ year career, I have known only a few people who refuse to admit the possibility that something they created was less than perfect. “It can’t be in that code. I wrote that myself.” I can’t think of a more annoying characteristic to have in a co-worker. (But I’m not trying very hard.)

Man. This all sounds pretty bitter, but I guess it’s because I’m not looking forward to the coming storm. They will probably ask me to work between Christmas and New Years even though I was planning to take some vacation then. And my guess is that we will still be blaming the tests at the end of January.

I worked today until 5:45pm. We had a church board meeting at 6:00 so I went to that. After the meeting I returned to the office and worked until 10:00pm. We found a way to work around the hardware fault that we have asserted to be there, and I did get the test to run. And pass. A couple of times. The next step will be to put it all in a temperature chamber and run it for 12 hours as it cycles from -40° to +80°C. That’s not an easy test to pass.

On the way home I drove by the Holiday Inn and could not help but notice about 50 utility trucks. I stopped and took a picture:

Dozens of utility trucks at the Holiday Inn

Dozens of utility trucks at the Holiday Inn

What does this mean? Well, it means that the utility companies are still putting in some long hours trying to restore power in the aftermath of last week’s ice storm. I think NH had something like 340,000 customers without power at the peak of the outage. We’re now down to bout 70,000. Some people won’t have their power restored until after Christmas. So I guess I really shouldn’t gripe about unreasonable co-workers. I am a very lucky person!