Web Dev: A day in the life – Gary Young MySpace Blog

Web Dev: A day in the life
Category: Jobs, Work, Careers

Aaaaaah, it’s over.  The marathon is over.  And the Marathon is over.

In the world of software design and development, client-driven and event-driven software is the most demanding.  That’s what I learned over the past few weeks.

Client-driven meaning you’re interacting directly with clients and you’re trying to meet their needs and keep them happy.  That means last minute changes, responding to off the cuff comments and observations.  It’s tough.  The target is always in motion and essentially there is no end.

Event-driven meaning it’s for an event, an immutable date and time.  Whatever you do or have it’s going to work when it’s supposed to or it’s not going to work.  Either way, the event will come and go (thankfully, this will be the end).

FRIDAY NIGHT
After two months of hardcore Flash development Sunday was race day.  It was a brutal weekend.  I was at work late on Friday night after finishing up the playback controls.  Had a group test and had some things to fix/alter.  Made the changes and got home late.

FRIDAY NIGHT/SATURDAY MORNING
4:30 AM
Friday night my sleep was troubled and I started having dreams about the widget.  You know, those stress dreams.  I woke up at 3:30am and couldn’t get back to sleep so at 4:30 I took Dr. Wayne Dyer’s advice.

“Do NOT go back to sleep.”

He says when you wake up early in the morning or the middle of the night, don’t go back to sleep.  (Once I would wake up at 3:14 every night.  I’d wake up, look at the alarm clock and it would be 3:14.  Every night for about a week.  I’d always go back to sleep.  Then one night I woke up at 4:13 and had no more late night wake-ups.)  That “wee hours of the morning” time is so quiet.  So much creativity flows in the quiet time, sacred time.  Make something of it, y’know.  He says, “You have an eternity to sleep.”

So I got out of bed and decided to get my wireless router up and running again.  The plan being to do all of my race day trouble shooting from home because I had to change a setting at 4pm when the race would end and we’d switch to post-race mode.  I was on the phone with Linksys and Verizon technical support for a long while.

They got me up and running and I connected to the work network.

7:40 AM
Did some tests and got an error trying to connect to the servers.  I did some more testing and sent some emails.  Then I went to sleep.

11:00 AM
Awakened by the phone.  Test data was down in preparation for the race so sales couldn’t demo to clients like they had planned.  Was there anything I could do?  No.  Sorry.

1 PM
I got an email saying that I couldn’t connect to the thing I needed to connect to from home.  Impossible.  Argh!  Hulk no like!  Hulk smash!! That meant I’d have to go into work later in the day to push some changes.

Did some more testing.

4 PM – 10 PM
I headed up to Baltimore to celebrate my mother and stepfather’s birthdays and to pick up Leika.  Came back home.  Then headed into work.

10:30 PM
Parked at Reagan National and took the Metro into DC.  I pushed my changes and did some paranoid testing.  Lot of people in Halloween party costumes walking the streets of Chinatown.  Loud out on the streets.

1 AM
I headed home late but confident everything was in order.

SUNDAY
7 AM
Woke up to the alarm clock as planned.  The race started at 8AM so that gave me a little time.  I figured I’d kick it at home and if there was an issue I’d head into work.

I fired up the laptop and went to the site for another check.  And oh crap!  Why was I seeing playback controls?  They’re not supposed to show up until after the race.  And I couldn’t see the production servers from home.

7:30 AM
The stress kicked in.  I threw some clothes on, packed up the laptop, got Leika into the car and drove into work avoiding the race route area.

7:57 AM
Of course, I got a little turned around despite the Telenav GPS via my phone.  Those stupid tunnels off of 395 are worthless.  GPS drops.  The signs are situated such that you can’t read them (you’re in a tunnel) until you’re practically under them.  If you know the area, you know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, parking wasn’t a problem on a Sunday morning.  Parked across the street from work and Leika and I went in.  I checked my files and settings and everything looked good.  Still getting playback controls, though.  Damn.  (Later, I figured it was probably caching config files, despite my generated request strings.  Or … whatev.)

8:30 AM
Got in touch with the project coordinator/manager.  Runners being tracked but their indicators not moving?  Got in touch with the company providing the data.  They did a tweak and we were off and running.  The fastest runners were already past the first split.  Man, those guys are amazing.

9:30 AM
Names not being updated.  Phone calls ensue.  People are roused from sleep. Conference calls are held.  Tweaks were made, and problems were resolved.

It went on like that for a few hours.  No big trouble but a lot of, “Hey, this thing is doing that.  Those numbers look wrong.  Maybe they changed something.  Yeh, they did.  Can you fix it?”  Stressful.  Leika and I hung out.  I didn’t know what I was going to do until 4pm.  Not really worth it to go home.  Maybe I could nap.

1:30 PM
Made my alterations, tested it, then sat on the changes until the switch.  Things settled down and appeared mostly stable except for an annoying warning that should have been suppressed or designed to not require human intervention. Argh.

I stowed Leika in the car while I walked somewhere (Five Guys) to pick up lunch.  Took her back inside on the way back in.  I almost got take-out from Hooters.  Didn’t, though.

2:15 PM
Played that addictive Desktop Tower Defense game until 3:50pm.  Made the switch to post-race and from there on it was smooth sailing.  Stuck around for another hour or so checking on things.

Got the day off on Monday so I decided to keep Leika for another day.  Had big plans to go mtn biking, work on music, do some writing.

All in all, it was a success.  I’m proud of how the app turned out.  I can send you a link if you’re interested.  It’s nice to be doing work that everyone can see.  Definitely a learning experience.  Next time will be a lot smoother and more stable.

MONDAY
Ate a pineapple.

Currently reading :
Feed
By M.T. Anderson
Release date: By 23 February, 2004

12:31 PM – 2 Comments – 3 Kudos – Add CommentEditRemove

Shell

That all sounds brutal, but a job well done is pretty freakin’ satisfying, isn’t it?

Would love to see your work, so please send the link to me when you get time.

Thanks!
Shell

Posted by Shell on Nov 2, 2007 7:18 AM
[Remove] [Reply to this]

f(bod)

woke up at 3:14 and 4:13 eh? … funny, i was always waking up at 1:62 and 2:16 every morning, curled up in a fetal comma-like position … that is until i shaved my head and performed a trepanning on myself with a cordless power drill … now everything seems just right.

send me the link if it’s still up dude …

Posted by f(bod) on Nov 13, 2007 7:45 PM

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