General Chaos


Some of the things I've had to do to function in my electronic world as of late remind me of the workaround solutions to problems that made me infamous during my last tour in the Navy.

In 1989, I was the intelligence and photographic officer (among other things) for a river patrol boat squadron. One day, we were preparing a briefing on a particular operation for a particular flag officer, and I was tasked with putting together the slide deck for the unit commanders. And when I mean slides, I mean slides–the presentation was to be done with a Kodak carousel slide projector.

Unfortunately, the images they wanted to use for the presentation were a stack of 8 x 10 prints. And I had two hours to get them turned into slides.

So, lacking a photographer's mate, I used state-of-the-art 1989 technology: I used a video grab software package to digitize the prints (no scanner–we had a standard video camera on a tripod). Then I used a slide printer to transfer the images to Polaroid instant slide film. A quick run through the developing can, and I had my slides, which I then had to cut and mount, and add to the carousel.

Elapsed time: 1 hour, 59 minutes, 30 seconds.

The same is true of some of my experiences as a sysadmin and programmer–there's always that hairy problem that can't be dealt with effectively with current technology, and you end up using the digital equivalent of spit, chewing gum and strands of twisted pair to fix it.

The latest one involves my ISP. Every now and then, they apply some sort of security patch, which (at least temporarily) changes the configuration of my view of my FTP site. So I've been scripting a solution that checks to see if something can successfully be FTP'd on a regular basis, and if not, adjust my FTP settings to an alternative path.

The things we do to blog.


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