My soon-to-be-former* work laptop is perpetually bogged down each day by the impossible trinity+ of software applications: eTrust anti-virus, Outlook, and Instant Messenger. I knew I had a meeting in 20 minutes, but couldn’t remember
where. Twenty minutes is just long enough to let the machine
get its morning regimen of disk-thrashing, cpu-spinning calisthenics,
after which Outlook will reveal the secret location. I hope.
As near as I can tell, the IT department has configured eTrust to
operate at “extreme dolt” level. It scans constantly.
If I try to be environmentally-responsible and shut the machine off
when I go home, eTrust
me the next day, thrashing twice as hard to make up for the lost time.
The constant rescanning virus paranoia is bogus. I should just need to do a
full scan once a month (or whenever the core program gets patched). Incremental scans would occur on new or changed
files and email attachments. That’s how my personal laptop’s set up, and it
In my computing lifetime, I’ve had two virus infections. One was in
1987 on a shared pool of Macintoshes I was using for classroom
instruction. Someone had installed
had the nvir virus.
The second, in 2003, was the
Welchia worm. I had just installed Windows 2000 fresh on a PC. I needed to download a bunch of service packs. When I connected it to my large corporate network, the Welchia worm found it. The worm exploited a remote procedure call vulnerability. What’s truly cool is Welchia is actually an
anti-virus for the Blaster worm. So technically, I’m back to one virus.
Outlook has its own issues where it behaves like a recalcitrant six year old,
refusing to do anything or be responsive until it feels like it.
Unfortunately, I’m hostage to the corporate standard, until it fesses
up where my meeting is. I’ll go get a soda, read the Wall Street Journal,
even take a walk around the floor to pop my head in to anyone who’s there
at 8 in the morning.
Between the soda and the Journal, Instant Messenger has awoken. I used to think it was pure evil because I had a hard time getting past the
“This application’s purpose is to enable people to interrupt me more efficienly. I want this because why?”
Then I realized it’s because people are still waiting for Outlook to
regain consciousness. I could do without the chirpy notifications of
everyone in my circle of friends logging in. I don’t care for bed checks.
At T-minus 00:30 Outlook awakens to badger me about a meeting in Room 101. I click
the button, ignoring any results because it’ll be another ten minutes before the computer will be responsive again to process it. I went to my meeting.
*… which was an exit interview. I’m giving up the last of my three contracts to take a permanent position with an engineering company. (I’m very excited about this, but I wanted to get all my projects to a quiescent state before leaving.) The exit interview was with an intermediary agency whom I’ve spent fewer than ten minutes interacting with during the past several months. This was no exception, clocking in at 93 seconds. Here’s a synopsis:
Exit Interviewer (EI): Neutral reply
Me: Disclosure of humorous, off-topic factoid learned while reading the Wall Street Journal.
EI: Slight smile followed by polite questioning with undertones expressing concern I’m going to a competitor.
Me: Technically accurate response deflecting immediate concern, but without furnishing specific information.
EI: Good-natured observation.
Me: Demure concurrance. Exchange of compliment.
EI: Observation exit-interview checklist is complete (most items don’t apply). Inquiry whether sufficient information was conveyed.
Me: Agreement. Parting remarks exchanged.
EI: Reminder to turn in card key.
I have had more substantive conversations with the people I work directly for where I explained why this was such an exciting opportunity for me. My primary manager was very supportive — as were my other two contracts.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, is my official last day of my big contract. I have two days budgeted for working around the house (cleaning the carpets, gutters, and maybe the crawlspace) and the McClinchy Mile on Saturday.
Footnote: +The term “unholy trinity” is also used to describe a theorm where, in any country only two of the following three conditions can exist simultaneously: (1) free capital flows; (2) fixed exchange rates, and (3) use of monetary policy for domestic stabilization.