October 08, 2004

Night Work

First of all, anyone who asserts that the darkest hour is just before dawn never stayed up all night. Even it were true, the aphorism is probably counterproductive when used for cheering or reassuring people. Just as it slowly gets lighter after the middle of the night, so too things may get better slowly after the awful times.

I enjoy night work. I could definitely take a permanent third shift position, especially given that the wee wifey already has one. Working nights occasionally as part of a day job is another story entirely. It will mean greatly decreased productivity this weekend.

What I did Friday morning between 2:15 and 6:30 was especially frustrating. Not because anything went wrong, as had happened last week, just because it was simply impossible to be efficient. Our operations manager, sitting in the office, could not understand why it would take any longer to test 10 rural cell sites than 10 in the city. The distances between sites are obviously greater, and the distance one must travel to test all three sectors (a standard cellular tower has antennas pointed at 0, 120 and 240 degrees) are much greater. Driving unlit country roads in the rain when one notices that the sheriff's police are patrolling, one is inclined to stay near the speed limit even when that limit is 25 miles per hour.

One of the things I was testing was the GPRS cellular internet service. The most convenient way to test this using a laptop with an aircard is to load a web page and then refresh it once in every sector. Because I was either on the expressway or on country 2 lanes with minimal shoulders, I chose to listen to streaming audio from my favorite online radio station. Unfortunately our rural coverage is sufficiently poor that I could not carry a constant data stream as I have done in the city, and the only way to tell if the player is buffering or timed out is to find a spot where I can pull over. To add insult to injury, Windows decided to download an update and restart the computer, which meant spending several minutes on the side of an entrance ramp restarting the aircard, reloading the software, and muttering under my breath. Monday morning we will be re-parenting the last batch of the sites going onto the newest BSC, and they will be even farther apart. Light blogging first part of next week.

Posted by triticale at October 8, 2004 09:30 PM
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