Scheduling changes



  • At the moment I am on site in South Carolina working at a paper mill during their annual shutdown.  I was called in last week to do some work on PLC equipment from Vendor A.  While I am well grounded in the products from Vendor A, I have no idea of the custom programs that were running on the equipment, so the first part of the week has been spent partly in running through the code base trying to make sense of it all and postulate how the changes I was asked to make will affect the overall system.  If done incorrectly these changes would cause major problems when the plant starts up again.  This is scenario not a WTF, just normal operating procedure for the things that I do.   Of course I haven't done any work in a paper mill for almost 20 years, but as soon as I walked into the plant I could've have told by smell alone that I was in a paper mill.

     The WTF's start with the shutdown running 7 days, and that I was initially scheduled to only be here Monday to Wednesday, and to have well and truly departed when the mill was scheduled to start up between 1AM and 5AM next Sunday morning.  And if my code crashed and burned (or changes needed to be made due to oversights), then there would be no one around who truly owned the code.  That WTF was quickly corrected with a change to my hotel booking.

     The next WTF was that I am working on Vendor A's equipment.  During this shutdown part of the functionality of this equipment is being transferred to Vendor B's equipment, and data transferred between the two  products via hard wired I/O (not a WTF in itself).  The team for Vendor B's product arrived Wednesday afternoon.  They were scheduled to be here Thursday to Saturday.  So there was minimal/no overlap between me and Vendor B's team, although we need to ensure that both sets of equipment are communicating, and Vendor B's team was not scheduled to be here for the start up either.  That WTF was also corrected, but in their case they had bought the cheapest plane tickets they could get and it was going to be $$ to change them.

    Then next WTF was due to some electricians.  They had pulled in the signal cables between the two systems, which due to not having much choice in available I/O meant we were using 120VAC signals.  The electricians pulled the multicore cable along next to a low voltage communications cable.  This is a big no no - you always separate low and medium volatge cables to reduce cross talk noise.  Fortunately the haven't terminated the cable on the I/O cards, so they can easily re-route it.

    Finally for a differant WTF, last night I was here when the cleaners came through.  I am working from a desk in a typical office/cube carpetted area.  But what surprised me was that in order to clean the carpet the cleaners *swept* it with a straw broom - the sort of thing you would use for sweeping an outdoor area.  I am sure they spent a good hour sweeping the area when a quick vacuum cleaning would have sufficed.

     

     



  • Change the state to New Jersey, and "Paper Mill" to "Water Treatment Plant" (also identifiable by smell) and I'd swear you were working for my brother.

    Except then you'd also be leaving with heavy metal poisoning.



  • We used to have to sweep rugs/carpets in the Marine Corps.  Maybe it's a southern thing.  A lot of southern culture has made its way into military culture.  Although, it's more likely they were just trying to keep us occupied.



  • @OzPeter said:

    I am working from a desk in a typical office/cube carpetted area.  But what surprised me was that in order to clean the carpet the cleaners swept it with a straw broom - the sort of thing you would use for sweeping an outdoor area.  I am sure they spent a good hour sweeping the area when a quick vacuum cleaning would have sufficed.
     

    Using a vacuum cleaner requires electricity.  Not everybody can be trusted with that kind of awesome power.

    A previous employer had done a rather sloppy job of converting two offices into a server room without fixing up the electrical wiring.  As a result there was an outlet in the hallway outside which was on the same circuit as two tables full of servers, and we all enjoyed the mysterious power failures every time the cleaners wanted to vacuum the carpet in that hall.

    Eventually the problem was solved decicively with some masking tape and a red marker, ensuring that the problem would never return.



  • @DCRoss said:

    Eventually the problem was solved decicively with some masking tape and a red marker, ensuring that the problem would never return.



  • @OzPeter said:

     But what surprised me was that in order to clean the carpet the cleaners swept it with a straw broom - the sort of thing you would use for sweeping an outdoor area.  I am sure they spent a good hour sweeping the area when a quick vacuum cleaning would have sufficed.

     


    It was to prevent a recurrence of the mysterious overnight server crash scandal.

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