Tuesday, November 22, 2016

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Monaka & Laptop
As the end of Daylight Savings Time has just passed, I'm reminded of a post I did in August for Magical Musings.

My husband is in IT, running his own data center. He often brings work home, but he loves his job, and I'm happy he's happy and besides, bringing work home is better than his having to groggily drive out in the middle of the night, which was true of one of his other jobs (I always sent a shotgunner along to keep him awake in the form of myself or one of our kids, and an extra $20 for coffee, lol).

The thing is, for this job, sometimes it's not just clients calling. Sometimes the computers call.

Strictly speaking, the servers on the computers call. But he's got things set up to send an alert to his phone when one of them is in trouble. Whatever time, day or night. The thing wakes us up at least three or four times a week, but with a minor problem my husband knows will clear itself.

Sometimes things get a little crazier.

The second weekend in March is Daylight Savings Time in the Midwest, where we set our clocks forward an hour, and two in the morning becomes three. Now, one of the things the servers check for is power outages, based on--you guessed it--time. If the computer clock is missing so much as five seconds, it sends an alarm.

By the way, the alarm is a quick whallow-whoop, a small sound, but it can herald huge problems, like the data center crashing. Like a baby's whimper, it doesn't take long for that sound to auto-trigger a flood of stomach acid.

So at three-oh-one a.m. that Sunday, hubby's phone, laying on his nightstand, went crazy. Error-error-error-error...every few seconds it would throw another alarm. Whallow-whoop. Whallow-whoop. It was not a restful night, lol.

The time change is a really great example of how computers think differently than humans. We might wake up an hour late and realize we're late for or missed a meeting or church or work. And we say, "Darn, I'm late," and let it go at that. Maybe we grumble a bit and there's fallout and we take care of it.

But computers...they're like dogs, in a way. They'll check the time and cry, "I'm late!" A second later they'll check the time and cry, "I'm still late!" And a second later, "Still late!" ad infinitum, that is FOREVER. Each with equal fervor, as if it's brand new.

Wouldn't that make an awesome story? A human and robot, either partners or in competition, and the human is rubbish at everything compared to the robot until they're in a situation like this?

Seeing the ordinary from a new angle is one place ideas come from.

Where do your ideas come from?

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