As I slowly regained my strength over the Christmas holidays, I made a few vague resolutions for what I hoped would be a fresh start in 2005. I would try to read a bit more from actual books, even if it was at the expense of my online fun. I would try to pay a little more attention to family and friends that I’ve neglected due to my focus on child-rearing and work. Most of all, I would try not to dwell on the stressful elements of my job, and focus instead on the many stimulating and satisfying pieces. I’d try not to let things get to me so much, to allow myself to sieze the day, enjoy the moment…
Alas, 2004 had one more dirty trick up its sleeve to upset my nascent personal equilibrium. Hours before New Year’s Eve the server that houses our weblog project, our wiki project, and our learning object repository responded to a routine reboot by… not rebooting. I haven’t the strength to relive the ordeal, other than to note that service has just now been (mostly) restored, very nearly a week after it first went down. Things must be close to normal, the wiki is already receiving spam attacks.
So much for enjoying the moment. The past week has been sheer hell. If it was just a matter of losing access to my own weblog and wiki pages that would be bad enough, but I have enticed literally hundreds of users to our services. This project was something of a risk when I started it, and in a sense all of the various people who embarked on a weblog or wiki for their own respective projects and units were taking a risk as well. I’ve worked with a lot of good people over the past couple years, helping them to convince their managers and peers that social software tools could deliver the goods. Those people have been on the line this week as well, and I cannot express how agaonizing it has been to put friends, colleagues and collaborators in the firing line because of a technical problem that was apparently beyond my power to resolve.
There are heroes and villains that have emerged over the course of this horrible week. I won’t air my grievances here — in part because ultimate responsibility for the fiasco must lie with me — but do want to point to a few people without whom I literally would not still be standing. D’Arcy provided a great deal of technical, logistical and moral support from a distance from the very beginning of this ordeal. Michelle Chua went way beyond the job description, even venturing down to the server room on New Year’s Eve to check out a lead… (it didn’t pan out, but that makes it no less a valiant act). And one of the Office of Learning Technology’s unsung heroes Novak Rogic was simply great this week, keeping progress moving forward and keeping my moral up. He was especially awesome today. Thanks to the many people in ITServices who did what they could, endured my relentless hounding with patience, and got the problem resolved. I appreciated all the friendly emails and IM messages offering tips and best wishes. I am also grateful to my family and co-workers who dealt with me this week, when I was in a far from pleasant mood.
I hope this isn’t a fleeting reprieve. Hard experience has taught me that triumphalism is never appropriate. Hopefully the good ship will stay afloat long enough for me to carefully consider the lessons learned from this near-death experience, and I will be sure to subject you to my bogus wisdom the moment it occurs to me.