The Journey to ‘Operational’

There is a point at which we all want to ‘do our jobs’.

  • If your job is solely execution, rejoice! Being operational means your prayers are answered. Your goals are clear; you can rock the house, crush your goals and enjoy your Friday nights.
  • For those who fall in the realm of ‘continuous improvement’ .. while noble, it impacts the group above .. but, more so: your life. How much is too much (or too little)? Please think, and plan before you strike. Ask the question: are you operational? Can your team function and succeed?
  • Then, there is those who fall under the definition of ‘visionary’ .. as long as you recognize that you are not trying to manage chaos (in the form of introducing changes for changes’ sake), there may be value. As above: can your team function and succeed?

Note that a visionary without execution is .. well .. not as valuable. Our visionaries need to get their hands dirty now and then; by themselves, or by proxy. Engage a Tiger Team .. a group who can close the loop.

The business goes on, though .. it is critical that we avoid being the bottleneck to others’ success.

Another day in Paradise ..

.. or I guess you could call it that. It was a day in Redmond with the sun shining (after two weeks of fog). Note that  it’s not sunny now, in fact, it’s raining.

Oh: and it’s night.

Two meetings on-campus between which, I prowled the familiar halls of Building 40 .. not that I ever worked in that building .. it’s just they’re all so the same. I drank the coffee (not the Kool-Aid) and caught up with various denizens and nemeses. I showed a lot of slides, bantered, beckoned, baited and bought (time). Then, I had sushi.

All in all, a good day.

Mom

Mom passed this year. Complications of several illnesses that ganged up on her.

She was never a good patient in the best of circumstances, but you can imagine that when she felt as poorly as she did .. well …

We had a number of visits during the illness .. far too few, of course:

  • The first, right after diagnosis: high spirits, but physically miserable.
  • Soon after: death warmed over until a day after I arrived, and then bounced back. What the hell?
  • About a month before: she bounced back so much that she was out and about. This visit (with the children) coincided her best-to-date. She’d felt so good she spent half the day prior at Wal-Mart, panicking Marvin and Gini.

This last trip was .. different. She’d been re-admitted for pneumonia a few days prior to Mother’s day .. as an aside, I called her and joked that she didn’t have to check herself into the hospital to avoid a visit from us. I said “she was so fearful the kids would visit  ..”

Bollocks, of course. A few days later, I called her again. Same joke, but her condition had worsened.

A successful surgery the Saturday prior to remove a chunk of highly-infected tissue .. but she didn’t come out of it by any standard of living. By the time I saw her the following Wednesday, she hadn’t eaten since her surgery. She didn’t recognize Marvin, Gini or me. Her body was still alive, but that which was her, was not.

Marvin and Gini had hung in the hospital for days. Every visit, watching, comforting, coaching. Urging her to go on. That her time had come.

She didn’t know they were there.

I got the call the morning before. First from Marvin, then from Gini. It was time. I drove to Kennewick that afternoon.

It would happen that night or shortly thereafter. Her heart rate was at aerobic levels. Her lungs at only a few percent of capacity, her ‘wakings’ (such as they were): delirious.

On the last night, I arrived with Marvin and Gini still there. Mom would wake up now and again that night, agitated and in unbearable pain. Marvin and I spoke with the doctor one last time, arriving at the last, and best course of action. Marvin and Gini had already made their peace.

When they went home, I stayed a few hours longer to make mine. I stayed until they administered the final drip. I comforted her just one last time.

Just before she fell asleep for the last time that I saw her, she repeated an action she’d done over the past week: she tried to sit up. She held her arms out. She called for her mom ..

.. I knew exactly how she felt.

IE9: “Fast is now Beautiful” .. but what’s up with the Address Bar?

The Windows Blog touted “Fast is now Beautiful – IE9 Released” back in March, and like the good netizen I am, I downloaded IE9 straight away and gave it a test drive.

But: what’s up with the Address Bar .. now known as the “Anything Bar”? By default, you get this, really narrow, almost unusable space in which to type URLs or search strings:

IE9 with default Anything Bar

It seems Microsoft decided to devote more screen real estate to the browser window, achieving this by putting tabs and the bar on the same horizontal plane. However I don’t use a home page, opting instead to type my search terms into the bar. The size of the bar is an issue for me: makes it difficult to enter all my terms, or see fully-rendered URLs .. this is a pain when wanting to select a URL for a blog post or email.

Hint: pressing F6 toggles the cursor between the browser window and the Anything Bar .. a decent workaround.

Fortunately, Microsoft left the full-width functionality in place. Simply right-click in the space to the right of the tabs and select “Show tabs on separate row” and you get this bit of beauty:

IE9 with full-width Anything Bar

Much better!

I’ve had this itch ..

.. and I definitely need it scratched!

You notice a new theme and format, and a bunch of content that no longer exists. You’ll also notice that after nearly six months, I am posting to this blog again (note that I didn’t say ‘writing’ .. I’ve been doing TONS of writing .. just not here).

Let’s catch up:

  • This blog is now hosted with my good friends on WordPress .. while .Text served me for five years, I don’t want to maintain the server any longer .. a hosted solution is the right thing for me to do.
  • Old OpsanBlog content is still available (for now). Note that internal link references may break until I re-address them .. working on that over the coming weekend.
  • I am no longer the “Microsoft Pragmatic Evangelist”. I am simply the “Pragmatic Evangelist”. This lets me comment with or without a Microsoft spin; I’ve had a lot of fun testing new devices and programs.
  • I am no longer the “Microsoft” anything .. we parted ways back in April. I’ve had a nice summer (semi-) off.
  • I do not expect to contain my wicked sense of humor.

I am still tinkering with the WordPress themes .. looking for the right bits to complete the brand. Don’t be surprised if icons, colors or content bounce about.

As always, thanks for reading .. I look forward to reconnecting.

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