Another intractable challenge was divided and conquered

Last week a client suffered a major hardware failure on a storage and lost several virtual machines, including one which hosted an application to compute salaries. The failure came exactly a week before pay day. With over 600 sales executives, supervisors and managers expecting their salaries, losing the application on that very moment can’t be taken for less than another proof that Murphy’s Law continues to rule our world.

The software company which built the app didn’t have the resources or knowledge to restore it. So even though I quit working as the salary app architect more than 4 years ago and hadn’t seen them since, they called me desperately asking for help. They wanted me to recover the system on a new server so they could compute the salaries ASAP.

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Novela, episodio 3: El umbral de la puerta

(Importante: estás leyendo el tercer capítulo del cuento. Puedes ir al capítulo anterior o al principio)

Cruzo el portón entre puros cabros chicos que corren y se empujan. Refraseo: soy el único cabro chico que no corre. Un poco más allá va Sebastián, pero lo pierdo de vista cuando pasa por el umbral que separa el patio delantero del interior. Apuro el tranco mecánicamente y observo todo lo que me rodea mientras voy andando hacia la puerta principal. Veo los antiguos bancos de concreto donde uno se sienta a esperar a los papás a la hora de salida. La enorme pared del gimnasio hacia mi izquierda parece más alta que nunca. Reconozco los aromos torcidos por el sol y el clima, con sus hojas duras y color verde oscuro, y percibo su olor junto al de las plantitas escuálidas que adornan los jardines. Los jardines son minúsculos porque tener uno en Antofa es como tratar de hacer crecer un árbol en Marte. El olor de las pocas plantas que decoran este patio es uno que no sentía hace mucho… olor a entrada de colegio. Comprendo por qué se me aprieta la guata cada vez que paso cerca de un aromo.

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Am I happy because I’m ignorant?

I’ve been remembering the conversation I had yesterday at the golf club after lunch. It started as a regular business meeting but somehow lead into the subjects I am passionate about. These are the same subjects that distress me at night and stalk me while I walk. They seize my thoughts while I leaf through an uninteresting book or while working on a chore that doesn’t demand my full attention.

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Posh lunch at the Golf Club

A little after noon today we came out of a business meeting at downtown Santiago. One of us proposed to drive us to the Club de Golf Los Leones to have lunch. He warned us this place was somewhat expensive, but that it was comfortable enough to resume the conversation after lunch. He told us the menu was about CLP 12,000. That is indeed a very expensive menu, around 3 times what you would normally spend at an average restaurant downtown. What the hell, I thought, I don’t know the place and this is a good opportunity: you are only allowed to enter with a club member. And there were a couple of business opportunities to discuss, so this agreeable place sounded OK.

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The omniscient restaurant feasibility test

How hard is it to deliver the food to the customer in time? My business partner and I were pondering on this idea last week. As a customer who orders food, it would be great if the restaurant you are calling knew who you are, what you want and where you reside. It would be even better if the restaurant went one step ahead and, heeding your behavior as one of their regulars, somehow knew you were going to order food. So we let our minds roam free around this ideas for a while and tried to evaluate the feasibility of this… insightful restaurant.

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