Sunday, April 12, 2009

No Workee

A few weeks ago faithful S4C reader Simon commented

Give it a chance, on the other hand, and they can say "Well, at least we tried" if it fails, or, you never know, it might surprise everyone and, SHOCK HORROR: actually work!

This in reaction to a linked editorial subtitled "Why Obama’s Stimulus Package Is Doomed to Failure".

Which is a fine sentiment. It is not one I can get behind.

Like this; in the summer of 1993 I was on TAD to the 8th Communications Battalion. We were in the field, living under canvas, building a LAN for a command post exercise.

After we had things working, Gunny Z. led me down to a hard shelter and said there was a PC inside they wanted on the unit LAN and could we use the coax port on the shelter?

I looked at the information plate: 59 Ω.

"Can't do it. The thinnet we're using is 58 Ω."

But why?

I explained. Ohm - impedance - doesn't match.

But I could just try.

It. Won't. Work.

He looked stubborn. I gave up: him Gunnery Sergeant, me Corporal. I left him to it. [1]

He worked at that sum-bitch for three hours. [2] And every time he plugged it into the LAN, it brought the entire segment down. Which annoyed everyone in the battalion on the exercise, which at a command post exercise is every officer and senior NCO. After we said 'your LAN is up, you can go to work now'.

Much egg on the face of the new Data Communications Platoon. Thanks, Gunny.

Some things are like that. It. Won't. Work. Is the Obama stimulus package one of those things? Man, I dunno.

But some smart people seem to think so. [3]

[1] This was an attitude I had to cultivate: I like being helpful. But if you are a subject matter expert and someone senior to you is not and you've explained why X and Y don't equal Z and they look stubborn ... you just gotta let them ram their heads into the wall until they get the point.

[2] Those connectors were not cheap - new 'in the package' ethernet connector kits went for a few bucks a pop.

[3] Others - not so much.

blog comments powered by Disqus