Thursday, 26 July 2012

Saturday 21st July - Reckless Haste - Thurs 26th July

I wonder what this post was going to have been about?

Something, or someone, must have interrupted me as I got started, and what seemed to be so important and worth sharing last Saturday has completely evaporated. All I have to go on is the heading.

I could just delete the post... but this has reminded me...

from wikipedia: An IBM 704 mainframe (1964).
I'm writing about 1987, but mainframes looked much the same as this!
Years, and years ago, in another life, I worked as an Installation Planner in the Computer Department of a large company. It was large enough that we had several engineers and account managers for the big international computer corporation that supplied the mainframes we had permanently on-site to deal with the never-ending stream of enquiries and general maintenance work required to keep three mainframe computers and several scores of terminals afloat.

I remember setting in train an urgent enquiries about availability of some bit of kit. maybe it was a disk drive (they were about the size of laundromat washing machines in those days). Then a few days later, the situation changed and I was now handed the task of stopping the train.

"No worries", said the account manager (or whatever was the current slang of the era). "I hadn't started looking into yet. I've always found it better to wait for a day so make sure that it is worth the effort of researching the query, as past experience shows that you (I hope he meant the company, and not me personally!) so often change your mind."

This response has stayed with me all these years, and prevented me from rushing off to get stuck into things without allowing some time - at least a couple of seconds, sometimes several years - for reflection first. I haven't mentioned the name of the computer company concerned, as I guess this "laissez-faire" attitude on the part of its employees would be severely frowned upon. But it was a valuable lesson, even if the management of the company concerned would have been appalled by this response!


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