The Dancer in the Shadows

Friday, November 04, 2005

strange powers...

the company i work for had a power failure starting tuesday night at 23:20 eastern standard time. i was called about it at 04:00 the next morning, and talked someone through setting up a small portable generator and bringing the servers back on line n the correct order.

by 05:00, we had the servers and the network backbone fully online again and had an update as to why power failed in the first place. it seems to have been a safety system kicking in -- one of the distribution transformers had an old ground connection, when the grounding failure was detected, the grid automatically cut us off. with the electric company onsite investigating, it was determined that the single unit that had the grounding fault could be isolated and everything else turned back on. unfortunately for us, the segment that was still off was the segment the server room was on, so it had to remain on the generator.

however, with the servers and backbone running on the generator and most everything else back on the electric company's feed, it was then time to get the rest of the client systems operational again and begin to assess the damages.

try as we might, my phone didn't stop ringing (my deskphone at the office rings on my cell phone) even with a third of the company phones down from electrical damages. due to that, i never did stop working long enough to eat, let alone drive into the office. my normal schedule is 07:00-15:00. this day i worked fairly well non-stop from 04:00 to 15:30, and was still answering sporadic though frequent calls until past 18:00.

... when i manage to get a work from home day, i work 3.5 hours solid *longer* than i am supposed to work at the office? ouch ... maybe working from home isn't such a good idea for me after all ... on the other hand, this was also clearly an unusual circumstance, it isn't every day (thankfully) that we have weird power problems.

in the following two days i have been swamped with chasing down and fixing various small problems cause directly or indirectly by this, the most unpoleasant of which has been rather extensive damage to the phone system. we lost roughly a third of all extensions, the ceo's extension being one of them. due to the nature of the system design and the damage involved, i don't expect to be done with it this week.

as an aside, the ceo vetoed a automatic backup generator that would have prevented all of the damage we sustained from the power failure. i am trying to gather actual numbers to back this up, but i think she has now paid for the automatic backup generator 3 times in lost time and production, etc. since the most recent time it was proposed and shot down as "too expensive and not cost justified" two years ago. hmmm... X money to buy it or 3X money to not buy it in two years... i think we've cost justified it...

--- The Dancer in the Shadows