Friday, February 22, 2008

The power of the flattened world.

I am currently doing a project where one of my tasks happens to be rather complicated and this is my first attempt at it. It falls under ‘rather complicated’ category as no engineer in the company has ever done it before but some IT genius at MIT might think it’s just a piece of a cake.

This task assigned to me involves integration of a few software and hardware component that are so alien to most of you; I might as well not mention their names here. Let’s just say these things are not taught in the technical training classrooms. All of the information are gathered from internet forums, white papers, technical blogs and published step-by-step references from the hardware vendor.
I managed to find a very good technical e-book as my main reference. The book was written by 9 IT experts from the States. So, I started my work following the recommendations from this book.

However, halfway through I was stuck with a configuration problem. The parameters were rejected by the system. I spent more than 2 days to troubleshoot but to no avail. None of my work colleagues could offer a hand because they’ve never done this thing before. So, I had to resort to posting the problem to internet IT forums. I also raised some concerns on whether the examples provided in the book were still valid because in my setup, I was using new software versions.

After 4 hours of posting, I received a response from an Indian IT specialist who didn’t offer any solution but inquired more info regarding the setup. So, I replied and then proceed to finish another task – system documentation, what else.
A few hours later, I received another response; the name was so familiar. I read his suggested solution over and over again because it was so good and it never crossed my mind. When I reached the final paragraph (which was not part of his solution) I realized that he’s one of the co-authors of the technical reference I was using. He turned out to be a really humble person; I’d never realize it was him hadn’t I noticed his last sentence:’ I co-wrote that chapter with Patrick and the example in the book explaining that rule is my daughter's name. ‘

Gosh, that was the coolest thing that ever happened to me in my entire IT career. Getting his response to my question was like getting Pak Samad Said explaining a chapter from one of his novels. Sometimes you thought you understood what you read from those novels, but you will realize how wrong you were after you learned from the idea churner himself.

For those who have read ‘The World Is Flat’, this might not come as a big surprise to you, but my work colleagues were impressed like crazy when I told them about it. Obviously, they haven’t read ‘The World Is Flat’ and they were so excited because they have been using the same technical reference book ever since 2005! I bet they had a zillion things to ask but never did.

Itulah, orang tua-tua kan dah selalu kata: ‘Kalau tak paham, tanya…!’


Da Winged Acrophobic said...

Interesting event. Something you can tell cucu-cicit about.

Jade said...

waaaahhh... syiok nyer!!!

wanshana said...

Wooowww!!! THAT is so cool!

D.N.A.S said...

En. Wingy,
when it's my cucu cicit time, I don't think they'll be impressed at all with this kind of story. It's just like when we had to listen to our grandma's stories about her first car ride back in the 40s.

Saya baru aje nak kutuk apasal semua server hostnames in the examples guna nama pompuan, rupa-rupanya nama anak dia... hahahaha.

Kak Shana,
during my Uni days, my friends and I used to membebel, apa benda lah Mat Salleh ni tulis merapu-rapu dalam buku ni. Too bad, internet usage was limited back then. Otherwise, so many of the electronic/computer book authors dah kena critic online.

john f seademon said...

Isn't the world flat?

hazyr said...

Best kan bila dapat in-touch with THE figure of the industry?

Most of Pharmacy students around the world would know Koda-Kimble since she is the author of the most widely used Pharmacy textbook (one of the most expensive too!)... last year, she came to KL for a Commonwealth Conference and specifically came to my Hospital to give a talk on my line of specialty. I helped to organise the talk so got to spend more time with her...rasa macam mimpi jek! :)

D.N.A.S said...

once upon a time it was flat. Then, a famous sailor told everybody it's a sphere. Recently, Mr. Friedman wrote a book telling us that it has become flat again.

oh, best tu. These days most IT book authors own blogs, so interaction with them has become easier. Most of them are using their real names in the blogs, so finding them is not that difficult.