One Step Forward, 0.9 Steps Back

Well, I made some forward progress today, but at a maddeningly slow pace. I spent most of today dealing with thesis data problems, at my two remote sites.

First problem

Connecting by modem to my Chicago test site has been difficult (as mentioned here)--the telephone line is seriously flaky, and after uploading a new logger program a month ago, my coworkers haven't been able to connect. They connected today, and got back a data file, but, um, without the data.


Turns out that the logger program I sent a month ago was working off a version that had the "write the data to memory" commands commented out.


So that's a month of data lost. But at least a new version is uploaded now. It just pisses me off that since I have to rely on other people to download the data, it is probably not on their priority list (not being their job and all), so it ends up going for a month before I find out that there is a major flaw.


Second problem

Last Friday, we finally got into the test basement in the town south of me--the one that I bike to. I had been asking Chief Grad Student to schedule this trip since May 9, according to my email records--so 4.5 months later, he actually gets around to doing so. As I was analyzing the results and data, I realized that some of the data looks mixed up. I was clever enough to make sure we photodocumented the wiring panels on this trip, so I could go back and see how things were wired up. Not that it was pleasant--moving along, wire by wire, checking "white-blue, blue-white, white-orange, orange white..."

Incidentally, I know the unshielded twisted pair color code order by heart out to 12 pairs. Scary huh? It turns out that there were seven miswired channels, out of 78. Anyway, I identified the switched channels, repaired them in the database, finished analysis, and got this interim report out.

But I can remember while Chief Grad Student was wiring up the panel, he started saying, "Man... I'm really tired... I didn't get much sleep." I thought that was analogous for inspiring confidence to:

"Ah... this is your captain speaking. We've reached our cruising altitude of 30,000 feet; weather ahead looks pretty clear, so I've turned off the seat belt indicator for the time being. Weather in Miami is... aw, fucknuts, I shouldn't have chugged all that NyQuil... hot and humid, with a chance of afternoon thundershowers, with a high of 92. Looks like we'll be getting you to the gate right about on schedule, at 3:20..."

Anyway, writing is not progressing, besides that interim report, which I will incorporate into my thesis. Maybe I'll get a few pages in tonight.



At 1:37 PM, Anonymous aj said...

You have my sympathies in spades.
[long rant about language barrirers,differences in priorities regarding data , etc., omitted to avoid redundancy. Plus I should go back to tooling. I can't wait 'till I grow up and have a regular job that won't kill my weekends and require so much research... hm. What exactly was it that kept me away from Grad School again?


Post a Comment

<< Home