Perils of being a tech worker

Tucson got pounded with what was arguably the best storm of the entire summer last night. We’re talking horizontal rain, winds that almost knocked my bike over, and flooding all over the place. Oh, and power outages. Lots and lots of power outages.

Power was out at my apartment last night from about 8:00 p.m. until sometime in the middle of the night. I stood on my balcony, which looks out southbound over the city, and literally watched rows of lights go out until all of Tucson was black. The only lights I could see were air traffic control towers and beacons at Davis-Monthan and the Tucson “International” Airport.

So, I woke up this morning, and the power was back on at my apartment. Cool. Fire up the UPSes, reboot the router, reboot the servers, reboot the Vonage adapter, and we’re back in business. I get in my car and start driving to work, only to get about one mile before hitting a wall of cars. We’re bumper-to-bumper and barely moving down a road that you can normally go 50-55 mph on.

Since we’re mostly stopped, I start posting tweets in an attempt to warn others who might be thinking about heading down the same road. I speculated about what the problem might be, and as it turns out, the traffic signals at River/Swan were completely. Only, instead of a cop directing traffic, the county had put up four stop signs around the intersection. Fantastic.

After watching several near-collisions, I came to the conclusion that people don’t know how to react to a 4-way stop at a major intersection. When I got past the blockage and a little closer to work, I realized traffic lights were out everywhere. “Hmm… I wonder if power is out at the office.” Sure enough, power was out at the office.

A few people had gotten to work ahead of me, and they were waiting around to see what would happen with the power situation. As you can imagine, it’s difficult for programmers to get work done when all the desktops, servers, and network connections are completely wiped out. So we did what any good employees would do given the circumstances: we played foosball for an hour.

That brings me to the present. I’m currently sitting in a Starbucks that happens to have power, recounting my morning in blog form for you, my loyal readers. It’s been about two hours since I left the office, though I’m supposed to get a call when we’re back online. I’m not particularly looking forward to that call, as it means a lot of babysitting servers and fscking* work for me.

* Just in case you were wondering, that’s not actually vulgar, though it might appear that way on the surface. Follow the link to find out what the fsck I’m talking about.

  1. I’m still at work: what with Phoenix’s superior power grid and all. I did get to watch the impressive fireworks in my rearview mirror as I was driving out of Tucson last night though. I hope Aaron got some shots of the lightning.

  2. Hey Matt,

    I have this little habit of scanning emails sent to me that don’t use the BCC for people’s personal URLs. Obviously, I found yours. We’re both planning on going to build houses, so must go to the same church. I can tell from reading that we have a lot in common, but I don’t know who you are. As a matter fact, you are the only other person I know who even bothered to mention Chrome and how amazing it really is. Why didn’t someone else think about sandboxing apps appropriately so they didn’t use a disproportionate amount fo system resources w/o ever returning them.

    Hit me back and lets talk sometime. Henry =)

  3. Well, ‘fsck’ is a Linux command that checks a file system for errors (it’s short for “file system check”), but it looks a lot like an actual English word that’s not very nice.