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What if I only had a hour to live?

By John | December 6, 2007

I was flipping channels this evening in my hotel room and heard a very touching story about a man who wrote a short Xen like essay about all the things he would do if he had only one hour to live. By the way, he dies shortly after completing the essay. Then, I started thinking what I would “really” do if I only had one hour to live.

Okay, first I probably would start thinking how cool this would make for a great CMS Drupal-based Amazon EC2 application. I could create a really cool taxonomy for items related to things that have to be done. Then, I would start thinking, “Could this application sell?” I would realize that it absolutely could not and that I had only about 57 minutes left to live.

Oh man, I better get cracking. Let’s skip the Drupal thing for now and just jot a to-do list down on paper. Why paper? I should do this online. This exercise would really make a great mind mapper application, but I don’t have time for that now. During the wasted 30 seconds it takes to open a Word document on my laptop, I would start feeling guilty and decide that I really should be doing this is in Open Office, so I kill the Word document. Oh shoot, only about of a 10th of the people on the planet will be able to read the Open Office doc if I die before I get it done. How about Google Docs? While the Google doc is opening, I check my Gmail since I am already there. Darn, I know the answer to that Tivoli question on the Tivoli mailing list email, and it should take just a minute to answer that question. I quickly type the answer and check to see if the Google docs is open. Then I realize that I didn’t hit enter so the doc wasn’t even trying to open. Okay, do over, let me sneak back to my email while it is really opening this time. Oh, darn that person on the Tivoli mailing list has a follow-up question to my answer. I need to take a quick whack at it again. This time, however, I make sure to add a comment about how I won’t be able to respond to any more questions due to some unforeseen circumstances (so as not to seem rude when I don’t respond lateryou know how touchy people can get on those mailing lists).

Oh man, I have only 48 minutes to live. Ah, that’s plenty of time, back to the Google docs. As I start creating the list of things to do, my mind starts drifting, and I start thinking, “Man, this would make for a great WordPress blog article.” Then, I open another Google doc to jot down some notes. As I start thinking further about the blog article, I realize that the only really important thing to do is talk to my wife and children. So, with 40 minutes left, I start looking for my Verizon cell phone and realize that it doesn’t have enough juice in it to last the 38 minutes that I will need to talk to my wife and kids. I start looking for the juicer cord and, of course, I would waste another 3 minutes looking for it before I realize that I left it at home. Then, I start to worry about how much the stupid hotel is going to charge me for a 35 minute long distance call. I shouldn’t care, but the stupid hotel will probably find a way to bill my wife. I knew that I should have stayed in a Marriott on this trip. I am a Platinum member, and that place treats me like gold (err, platinum). It definitely would not charge my wife in a circumstance like this. Marriott is a class organization. Perhaps the Hampton Inn which is part of the Hilton chain would do the same, but I am not sure because I have no status with them. The Hampton Inn was the customer preferred hotel for this consulting engagement, and the customer is always right.

Wait. I’m wasting a lot of time. I’ll just have my wife call me back at my hotel room number. So, I call her cell phone (she never answers the home number anymore), and I get her annoying song telling me to wait before I get her voice mail. I leave a message: “Honey, it is extremely urgent that you call me back in the next 30 minutes. I can’t explain right now, but please call immediately.” I mean I don’t want to scare her so I don’t tell her that I have only 29 minutes to live. While I am waiting, I realize that I should have a backup plan just in case she doesn’t call back in the next 28 minutes. So, I go back to Google docs to write a good bye letter and email it. Since I am there, I decide to check my email one “last” time. It looks like someone else has answered that stupid Tivoli list question and made my previous answer look wrong. I have to defend myself, so I quickly write a rebuttal post. half way through it, I realize that I will need to use the Eclipse-based Tivoli online documentation. Darn, this is the worse possible situation to be in when you have only 25 minutes to live. All the documentation is scattered between 4 or 5 different documents, and I can’t remember where that stupid verbiage is that proves my answer is correct. Here again, if I just had a Drupal system that allowed me to use all the new Enterprise 2.0 features (Twitter, Facebook, Delicious) for this kind of thing, I would have had that section bookmarked, making it really easy to find. In fact, if there were a Tivoli Twitter feed, I could just micro blog to see if anyone else knows where the the verbiage is for which I am looking. Then, I remember that it’s in a Redbook. I quickly go over to the online IBM Tivoli Redbook and start searching for monitoring. Sorry to say, although I really love the Redbook team, its search engine is even worse than the Tivoli online documentation. I eventually find what I need and post my rebuttal response, defending my technical honor before I die.

By now, I have easily wasted another 10 minutes, and my darn wife has still not called back. I try her cell phone again and leave another message: “Honey please call me back right away.” As soon as I close my cell phone, it starts to ring. Oh, shoot, it’s a customer. He wants to know what the difference is between the DevCampTivoli and the BarCampESM with which I am involved. Normally, I would tell him that I don’t really have time right now and ask if I could call back latter, but this customer has been one of my most loyal customers over the years, the kind of customer that always wants to do business with me no matter where I’m working. I explain the difference and ask how his Tivoli implementation is going. Before I ask if he’s considered open source as an alternative to Tivoli, I realize that I don’t have time for this conversation, but he pipes up with a question about open source and that his company is considering Nagios. Darn. I explain the history of open source monitoring and give a quick run down on Hyperic, Zenoss, and OpenNMS in record time (about 8 minutes). I also throw in a plug for what I call Infrastructure 2.0 and Puppet (Luke rocks), and my customer is happy, and I am off of the phone with only 5 minutes to live. Now, I use my literal last breaths to call my wife again. She answers this time, and I start yelling, “Where have you been and why haven’t you been answering your phone?” She calmly explains that her cell phone was on vibrate and it was upstairs in our bedroom. Then she asks why I didn’t call the home phone number. “Why I Oughta.” Anyway, alls well that ends well. I get to talk to my wife and kids and tell them how much I really love them with just a few seconds to spare. So, with the few seconds that I have left, I hop on to Kaneva, as opposed to Second Life, to spend the the rest of eternity in a virtual world.

Topics: OSS, amazon, barcampesm, blue cloud, cms, delicious, drupal, ec2, eclipse, enterprise, enterprise 2.0, facebook, google, hyperic, ibm, internet, kaneva, marriott, monitoring, nagios, open office, open source, opennms, opensource, redbook, s3, second life, sillystory, tivoli, twitter, utility cloud computing, verizon, wordpress, xen, zenoss | 1 Comment »

One Response to “What if I only had a hour to live?”

  1. My Top 17 Favorite Posts of 2007 at John M Willis Says:
    December 15th, 2007 at 7:35 am

    [...] What if I only had a hour to live? [...]