You have to start somewhere

June 6, 2013

I started fresh in at SEP on Monday and by Tuesday the bananas were fresh out.

Fellow new guy Jackson and I were tasked with our first project on Monday just before quittin’ time: update the internal resume reporting website from ‘ancient’ to ‘tomorrow.’ It currently runs on a mid-2006 vintage copy of Ruby on Rails (version 1.1.6). We’re supposed to be bringing it up to Rails 4 (coming soon, 2013) but some fundamental pieces of its inner-working were axed from Rails by the end of 2006. We’re not supposed to rewrite the project, just bring it up to date, but many important pieces cannot be upgraded.

Full disclosure: I’m fresh in when it comes to Rails (“never touched the stuff”), so by Tuesday afternoon my brains were fresh out. And, as I said before, so were the bananas.

As we passed through The Commons during the first-day tour, Laura from HR said “there shall be fruit” and, unfortunately, there was no fruit. In my hour of need: fresh out. To quote the great Barney Fife, “Well, Andy, a slender high-spirited person needs a sugar pick-me-up late in the day.” I had to settle for a cup of ice. Just then, something happened…

Chapter 2. Just when hope is almost lost, things start to look brighter for our young heroes.

A remarkable thing about SEP: everyone is willing to help. Not to be too self-critical (and Jackson’s effort, to be fair, was nothing short of heroic), but we needed help.

There are many things I don’t know. Rails is not the only thing on that list. Here are a few others to get you started. I don’t know:

  • The name of the git server (easy to guess)
  • The name of the TFS server (impossible to guess, sounds more like a band name)
  • The name of the database server (easy, but after the TFS server I was expecting anything)
  • The name of the project (five-digit number starting with 06)
  • The name of the guy in the next cube (I love the three-monitor setup)

I also don’t know about many company policies. For instance, do lowly developers need an official sanction from IT to brazenly install Ubuntu VMs on our machines (no). And I haven’t even started on all the questions we had about the resume website’s architecture and history.

Chapter 3. Sorry about chapter 2, this is where things actually get better.

Matt Swanson. He has worked on the resume system. We asked him a lot of dumb questions and he gave us a lot of good answers. He helped us a ton and he’s given the project a fresh start.

I would like to give a You Rock™ card to Matt (like they told us about in orientation), but I don’t know where they are.

P.S. For non-SEPeers: if you are given two You Rock™ cards of the same color or one each of both colors, you can turn them in to receive Good Stuff™.