Sunday, January 3, 2016

Bugs Bunny and Raytheon

When we were well along in our project for the Defense Nuclear Agency, a couple of developers from our team were chosen to go to Albuquerque, New Mexico to field test the system.  Part of the system was designed to help provide security by means of motion detection in the desert.

To make this happen we needed to build a custom computer that ran OS/2..  This PC included hardware which could interface with motion detection cameras in order to log motion detection events which included video frames showing what the motion was.  So we were all excited to know that our system was going to take pictures of tumbleweeds and Bugs Bunny in the desert wasteland.  ;-)

Most of the assembly of this custom hardware was done at the Wyman Street, Waltham IBM office where we worked, but Raytheon in Burlington, Mass was responsible for the final integration and shipment to the test grounds in Albuquerque.

So, off to Burlington we went with server in tow.  When you visit Raytheon you have to go in the front door and sign in, and you have to have an appointment with someone who will meet you at the door.  So one of my colleagues and I followed this procedure and found one of our other teammates working on the machine, trying to get OS/2 to start up and load all the drivers properly, but he was having some trouble.

Then a couple other members of our team showed up, but they were unescorted.  So they were asked how they got into the building.  They said rather innocently that they parked in back and as they approached the back door someone came out.  That person held the door for them and they got in without signing in at the front desk!  Uh, oh!  Who was it that let them in?  They didn't know this person, and presumably he went for a walk for took off in his car, so it wasn't going to be easy to figure this out.  They didn't know they were breaking security protocol.  Okay so they went to sign in.

Now we turned out attention to the server again.  We were trying to figure out how to get all the drivers working and we were having some trouble.  This fellow with a clipboard came to us and said that he needed to pack up the computer and put it on the truck to ship it to Albuquerque.  We told him that it wasn't ready, and he walked off.  Some time later he came back again and we told him it still wasn't ready.  Finally he returned and said, "Okay let's ship this thing.  I've got to check this off my list!"  We game him a sharp look and told him firmly "Look buddy, this machine isn't going anywhere until it works.  We will tell you when it's ready."  He did not like this at all, but we really couldn't have cared less.

I guess he thought a non-working computer was good enough for government work.

No comments: