Thursday, January 27, 2011

You may feel some mild irritation...

I don't feel guilty about having one of those days now and then that seems as if it's just one irritation after another. I used to, though. I'd tell myself happy things like "I still have some of my youth left" and "I have most of my health," and that "I have a great job that I actually almost always enjoy doing, a happy family life, and hey, I'm a pilot that owns a sexy little low-wing monoplane."

How could I possibly justify having a bad day??

Well, I finally rationalized that I can only appreciate the preponderance of good days if I also now and then have a bad day. You know, for comparison and all.

Today was one of those days. The bad ones, I mean. It's been building up for awhile.

We're going through one of those periods at work where the parent corporation sends us new PCs. The computers are on a three year lease, which I'm sure makes things easy for the folks in accounting since they don't have to track umpteen thousand depreciating capital assets, but it makes my working life pretty miserable now and then. Our business unit runs almost entirely on custom software, and as the developer of said software it falls to me to configure the new PCs as they come in. That's empty time that could be spent doing something more productive, but it is what it is and I plod on through. The problem this time around is that the machines aren't coming in with the correct call center software, so I have to install it.

That doesn't sound like such a big deal, but it's not something that we normally do and therefore don't know how to do. No worries: a helpful sort down in Texas provided me with instructions:

Install the 1st base package, then apply patch SR2, SR2-E5, 7.2.5, and 7.2.6.


I started the install of the base package and was immediately presented with a screen asking for a password. Do you see a password in the list of steps above? Me neither.

A day later I had the password and pressed on with the install. It was not painless. Various steps failed and required the removal of every preceding step. Long story short (too late!!), it took more than two hours and a few dozen reboots to get the program to run. Oddly, though, the program had small black squares where buttons should be. I grabbed a screenshot and sent it down to Texas.

Another day shot.

This morning I arrived to find a reply in my inbox:

"That's a known problem. You need to do this, this, and this."

Are you asking yourself what I asked myself? Are you asking yourself, "If this was a known problem that I was inevitably going to run into, wouldn't it have been nice to have been told that from the get-go?"

I have to confess that I was more than mildly irked.

Way more.

On the bright side, though, the fix worked. Flush with success, I moved on to the next new PC. I slogged through the install, hurdling over installation errors and rebooting with the aplomb of the newly confident. At the end, we ran the program. The buttons were fine! Unfortunately, though, none of them worked and the user couldn't log in. I fired off another email to Texas. I got a reply a couple of hours later:

"Oh, that's a known problem."

I thought it best to work on something else for awhile. I thought it to be critical that I not reply to that email.

Sometimes the cure for an irritating or frustrating day at the paying job is to spend a little time working on the RV-12. It doesn't always work, but it usually does. All I wanted to do tonight was take the remainder of the parts out to the hangar and to get the doubler that goes on the top skin at the wing root primered and ready to rivet on. I stopped at Napa and let the guy at the counter talk me into a different type of primer than the grey stuff I was using. This stuff is colored like Zinc Chromate (although I don't think it has either Zinc or Chromate in it) and is supposed to provide better corrosion protection. That's all I'm using it for, so that seemed like a good thing.

Before priming the part, though, I had to test fit it. And before test fitting it, I had to remove the blue plastic. That, as it turns out, would have been better to do in the warm basement rather than at the much colder hangar, Julyuary or not. It was no fun at all getting that stuff off. In fact, it was irritating. But I got it done and got the doubler clecoed on.

The plans first asked that I dimple three of the holes. Van's, ever schizophrenic on the topic of which holes they will dimple and which they won't, had thoughtfully left three for me to do.

I don't mind that, really, as they're pretty easy to do once you get out the dimple dies and set up the squeezer. But really, as long as they're doing all the rest, would it kill them to do these three and save me the trouble? But that's not what really irritated me. No, what ended up irritating me is that that had dimpled all of the other holes in the first place. "Why would that bother you?" you ask. Well, consider this. As the plans mentioned might be required, I have to put a break on the edge of the doubler to get it to sit flush against the wing.

Which in itself is not hard to do. I've already done it plenty of other times. I even have a special tool for it! A tool, it must be said, that won't work if the edge has a bunch of dimples in it!

That? That's irritating!

I ended up putting the edge in the vise and gently adding a bend to it. Only time will tell if it will be enough. Either way, it will be on the bottom of the wing where only judgmental types like me will ever duck under to look at it.

I went ahead and applied the primer. It sure is purty! And somehow that brown just looks more protective than the grey!

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