Monthly Archives: February, 2017

Letters to the Power Plant #62 — A New Year at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the sixty second letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

12/31/02 – A New Year at Dell

Dear Friends from of Old (Not to be confused with “old” friends, meaning, you guys are old — even though most of you are — like me),

Now that I’ve cleared that up…..  It was good to see some of you the Monday before Christmas.  It was strange walking into the plant and seeing that hardly anything had changed.

Boy.  Things change around here so fast, it seems that every other day, when I walk in the building, I have to stop and look around just to make sure I didn’t show up in the wrong place.  I am grateful to Randy Dailey for giving me a bunch of “Be Safe, Work Safe, Cause I Love You Man” hardhat stickers.  I now have one on the wall of my cubicle!  I’m right proud of it too…

I’ll bet I’m the only guy in this place that has THAT hardhat sticker pinned to his cubicle.  —  I see people passing by my cubicle green with envy.  As well they should be.

There were two people that didn’t appear too happy to see me the other day (I don’t know why).  I’ll leave it up to your imagination who they were but there initials are Bill and Jim.  I didn’t see Louise, even though she was there.

The shorter of the two “unhappy” ones, was going to walk right by me with a big frown without even saying “hi”, but I stopped him and said, “Hi Bill, How are you doing?”  Then the other one was going to make some smart remark about OG&E leasing Compaq computers when Alex showed me that they were using Compaq, until I said that I was glad people are buying Compaq computers.

I said that because Compaq loses money every time they sell one, because they have to sell them for less than it cost them to make it, because they have to compete with Dell.  Who, by the way, makes money every time we sell one, unless you buy one the way Linda Shiever did the other day.

I left the plant around 9:30 on Monday and I made it out of Stillwater around 10:30.  There was already about 3 inches of snow on the road, and the traffic on HWY 51 was going about 20 miles an hour.  It sped up to about 40 miles an hour once I was on I-35, until we were in Oklahoma City.

There, the roads cleared up, and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way home.  I almost spent too much time at Sooner Plant.  If I had stayed much longer, I might have been stranded in Stillwater for a day or so.

Well.  This week there is hardly anyone at work.  I’m not sure why, but I suppose it has to do with the fact that everyone had all last week off, and we have a holiday tomorrow, so they all decided to take these two days off also.

Yesterday, my second line manager told us to go home early because there was a big storm coming and she didn’t want us to be stuck here.  So I drove home, and just pulled my car in the garage when it started to hail.  Whew.  That was close.

Then there were tornadoes all around and the wind was blowing, and I felt as if Oklahoma must have blown in from the north.  We were all right though.  The tornadoes were off to the south and the east of us.  —  Who ever heard of tornadoes in the middle of winter?  This IS the end of December isn’t it?

Today, that same manager told us to go home at noon.  So I will.  I was supposed to be planning my new project today, but I started doing it yesterday, and since there wasn’t anyone here, I didn’t have to go to any meetings, and I didn’t have to attend any “team-builders”, so I just sat down and not only finished planning the entire project which is supposed to take until February 14th, but I also completely finished it.

I wrote the whole program in about 6 hours of uninterrupted programming ecstasy.  Some times I forget how much I enjoy just sitting there programming something, because I don’t actually do that as often as you think.  I have to spend time collecting information about the requirements from the business people, and then we have to develop a plan for the project, and then we have to have team-builders, and then we have to have meetings to discuss “issues”, as well as other meetings to discuss all sorts of stuff.

So the time I actually have to sit down and do nothing but program is quite limited.  I would do it at night when there aren’t any interruptions, except that I’m usually too busy at home playing on the computer.  So I sent the project plan to the Project Manager yesterday afternoon, and told her at the same time that I had already finished it.  — She’s gone until after the New Year, so I haven’t heard back from her yet.

I hadn’t heard about Dan Ewy until someone told me at the plant the other day.  Hey.  Just because I’m down here, it doesn’t mean that I don’t care about you guys.  So, “Be Safe, Work Safe, Cause I Love You Man!!!!”  And let me know how you guys are doing.

The Programmer from Dell !!!!!,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

 Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

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Letters to the Power Plant #61 — Abbreviated Christmas at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the sixty first letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

12/20/02 – Abbreviated Christmas at Dell

Dear OG&E Friends,

Well.  Here it is.  Our last working day before Christmas (for Dell I/T).  There is hardly anyone here this morning.  Yesterday we had a “White Elephant” Christmas party, where you bring a “gag” gift, and then you play a game to figure out what order people choose the presents (we played musical chairs), and then there are a bunch of rules about how you can take other people’s presents from them, but only so many times, and then you get to eat rum cake, and cookies, and drink sodas, to help cover up the smell of rum on your breath (as if that works).

I think I got the best gift of them all, which was a glass chessboard.  It is really nice.  The gift I brought last year was voted the “best gag gift”.  It was a book called, “Why I am a Baptist”.  It is an old book that I bought in a police auction way back when I was a kid in college (the first time).  This year it was again voted the “best gag gift” when the person that ended up with it last year used it as her gift this year.  —  There was only a handful of us there that knew where it had originally come from, since the teams have changed around a lot in the past year.

I was just given a new project the other day, and I’m supposed to spend the day planning it.  I sure am lucky that I had the opportunity to sit in on a few of Jim Arnold’s marathon outage planning meetings.  This has prepared me for the task at hand.

First I will make a list of all the things that I need to do.  Then I will start with the date that I am going to start the project and add all the tasks in the order that I need to complete them.  Then I will put down the amount of time it will take to complete each task.

When I have completed that, I will look at the ending date, and if that doesn’t meet the “required” end date, then I will adjust my “estimated” times to complete each of the tasks until I make it come out to end on the right date.  —  And as in the meetings with Jim Arnold, I will only put down the times that it will take to complete each task, if nothing goes wrong (because, of course, we all know that nothing ever goes wrong).  Then I will turn it in to my manager, and I will start the project.

It would sure be neat if they had something like the “Power Program” here.  They told me the other day that one of the programs I wrote back in November saves the company $57 million a year.  —  I’m not sure how, but that’s what they put in their CBA (Cost-Benefit Analysis).

Which reminds me.  I have been learning so many acronyms for things lately, it’s hard to keep up with them all.  My manager sent me an e-mail yesterday that said that I “need to make sure and include the LOE in a min-traceability matrix for the QLT package.”  —  Well….. Ok…..  I asked him if that meant that the EMEA validation with the DDW was SOL, and he said, “What’s SOL?”

I said, “Well, if you don’t know, I guess you’re just “SOL”. —  No.  I really didn’t say that.  I did have to ask him what LOE meant,  and he told me it means “Level Of Effort” (bing….. Like I should have figured that one out on my own, I was thinking that it meant “Loss of Energy”, or “Look Out Edith!!!”).

I asked him to give me an example of a “min-traceability matrix”, and he did, so that question is answered.  I think we have a website somewhere that has a bunch of Abbreviations and their meanings.  I should make that one of my favorite places.

My daughter and I used to come up with new meanings for the acronym WWJD (Which usually means, “What Would Jesus Do?”).  Since my mom’s name is Joan, and my dad’s name is James, we would come up with phrases like “Where Would Joan Dine?” or “Wah!!  Wah!!! James!!!! Drive!!!!” or “WereWolves Just Drool”.  I never did come up with new meanings for the acronym OG&E.  But I’m sure you can think of a few for me.

My team works with Customer Experience Metrics so we have all sorts of abbreviations.  Our first one is:  CE, which means Customer Experience (pretty neat, huh?).  Then we have MWD, which means

******SECURITY VIOLATION******** THIS PORTION OF THE E-MAIL HAS BEEN DELETED BY DELLSECURE—-IT CONTAINED PROPRIETARY INFORMATION.  ******SECURITY VIOLATION********

which we are going to change to MWD&R, which will mean

******SECURITY VIOLATION******** THIS PORTION OF THE E-MAIL HAS BEEN DELETED BY DELLSECURE—-IT CONTAINED PROPRIETARY INFORMATION.  ******SECURITY VIOLATION********.

You can see how we measure the experience of our customers.  We have a bunch of other Metrics;  STT, DTT, SDOTFTF, IFIR.  One of my favorites is the SDOTFTF.  It looks like a True and False Test.  Something Like:  “So Dumb One, True, False, True, False?”  But no.  It stands for:

******SECURITY VIOLATION******** THIS PORTION OF THE E-MAIL HAS BEEN DELETED BY DELLSECURE—-IT CONTAINED PROPRIETARY INFORMATION.  ******SECURITY VIOLATION********.

So you can see what kind of detail we go to to measure our customer’s experience.  —  I think it’s pretty neat.  It’s the reason Dell has the number one Customer Service rating of all the computer companies.

Well, I better get started.  If I don’t see you guys on Monday, December 23rd, then “Have a Merry Christmas”.  If I do see you on Monday, well…. “Have A Merry  Christmas” also.  And a Happy New Year.

Your friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile, esq. (which stands for “esquire”.  —  I only threw that in there because it was an abbreviation).

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #60 — Airplanes at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the sixtieth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

12/06/02 – Airplanes at Dell

Good morning Fellow Soonerites,

Ok.  So I’m not a Soonerite anymore.  At least I used to be.  Which is more (or less) than others can claim.  Anyway.  This morning when I walked into my cubicle, I found two pieces of paper sitting on my chair.  They looked like some kind of advertisement for Dell.  Like a brochure or something.

Upon closer look, one of the pieces of paper had a bunch of dotted lines and letters of the alphabet all over it.  On one side of the other piece of paper was a bunch of information about the new computers that we are selling, and on the other side was instructions about how to fold the other piece of paper into a paper airplane in 22 easy steps.

Ok.  I thought.  I can do this.  I sat down at my desk and (after turning on my computers and reading my e-mail and pulling up a database to see what kinds of data was there), I started folding and folding the piece of paper into an airplane.  Well.  One hour and 22 steps later, I finally had my airplane complete.  It looks kind of like a fighter jet.

So I thought, I wonder what I’m supposed to do now?  So I walked by the cubicles next to me, and those guys hadn’t showed up for work yet, and their airplanes were still just sheets of paper laying on their chairs.  So I came back to my desk and now I’m wondering if we’re going to have some kind of “Paper airplane” fight or something this afternoon.  —  You know.  Something to get us in the Christmas spirit.

I haven’t found the answer to that question yet, so my paper airplane is just sitting on my Desktop computer which is sitting on my desk behind my monitor next to my hardhat sticker that says that I’m a “Certified Operator of OG&E Industrial Powered Trucks”.  You know…  The red round sticker that you are supposed to stick on your hardhat to show that you can drive the forklift.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about hardhat stickers at the power plant, read the post  What Does a Hardhat Sticker Tell You About a Power Plant Man?

I never put those stickers on my hardhat, I just put them in my lunch box, so that one day when I’m working somewhere else, doing something completely different, I could retrieve all those old hardhat stickers and tack them up on the walls of my cubicle.

There is one hardhat sticker that I never received, because I was gone on overhaul or something at the time.  It was the one where it said something like, “Be Safe, because I love you man” (or something like that  — I’m sure you guys know the one I’m talking about).  —  Well.  I never had one of those, and I tried to get one for quite a while.

So I have a spot on the wall of my cubicle just for that sticker.  I figured that someday, somehow, I’ll get one of those stickers from somewhere, and that spot will be there waiting for it.  —  Well enough rambling like Rambin’ Ann.

I thought I was doing pretty good there.  —  I was going from topic to topic, talking about how the paper airplane was sitting on my computer, then about the hardhat stickers, and then about how I was hoping that someone would mail me one of those stickers that I never got– oh, is that what I was saying? –, and then talking about how I was rambling like Ramblin’ Ann, which is what I’m talking about right now.  — So, I’ll stop and go to the next paragraph.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about Ramblin’ Ann see the post Ed Shiever Trapped in a Confined Space with a Disciple of Ramblin’ Ann.

Next Paragraph…..  Well.  Today is the last day before I go on vacation.  I’m going to Disney World as you may remember from my last letter.  I came to my cubicle this morning instead of going to the “Data Warehouse” down at the “other” building, because I thought that our team was going to have to move next week while I was out of town, and I was going to pack up my stuff and put them into boxes.

As it turned out, we will not be moving until some time in January, so I don’t have to pack just quite yet.  —  When we do move, we will be moving to the building where I’ve been working for the past 4 or 5 months.  Except that I’ve been working on the 2nd floor and we will be moving to the 4th floor.

We are doing that because our particular group has grown recently, and our upper manager wants us to all be together in one place.  Right now we are scattered all over the place.  Some are on the same floor as me.  Others are up on the 3rd floor.  Some are in the building across the way, and others are in the building that we are going to move to, which is where the Data Warehouse guys are, which if you remember, is not a factory.  It’s actually a much bigger building than the one that I’m in right now.

At least it has a lot more parking, so you don’t have to park real far away and take a shuttle bus to your car at the end of the day.  I think their cafeteria is better, so I’m not complaining. (You know.  —  The important stuff).

Hey.  Someone just threw an airplane into my cubicle, and I heard some snickering over the wall.  It sounds like my Vice President.  I’ve got to go.  The war has begun.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas.  I’ll try to drop by on December 23 to visit.

Your Friendly Dell Pilot,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #59 — Thanksgiving at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the fifty ninth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

12/02/02 – Thanksgiving at Dell

Dear Sooner friends (that are still there),

I realize it has been a couple of weeks since I have written, and I know you all must be wondering if I have forgotten all my friends from the frozen tundra of North Central Oklahoma.  Well.  I haven’t.  Actually, I went through Stillwater on my way to Alabama for the Thanksgiving holiday.

On my way back through town, Mike Vogle actually met me at Braum’s.  I thought that was a nice gesture to come all the way from Morrison to Braum’s just to visit.  I think I talked him into buying something while he was there, so he didn’t have to make the trip for nothing.  —  Actually, I just ran into him in line, and I said “Hi”, but I can pretend that he came there just to meet me.  That way, I feel like you guys haven’t forgotten about me stuck down here in “team-builder” land.

I have been put on another project, sort of part time between the time I’m at work, and the time I’m on vacation, and the time I’m not involved in some sort of team-building activity.  It is working with the Data Warehouse much like the project that I had earlier this fall.

After talking to my mom over Thanksgiving Break, maybe I should explain what a “Data Warehouse” is.  It is a database that holds all the data that the company generates.  It is huge and business people are always wanting data from it in one form or another, so there are applications that are made that use the data in the data warehouse.

I’m working on projects that take the Data warehouse and change it from running on Oracle to put it into Teradata, which is another kind of database.  —  Anyway, the reason I’m telling you this is because when I told my mom that I was going to start another project with the Data Warehouse next Monday, she said, “Oh No!!!  They are going to make you work in the factory again??!!!!”

When I asked her what she was talking about, she said, “They are going to make you go work in the warehouse again?  Why do they do that to you?”  —  I tried to explain to her that the Data Warehouse was not actually a warehouse.  It was just a big Database that is on a bunch of computers, and that I could actually sit in her house and dial up the Data Warehouse on my laptop and work on it while I was sitting in a lounge chair in the living room.

She said, “Well, Ok.  As long as you don’t have to work in a factory again.  After all that work you did to get out of that Power Plant.”  —  So I thought I would explain to you guys what a “Data Warehouse” is, just in case you think I’m having to barcode stuff and count inventory.  — Anyway.  That’s the way my mom is.  —  The funniest part about telling my mom a joke is watching her try to figure out why we think It’s funny.

Well.  Since I’m on a new Data Warehouse team temporarily.  I’ve had to learn a new set of team member names.  You may recall that on my last DDW team (DDW stands for Dell Data Warehouse), I had to learn all these interesting names like:  Azeem, Radha, Murthy, Venu, Sohan, Jichuan, Srinivasa, 2 guys named Ravi, Ragini, Liming, Devika, Mahesh, Kotamraju, Nanda and Venkat.  Well, the new team has the following new names to learn:

Sev Mattupalli, Subba Kondubhatla, Linh Liang, Galen Marumoto, Nagavalli Medicharla, Thuy Nguyen, Hemanth Rajashekhar, Radhakumari Srimattirumala, Sandeep Waghchoure, Arnoud Balat and Xu Weiqing.  —  I am not making any of these names up.

Anyway.  This reminds me that I better get back to work.  I need to work on memorizing these names, so that when I’m in a meeting with them I don’t mispronounce anyone’s name.  I would hate to call “Subba” “Bubba” instead, and I don’t think “Arnoud” would be too happy if I accidentally called him “Arnold”.

I especially don’t want to call “Xu” “Zoo” (Even if they do sound alike).  I have already made the blunder of calling “Radhakumari Srimattirumala” “Srinivasa Pokula” (who you may remember, I worked with on my last project).  —  Well, they both had the same accent —  I’m sure you would have made the same mistake.  — Geesh.  Ok.  —  I think it would have been easier if one of them had been named “supercalifredulousexpialidotious”  At least I would have known how to pronounce it the first time.

Well.  I hope everything is going well with you guys and I hope you enjoyed the holidays.  Next week I will be gone.  I am going to Disney World for a week.  —  Yes.  I need a vacation.  I need to take a break from the old grind.

Just think.  For a whole week, I won’t have to think about the Data Warehouse.  I won’t have to think about “Team-building”.  I won’t have to think about playing on my computer in my cubicle.  I will just immerse myself in the fantasy world of Disney World, and not think one bit about writing programs.  —  That is, if I don’t bring my laptop with me.

Elizabeth, my daughter, wants to make a video game.  So she’s been after me to write one for her.  — So I may take this opportunity to get some of that done for her.  —  Oh well.  A computer programmer’s job is never done………

I will be in Stillwater the weekend before Christmas.  Maybe I will be able to stop by and visit the plant on Monday the 23rd if I’m still in town.  I’ll try to get around to visit.  Down here, they give the entire I/T department the whole week of Christmas off.  So I don’t have to use vacation for that week.  I hope to see you guys then.

Your friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

CIA: Customer Experience, Integrated Services Model, and Ariba

–CIA, we work behind the scenes so you don’t have to–

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #58 — Ramblin’ at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the fifty eighth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

11/15/02 – Ramblin’ At Dell

Hey Soonerites,

I figured that since I had been here over a year, I would introduce some of my fellow coworkers to “Ramblin’ Ann.”  Those of you who know what I’m talking about wish you were here to hear the continuous blurby Kentucky voice of the Elegant and refined Ramblin’ Ann.  —  You know who I’m talking about.  The girl that came from a small town in Kentucky.  The one that insisted that she didn’t have an accent, or as she would say, “Aye dooooooonnnnn’t haaaaaaave annnnnnnnnn acceeeeeeennnnnnnttttttt!!!!!!!   Dooooooo Ayyyyyeeee?”

Yes.  My Dell friends were blessed with the story about how Ed Shiever was trapped inside the sand filter tank with me for two weeks, and heard nothing but the sound of me imitating Ramblin’ Ann echoing off the confined walls of the middle section of the tanks as we took out and put back in all those white plastic pieces.  —  That was in the days before “Confined Space Safety” where the relentless sounds of Ramblin’ Ann is considered “extremely hazardous” to your health.  —  Ed was never the same after that episode, and I used to regret that extreme punishment that he endured during those two weeks.

Note to Reader:  To learn more about Ramblin’ Ann see the post:  Ed Shiever Trapped in a Confined Space with a Disciple of Ramblin’ Ann.

Well.  My Dell friends just looked at me with a stunned look on their faces as I explained to them that “Ramblin’ Ann was this girl I knew in college that would start talking the minute you picked her up, to the moment you dropped her back off at her dorm.  (This was when I was in College many years ago).  She would have a continuous conversation that went something like this:

“I don’t mean to seem old fashioned or anything, but after all, I do come from a small town in Kentucky  And things are kind of different in small towns than they are in this big city of Columbia Missouri You know what I mean?  I mean that in the small town where I come from the postman would say to me ‘Hello Ann Bell, how are you doin’ today?’ and I would say ‘Hello Mister Postman I’m doin’ fine thank you’  He would call me Ann Bell, even though he knew I liked to be called Ann because he was trying to make me feel grown up and all and I would call him Mister Postman because I would be acting all grown up and it was a fun game, but in Columbia, the postman only knows that I’m Box 823, and he doesn’t say anything to me, he just puts the mail in the box and I know that he’s just doing his job, and it’s ok, you know what I mean?  I mean, I don’t mean to seem old fashioned or anything.  But what is funny is that since I moved here to go to school, my friends tell me that ‘Ann Bell, you have the funniest accent’ and I tell them that ‘Ayyyeeeee doooonnnnn’tttt have an accccccceennnnnntttt.’  Ayyyyyyeeeeee don’t  dooooooooooo Ayyyyyyyyeeee?  I know I don’t.  You know what I mean.  I mean, I might have a little acccccccceeeeennnnnntttttt, but Ayyyyyyyeeeeee don’t have muuuuuuuccccchhhhh of an acccccceeennnnnnnttttttt.  You know what I mean?  I mean.  I was in a class the other day and the teacher told me that I looked just like someone she knew once, and I told her that I just look like someone that comes from a small town in Kentucky, and that people that come from small towns in Kentucky look like a lot of people and that I probably just looked like someone she knew, and she said that she thought I did.  You know what I mean don’t you?  I mean, some places there are a lot of people that look like a lot of other people, and when you go there, you think that you must have been there before because there are people all over that look like people that you have seen, only these aren’t the same people.  You know what I mean.  I mean that it’s kind of like watching the Andy Griffith Show, because it is sort of like a small town in Kentucky, only it’s a small town in North Carolina instead.  But I figured that small towns in North Carolina must be a lot like small towns in Kentucky, and so the Andy Griffith Show is kind of like that.  You know what I mean?  I mean that when I moved here to Columbia, I thought, ‘Why, that person looks just like someone I knew in the small town in Kentucky where I came from,’ only I knew that it wasn’t because I knew that the person in Kentucky didn’t move to Columbia, because they weren’t going to move anywhere when I was leaving, and I had just left, so I thought that the reason they looked like them, was because people from small towns seem to look like other people some times.  You know what I mean?  I mean that the Bakery in this town is a lot like the Bakery we have in the town in Kentucky where I came from, only it is on a bigger street.  The Bakery looks the same inside, but when you step out of the Bakery, there is a big wide street here, and when I stepped out of the Bakery in the town in Kentucky where I came from the street was smaller, and people across the street could tell who you were, and you could even talk to them while they were on the other side of the street, because they were closer to you than they are here.  You know what I mean?  I mean that things seem farther apart here than they do there, even though I’m here, and Kentucky is far away, things still seem closer there.  Isn’t that funny that things seem closer in Kentucky even though I’m not even in Kentucky.  I mean, you would think that things here would seem closer, but they don’t even when I’m walking down the street here right now.  You know what I mean though don’t you?  I don’t mean to seem old fashioned or anything, but after all, I do come from a small town in Kentucky, and……………………..”

This is just a small sample of five minutes of a conversation that lasted for well over an hour once.

I hope I haven’t caused all of you to go into a comatose state reading this.  —  I know it took Ed Shiever a few weeks of walking around in a daze, and hitting the side of his head with the palm of his hand to try to knock all of that noise out of his ears before he seemed to be back to normal.  —  But we all know that after two weeks of this constant rambling while you are stuck in an echo chamber will have lasting effects on your sanity.  After all.  Look at me.  You know what I mean?  —  Yeah.  You know what I mean.

Your friend from Dell,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

CIA: Customer Experience, Integrated Services Model, and Ariba

When the Mission seems Impossible, call the CIA!–

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #57 — Dell and Dell Again

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the fifty seventh letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

11/08/02 – Dell and Dell again

Dear friends from the Mid-Dellish Territories,

I know I haven’t written in a couple of weeks, and I apologize.  I have been working on some projects that have required all my time.  Even the time I would normally take to “Network”.  I have only a few minutes to type this letter, so if I have typos, it’s because I’m trying to type this as fast as I can and I’m not stopping to correct my mistakes.

I have a project due on Monday, and another one due next Friday, and I have about 3 more weeks left worth of work to finish them, so I am working extra fast.  —  I think they put something in our water here so that we keep working faster and faster.

Sometimes my fingers keep on typing even when I’ve left the building and I’m trying to drive home.  Then when I am eating dinner, I keep spilling the stuff on my fork into my lap, because my fingers keep dancing around all over the place.  —  I may not be getting a lot of exercise, but you should see the biceps my fingers have developed.

Anyway,  I have about 3 weeks, and then I have a string of vacations set up that will take me to the end of the year.  I have off most of Thanksgiving week.  Then I work for a week, then I take a week off to go to Disney World, then I work for another week, then I take a week off for Christmas, then it’s the New Year.  I can’t wait.

I hope everything is going well for you guys.  I suppose you have been getting the cold weather the same as us.  The other day, it actually dipped down into the lower 50s!!!!  Gee.  There were those confused faces again.  Those people who don’t own jackets were briskly walking into the building wondering why their teeth kept vibrating together.

Today, it finally warmed back up to almost 80.  — Well.  I can tell that Fall is finally here.  —  The Monsoon season is finally over—-I hope.   Anyway.  I don’t think I’ll have to mow my lawn until Spring, or until the HOA (Home Owner’s Association) comes by and tells me to mow it, just so it has that pristine “just mowed” look.

I don’t have any great plans for the weekend.  I’m just going to sit around and think about the project that I’m supposed to put into production on Monday.  I’ve tested it.  I’ve run it a bunch of times.  I’ve added all kinds of Error-handling code to it, so that it shouldn’t break.

So, of course, you know what that means……..  The whole thing will just not work for some unknown reason when it is put in production, just like Mr. Ed would quit talking when other people were around and Wilbur is trying to convince them that Mr. Ed really CAN talk.

Oh. Oh.  It’s Friday afternoon, and it’s almost 5:00, and I’m sitting in a guest cube by the Data Warehouse guys, and you know what that means!!!!

If I don’t leave now, I’ll have to take part in a bunch of conversation that I don’t understand either because they’re in a foreign language (probably Greek, since that’s one of the two foreign languages that I don’t understand), or because they are in Geek (since that is the second foreign language that I don’t quite understand. — Though I’m learning).  So —  I’m outta here.  Talk to you all later.

Your Typing Dell Programmer from a Typical Tiny Cubicle in the Temporary area of the Data Warehouse aisle of Dell’s Parmer South Campus,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

CIA: Customer Experience, Integrated Services Model, and Ariba

When the Mission seems Impossible, call the CIA!–

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #56 — Programmers in a Dell Cubicle

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the fifty sixth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

10/25/02 – Programmers in a Dell Cubicle

Dear friends from the “Northern Plains”,

Well.  I hope everything is going well with all of you.  We have been having rain here all week.  It’s supposed to rain all weekend and then rain all next week, so I have been getting the feeling that I am living in Seattle, instead of Austin.

You would think it would be fairly dry in Austin, (except maybe for an occasional hurricane or something).  Anyway.  For those of you who don’t read this until Monday morning —  I hope you turned your clock back.  After all….. This is the weekend where we get to sleep for one more hour.

This week I started moving people into my cubicle to work on a project with them.  I thought, just for fun, we would see how many people we could cram into one little cubicle with their computers all working away.  We could only get 4 chairs and 5 computers in here at one time.

It was a neat experiment, and some people were falling out into the aisle.  —  But you should have seen the great team-building efforts that were going on.  I had everyone’s name tag (which are made out of magnets), all stuck on my cubicle.  —  Well.  It’s Friday afternoon, and everyone has left, so I have pushed out two of the chairs, and made some room so that I can stretch out and relax while I write this letter to you guys.

Oh, by the way.  I have recently become an Excel Programming Expert.  I can now write programs that can do all sorts of stuff with Excel Spreadsheets.  —  No.  Not just the normal “Macro” stuff.  I mean the real “Programming” stuff.

This one project that I’m working on pulls data from another application, and does a bunch of calculations on it, and sticks them into different Excel Spreadsheets.  Then it takes information from other Excel Sheets and puts them in there as well.  So, I told one guy that has been working on that project with me that we should write a book about programming for Excel (“The Real” stuff).  Because a lot of this stuff isn’t documented anywhere and there isn’t really a place to go to learn how to do this.  —  It has been fun….. Of course.

On Monday we’re supposed to dress up in a Halloween costume, and have a party after lunch.  I’m not sure what I should dress up as.  —  No, wait.  I know.  How about if I put on some steel-toed boots, and wear some dirty old jeans, and a grungy tee-shirt, and put on a scratched up old hardhat and carry a 5 gallon tool bucket and go as an “Electrician From Hell!!!!!”  That should most certainly be scary!!!!

The only problem with that, is that I might get dirty.  I’m sure you guys already know that I don’t like to get dirty.  That’s why I took this job…. Remember.

Anyway.  All is going well with my family.  We are all waiting for the Dove to return with an olive branch so that we know it will be safe to go outside again after the waters recede.  I’ll write to you guys later.  Let me know how things are going.

Your Friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

CIA: Customer Experience, Integrated Services Model, and Ariba

–CIA, we work behind the scenes so you don’t have to–

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #55 — Computers at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the fifty fifth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

10/18/02 – Computers at Dell

Dear Northern Buddies,

I hope everything is going well with you guys.  This has been an interesting week for me.  First of all, on Monday I spent half of the day at one High School, and the other half at another one teaching the Teachers how to use PowerPoint (It was what they called “Staff Development Day”).

I brought my daughter along with me (Elizabeth), because she is the real PowerPoint Guru in my family.  She was able to answer the “harder” questions that stumped even the seasoned PowerPoint user such as myself.  She got a kick out of teaching the teachers since she is only 12 years old.

She made all sorts of PowerPoint Presentations during the day that mainly had the theme, “Dude, you’re getting’ a Dell”.  —  Since she was a Dell representative.  At one school, I was actually teaching in a room full of Gateway computers.  —  about 1/4 of them didn’t work properly.  Luckily at the second school, we were all using Dells.

Anyway.  When I came back to work on Tuesday, I found out that my “older” computer had been “replaced” (sort of) with a new one.  It had been upgraded in my absence.  Now I am typing on a very fast computer with a really quiet keyboard.  This is great.  —  I also have my old computer still sitting under my desk, but I’m not using it anymore.  So, I actually have 3 computers in my cubicle now.

I have spent the rest of the week working on my projects.  They are coming along right on schedule, so everything is good.  I had a couple of meetings with my new manager, and he seems to be a real nice guy.  I’ll keep you informed about how this team operates.

I wonder if we will have some interesting team-builders like we had with my last manager.  Probably not as colorful.  I still can’t get the motion picture out of my head of my manager flying through the water chutes on that little raft in the Master Blaster at the big water park we went to.  I think at one point we practically went upside down.

I don’t know if you guys heard, (or even care), but when HP and Compaq merged last spring, they became the largest computer company in the world (as far as computer sales).  Well.  They just announced this week that Dell has once again become the largest.  We out-sold the combined company of HP and Compaq this past quarter.  —  It isn’t a surprise to me.  As fast as we’re spittin’ out computers, I’m surprised they don’t use them to pave the roads.  —  Who knows, maybe someday they will.

This afternoon.  Actually, starting in a few minutes, we are having our last “Team-builder” for our team.  We are going to “Fast Eddies” for a two hour Happy Hour.   So I need to wrap this up.  I promise, I won’t drink too much, so I’ll be safe when driving home.  –  My manager said she was going to be buying us a bunch of hors d’ouevres (sometimes pronounced “Horse doovers”, but usually pronounced “Or  Durvs” — in case you wondered what I was saying).

My manager just came by my cubicle and told me to hurry up, so I’ll write to you later…..

Have a safe week.

Your Friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin J. Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

CIA: Customer Experience, Integrated Services Model, and Ariba

–CIA, we work behind the scenes so you don’t have to–

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plants #54 — Changes at Dell – Oh Well

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the fifty fourth letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

10/11/02 – Changes at Dell – Oh Well

Dear Sooner Plantians,

I hope each of you had a good week.  I hope Ronnie LeForce is doing well.  — I haven’t had an update since the week of his accident.  I suppose you guys are glad that the weather has finally cooled off.  I suppose that many of you are gone on overhauls, but since I haven’t heard about that, I suppose that maybe that I’m just supposin’ too much.  I suppose.

Well.  As you can see by the subject of this e-mail, this has been a week of changes.  I don’t know if you noticed, but some time ago, I had gotten a new manager (about 6 months ago).  You may have noticed that I had stopped referring to my manager as “he” and had started to refer to her as “she”.

Well…  I did that because my manager was no longer a “he”, she was a “she”, because she was a different person than the “he” I had been talking about prior to the arrival of the “she” manager.  —  Which explains everything I’m sure.

Well. (I’m replacing “Anyway” with “Well” just for a change —  I thought since I was replacing “he”s with “she”s, —  Why not).

Well.  This week, they (as in I/T at Dell), did a little bit of downsizing and shuffling of teams around.  I’m still here.  —  As you can tell by the fact that I still have a Dell e-mail address.

And I will have a new manager starting next Monday. (Really next Tuesday, since I’ll be gone all day Monday teaching High School Teachers how to leave a lasting impression on their students with extra-ordinarily exciting PowerPoint Presentations).

Well.  My manager will change from a “she” to a “he”.  He’s a real nice guy.

Actually, I had talked to Gene Day about him a few months ago.  He’s the guy that sits down at the other end of the row of cubicles where I sit.  I had told Gene that I thought I would start harassing him in the same “kind, considerate, and friendly manner that I used to “harass” Gene.

I had finally settled on a guy that used to work in a Nuclear Power Plant as an Auxiliary Operator that was the head of the training department.  But for some reason he left the company a few months later to go into “Emergency Planning”.

Which I’m sure had nothing to do with anything I had done.  —  Well….. Actually, he did tell me that he got tears in his eyes when he was reading the “Power Plant Man” poem, and it made him miss the dirty dangerous environment where he used to spend his waking moments contemplating the meaning and benefits of life and electricity.

One thing they did that was interesting in our new “shuffle” of the teams, is this:  Our present team is made up of developers (like me), support people, project managers, and logistics people.  This would could be described as a pretty “cross-functional” team.  Well.  Our new teams are going to be broken down into “Functional” teams.

I am going to be on a development team.  All the Project managers will be on another team, and so on.  This struck me as odd, since at Sooner we had gone through this great effort to cross-functionalize, in order to break down the barriers.

They had done the same sort of thing at Dell some time back.  Well.  Evidently, if you can break the barriers down in other ways, it is more beneficial to have “functional” teams that don’t have the barriers that normal “functional” groups have.  So the functional teams all work together even though they are different.

Hmmmm..  Interesting thought huh?  You mean that you could have an “electrician” group and a “mechanic” group, and still not have functional barriers that impede performance?  —  Of course you can.  It depends on what type of management you have.  —  One that wants to be controlling, or one that is productive and efficient.

Just one more thought for the week.   —  Empowerment..  You have to have it, or forget it.

Well.  After this week, I won’t be on the CIA team anymore.  I’ll still be working on the same projects.  Actually, this Monday they gave me a new project to work on and asked me if I could have it done by the end of the month.  I gave it back to them on Tuesday by noon and had it completed.  —  I got big “Kudos” for that. (That means “Atta Boys”).  Don’t worry, I remember.  One “Oops” and all the “Atta Boys” are immediately forgotten.

Have a good week, and write,  I’ll write later,

Your friendly Dell Programmer,

Kevin James Breazile

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

CIA: Customer Experience, Integrated Services Model, and Ariba

When the Mission seems Impossible, call the CIA!–

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527

Letters to the Power Plant #53 — The Dudes at Dell

After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going.  This is the fifty third letter I wrote.  Keep in mind that at the time when I originally penned this letter I didn’t intend on it being posted online.

10/04/02 – The Dudes at Dell

Dear Sooner Friends and others,

I hope everything is going well with you guys.  I told you in my last letter that I was going to be getting a couple of new tee-shirts last Saturday.  What actually happened, was that I came home with 5 extra shirts.  And all of them too big for the rest of my family to wear, except maybe for a night shirt or something.

We went to the “Walk to Cure Diabetes” and they gave Kelly and the kids “Dude, You’re Walkin’ for a Cure” shirts also, and they were all size XL (which is not one of the programming languages that I use.  Such as XML, or HTML, or XHTML, or DHTML, or SHTML).

The highlight of the day was when my kids were able to get their pictures taken with “Steven” the Dell Dude (His real name is Ben Curtis).  He was there signing autographs, and having his picture taken.  —  So the rest of the family forgave me for getting 5 tee-shirts, that were all too big for them to wear.

I have been going out to eat with my “Project buddies” all week.  This has been a burdensome task.  It has caused me to rethink the concept of keeping a bathroom scale in the bathroom.

I was thinking of throwing it out in the backyard and letting the dog weigh himself, or just chew on it or something.  Except that it is probably against one of our Homeowner’s Associaton Rules to keep a Bathroom scale in the backyard.

One day we went to this Mexican place where the Burritos were so heavy you could hardly pick them up in one piece.  They even had instructions on the wrapper about how you could eat them without the tortilla breaking and spilling rice, and beans, and chicken and guacamole all over your lap.

I figured out that the best way to prevent that from happening was to snarf it down as fast as I could before it had a chance to fill the full impact of gravity as I quickly raised it from the plate.  — It also helped to keep my face down real close to the plate, so it didn’t have so far to travel to my mouth.

Anyway.  I didn’t have to eat dinner that night.  —  I did get a cake in our staff meeting, because my birthday was this month, so I ate a piece of that instead of dinner that night.  —  The type of cake was called “Italian Cream Cake”.  I had never heard about that flavor of cake before.  It sure is rich.  —  Needless to say, I haven’t had to eat dinner all week.

Well, since I have been working on my three projects all week, and not doing much else (except eating), I don’t have much to update you guys about.  Soooo,  How are things going up there?  What’s the latest?

Let’s see.  The last thing that I heard was that Jim Arnold was acting like he knew everything, and Bill Green believed him.  Toby has gone to work in some Gas company.  Chris Cornish went to go work in some po’ dunk town named “Wichita”.  Jody Gaddy went to go work for some Tire company named Michelin.  Brent Kautzman was going to work in some cold state named North or South Dakota or something like that.

Oh yeah, and Jasper Christensen was retired, and Bill Thomas, and Max Thomas, and Bill Robinson, and ……….  hmmmm…  What else has happened in the last year?

What is the latest with Ronnie LeForce.  I haven’t heard an update for a couple of weeks.  Is he healing all right?  Is he going to be ok?  I haven’t heard!!!

I think I’ll be in Stillwater for a few minutes around Thanksgiving.  We’re going to drive up there and meet my parents (not for the first time obviously), and drive to Alabama to where my sister lives to eat Thanksgiving dinner.

The lengths Italians will go for a good meal is very surprising.  —  Anyway.  Keep in touch.  I’ll write later.

Your Friendly Dell (Blessed by the Dell Dude) Programmer,

Kevin James Anthony Breazile, Esquire

______________________

Kevin J. Breazile

CIA: Customer Experience, Integrated Services Model, and Ariba

When the Mission seems Impossible, call the CIA!–

Dell Computer Corporation

(512) 728-1527