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 forty 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.
07/26/02 – Rush hour at Dell
Dear friends from Sooner Plant (and those less fortunate that have to work somewhere else),
Since I have been working at this other building, I have discovered a new culture that exists in Austin, and I suppose in other large cities. I ran into this “cultural phenomenon” by “accident” the other day.
I was driving home on the freeway (I -35), and there was an accident somewhere down the road, so all the traffic had come to a standstill. Which meant that instead of driving 15 miles an hour we were driving at 0 miles an hour. Then I saw people getting out of their cars, and taking off their shoes and putting on flip-flops, and popping their trunks and putting on T-Shirts.
I wondered what was happening at first, but when people all around me started to take coolers out of the trunk of their cars, I finally figured out what was going on. — They were having a block party in the middle of the Interstate.
People were all tuned to the same radio station, and they turned their radios up real loud, and were sitting on the hood of their cars drinking, sunbathing and listening to music. — And all along, I thought this sort of thing only happened at Dell. — Now I know.
I went out and bought a cooler and some flip-flops just for the occasion. I thought it would be great sitting on the hood of my car playing with my laptop in the middle of the highway. Now when I leave work, I fill my ice chest up with ice. — Which reminds me of something…… It’ll come to me I’m sure.
I get the feeling that some people drive around Austin during the day listening to the traffic report to find out where the accidents are, and they head in that direction, just so they can have a party in the middle of the freeway. If you timed it right, you could be sitting in the middle of a traffic jam approximately 83 percent of the time — That’s just a rough estimate of course.
Anyway. I might be able to tell when there is an accident up ahead by the frantic look in people’s faces as they drive down the highway with the eager look of anticipation as they fly by in their pursuit of “block parties in the highway”. Come to think of it. I think most of the people on the Interstate have that look of eagerness. I almost think that some people are causing accidents on the freeway, just so that all those people behind them can enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the sun.
Well, so far I am about a month ahead of schedule. I was originally scheduled to finish this project in the middle of October, based on the fact that I hadn’t had any experience writing these kinds of scripts and macros and stuff. I have finished writing everything and now I’m testing them.
Now they figure I’ll be done around the first part of September. That is still a month away. I think I’ll finish before that. — They didn’t realize that I wrote a program that would write all my macros and scripts for me.
That was something I learned when I wrote that program for Mike Vogle when he wanted to take “Glink” home with him, so he could fill out his MOs at night. That was way back in the days when we had dumb terminals and computers and smart, hard working foremen. Now we have smart hard working computers and ……. well, I think it’s pretty smart to have the computer do the work, so you don’t have to.
Note to reader: to learn more about the the program I wrote for Mike Vogle read the post Power Plant Men Take the Corporate Mainframe Computer Home.
Next Monday I am going to visit an Austin High School to meet the teachers that I will be teaching to use Microsoft Office. If you remember, my Vice President signed me up to do volunteer work for the Austin School district.
He had heard about the now famous PowerPoint Presentation from my “going away” party. As it turns out, I will mainly be teaching teachers. — It’s the “training the trainer” idea.
Note to reader: To learn more about my going away party see the post Power Plant Final Presenation.
Evidently there are some teachers out there that have the attitude that “I’ve been doing it this way for 35 years. I never had to use a computer before. Why should I start now?” — Imagine that. That sounds vaguely familiar, but I just can’t place it at the moment. It’ll come to me I’m sure.
Note to reader: To learn more about “doing it this way for 35 years”, read the post Bobbin’ Along with Bob Kennedy.
I hope everything is going well with all of you. Everything is going well with me and my family. I’ll talk to you later.
Your friendly Dell Programmer,
Kevin James Breazile
Kevin J. Breazile
Customer Experience / Warranty Cost
Dell Computer Corporation