blame canada

Yeah. Totally Windows’ fault. For having most of the marketshare. Stupid Windows. If only you weren’t popular enough, no one would bother to write viruses for you, either.

But really. I feel bad for the QA tester involved. Even though, way totally avoidable mistake, it was an accident, and that just sucks. And it should be mentioned, this qualifies as a big IT boo-boo.

This is why you NEVER install anything on the build box. Not even if it’s Jeremy Allaire, giving you a totally awesome sneak peek of terrific new technology (well, it was new at the time). But that’s probably a story for another day.

Oh why not. It’s late, I just inexplicably spilled half a glass of very cold water down the back of my own pants. Perfect time for a story.

So there was nothing like a virus involved. But this was back in the days after Picasa outgrew Mike’s spare bedroom (and then living and dining room), and since there were now more live-in employees than couches, we’d rented the apartment next door. Somehow we wound up hosting Jeremy Allaire for an afternoon. He came by to talk about what we were working on, and to show off some new unreleased flash technology. As it turned out, our little company had been growing fast and the only monitor in the office/apartment that could accomodate everyone in the room, was attached to The Build Box.

So after a bit of discussion, the neat new technology was installed on The Build Box. Great demos followed, and sometime after that, the crew went out for dinner. It was one of those really fun nights of 12 hour straight hacking and development, the highly productive post-workday workday. And about an hour or so after everyone finally retreated to their sleeping bags and couches, one of the offsite guys discovered they couldn’t build. Big demo, due in a few hours, and no one could connect to the box – there was a small matter of a little memory leak that had gradually eaten up all resources on the build machine.

All in the grand scheme of things, so not a big deal, except for the groggy wakeup call requiring Mike to dig out the extra ‘office’ key and trudge 25 feet to go reboot the thing.

It’s not like the real old war stories, back in the days when a GM was a physical disc that a product manager risked life, limb, and points on their license to get on that last FedEx truck, only to discover a virus on the build box an hour later.

Lessons? Never install stuff you don’t need on your build box. Always keep your virus definitions updated. And whatever you do, don’t put your glass of icy cold water down on the sofa late at night.

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