My Account of KY’s Ice Storm 2009

Here’s my account of the earlier parts of Ice Storm 2009. The times aren’t entirely accurate, but are sort of close.

Tuesday, late afternoon and evening –

Classes officially cancelled for the night. I have a bad feeling about this one.

Wednesday –

4:00 AM

Barely got any sleep. Power’s gone. Cell’s gone. I’m going to scope out our setup at I&T building. Hopefully it is still operational and we have a place to go.

4:30 AM

Servers are all up, I&T is whirring. The power is on upstairs in the E-panel outlets and that looks like it will be our home base. Headed to dorms to see if GF is ok.

4:45 AM

Can’t get ahold of GF. No land line, no cell, and desk worker won’t let me in and won’t go check. I don’t think they realize how serious this situation has become. I am not amused. Headed back home to pick up supplies and JB, a co-worker who lives nearby.

5:30 AM

JB and I have set up at I&T. He has packed up a lot of stuff. Coffee is on. He is setting up some kind of stove that runs on gas used for camping. Internet is operational, but quiet. No one is online. Still trying to figure everything out.

Snow has started to pour down.

6:50 AM

We just ate some Ramen noodles. I called public safety, letting them know I can update and wrote down a statement from our emergency coordinator. The university is closed today. Wow, this is bad. Called my manager – he will be heading this way. Can’t get WPSD online, can’t pick up any radio stations (or their websites) besides WKMS.

8:15 AM

Frantically trying to get ahold of someone who can inform us of our generator’s power. How long will we be on until we fail to battery? More co-workers are here. We apparently have a water pressure problem. None is flowing. We are heading around campus to pick up friends and family that will be huddling up in the I&T building.

9:00 AM

Loved ones have been rounded up. They’re a little confused (it’s still early) but I think they understand what’s going on. We have made contact with most of our group, but not everyone. I hope they’re okay!

The new public safety building is called the Emergency Operations Center and is serving the entire area. Apparently the generator has 6 hours left unless it is refueled. We are starting to make a list of essential servers that have to remain up (and their dependencies) along with a server shutdown order. All I can think of is our DR meetings. And payroll.


Generator is being refueled. YES!!!!!!!! 350 Gallons of Diesel should keep us up for a good amount of time.


Making a run for more supplies now that we understand how bad things really are… we need food, trash bags, disposable utensils/plates, blankets, pillows, everything.


We eventually headed to Owensboro (my hometown) and camped out at my mom and dad’s house. Two weeks prior, they had skipped town and went to Florida.


New Geek Tools: Assembla, RescueTime, Xobni

Assembla packages SVN hosting, Trac, Wikis, Real Time Chat, Ticketing, and emails on repository commits. “It’s too hard to set up” is usually an excuse to not use SCM tools… but Assembla gets you going quickly. We now use it on BibleShark. Ask me if you want to take a look at our setup on Assembla.

Here’s a screenshot of a commit I did a while back for Google Analytics ga.js update:

RescueTime tracks what application has your focus and for how long. I can’t wait to see this product grow, they got their initial funding by YCombinator.

Here’s a screenshot of a recent RescueTime:

Xobni adds message sender/context, a better search, and email analytics your Outlook.

Here’s a screenshot of the pane it adds to your inbox:

Here’s a screenshot of inbox analytics from Xobni:

Comment if you want an invite, I’ve got a few left.

Painfully Obvious Recommendations


Hmm, I guess I’ll defrag it.

Web Developer Work Mindsets

Of course, this does not apply to me. This is information I’ve gleaned over the years talking to friends. These are the mindsets a typical web developer goes through while at work, maybe even turning into each one of these in a single day.


Generally seen in first few months of employment. Starter can single handedly handle any project thrown at him/her. Starter doesn’t need any help. Most time spent working hard proving worth to other team members/superiors. Starter does not have the ability to say no.


Planner is a distant cousin to Doorman and Doc. Planner will spend all of his/her time drawing flow charts and ER diagrams, knowing the ins and outs of each process. Planner’s applications never get implemented – or they are total failures/washes that never see the light of day past an alpha version.


Doorman is about to quit. Doorman feels like he/she should leave on a good note, so often turns to Doc. Doorman feels karmically obligated to document everything, leave plenty of notes, and document all processes or even provide training to new employees. Since Doorman was once Starter, Doorman knows how it feels.


Doc feels like he/she must document every single activity done, even down to using the bathroom. Doc must optimize all hours spent on the clock and prove to superiors that he is a worthy investment. Doc doesn’t realize that he could do that much more effectively by not being Doc and just being becoming Zone.


People often get Thief and Fire Chief confused. They do kind of rhyme… but that’s where their similarities stop. Thief just has to get the job done — the difference is Thief does it just so people will leave him/her alone. Thief goes out to websites with similar projects and will just modify copy/pasted code and call it their own.


This beast is hardly seen. Most often sighted around holiday weekends or after hours. Zone can be identified with its unique ear coverings, usually called headphones which drown out all other distracting noise and actually enables Zone to be productive. In the event that Zone is interrupted, a varying hibernation ensues. The Zone’s Hibernation period is directly proportional to the length of the stay in the zone.

Fire Chief

A lot depends on the workplace — you could just be thrown into a Fire Chief position, or create on for yourself while being Launcher.Fire Chief is so disorganized he/she has no idea what to do until a user comes with a fire to put out. Fire Chief only brings quick dirty fixes and ultimately creates much more work for everyone… but who cares? The fire got put out.


In search of perfection, Seeker looks for a new platform/language/process because he/she is currently unsatisfied with how much work is going into trivial tasks. Seeker never really lasts, and ultimately reverts to Guardian.


Guardian is completely satisfied with his/her current situation, even if it can be done faster/better in another environment. Guardian will even gladly do more work and brag about how ‘it compiles faster’. Guardian is the cause of just as many problems as Fire Chief, the problems created by Guardian are just much longer lasting.


Bartender operates under many aliases – most notably Dude-From-Office-Space-Construction-Worker. All Bartender can do is think about how badly he/she wants to not be working with computers ever again. Even with less money, it’s worth it to Bartender. Bartender never takes action.

Feel free to comment additional ones =)