Range Chicken

Long long ago — back in the 1990s — I worked at a very interesting company, FTP Software, Inc. North Andover, MA. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FTP_Software FTP was a leader in PC-to-Unix networking, though they had PC to Windows connectivity as well.

One of the projects I was assigned in 1993 was to work on one of the first home networking products, based on FTP’s DOS client. The product was called Internet MCI. (MCI was a large telecommunications giant which was split up after it had financial difficulties. http://www.mci.com/)

We had to meet our deadlines, because one of the VPs at MCI told us about a term he had learned while working for a NASA contractor during the Apollo project days. The term was called range chicken. Needless to say, MCI did not want to be or associated with a range chicken.

A range chicken was determined when NASA lined up all the contractors and when through a readiness review. One by one NASA would say are you ready to launch? The first contractor to say they were not ready was called range chicken.

Well this week, I had to raise my hand and become range chicken. The contractor for our large water automated meter reading (AMR) project needs a sample data file from me, and I won’t be ready. The sample data file is due Thursday March 4, 2010.

My job does not allow me to be totally dedicated to development. There are meetings, emergencies, and regular day to day stuff that take away from the solitude needed to design software.

Well, I am range chicken this week, but that will not happen again.


Filed under work

2 responses to “Range Chicken

  1. The problems I occasionally have is when deadlines are moved without my input, or a client is slow to provide needed feedback or information, then gets irritated when the deadline can no longer be met because of it.

    • Octopusgrabbus

      In this case, it’s a dummy deadline. The way an AMR system works is the water utility supplies information about customer changes, meter #, [wireless] endpoint, name, address, service type, and so on, on a regular basis. We chose daily. In the reverse direction, we [the water utility] get daily reads. Our collector [towers] are not yet installed, so there is nothing for the only active endpoint in town (my house) to do, because there’s no collector installed to collect the reads from that endpoint. So, the customer synch data is not needed right now, but soon.

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