Kernel Panic

I’ve been thinking for over two years about how to talk about this, how to talk about the day I couldn’t process anymore. The day where my bullshit buffers overflowed. The day of my internal kernel panic. When starved for resources, my brain finally threw up a PSOD, and quit.

vmstan 1.0 build 11091983
PCPU 0 locked up. Failed to ack.
frame=4C lbs=E1 age=21
VMK uptime: 9:15:33:45.014
No coredump target configured

If there were some predictive analytics running on me back then, it would have been evident that this was coming for a long time. Unbeknownst to anyone else, I knew that I couldn’t keep up and that I couldn’t go on forever in my degraded state. The warning signs were all there, but no one was reading the logs.

The root cause analysis would tell you: lousy code embedded on possibly flawed hardware. No permanent fix, but mitigations are available.

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Feeling Helpless

For a while, what transpired in the aftermath of that night, left me feeling betrayed by some people that I thought I could trust, and feeling helpless. Like so many times in life before, I was told by those who had the power to stop what was going on, that there was nothing they were willing to do, that this was my problem, and that I was to blame. My pain was always my fault. It’s never the responsibility of the people who were inflicting it.

Kernel Panic

I sat there motionless, unable to speak.

I could have said something, anything, but I didn’t know what to say. It was the mental equivalent to getting the wind knocked out of me. Instead, I just sat there and focused all my attention at the water bottle sitting in front of me.

It was a dimly lit room, where I sat at the end of a long narrow conference room table, with the window behind me and the door at the opposite end of the room. To my left was my direct manager, who almost six years prior had been the one to call and offer me the job, but less than a month before this day had told me that she didn’t believe me. “Delete your account,” was her advice.

On my right was the human resources director, who’d been in that role the entire time I had worked there, and who had pleasantly reminded me shortly before the meeting, that “sometimes life is hard.” Towards the end of the table was the CEO, who’d just been hired from outside the firm at the end of the previous year.

“If you can’t handle working here, you have technical skills that you can take somewhere else.”

Those were the words from a man I barely knew, but up until that point seemed like he would have been a force for change in an organization that desperately needed it, words that left me hollowed-out inside. I like to think he didn’t mean it to be a cruel statement, but in that moment it sucked the life out of me.

Six years of service ignored, my state of mind, ignored.

The meeting on this Monday afternoon had started with an apology, from me. Hours before the start of the weekend, in a trance fueled by a dump of adrenaline, I’d called and left my manager a voicemail that I would come to regret, where I demanded that the company help me, but said the magic words that would suddenly make me a threat. Now, here we were three days later, sitting in silence.

Other words were said, but I don’t remember the details. I asked to leave the room, went into the stairwell of our building, and broke down. I stumbled out of the building and out to the van where my wife was had been waiting with our children in the car. The next time I’d ever set foot in that office would be the last time.

It was in the front seat that the rage escaped my body; I screamed and repeatedly punched the dashboard of the vehicle. My wife pulled the car out of the parking lost and drove me to my already scheduled doctor’s appointment.

My blood pressure baseline is generally 118/79; that afternoon, the reading was 130/92.

Shine On

Once upon a time there was a meeting of minds,
The sun and the moon made a deal with the sky,
One would take the morning and the other the night,
Together they would blanket the world with light,
But the moon had a shadow, he felt like a liar,
The sun was the only one who carried the fire,
The sun saw this, she kept on glowing,
Bound to the moon, never saying, “you owe me”
She said “I’ll shine on you.” Jason Mraz

Who will you shine on today?

VMware TAM

I have accepted a job with VMware, as a Technical Account Manager (TAM).

To say I’m excited about this would be a gross understatement. VMware has been the company I’ve spent the majority of my technical focus on up to this point, and since announcing this change on Twitter last week I’ve been thrilled with the replies like “I’ve been here 4 years and it’s an amazing place to work.” During the interview process, one of the current TAM’s told me point blank: “This is the best job I’ve had in my career.” All of this has maintained a level of anticipation about this career change that I’ve not had for any other.

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Doorbell Tweets

I received a lot of feedback from my tweet about ditching a new Ring for Nest Hello.

Rather than tweetstorm it up, I’ll try and summarize it all here as to why I’m switching.

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Define Essential

Two weeks ago, after regretfully trying to use the iOS 11 developer betas on my primary devices, I was forced by general instability to roll back to iOS 10.

Unfortunately, there’s no great way to do this without doing a restore and fresh install. I had a backup from iOS 10 that I’d taken prior to jumping on the beta train, but it was old now. This process is further complicated by the way Apple Watch activity and health data is really maintained on the phone, not the watch itself.

The result was I ended up fresh installing iOS 10.3.3 (beta 6) on my iPhone 7 and iPad Pro 10.5”, as well as doing a factory reset of my Watch. It also meant losing a couple years worth of workout data, awards and streaks. But such is beta life. It did give me an opportunity to reassess what gets installed on these devices. I find it helpful to mix things up from time to time, even going as far as doing a reset of my app icon layouts periodically to reshuffle the deck chairs and throw out any old cruft hiding in corners. One of my favorite activities is to delete apps that don’t get used anymore, or used enough to take up my attention.

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