Sunday, March 11, 2007

Mission: Boston

It was seven years ago that I went to Boston the first time but I'm not sure if it really counts. Sure, I was staying at the Club Quarters downtown but the most I saw of the city was on my short walk to the T (subway) station where I'd hop a train to the business park area on the outskirts of town (last stop) and trudge my way to the office where I was stationed for a week.

I had been sent out to Boston to kick some ass and chew some bubblegum but I had forgotten to pack any bubblegum. I was to pick up some major slack in a project for Fleet Bank that the Boston office had picked up. The details are vague. I remember there not being a username or password set up for me and that I wasted a day waiting for the local IT guy to set me up with that and some much-needed software. After that it was days of sifting through some Dreamweaver-generated HTML trying to make sense of it all while cutting back the porcine code. I have no love for over-written HTML and simplifying the site while building out as many new pages as I could possibly muster during my time there (and while their software engineers were apparently engaged in other tasks) became my raison d'etre.

Overall, I didn't get much done. The unpreparedness shown with the machine I worked on typified the entire experience. I built the hooks where another developer could put in needed functionality and gave the site a sensible structure for anyone else unfortunate enough to work on it. I suppose, too, that this same lack of preparation shone in my travel arrangements. I wasted over an hour a day commuting to the job sight while there was a bevy of hotels (competitively priced, no doubt) that I walked past on my way from the train station to the office. More work, less commute. After all, I wasn't there for tourism. I was there to be some kind of avenging angel to put the project back on track. When I finally headed back to Detroit I don't know if I had made much impact. I hadn't been allowed to.

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