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Down Time


Tempus fugit

One of the many things I miss from the “old days”, these would be the days in the 80s and 90s, is scheduled down time.  Scheduled downtime was a predefined period during which network servers would be shut down or at least not available to the end users. During downtime technical staff was able to perform maintenance, repairs and upgrades to servers.

In the 80s, scheduled downtime used to be whenever the computer guy decided to have it.  It could even occur during the middle of a work day.  Such was the power of the Computer Guy in the 80s. During midday downtime in the 80s, end users would work on their computers, with local software and local files and still be productive. They would speak in hushed tones, waiting patiently, for email and network drives to return.

By the early 90s, scheduled downtime was moved to weekday nights. By the late 90s it was banished to some part of the weekend.

These days, “the 00s?” scheduled down time is no longer available.  Staff works till well after 5pm, then, after they reach home, they remote in to work some more.  Weekends are used to catch up or prepare for Monday morning meetings.

And should you try to schedule some downtime at 1 a.m., two things will happen: First, all the blackberries will alarm their owners. Second, regardless how innocuous the work, something will go wrong and will require till 10 a.m. the next day to fix.

There is really only one solution; I propose that people start taking weekends off. 

A.G. Buckham – Monotony is the awful reward of the careful.