Seen and Not Heard

Children should be seen and not heard. Silence is a woman's best garment. Aren't proverbs great? But I'm done with being quiet.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Learning New Stuff

About two years ago I was given the task at work to take files already created by the county, modify them to work with the Sheriff's Department system, and create a map that would display in our system for dispatchers and deputies in the field. This map would display calls as they came in, and show the location of deputies once we got AVL working in the vehicles. Naturally I had to get the AVL working too.

Keep in mind, I knew nothing about any of this stuff before I was tasked with making it work. I've never taken any classes in Geography, and I'd never worked with GPS before. I was told to make it work, so I set out to do so.

As soon as we had a semi working map, and could test with a vehicle, I looked up all the documentation on how to program our GPS devices, the modems in the cars, and found out what protocol was needed, where the packets needed to be sent, everything... except it didn't seem to work.

Finally, the guy working with me from our provider asked me, "Stupid question, but do you have a GPS antenna attached to this modem?"

I paused a moment. "Stupid answer," I told him, "but of course not."

I now tell this story to the people I'm trying to teach how to program these modems. I figure it makes me a little more human when I hand them pages of written instructions, including carefully scripted AT commands that need to be typed in, and I can do it and explain it, and troubleshoot, and deal with and explain any issues that come up, without ever looking at any notes (we're talking a half hour procedure here, assuming all goes well).

This Sunday I'm flying to Houston to take a week long class on HP Blade PC's. I've been working with the blade's since December. We have HP writing a special fix for us. At this point, I'm half expecting to be correcting the instructor... "Sorry, but actually, unless you have the fix, which HP is still working on, that feature doesn't work with XP SP3."

I'm just hoping that by the time I come back I'll at least know enough to not have the "stupid answer."


  • At May 29, 2011 6:55 PM, Blogger John said…

    I laughed so hard when I read your blog entry. I didn't quite do the same thing when I first started working with GPS, but I had a similar approach to all the stuff I didn't know. Great post.


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