Kevin Fact 5: Help Policy

My policy about helping my friends, teammates, and subordinates (for lack of a better word) is to help those that make an effort to help themselves. I will go out of my way to assist (with physical help, reminders, suggestions) those that work hard, and try. Antipathy falls on those who are disinterested, lazy, or apathetic. People that know me know this fact.

Now, you know this fact. Now, you know me better.

On Hiring...

CIT HelpDesk Mac Team is hiring! Starting $9.25/hr. http://amber.cit.cornell.edu/citweb/jobs/

HelpDesk Training

Tomorrow is the big day when freshmen start moving in. In these past two days, we've been getting back on track and starting to focus on the future.

And today's HelpDesk training, presentations, and group activities evoked nostalgic memories of running summer camp counselor meetings and having fun.

I remember when I used to have fun. It was quite a while ago. Yeah...

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I have not woken up prior to 5:00 am since my last day of work with National Grid. But I intend to keep the same sleeping schedule as I have been throughout the fall, spring, and summer, waking up around 5:30 and sleeping no later than 23:00.

I guess I just need to find my groove back.

National Grid Term 2 Reflection

See National Grid Miscellany.

I returned to National Grid at Hicksville, Long Island and began the second term of my co-op assignment almost immediately after leaving Cornell for the summer. I continued my work with the Power Engineering Department that focuses on power generation. The department provides engineering support on maintaining and improving the eleven steam units in five power stations and several other gas turbine sites that produce electric energy by burning fuel oil or natural gas. Specifically, I was a part of the Plant Project Engineering & Mechanical Design group, but I also had the opportunity to work with members from other groups in the department.

Upon my return this summer, I was able to follow up with the senior project engineer I worked with previously on several of the projects I was involved in last time. It was fulfilling to hear about how projects from the fall turned out. In addition, I continued my participation with the development of a company-wide plant maintenance program for pressure and safety relief valves by studying industry standards, managing data, and meeting with plant managers. We were evaluating the costs, procedure, and framework for routine inspections of these valves in all the power stations. Field trips were frequent, and I had an opportunity to revisit many of the power stations on Long Island.

For the most part, I was able to pick up where I left off last time. But the difference between this work term and my first one was clearly evident. Though I was given fewer assignments this summer, I was simultaneously involved in a number of longer-term, more involved projects and had a vital part in AutoCAD drawing revisions, data management, thermodynamic calculations, and pipe analysis. I worked more independently than I had previously, which was particularly welcomed. I was also given more responsibility in my work, and I had to collaborate with other engineers on work statuses and keep them informed of the issues I encountered, on my decisions, and on how I attacked certain problems.

I discovered that between the assignments I was given and the more substantial projects I participated in, the things I learned at Cornell proved very useful in intuiting and understanding operating processes and components. Classes like Thermodynamics, Heat Transfer, and Fluid Mechanics had immediate applications to the type of work in which I was involved. While I was excited to see that the classes I took and the things I learned in school had a positive impact on my ability to perform at work, I was more excited to discover that there is always more to learn on the job. I have learned about how plant processes work and how project engineering applies to everything we do.

But the greatest things I have learned while working at National Grid had little to do with engineering or technical learning. I consider myself fortunate to have been surrounded by many interesting people who shared their stories with me and who taught me countless things about various topics. Working at National Grid in Hicksville, Long Island has given me opportunities and experiences that I don’t think I would have otherwise had. I enjoyed working with the people there; it was a pleasure.

National Grid Miscellany

Tomorrow will be my last day with National Grid. As with all things that come and go, this departure from real-world engineering and from co-workers will be bitter sweet. These last two weeks have been my busiest. I have been trying to tie up loose ends and prepare my open projects and pending assignments for others to review and access. I have so far been unsuccessful.

I also haven't gotten around to writing my Job Summary for this summer work term. Last time, I was able to spend a good week revising and writing a decent essay, Term 1 Reflection. This time, unfortunately, I will probably spend no more than a few hours on it, basing it off the previous version. This biggest difference between the two terms is probably that I had more independence this time around, working on a few bigger projects (ones that I really have little idea how to do), rather than many simpler ones (ones that were fun, but often too quickly completed).

In other news, I think I will start keeping a scrap book / book-bound personal journal of my life, in addition to my public USuMBS Blog. I have been keeping a work log and writing down miscellaneous facts and ideas during my two co-op terms. It's nice to look back and reflect.

Note: photographic memory is not an indicator of intelligence.

On Backing Up

Many years ago, back in the early Windows XP days, I was burned once when my PC's hard drive failed on me. Of course, only after I had lost some files, after reports need to be rewritten, and after my personal family photos were irrecoverable did I make it a point to be meticulous about my own data storage and data recovery protocol.

Anyone who knows me knows about my plethora of external hard drives that sit on my desk at school, in addition to the Drobo sitting at home, and other miscellaneous hard drives and flash drives. I have calculated that I have about 7.5 TB of storage that is readily accessible to me, 6 of which are for archiving and backing-up.

From my experience, I believe the best and most comprehensive back-up procedure is one that's: (1) redundant, (2) easily accessible, (3) offsite, and (4) automatic. If any of the four is not fulfilled, then the system is merely superficial and cannot protect against most practical cases.

I am guilty of not fully satisfying (3), i.e. if my house blew up one day (knock on particle board), I would lose about 90% of my digital life. And apparently, my (4) isn't as automatic as it could've been.

Last night, while copying from the external hard drive with my most precious data (the silver one) to my 4 TB Drobo, the external hard drive suddenly failed on me, right as I was transferring several GB of digital photos. How's that for irony? I know have digital photos that I will likely not recover. I know I lost a few miscellaneous video files. But I know that my school documents are safe (absolutely always backed up in several places at any one time since it IS my bread and butter). Still, I am not completely certain what else is lost.

All I can say is, @#$%. Geez.