This is splorp.

ISSN 1496-3221


February 15, 2003

The server god.

About twelve years ago, when I first worked for Image Club Graphics, our office inhabited a renovated warehouse just east of the downtown core. (As a little bit of calgary-related web trivia, this was the same building that currently houses the folks behind iStockPhoto, Webcore Labs, and Evolvs.)

The point of telling you about this warehouse is to set up a Valentine’s day story. No, really.

At the time we occupied that old warehouse, it had been lightly modernized. This meant that there was running water and clean washrooms and electricity and the like. What hadn’t been modernized was the roof. It’s leaked a little bit. In fact, it leaked a little bit directly over our file server. Our valuable, mission-critical file server consisted of an Macintosh SE/30 motherboard stuffed into an SE case running AppleShare 2.0 under System 6. It also sported a third party composite video card because the original internal 9-inch monitor had given up the ghost a year prior. All this, plus a 1x CD drive.

But I digress.

The server was encased in it’s own enclosure salvaged from an old noise-dampening printer hood. The enclosure deflected most of the drips, but not all of the them. Since the leak in the roof really wasn’t a constant stream, and it certainly wasn’t getting any worse with time, we left the server where it was and found another solution. Anyone who used to string daisy-chained AppleTalk cable through an office with more than three computers will understand why we didn’t really want to move the server. Once that network was connected and running, you didn’t touch anything. Getting back to the story, which isn’t about the network or the server at all. The story is about what I used as the solution to the leaking roof problem. Remember the leaking roof?

At one point I had brought a small cactus to work in order to add a bit of nature to my desk. I can’t remember what the cactus was originally planted in, but it ended up occupying a white, German-manufactured 8 ounce coffee cup. The fact that it was made in Germany has absolutely no bearing on the story, but I thought you might appreciate my innate attention to detail. Since the server was about three feet away from my desk, the cactus in the cup ended up sitting on top of the server enclosure directly beneath the leak in the roof. It also became known as the server god. Each time we moved to larger office space, the server god came with me. It sat on my desk, on top of my monitor, or on the window sill, all the while occupying that same coffee cup. When I finally left EyeWire, the server god came home with me, taking up refuge on the sill of the bay window in the kitchen. As happens with succulents, the cactus had been slowly outgrowing its surroundings. A chop stick had been stuffed into the peaty soil to keep it from teetering over and out of the confines of the cup. A repotting was way overdue.

And that’s how we get to the Valentine’s day part of the story.

Remember Valentine’s day?

My wife and I decided to limit ourselves to spending no more than five dollars on each other for Valentine’s day this year. It’s a lot harder than it sounds. You end up having to think really hard about it, and it makes the gift that much more special. Teri spent a goodly portion of her five spot on a new terra cotta pot. A new pot for the server god. I blinked and smiled, impressed with the thought she had put into the gift. I think the server god was secretly pleased as well.

This item was posted by Grant Hutchinson.


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