May 5, 2000: Go Live Day!

Cinco de Mayo!

Today was a huge day for Andy and I.  When we first came to Pittsburgh in March our schedule for getting the Waste Watcher project up and running and “live” was May 1st.  That day was insanely ambitious and it was not realistic at all for the project to move that quickly.  But we did all that we could.  May 1st was Monday.  Today is Friday.
Since March 20th we have been working around the clock on this project.  Everything that we have done has been eating, sleeping and breathing this project.  Sixteen hour days, seven days a week has been almost constant.  We have been going completely crazy – barely taking time out to eat and neither of us has so much as seen a single television show, movie or anything else since we were here (except for that first weekend with my parents.)

We did not manage to “flip the switch” on the Waste Watcher as we had hoping on the first but we did flip it today and the first “production” data started flowing into the Waste Watcher system this morning.  The project is far from done but just getting to this phase and already replacing the paper processes at the first hospital location is a really big deal.  Today is a major celebratory day.

The new machines that are being used for the production tracking stations are Compaq iPaq Celeron 533 black and silver small form factor units with 64MB.  These are the first machines that we have worked with that run Windows 2000 Professional.  We had originally chosen these machines because of their low air-flow and forward looking design.  But quickly we discovered that RS232 serial communications was a critical piece of the system and that these units, needing USB to Serial adapters, were overly complex and error prone.

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