Thursday, March 27, 2008

A new journey is about to begin

I have been working for iBAHN for nearly 7.5 years. For more than 6 1/2 years, I have had the privilege of working with Doug. I had left STSN (the original name of iBAHN) after working here for about 6 months, and I went to work at Alcatel where Doug was doing a great job. After three months, however, I was unable to figure out what they wanted or develop anything, and so I worked out a deal with Jan Dehoop at STSN to hire both me and Doug.

We started out working on the old IRMs, but as things progressed over the next several months, we were given problem after problem to solve, and began to do things such as:
  • Support 3rd-party devices
  • Reduce cost of installs
  • Develop our own switch
  • Invent the HEP-300 gateway - a very revolutionary idea that took our in-room solution, handled the network traffic for a entire hotel, spoofed all access to the hardware so that the property controls didn't have to change, used port VLANs in a new, unforeseen manner, to provide security.
  • Ported the entire HEP from VxWorks to Linux in less than three months, solving numerous technical difficulties along the way

And it has been a great ride. We had so much fun as we worked, coming up with unique product names like Redwood, and project Sequoia, as well as unique project names such as the Solitary Saturn Project (to make a stand-alone HEP not requiring controls). Our coding style would make one laugh to see when we started using SOAP protocols, we named all of our SOAP variables after animals, like soapyGrizzly, or soapyMonkey. Then, of course, we had to make up funny error messages, like "The soapy Emu ate my Timeu", or "The soapyGrizzly was so dangerous looking, that the controls didn't send any ManagedDevices!". And let's not forget some of the crazy variable names like superDuperLoopyCounter, or
NeedToWriteConfigDataToFlashButItHasNotBeenLongEnoughYet. Talk about fun!

And then there were our old checkin comments to CVS - which, thankfully, are now gone with the repository, though there are still some very funny ones out there. Sometimes we would write complete stories or jokes, or short little things like "made a change", or "Doug said I had to do this". We also came up with the DB^2 moniker - basically meaning that Doug and I were better than 2 people exponentially - because we were so good at working together. It turned out that each of us do extremely well on our own also.

A few years ago, Doug moved to Avon, Indiana, and began to work on the Controls side of things, the Java world. I continued to develop HEP firmware and update Linux Kernels, work on network drivers, etc. Doug proved himself to be more than capable of becoming an expert on yet another technology, and has recently been given a huge promotion to software engineering manager. In that position, he takes on the management of the entire team of developers in India, as well as manages all of the software tasks and assignments. I am very proud of him.

Now, on my birthday this coming Monday, I am staring a new job at Blue Coat Systems. It is a little scary, because they are asking me to invent a whole new product line, essentially, and head up the development and design team. I am confident, however, that the Lord will help me and watch over me. I will help out a little here and there for iBAHN as a contractor, but my new focus will be Blue Coat and their requirements.

And now, as I say goodbye to a wonderful chapter in my life, I must say that I love you, Doug, and I pray for you to continue successful in your career and in life. I await the day you return to live close to our family here in Utah, but I am always with you anyway.


Burns Bunch said...

Thanks Darrell for your nice words and for bringing back those great memories. I have loved the time we've spent working together! This new chapter in our lives is scary, but we will be okay if we continue to trust in the Lord and put forth our best effort. I love you. You are such a great brother!