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Mercury in Retrograde

Since I'm back in New York this week and since I just last night went back to the New York SharePoint User Group for the second time, I thought I'd share the story of what happened to me the first time I came to the NYSPUG.  The text that follows was written on November 8th in a stream of consciousness  style and for some reason never got posted.

It just wasn't my day yesterday.  I was in New York to give a presentation.  I've admittedly not prepared for the presentation as much as I should have (read that as not prepared at all).  So the presentation is at 6.  I've got a 10-2:30 appointment (including travel time to and from).  This gives me about 6 hours to prepare.  For the first few hours everything goes OK.  Slide deck is done and I'm just scripting my demos into the notes section of the slide deck.  Then I get to the Microsoft offices in New York and everything goes downhill rapidly.  The VM won't cooperate and critical services won't load.  No time to debug.  Trying another VM and the problems that one is having is worse.  Try a third one, then a fourth.  Somewhere along the way I find one that will at least run the critical services - time to install InfoPath.  Now I've got less than an hour left to prepare and I'm trying to rebuild some demos.  Lots of the content I planned on showing off just gets set aside.  Finally it's time to present, ready or not.  I get up there and my laptop won't display the screen on the projector.  OK - I planned for that and brought a spare laptop.  Switcho-changeo and the video is on screen.  However the CD drive doesn't work and the USB slots only recognize 50% of the memory sticks containing PowerPoint.  Time to give the demo...singing and dancing occurs as operations which worked successfully less than 20 minutes ago in a room 30 feet away suddenly stop working.  Even in the middle of some operations bizarre things happen.  Step 1 and the URL to the site is recognized.  Step 2 in the same wizard process and the URL is not recognized!!!  Needless to say, the demos totally sucked, but I managed to sing and dance in front of the crowd (80-100 people present) and despite a barrage of technical problems, I got almost universally good reviews.  So after the meeting, Intellinet is sponsoring the social hour(s) at a nearby bar.  The guy in charge announces this and dashes off to make sure it's set up.  Everyone follows him.  Everyone except the people lined up to ask me questions.  The questioning goes on for so long that by the time I'm packed and ready to leave, there are only 2 people left, and none of us know where the bar is!  Fortunately, one of them remembered the name and they were kind enough to help me find it.  A $700 bar bill later, I'm back in the corporate apartment sleeping to get ready for my 6:00 am flight back to Indiana.  The next day, back in Indiana, I realize that I've left my power cord plugged into the Microsoft podium in NYC.  Then, in the very room where I realize I lost the laptop power cord, I plug my cellphone charger into the wall and then leave it behind too! [edit note - this was recovered the next week.]


I decided to title this post Mercury in Retrograde b/c while I was at that meeting, the local Microsoft rep babysitting the group introduced me to the concept when I was detailing everything that went wrong for me.  Mercury in Retrograde is apparently the astrological equivalent to Murphy's Law taking steroids and whaling on you.

Published 06-12-2007 09:08 by Matt Ranlett
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About Matt Ranlett

One of the two original Atlanta .NET Regular Guys, Matt fills his free time by helping to run several Atlanta area user groups, the Atlanta Code Camps, and works as one of the two INETA co-Vice Presidents of Technology
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