looking for a few good ideas

  amongst the irregular verbiage

Day 1 of the training course

After an initial problem with the mailserver settings in my laptop configuration, all systems are go!

I set the wakeup call for 6:00 but strangely I woke up at 5:49. I don't know why this happens, but my body clock seems to kick in when it really matters. I should trust it more, but whenever I do, it fails me. I think that it's the physical/psychological act of setting an alarm that also sets the body clock.

After a leasurely shower I got dressed and went downstairs and found some breakfast at the Au Bon Pain area in the lobby, read the paper and my Sci-Fi book until Eric showed up half an hour later.

We decided to drive over to Siebel early in case we got lost. Not much chance of that, but 5 minutes later we were driving around in circles around the building saying "now, which building is Siebel? What's the building number? Where are we supposed to be?" and Eric got his laptop bag out and looked up the building number, and floor number.

OK, so it was good to be early, but then we waited for an hour as Siebel personnel woke up and came into work. The class started at 9:00.

There's about 20 people in the class, from all over the states. Two women.

There's no room for laptops on the desks - we each have a workstation with an IBM 19inch monitor, it goes up to 1600x1200 @ 85Hz, very nice, very nice indeed as Derek would say.

Mr Hendrix the instructor made a point of saying that because we were missing a day, we would have longer days, possibly even as late as 6:00pm. That isn't going to work for me and Eric, my plane on Friday is at 7:25 and even the people at Avis suggested allowing an extra hour for the return of the rental car alone.

The course is going ok so far. It's funny to hear the instructor apologise for the Siebel-esque language and terms, saying up front that even though some aspects of the product were odd and we might like to ask "why?!?!", he wasn't going to answer those types of questions unless we took him out to dinner. Seeing as he is not at all appealing, I suspect that this won't happen.

We did have an initial session on Siebel Terminology, and from that baseline we're just expected to accept it and Move On.

We're now halfway through day 1 and it is going to slow for me. I've been finishing the labs in a quarter of the time, and speed ahead in the lab book.

I confess that so far I rather like the Siebel application, in part I guess because of the high-end hardware we're using (600MHz, 512MB RAM) and the fact that everything is local, and the machines have all been ghosted and therefore are "clean, new" windows installations. ( The instructor can actually re-ghost all the other workstations from an icon on his desktop - pretty cool).

We'll see - we're supposed to cover installation, administration and configuration later this week. So far it's all been "learning to navigate in Siebel".

Also, it hasn't crashed or anything, the sample data is pretty comprehensive so you get a feel of working with a real app - and the step by step labs don't let you get confused or lost. If I tried to do something interesting and independent I'm sure Siebel would turn on me and I'd be stuck.

They do have laptop stations with data ports in other parts of the floor. So I'm set up here in the lunchroom. Officially its lunch break, everyone else has gone out to find the deli somewhere in the building (It's a big black building with IBM as well as Siebel resident here, so the on-site food is pretty good, apparently) but I'm still full from breakfast.

The afternoon got a bit wearing, jetlag kicked in and I found it very hard to concentrate. We seemed to spend the entire afternoon on why record visibility is so complex in the Call Center app. Seems there are four different user attributes that control which records you can see. Of course I don't give a shit about record visibility. I'm sure we'll be tested on it later though.

There is a big box of course materials including three spiral-bound books of slides and notes, and another spiral-bound book of labs, with worked solutions. Real easy to follow, trouble is is that it isn't the stuff we really want to know... CD's, copy of SiebelBookshelf 6.0.1 and some other web-based courses on CD.

At the course today, the instructor pointed out that because we were out in the wops, there was a brochure about a nearby town where there were lots of interesting restaurants to check out. After the course was over, Eric and I went back to the hotel, and then drove out to this place and cruised up and down the street (effect ruined by the fact that it was the middle of rush hour) looking for a micro-brewery or similar. Found several, all closed. Is Monday night!

Finally settled on a place called Mongolian Grill, which was more like tepanyaki, but really fun.  You grab a bowl, go to the table of ingredients (like Iron Chef) and fill the bowl, then add oil and spices and stuff, and take it to the central grill station where they cook your selection for you, with sticks like giant chopsticks.

Eric dropped me back at the hotel and went off to see The Mummy Returns at the nearby picture theatre.