Category Archives: Blog

Week 1

This week the CBC sent most of its employees who could reasonably work remotely home. It came fairly suddenly on Monday shortly after the federal government announced it’s formal recommendation, formalizing something that was starting to happen organically in various parts of the organization late last week.

The Data Centres team routinely is required to connect to systems remotely to deal with support requests and other operational needs off hours, so for us this is a lot less disruptive than it might be for a journalist or somebody whose primary job function requires a lot of face-to-face meetings. It’s still a strange experience. I’ve had jobs in the past where I often chose to work from home, but since I’ve been a member of the Data Centres team, I’ve generally only been working remotely when I’ve been sick or had an appointment or delivery that I needed to be at home for. This is a big adjustment. Not only is it less than ideal to not have my primary workstation setup, I’ve also been thrust into coordinating team meetings and other collaborative activities via telework tools that we don’t have a lot of experience with as a team, and with almost no warning.

The positive side of things is that everybody’s been pretty helpful and seems to be doing their best to adjust to the new circumstances, under the conditions there’s not much more I could ask for in this respect. We’re all in this together, and it could be a long haul depending on how things go and how seriously Canadians decide to take our guidance with respect to social distancing — a term we didn’t know a few weeks ago.

I’m going to make an effort to log the experience here. Even if this has been a very busy week that has left little time to dwell on the situation, I’m sure that once things settle in I’m going to have a lot of time to think about things, so this is as good an outlet as any. Might as well make lemonade out of this and try to do some non-work related writing, something that I’ve been doing much less of in the past several years.

It’s my birthday tomorrow, this is likely one that I won’t forget!

Social Distancing HOWTO

Toronto is now is an early stage of a pretty strange situation that none of us have probably ever faced before. I’ve been working from home for the past two days now and I’ve been trying to figure out just what the rules are.

The good news is that it turns out that not only are you allowed to go outdoors, at least for the time being, the official medical advice is to do so for your own health. Just try to avoid close contact with other people. So with that in mind I thought I’d share this useful guide that the City of Toronto has put together for people trying to navigate the current confusion.

COVID-19: Practicing Social Distancing

Leadership

I was listening to Neal Katyal talk about the law and ethics as it relates to governmental leadership and something he said helped me clarify my own thoughts on leadership. I’m generally somewhat averse to the culture of management in North America for a range of reasons, but I’ve never been able to articulate it, except in rants about bad managers and the like.

His point (paraphrased and layered with my own opinion) was this: leadership is a position of trust and not a position of personal gain; when your actions as a leader become about what is in your own personal best interest and not about what is in the best interest of the group you lead or the organization you are part of, then you need to step down.

You should see your reward for being a good leader as the success of your organization and your burnished reputation as a leader. This might (and perhaps should) lead to things like promotions or pay increases, but those should not be your primary goals.

Migration to Debian 10 complete

The servers that host this website have been successfully migrated from Debian 9 to a fresh installation of Debian 10. As part of this migration quay.net now resolves to 99.79.1.85 and is no longer available on the old server, hal9000.

This upgrade means that the website now supports TLSv1.3 and a number of other improvements. If you come across any missing content or bugs, please let me know.

Asking all Canadians to vote on October 21, 2019

At the best of times politics can be complicated and there are a lot of reasons to avoid its discussion online these days!

The 43rd Canadian general election will be held on Monday, October 21, 2019. Elections Canada has a very good website dedicated to information on a variety of topics including how to ensure you are registered to vote, what sort of ID is required, and how you can go about casting your ballot.

Frustration with Ottawa’s seeming inability to govern in a unifying manner and the divisive nature of modern politics leads to at lot of less than ideal outcomes. This situation has had the effect of pushing people away from the process instead of engaging the public with the issues that face us in the 21st century. I’ve always felt that one of Canada’s strengths is that collectively we are pretty reasonable people even when the political class and populist politicians engage in pointless and self-serving grand standing. Broad public participation is one form of insurance that our representatives in Ottawa remain engaged in the hard work and compromise required to maintain peace, order, and good government in the immense country, of not insignificant complexity, that is our inheritance and charge.

With this view I ask that you consider voting on October 21st.

Sincerely,
Gabriel