Team Dynamics

Chatting with Narthex today illustrated something that I haven’t been able to put my finger on before now: the power of a functional team dynamic in the workplace.

Before I go any further, I should point out that I like and respect all of my former co-workers. That said, the team blew chunks.

In the spring of 2004, I headed up a small development team on a software project. In the end, the client was a nightmare, the client data was worse, and we fell behind. But I still had a team. We still made it a point to do stupid things like play Unreal Tournament and watch movies. Why? Because if you don’t do things like that, people won’t want to pull 110% when it comes to be crunch time. After that project finished, the cash flow problems started, and my entire team was layed off. Eight months later, with a huge sigh of relief, I resigned.

Those last months with the company are some of the worst times of my career. We had no leadership, no cohesivness. All the remaining employees were simply concerned with saving thier own skins, and frankly, it sucked ass.

Compare that to my current job. I feel like a valued and respected part of a team. The bosses know how to pull people together, from simple movie trips to four day retreats in the Keys when crunch time came. It’s remarkable. (Which, oddly enough, is why I’m remarking on it.)

Only going back to my ISP days, where we all played darts and pool, and sat around griping about clients to one another, have I worked in such a healthy environment.

Here’s to hope that it lasts a while.


Sprint Treo 650 Versamail Crashes

My Treo 650 is, by far, the most fantastic communications device I have ever used. It does, however, have a major flaw. The e-mail application that ships (in ROM) with the handheld is a buggy piece of crap. Versamail, even the 3.1c version (the latest), contains a fatal flaw. At some point, it’s going to start ‘looping’. That is, every time you launch the app, it’s going to soft reset the 650. As one comment in a forum put it, “So basically, you have a ‘crash me’ button on the front of your phone.” Not the best design feature.

This morning, my Treo started this behavior. This is the second time I’ve dealt with the issue, and I figured that I should record my fix here for posterity. For the record, this is taken from several sources I found thanks to Google, and it definitely not the most ‘surgical’ approach. In fact, it’s the sledgehammer approach. Anyone using this should know two things before getting started. 1. It involves a hard reset of your device, and 2. you lose all the email, attachments and Versamail settings on the device.

  1. Hot sync the Treo.
  2. Perform a hard reset. On the Treo 650: take off the battery cover, hold down the power button, and press the reset button with the stylus. Wait until the circular Palm logo appears, then release the power button. Press up on the D-Pad, and everything just went, *poof*. Follow on screen instructions from there.
  3. Open the Palm user Backup directory, typically, DRIVE:\Program Files\palmOne\<DeviceName>\Backup
  4. Delete (or simply remove) the following files: MultiMail_Attachments.PDB, MultiMail_Disconnected.PDB, and MultiMail_Messages.PDB. These contain your Versamail messages, attachments, and account settings.
  5. Hot sync the Treo again. When prompted, choose the the existing username that was associated with the device before the hard reset.
  6. At this point, the device should be back to the state it was in prior to step 2, with the exception of Versamail. Versamail is a clean slate at this point – which was the initial goal.

You can renew the Versamail settings by going into Palm Desktop and then Hot syncing again. All your messages are gone, but the account settings are restored.

This procedure works well for me simply because I use Versamail to keep track of my messages from anywhere, but I don’t care about storing mail long term. So the loss of mail and attachments doesn’t bother me. If it bothers you, yo might want to think twice before trying this. There are other solutions out there that include a third party utility, deleting files from your handheld, etc. But the time investment there wasn’t worth it to me.

Hope this helps someone.

Malicious Software Removal Tool

My workstation this morning had updates from Microsoft to install. Namely the “Malicious Software Removal Tool”. Is it just me, or is this thing just oddly implemented. It has no user interface that I can find, so I can only assume that it does its scans… well, I don’t know when. When it’s updated? On some schedule that I can’t control? WTF?

I hate stupid software.