Saturday, March 08, 2008


I've been thinking a lot about systems lately. I've been working on a system to analyze a new hosting service to see how it has been configured. Knowing this, I can tweak my projects to work properly on any given system.

I've also been thinking about a system to deal with new projects/clients. The benefits of such a practice would be that I wouldn't have to chance forgetting some piece or another of the process I have to go through to get them set up on my test server, set up a file for the project in question, and verify that a reasonable set of steps are in place to accomplish the task.

Part of the reason I've been thinking about this is that I was reminded tonight how much easier things are when I have a system in place. In this case, I was setting up for my quarterly LAN party. For those who don't know, this is an event where a bunch of grown men get together and connect their computers into a local area network (LAN) and then play computer games within which they try to kill each other -- repeatedly.

My wife tends to leave the house -- and often the state -- whenever I'm hosting one of these events.

Anyway, a couple of years ago, after spending 6 or 7 hours setting up for one of these parties, making mistakes that I made many times before, I decided that it was time to record all that I could think of in order to make the next one more efficient. Sure enough, it only took me about 2 hours on the next one. Each time I've refined the system, putting in any new contingencies which I uncover.

What was especially nice this time was that it's been 9 months since the last party (I'm not sure why there was such a long delay). Despite the hiatus, I was still able to get everything up and running in about 2 hours. Not bad!

So, what written systems to you have, for either your business or personal life?

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