Work is Good

I’ve been at my new job for almost a month. I’ve been pretty busy and the work is challenging. I’m a consultant, so the pressure is on to deliver results consistent with my terms of reference. I was lonely at first, but I’m slowly making friends now. For instance: I am investigating joining the running club. They go running at lunch time a few days a week. In related news, I’ve discovered there’s a gym at my apartment complex (complete with a sauna). I’ve been going after work lately to work out, but it’s pretty lonely by myself, and you know I’m ADHD — it’d be great if I had people to work out with! I ran five kilometers tonight but I only have a pair of Converse, so it was far from optimal running conditions. I’ll look into buying a pair of running shoes this week.

Alan at his desk at ILRI
Alan at his desk at ILRI

I used to sit at this desk in the library, alone in a cubicle in the corner. I’ve since moved to a new desk which is in a warmer room. It was a good move, though I’m farther away from the server room, and that place was too cold anyways. I joined the coffee club at the old office for like five bucks for the month of August, but they only ever brought me tea. I would say I was swindled, but I kinda had a hunch it was too good to be true when they told me it was only 300 shillings per month. I am still trying to find a coffee pot for my house so I can drink coffee at home. My roommate has a coffee machine but the pot is broken, and Walmart hasn’t arrived in Kenya yet so spare pots are hard to come by. I guess that’s a lame excuse, because I could just put a cup under and push the spring, but then I’d need to buy coffee filters. Ugh!

I spend most of my time analyzing and documenting the ILRI Bioinformatics infrastructure. They use a lot of scientific applications to do various things with DNA — sequencing, searching, graphing, etc. The applications they use require massive amounts of computing power and storage space, so they use high-performance computing clusters to break up the workload across multiple servers. We have thirty two Linux-powered servers in this cluster, each with two CPUs. I’m not really sure how much storage there is, but it’s somewhere near a terabyte. It’s an aging system, so lots of things are broken in software and hardware. We’ll be upgrading the systems over the course of the next few months with the help of a new Kenyan we hired and a super computing expert from Sweden. And me of course. :)

A few pictures from inside the server room:

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