Just think of 6 a.m. as Beta Time

This pilot fish is writing mainframe software for a large defense contractor, and he's discovered a way to become a lot more efficient: arrive at work at 6 a.m.

"The traffic is light at that hour, and I get a couple of hours of work in without much interruption," says fish. "It also means I get to find what changes the computer center -- which is at a different location -- has made overnight.

"One morning I sat down, fired up the PC that's my terminal and started to work. But the editor was acting very strangely, so I called a system guy I know to find out what was going on.

Fish: Fred, what did you do the editor last night?

Fred: "We made some minor changes, but there were no changes visible to the user."

Fish: Then why am I calling you?

Fred: (pause) "What's the problem?"

"I explained the new behavior of the editor," fish says. "Fred told me, 'OK, log off and wait 30 minutes while we reload the editor.

"Thirty minutes later the computer was back up with a functioning editor, and I'm probably the one one outside of the center that knew there was a problem."

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