I saw him when I came out of the server room. He stood in the corridor, leaning against the wall with confidence. He was tall, thin and presentable. He reminded me of a male model I frequently saw in ads. For a moment I thought he was that model, but he wasn’t. He looked very much like that male model, though.
Around him there was a little croud, silently listening to him. I approach and stood near him, to see and hear what was going on. He continued explaining to the small crowd. He was very eloquent. He had a quality that I could not specifically describe, that made him really likable. Standing next to him, I must have been making a sharp contrast.
Not only am I short, fat and ugly (a horrible combination!), but I had just been in the server room for the whole night. Things had been taken care of, everything was in place for the operations to continue for another day in that company. Sleepless but relaxed, I thought I would find out what the small crowd was so interested in before leaving that company.
The small crowd paid little attention to me. It was the speaker that had captured their attention. That was for the best, because by that time, after an all-nighter, I must have been looking twenty years past my age and really tormented. Anyway, I was going home to rest for a while and then continue to fight another “fire” in another server room of another company. But I thought I’d stay and listen to the speaker for a while.
The more I stayed there the more I felt an awkward feeling. But it wasn’t only my sharp distinction between the speaker and me. Well, that too. You see, to say that I am not a sharp dresser is an understatement. And the speaker wore an impressive suit. But it was also what the speaker was saying that made me feel uncomfortable. The funny thing is that as I watched the small crowd, I must have been the only one feeling this way.
The speaker was explaining how Volume Shadow Copy Services, VSS for short, would help that particular company. He said that by going to the previous versions tab, any user could retrieve any version of their file from their file server. Each time a user saved a document, a new version of the document would be kept in the file server.
“That’s not right!” I interrupted him, as politely as I could. “SharePoint versioning does that, but VSS works by taking snapshots of the partition at predetermined intervals. It does not know what the user is doing and does not care. If we have a file and a snapshot is taken, then a user changes a file and saves it and then changes and saves the file again, he can never go to the first change. But he can go to the version before the snapshot.”
“I don’t think so.” was the speaker’s reply. His “I don’t think so” was ever so polite. And the small crowd, that for a moment had turned to look at me, turned to face him again. He continued explaining his point of view. The people there listened with great admiration.
I interrupted him again. It tried to clearly explain my understanding of VSS. He kindly let me finish and then he said “I don’t think so” again. Ever so politely. And then he continued to explain.
I kindly went a step back, then another, then another. Then, when I thought I was not noticed, I left. As I was leaving, I heard one of the young ladies in the small crowd mentioning the name of an animal and that this animal “was leaving the premises”. When I left the building, I thought about the young lady’s comment that I gave no particular attention at the time. And then I understood that the animal had the same color as my shirt. Well, I never wore that shirt again. And I never bought clothes with that color again.
I have nothing against the speaker. He was kind and never interrupted anyone. It was me that was out of line. I interrupted him twice and had no business opposing his thoughts. No one asked for my opinion, yet I tried to convince them. I would like to apologize for my behavior. It was an unfortunate moment for me, to say the least. But I would also like to have one thing in my defense. At the moment, I thought about the designers of VSS and how they, perhaps, would not like their technology to be misunderstood for something that was not. Misunderstanding may lead to misuse. And perhaps they would not like to be blamed later for something that was never in the intentions of the technology they designed. VSS was never meant to be a document versioning system like SharePoint. And, perhaps, VSS was never meant for polite conversations.
A few years passed, but I never saw the speaker again. I did see a TV interview with the male model that looked like him, though. In the interview, the model, like the speaker, was ever so polite. “He could have made a great IT speaker, were he in IT”, I caught myself thinking.