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Doran's Journal - 6 August 1997

Today we received a letter in the mail from TCF Bank, our local bank here in Minnesota. Lo and behold, it was a notice that a check had been presented to our account with insufficient funds. I double-checked our check register and everything seemed to be in order. I could not understand why this check was bouncing. So I called the bank's automated information service (press 1 now to listen to a boring, comatose woman speak bad english.)

The bank reported an account balance of -$95.00. Something was wrong. I listened to the boring comatose voice proceed to read of numbers of checks that had cleared. Everything seemed to be okay, but why was the balance of the account so far off? Finally, I theorized the amount we were off was approximately the same amount of Christine's last paycheck- which was supposedly deposited (by way of a direct deposit) on Friday two weeks ago.

We went to the TCF Bank branch in the grocery store down the street. We showed the young teller at the counter her Advice Of Deposit that Christine received in the mail stating that the deposit was made. She checked their records and said the deposit was never received. She said the problem was between us and Cray and that a lot of companies will cover bounced check charges when it's their fault.

So we drove back to Cray. It's about 6:00 p.m. in Minnesota by this point. There's hardly anyone at the Cray facility at a time like that, but payroll is handled in Mountain View, California. Christine called our payroll rep in California but she was not in. It was 4:30 her time- I suspected she may have already left. Christine left a detailed message. Then she called back and left another message with the correct telephone number for her office (she couldn't remember it the first time). Then, upon realizing she didn't have the keys to her office, she called the rep a third time to give her my office number.

We waited a few minutes and then I started calling all the other people in the payroll department in Mountain View. Number after number, no one was answering. Finally, someone answered. I explained the situation to her and she said we'd have to talk to one of the two people who handled Cray's payroll (one of which was whom Christine had left messages for). While one of the Cray payroll reps was gone, the one Christine had left numerous messages for was still there- but was in a meeting. The person I talked to said she'd give my number to her as soon as she was out of her meeting.

We waited until 7:15 with no calls. Then I thought about what was probably happening. This woman in California probably listened to her messages and then looked at the time. Thinking that no one would be at Cray at 7:15, she was probably going to put off calling until tomorrow morning. I called her number again. She answered. I handed the phone to Christine and Christine explained the situation to her.

Apparently SGI had a warning on record that the transaction did not work. Christine was told that she should have been informed both by the bank and by SGI. She was informed by neither. The payroll rep asked how much bounced check charges our account had accrued so far. She said Christine probably would not get her paycheck this Friday either. Instead, they would include her in a special check run for both her last check and this Friday's check. Those checks would then be FedEx'd to her on Monday. We faxed her the list of charges the bank teller had printed out for us and went home.

While we know SGI will take care of our bounced check charges, it's still not a warm fuzzy feeling to know that our bank account is seriously in the red and some checks still have to clear.

In other news, today was the last of the intern brown-bag lunches as most of the interns at Cray will be going back to school at schools on the semester system. Today's brown bag lunch included free pizza (so it really wasn't a brown-bag at all) and drinks.

At the last brown-bag lunch, Christine won a shirt in a drawing. They had another drawing this time, and again, Christine won. I was so mad! She told me yesterday that if she won again, she'd let me have it. Well she won again, but she changed her mind when she saw the jacket she won. I guess I'll live. I've never really been very lucky.

A guest speaker named Eric Lund spoke to us today regarding computer system security- especially how it applies to systems like Crays where several customers like GM, Ford, and Chrysler all use the same systems but they don't want the other users to see their data, etc. He talked about MLS (MultiLevel Security) and MAC (Mandatory Access Control). He was quizzing the group all about how to enforce security in typical Unix environments and I kept answering all his questions. Finally, he said, "Okay, let's get an answer from that side of the room," and gestured to the opposite side of the room from where I was sitting. Nobody over there said anything. The room was silent. Christine turned and glared at me. He looked at me and said, "You're talking too much." After no one answered his question, he answered it himself and went on.

Frankly I was surprised because I thought all these Computer Science college students would know as much if not more about Unix as I did. But it would seem they know enough about Unix to get around. They probably know their 'ls' and 'cd' and related commands and that's about it. So, I had an ego rush from that.

On Monday, Christine and I might be carpooling with some of the other interns to the Chippewa Falls facility in Wisconsin to see where Crays are manufactured. We haven't decided if we're going to go yet, or not. But, if we do, we'll take lots of pictures and put them on our WWW site.