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Finding The End Points

March 16, 2016

I was in the second grade.

Teacher, what’s the biggest number in the world?

There is no biggest, Rodney. The numbers go on forever.

It didn’t make sense to my seven year old brain. I spent longer than I’m proud to admit trying to think of really big numbers. . .and then adding one and realizing I needed to start again. 

I’ve always been fascinated by limits. I think it’s in our very nature. We want to know how high we can fly. How fast we can run. How far we can stretch our cell phone battery. My town of Pleasant Grove is situated between the mountains to the East and the lake to the West. For this reason several streets have a beginning and an end. I’ve been from one end to another, as far as you can go on several of these streets and roads. 

I had a really long phone call at work yesterday. I’m still working with our partner to find a solution to an issue affecting several of our agents. The problem has been occurring for several days. Today it started at 7:30 and I knew I was in for a marathon day. I spend most of the day during these outage calls, on my desk phone. I dial into a phone conference with people from all my call centers and we work the issue together. Much of the time is spent waiting for updates. I use my cell phone to make calls to the client, and to dial into other meetings that I have to attend at the same time as my outage call is going on. My cell phone lasts most of the day, but on a particularly busy day it starts to get tired in the afternoon. It reaches it’s limit and needs some time to recharge.


The next piece of equipment to reach a limit is typically my Bluetooth headset. The headset is the only thing that makes an hours long phone call bearable. It’s fortunately pretty comfortable. But, yesterday I figured out it has a limit. I’d never noticed before since it takes at least eight hours of continuous use for it to die. 

At first I couldn’t figure out where the beeping was coming from. It sounded not unlike a bomb countdown. (Okay, maybe my mind was playing tricks with that last image.) Fortunately the phone has a speakerphone option. The headset needed to take a break. 

The final piece of equipment that ran into its limit was a surprise. The counter on my phone has a limit. Probably for no other reason than it can, the phone keeps track of how long the current call has lasted. Yesterday, I found out that unlike a second grader, my phone does know the biggest number: nine hours, fifty-nine minutes and fifty-nine seconds. 

Sadly, unlike a road, when I got to the end of my phone battery, my headset battery and my phone timer, I didn’t get to stop. I stay on our calls until the problem has been resolved at each of my three call centers. Yesterday, that meant I was “on the bridge” as the saying goes, up until 9:00pm, when we stop taking calls for the day. One more limit reached. The call lasted a total of twelve and a half hours. 

Oh, I’ve gotta go. My phone is ringing.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2016 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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