Thursday, February 10, 2005

Day 6 of the evening Shifts

We inherited a store. It is the same store as yesterday. Beam Division has a more sanguine picture of the down time, and hopes to have things back up in a couple of days.

Since the luminosity is so low, control of our system was handed over for Pulsar tests and COT fixups and such things.

In the meantime all the machines logged into the daq account can no longer launch applications from the applet icons at the bottom of the screen. KLauncher could not be reached via DCOP. I tracked down some possible fixes, but I'm not keen on monkeying with the systems: too many things are interdependent for me to risk accidently restarting the wrong set of control programs.

The news from home isn't all good. The plumber called about an estimate came on the wrong day, and then charged an hour's time for an estimate. This being the second time the firm's management has landed on my fecal roster, I think we'll give them no more chances.

Nobody needs the consumers right now, and since they can't get their test apparatus to run (they could this morning, though) we're not accumulating information about the detector, so I'm idle.

I forgot an important detail about the control room. We have about 13 high-backed 5-splay rolling chairs in here. They're quite comfortable, which is a big deal when you're standing 8 hour shifts in front of computer screens. And they've all been full from time to time this evening, with standing room only.

And most of their grief came from a flaky cable. Murphy says this has to happen on the day when they have their review meeting.

One group has drifted off. Another guy went to help somebody jump start his car (has cables but no experience--that'll change). I remember one year we loaned a neighbor a set of cables, and he melted them.

I learn quite a bit from listening in on the tests. Not a lot that's useful, granted, but quite a bit. They're trying to debug by running the old machine, the new one, both together with the old one driving, both together with the new one driving; all the time looking for the changes in trigger rates that indicate that the new one is doing the better job it is supposed to. Unfortunately for them, the luminosity is 10x smaller than the intensity where the old machine starts to fail--at this luminosity it works just fine.

Eventually the relief shows up. We won't find out until tomorrow if shifts are canceled or not. For now, the accelerator people are playing with the beam: they call it beam studies. It isn't as obvious as it sounds how to tune and manage the beam. For one thing, the models don't always quite work, and for another the apparatus ages somewhat, so a maneuver that worked fine last year won't necessarily work fine this year.

No comments: