Alternatives

A number of technology-related roadblocks have prevented me from completing work at the day job in an expected amount of time this past week and it makes me wonder how different life would be if I were not someone like me. These issues, while not terribly complex to resolve, did require a little imagination to work through. One involved virtual file management for a key part of my day-to-day. Another consisted of restoring a 288GB database onto a 100GB storage device without deleting any data. A third required creating a working database snapshot from a deteriorating server located somewhere in Japan where the only place to store the backup was on an unreliable hard drive that typically resulted in a corrupted file. All three of these had something to do with SQL Server on Linux, but none were specifically problems with SQL Server or Linux. The problems were just luck of the draw, and the universe decided that I should tackle all three in the same 3-day period.

There are a number of IT professionals in Japan I know who would need at least a week to resolve each one of these problems, and half of them would most likely give up and look for shortcuts before lunchtime. This isn't how I do things, though, as it's important that technology solves problems more often than it creates new ones.

So what would life be like if I wasn't a stubborn dolt with a love of databases and logic who battles the endless highs and lows that sit between accomplishment and burnout? Simpler, perhaps.

There are times when I'd love to have some TV technology like the sliding wormhole from Sliders or the portal gun from Rick & Morty in order to see what other versions of me are doing in other dimensions. Could I find a me that chose to become an architect? Could I find a me that opened a decent coffee & sandwich shop? Could I find a me that became a celebrity of some sort? Infinite dimensions would make for infinite combinations of possibility1, and seeing "what could have been, given slightly different circumstances" would be incredibly interesting to explore … for a short while. After a week or two I'd lose interest in what different versions of me were doing and would instead look at different versions of human history.

What would the world be like if China colonized the Americas first? What would the world be like if humans did not evolve the ability to speak? What would the world be like if societies had been matriarchal for thousands of years? What would the world be like if we never stopped at the Moon and pushed to send people to Mars and elsewhere after Apollo 17? What would the world be like if Genghis Khan, Napoleon, or Alexander the Great never existed?

So many questions … and no dimension-jumping technology to help answer them. Fortunately there are works of fiction written to consider some of these questions.


  1. the IDIC principle as described by Vulcan philosophy … and many human belief systems as well.