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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Connectathon Day 2

One of several traditions at the connectathon is an evening of Sushi at Tsunami with a group of about ten-twelve people. This year we had to cab it over, but most years we pack ourselves into a large stretch limo for the trip there and back (The limo is cheaper than the three cabs it otherwise takes).

Afterwards, it's back to the room to catch up on the day's e-mail and current projects. This year my room has a wired rather than wireless internet connection. That's a bit of a bother -- I'll have to undo and redo my connectathon network configuration all week. I find myself thinking about how amazing it is what technological advances we take for granted. Five years ago, I might have had to check for internet access at all, now I simply assume it will be there and be wireless. It gives me hope that similar things can be done in healthcare.

Something I learned previously about Chicago, but which I forgot is that there are two Wacker Drives, one going East-West, and the other North-South. Unfortunately, there is a Hyatt at each one. I wound up at the wrong place this morning, but it was quickly fixed once I looked up from notes I was scribbling.

My morning winds up being filled with mostly hallway conversations. I get one person signed up to list out standards used in IHE profiles I don't know for some internal work. My manager is here today attending the connectathon conference, and we chat briefly.

At 9:20 I remember to reset by network configuration.

I have a chat with some test developers from NIST on XDS-MS content that was generated. It's missing some key pointers preventing it from being imported using one of the profile options. I track down the developers and give them some guidance on what they need to do to fix it.

I run into someone who wants to talk about SOA. We figure out what context the discussion comes from (HITSP, HL7, IHE or fill in the blank), and talk briefly about how IHE profiles are in many ways services in the SOA sense.

I connect up with a potential testing partner for one of my stretch goals and promise to create some content for one of the tests they would like to pass by tomorrow.

I go over the need for TLS in the ATNA profile with another small group, and explain that now is not the time to complain about how the profile works. If you've signed up for the test, you need to pass the profile as written.

I work with one of our teams to resolve a blocking problem. The solution seems to be nearly in hand, and we work with the product team to run a different set of tests while that problem is being resolved.

It's 11:20, and I have yet to run a single test of my own. Fortunately for me, these are not critical, but my testing partners would like to pass also...

At 11:46 I open 6 tests which need live monitoring. Got into a discussion of grouping between two profiles, so I pulled up the PCC wiki describing one of the profiles and its grouping with other IHE actors. After another 20 minutes of dicussion, we've just identified another place that needs clarification. Now it's time to track down a monitor for the tests I opened 15 minutes ago.

It's 12:22, and we just finished verification with the monitor for all transactions in one of the profiles I'm testing, with all of my partners. Day two and the second profile is done, including the HITSP testing. This one was easy because of the way the profile was written, and the small number of actors needed to complete the testing. Other profiles are more difficult to get to this point with. Time to go to lunch.

Back from lunch at 1:12. Over lunch I encouraged NIST to send some of their testing resources to HITSP meetings, just like MIR does with IHE. They are already planning to, which is a good thing. It will help us get the tests done sooner, with fewer questions.

I start looking into what's needed for my stretch goal tests.

At 1:39, I work through another problem with another engineer. When we reconfigure the system, we also need to reconfigure some message parameters. He's working on the fix.

At 1:53 we are tracking down resources back in Boston to help with a .Net permissions problem for one of the assemblies.

Ten minutes later, I'm back at my laptop still trying to get 10 solid minutes to get my stretch test started...

Two minutes into that, I get a question from another vendor about how to set up Tomcat with Certificates for ATNA testing. I point them to the ATNA FAQ on the IHE Wiki.

I checked in with the engineer reconfiguring the message parameters. He's on to the next problem.

A few minutes later, and I've had to stop again. This time to track down a networking problem with one of the systems. It isn't accepting requests from outside. I've verified that I can see it on the network. I start up Wireshark (a packet sniffer should be in the toolkit of every engineer coming to connectathon), and verify that the connection request is being immediately reset at the server end. We verify the network configuration on that system, and check all settings. The network settings were recently adjusted, so we reboot. That didn't clear the problem. Time to call technical support for the product to see if they can help.

Meanwhile, today is the day of the Connectathon conference. This is the time when C-levels in suits come to hear about what all the folks in jeans and sneakers are doing downstairs. As part of the conference, they come get a tour of the connectathon floor. The noise level just escalated by about 10-15 db as they arrive for the tour.

It's now 3:28 and I'm still working on this one test. I've made substantial progress, but since I updated some of the web services that the system used to use to get the information, I need to update some assemblies to use the new WSDL. It's just a change in the name of the message, so a few minutes later, I should be able to redeploy and restart the service.

At 3:53, I've just fixed a number of other areas where the HL7 2008 schemas is stricter about the values they permit. Some of these values had defaults in the old schema which aren't present in the new one. I've fixed my code to set the correct values, and think I'm about ready to produce the Immunization (IC) document from the QED data stream. Time to take a quick break to see how folks are doing with the networking ... Nope, it's still spelled notworking.

Checked in with one of the connectathon monitors. His work of reviewing the content for the PCC profiles is almost completely done except for some stragglers (e.g., me for one). We seem to have gotten to the point that people are understaning how the PCC Technical Framework is designed. Last year, they were still reviewing a significant content on Thursday and Friday.

At 4:41 I head back from the engineer with the notworking network; tech support found our problem. We were binding to localhost, instead of the IP address on the port. While I knew it had to be something like that, I didn't know where in the application that was configured. It's not what you know, but what you know how to find out. Suggesting that we call support was the right move. Now that I know the symptoms, I'll spot that one sooner, because I'm sure it will happen to someone else again.

I check in with our teams before the end of the day; the results are mixed. We are doing much better this year than last. That seems to be the general sense of others as well. Time for a glass of wine.


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