A weeklong electronic journal.
Nov. 10 1998 3:30 AM


       Today is precisely the kind of day that I would like to avoid. I didn't end up going to sleep until after 2 a.m., and shortly after getting back from classes today around 2 p.m., I was exhausted and took a nap. This term, I've fallen into a pattern of staying up late (to finish my homework, in addition to work work) and then taking a nap. I'm in the wrong time zone.
       Earlier this year, around Sept. 15, my company's most popular software program, called AlwaysONline, simply stopped working. AlwaysONline is for use with America Online and performs the very useful function of maintaining a user's connection to AOL (i.e., keeping the user from being logged off). Initially written nearly two years ago to redial each AOL access number up to 999 times (it was impossible to connect to AOL otherwise, since the lines were perpetually busy), AlwaysONline has become my most profitable program to date. Tens of thousands of people use and rely upon AlwaysONline, and so when it stopped working, I had to work around-the-clock to provide a fix. I also had to deal with thousands of e-mails from my customers who wanted to know what was going on.
       AlwaysONline didn't just stop working; AOL stopped it from working. My program allows any AOL user to stay online for as long as he may please, and AOL really doesn't like that idea. Periodically, AOL will take some sort of action to disable my program; AOL's latest attack coincided with the first week of this school year. Within six days, I counterattacked with a fixed version of AlwaysONline, but I forewent nearly all sleep during that time. That really started me off on the wrong foot this term, as I've got sick three separate times (including right now) during the last two months.



       The math test today didn't go so well. I understand the material, but I didn't seem to understand the test. Up to this year, math has always been one of my best subjects; last year, calculus was a breeze. I still have one more test and a final exam in my math class, so I can still recover, but it's not beneficial to be the underdog at this point in time. Especially with the constant thought of college looming overhead.
       Along with about another 40 kids in my class, I've applied to Harvard University under Early Action. That means that in exactly 35 days, I find out whether I've been accepted. Harvard finally acknowledged receipt of my application today, so all I can do is wait and see. I'm pretty sure that I'll be able to sleep easier if I am accepted, since, according to some of my friends at Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, college is much easier than Andover. It's hard to disagree with that statement, since there are only so many hours in a day.
       Homework tonight went fairly briskly because I only have three classes tomorrow. I have a meeting tomorrow afternoon with the deans' council of my school, to present an argument as to why we (the students) should have more phone lines. Right now, even though all Andover's 800 boarding students and almost all 240 faculty members have a school-supplied phone, there are only 48 outgoing lines for everyone. That means that no more than 48 people can be dialing out at once--a ridiculously low number for over a thousand people. Every night, it's nearly impossible to dial a phone number, which is particularly annoying for me, since I'm trying to run a business. I can't dial out to check my e-mail until the phone lines clear up. The only issue preventing the school from getting more phone lines is cost. But what's the point of the phones if they can't be used? Whether I can use the phone or not, I am still obligated to pay the school for the phone service (which is above the costs of getting a regular phone line from the phone company). So I have my case, along with facts and figures, all set up. Hopefully they'll listen.
       I didn't spend too much time on my business tonight--no more than 45 minutes. I needed to get caught up with sleep and with homework, and under these two conditions, sometimes I have to put off my business activities. Even so, I still earned about $200 today, having received 14 payments. The great thing about what I do is that, to a large extent, my company runs itself. Once I create the software, people hear about it, use it, and pay for it. My primary responsibilities are technical support, customer service, and working on new projects. These three things can be shifted around to any time during the day or night. However, unless I devote plenty of time to all these aspects of my business, things will start falling behind; I can only let things slide for so long. And unlike homework, there are no due dates or grades, except ones that I set for myself and follow.