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A Successful FedEx Day at Six Feet Up

After exploring Drive by Daniel Pink as part of our monthly book reviews, we decided to have a FedEx Day at Six Feet Up.

FedEx Day? What is that?

A FedEx day allows team members to select a project of their choice that they can deliver overnight. Often it's a project that has been pushed to the backburner repeatedly or is something that adds value, but is not necessary for the daily function of the office. The main requirement is that it must benefit the company.

How we did it

We suspended regular activities from noon on Thursday to noon on Friday, allowing the individuals and small teams to concentrate their efforts on their FedEx Day project. Dinner, breakfast and lunch were provided, and the office was open overnight. A brave few stayed until well past sunrise to complete their projects.

On Friday at noon, we gathered to share our accomplishments.

What we accomplished was impressive

I went first and shared a new set of slides presenting Six Feet Up that I created with Lauren and Jeff so we have a good foundation on which to build when we meet with prospective clients and partners.

Calvin worked with Thomas and Andrew Sawyers to improve blogging features for Plone 4. The new work expands upon collective.blog.star and will replace Zine in our Six Feet Up site. It will result in a more polished blog product for Plone users.

Lucie hooked up our Hudson server with our existing buildouts, so that tests run automatically when someone commits code and we can reap the benefits that come with continuous integration.

David added a warm standby setup PostgreSQL databases on Trac. Access to the database containing our core workflow (bug tracker, todo manager, central calendar, paste site) was centralized through a connection pooler, allowing us to restart the database with no client service disconnections. The database was configured to archive all log data, allowing us to be able to restore to any point in time since the initial base backup was taken. This will be extended in the future to maintain a warm standby that will allow failover to a secondary machine with minimal loss of data in case the master database fails.

Jim worked on a prototype of a web-based application to manage releases for KARL, the open source knowledge management product. Jim currently releases updates regularly for our KARL clients, which is done in command line. Jim focused on creating a web-based control panel for Six Feet Up to better manage sites for our customers.

Jim's Control Panel

Clayton updated sixfeetup.deployment for push button releases. He worked on creating a streamlined release process using Fabric, jarn.mkrelease and some Python code. Now releases can happen in a matter of minutes even for the most complicated Plone setup.

Lars and Andrew Parker went to our offsite colocation facility and rewired portions of it.

Carol and Kurt proved their bravery and tackled "the scary room".


The Scary Room Before

Chaos ruled



Tidied Up



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