LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You know you're screwed when...
The Gypsy fortune teller offers to refund your money when she looks at your palm.
You've stumbled onto another issue of The Crapolla, a journal written for software professionals. No not the managers; I mean the people who do the work.
This Crapolla is sponsored by...
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In This Issue...
The Japanese shine while Sarbanes Oxley is our tsunami.
On February 8 I was in Tokyo spending some time between flights looking at electronics. I rode the trains, played Pachinko, had a donut. As I've been watching the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear crisis from afar, I reminded myself that every single person I saw that day was somehow having to cope with this disaster.
What I haven't heard in any news report are accounts of store owners jacking up prices because they could, or people looting because there weren't enough police to stop them. I've heard reports of people queuing up in an orderly fashion to buy what is available, but not taking all that is available when it is their turn. The Tokyo Apple store fired up their generators and allowed anyone to use their Wi-Fi free. They charged people's devices for them, even if they weren't Apple products, and they used their presentation theater with its comfortable seats for people to sleep in.
The people of Japan have shined during this crisis. Although it will take a few years for the nation to recover, the people of Japan have shown the rest of us that civilization can be much more than just living in a city.
Every once in a while, demands of customers go beyond the tools we've built to do the job. This is when someone has to roll up their sleeves and put their hands in the anti-matter to get the task done. At WTHAIS this usually means direct manipulation of a database. One writes a query, and a manager-unit blesses it (as if they knew what it did), and then a ticket is started with the DBA priesthood who will run it. That's on a good day.
We needed a gross of rows created in a table. The table contains rules in the WTHAIS infrastructure. The tool we have to create and delete these rows was designed with the idea that we would only need to make a few at a time. But 144 of them was going to take someone a few days. There was a time when Lucky would just plow through until it was done. That way, it was done, and he didn't have to hear the bitching from us peons about the mind-numbing work. But Lucky is gone, and OctoManager is over-loaded. She hasn't got the time to do this. The department has had so many lay offs, if you took one of us off the line, you'd screw yourself. So, the obvious solution is to write a query and have the priesthood run it in about 53 milliseconds. I got the job of writing the query.
I've learned a lot about databases since joining WTHAIS, but I'm nowhere near being a DBA. I wrote what made sense to me, and ran it past OctoManager, who blessed it. Then I started a ticket, pasted it in with approval, and figured that was that. Soon, there were DBAs in my cube.
"Fek, about this query, we ran a simulation, it won't work. Nothing comes back."
The lead DBA asked me about formalities, like did I have Change Management approval, etc. I said I didn't need it because OctoManger was the approver. Junior DBA who actually wanted to get work done figured out what I did wrong. I needed to do a insert rather than an update. (Silly me.) She could easily re-write this - except - she wasn't allowed.
The lead explained that DBAs don't write queries because they can't predict the consequences.
If a DBA can't predict the consequences, who actually could? I mean, these are people who have forgotten more about databases than I'll ever know. Who exactly was supposed to work on these when they didn't work? And truth be told, I could tell them exactly what each line did. I just had written the query with the wrong command.
In all fairness, I can understand the reluctance. The database runs the company. If you screw up the database, you kill us. The area I wanted to manipulate is only understood by a few of us. (I wrote the spec for the tool we didn't want to use.) And it was known that this part of the database had cost us real money when someone put in some wrong rules several years ago. I'm all for caution. But since I could explain to the DBAs exactly what these rules would do, and that I could blow three days putting them in via the tool with no one's approval (other than OctoManager's). I was having a lot of trouble with the cowardliness of the lead DBA. After all, if it went tits-up, OctoManager was on the hook for approving it.
Then the lead DBA played his trump card. He said they couldn't do this because of Sarbanes Oxley. This is the all-purpose excuse at a public company. Don't want to get involved, plead SOX and you're home in time for tea. The project was doomed to wander in bureaucracy hell for weeks. Too bad we needed it yesterday.
Turns out, we could have gotten this done faster if we hired some guy hanging out at Home Depot and taught him to run the tool 144 times in a row. It would have cost us 40 bucks, a burrito, and a Coke (They don't drink Diet Coke.)
Twitter and Facebook Destabilize Governments
The Internet Must be Turned Off to Save Civilization
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"Our email system is über-slow."
"There's not a lot this can be. It's either a fucked up OS, or a fucked up user."
"I need to update my mistakes."
"Why didn't we just hire Charlie Sheen? He makes more sense than this Bozo."
"You really clear the air"
"That's better than something else you can do to the air."
It's time to take the manager out and beat her for spring cleaning.
They pay me to think. These are my thoughts. Do you think they are getting their money's worth?
Remember: The Crapolla contains my personal opinions. That's right they're mine, so get your own! And you kids get off my lawn!
Although written with the software professional in mind, my mind tends to wander all over the place, and I sometimes write about politics, mass stoopidity, dumb things I saw, and whatever else comes to mind.
From time to time, I use salty language, thus The Crapolla is not intended for children, or certain people from the Christian Right.
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