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Working life
By ReallyEvilCanine (Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 04:10:25 AM EST) A Day in the Life, do what I say, heavy lifting, pie (all tags)
Doing it the Hard Way

She'd stayed at the party much later than I. At 4:00 a.m. I was finished, especially after such a long day of work which started around 5:00 a.m. for me, though not intentionally. I'd woken up after three hours of sleep and had a sort of panicky feeling for no good reason, the one that makes it impossible to get back to sleep. And so I went back to unpacking and setting up the computer room. The bedroom is a mess, with boxes everywhere and oversized wardrobes still in their component parts awaiting my decision on how to reconstruct their six meter length to fit in the new and smaller bedroom with a four meter wall.

It was around 10:00a.m. I'd gotten back into bed after a couple hours of unpacking and furniture-building because I knew I needed a bit more sleep. Just as I was drifting off she got up and started moving the heavy, 2.2 meter high wardrobe panels away from the wall, leaning them precariously against a small wooden wardrobe from Ikea in which my small ration of clothing was stored.

"What the hell are you doing?" I asked her.
"I have to go to the bathroom!"

To be fair, she was headed in the right direction.

x-posted to da brog.

The toilet is on the other side of the wall. Of course the wall is about a foot thick and one of its more prominent features is the complete lack of anything remotely resembling a door. While it might be possible to install a door, the room on the other side isn't even five feet wide and less than that in depth; it would require some interesting acrobatic moves to get past the pipes as well as actually use what they're connected to. And so we walk all the way around the apartment to get there.

Not her. Not this day.

"Sweetie, stop. There's no door there."
"Yes there is," she grunted back while shifting another 40kg side panel.
"No, honestly. There's no door. You have to go into the hallway and around."
"No, I have to go to the bathroom!"
"You can go to the bathroom but you have to go out of the bedroom first."
"But the bathroom is right here! I have to go badly!"

I got up and led her out of the room and she went down the hallway, returned two minutes later, then slept for the next 12 hours, during which I'd managed to almost completely unpack and set up the computer room after leaving around noon to pick up another free 19" monitor (Samsung SyncMaster 950 plus). When she was up I showed her the panels in their new position and asked if she remembered how they got there.

"Were you working in the bedroom, too?
"No, sweetie," I replied and then told her the tale that I just finished writing above this. Though at first she showed some disbelief, she wasn't really that surprised.

"I was tempted to let you keep going just to see what you would've done next."
"I would have kept trying to get through the wall.
"You what?"
"I would have kept trying. It happened before. I kept smashing my head into the wall which shouldn't be there."

She should work for $BigBank and get paid well for doing the exact same thing.

Hello REC,

We read the Notice about the increase in the German VAT to 19% and that we have to make a change to the "Germany" field of the BaseTable.TaxRates table. In December when we filed a ticket to ask about this you said that to account for the increase starting in January we had to make these changes but they are made to BaseTable and we are not sure that this is what is meant. One is not normally supposed to make changes to the BaseTables and then you are telling us that we are supposed to make this change. In February you wrote that this change must be made but we are not so sure about this.

While the answer seems to make sense we have not implemented it because these tables are not supposed to be changed. Please tell us the ramifications of our not making this change. We need to inform you that all our tax rates are being incorrectly calculated as 16% instead of the proper 19% which it needs to be and we have attempted to correct this by scripting. This is having a serious performance effect on the system.

How can we account for the changes to German VAT rate to 19% and update our applications to function correctly?

The wall is 40cm of stone and mortar. There's no door. You're going to shit your pants long before you make any progress. Listen to me. Do what I say. It might not sound right to you at the moment but you'll find that things are easier and work a lot better if you just do what I say. Unlike fucknuts at $BigBank, Sweetie didn't actually ask for my help, something which generally confirms the person being asked has superior knowledge of the subject.

When will we finally implement my Root Cause: 17-Fuckwit? I've given more than 100 examples of its appropriateness over the past nine months alone, and those are just my own tickets! For comparison, Root Cause 8-Future Product Information is only cited an average of 12 times a year throughout the entire division.

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A Day in the Life | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Root cause 17 by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #1 Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 04:24:53 AM EST
But who is the fuckwit? Their admin, for refusing to make a change to a table he was told never to change? Or the person who told him he was supposed to never change it? Who told him that? What was the penalty (loss of job, loss of support contract, etc.) for doing what he was told not to do?

Are you, the tech support guy, telling him to do something that trainers said not, ever, to do, else he'd be voiding the warranty?

I've seen this sort of thing happen...

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

The admin by ReallyEvilCanine (4.00 / 1) #2 Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 04:41:20 AM EST
Certain tables should normally not be changed unless we say otherwise. This wasn't a direct write to the table but rather via the administration screen. My document described the process in detain and explained that this value happens to be stored on the BaseTable.TaxRates table. I actually answered the question three different times and there's a big-ass published Notice explaining everything.

Maybe I should edit the entry and clarify this point.

the internet: amplifier of stupidity -- discordia

[ Parent ]
Woah, hang on by Cloaked User (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 06:21:52 AM EST
The change is made through the admin screen, and so requires no knowledge at all of the underlying database structure? Then why even mention what happens when you do it? Don't get me wrong, I've done it in the past as well (and probably will again in the future), but that was too much information.

This is not a psychotic episode. It is a cleansing moment of clarity.
[ Parent ]
'Anticipate customer questions to reduce tickets' by ReallyEvilCanine (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:32:51 AM EST
By telling them exactly what the changes made do and where they're stored, we prevent a dozen tickets asking us exactly where the information is stored and in what manner. We get lots of questions about values and testing methods. When we explain to them that BaseTable.TaxRate.Germany=[FLOAT(0.19)] they know what to look for, what to poll, and don't normally come back to us asking, "But is it stored elsewhere? Could it be? What about our stored procedure which checks a shadow value created by our $StupidModel business component and pulled via Web services?"

Neither our table nomenclature nor data structures are terribly intuitive unless you've been working with $OurBigApp for years. And then Eng goes and changes half of them with the next major version release.

the internet: amplifier of stupidity -- discordia

[ Parent ]
A Day in the Life | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback