Friday, April 13, 2007

Hooptiously Drangle Me

Dragging my ass into the office today after another night of insomnia that a full bottle of vodka couldn't help, I was in no condition to take any of the 30-odd tickets in the queue. I finally managed to get some of our internal applications loaded and they suck as much as the ones they replaced... and in some cases, more.

Mail time: Junk, junk, stupid notice, junk, dumb question, 14 dumber replies-to-all, unplanned California outage notice which doesn't affect me, junk, stupid mail joke from 1996, notice of customer update, notice of California service restoration, Premium Assistance Nomination, junk, more sales department info none of us give a shit about, ju...

Hold on! What was that? Premium Assistance Nomination? Hot diggety! I definitely need a few more of those. Undelete that thing but quick! Oh, and it's from $HugeKoreanKorp, the company which filed a ticket that some toerag stole from me. Good thing I stole it back.

The questionnaire responses were almost all 10s and he clicked the "Nominate This Monkey as 'Premium Assistance'" checkbox. Yes! Friday the 13th's looking up. And then I got to the comments.
Satisfaction Comments: ÍêÈ«½â¾öÎÊÌâ¶øÇÒ·½·¨¼òµ¥
Son of a bitch.

How the fuck can this guy sing my praises when the company which handles these surveys is too fuckwitted to implement Unicode, turning everything outside of Western European languages (codepage 1252 / ISO8859-1) into such gibberish?

Next to raw volume of tickets taken, the next highest metric we're judged by is customer response, so these surveys are important. And while it's clear that the customer is happy thanks to those high scores and the Premium Assistance, if managers can't understand the words written, it don't mean much. This is because only a small percentage of customers are moved enough (whether by anger or joy) to actually answer a ticket's survey. Of that group, only a similar percentage will actually take the time to fill in comments. This makes them the cream, but if a manager can't understand what the fuck is written then, effectively, nothing has been.

I set to work.

First: make it usable. Convert to hex, join pairs of bytes:

CDEA C8AB BDE2 BEF6 CECA CCE2 B6F8 C7D2 B7BD B7A8 BCF2 B5A5

That's a little better. But something doesn't look right. They're all in the Bxxx and Cxxx pages of Unicode where we keep all the weird crap. I rather doubt this guy wrote his praise of me in old-fashioned poetry using nothing but obscure symbols, so I'm betting this comment didn't start off as Unicode.

So what is it? Well, every word starts off between A1 and D3, and there are only two characters on the Axxx pages. Most of it's Bxxx. The company's Korean but... «check the ticket»... yep, this guy's in a Chinese branch or division. I bet he uses Windows. I bet he's got Chinese Windows installed. I bet this shit's codepage 936.

In the CJK codepages, characters between 0x81 and 0xFE are more or less triggers. Each one leads to another 177 characters (0x00 through 0x3F and 0xFF are off-limits). Follow the codepage 936 link and see for yourself.

So I started clicking after first sorting the characters I had; some were on the same secondary page.

The chart Microsoft has on those pages is a graphic. I could copy characters and then, using PaintShop Pro do a bunch of quick cutting and pasting until I had something resembling a Chinese ransom note, but that's going to be a dead end. You can't paste that shit into Babelfish. Luckily they also give a Unicode reference.
CDEA=5B8C
C8AB=5168
BDE2=89E3
BEF6=51B3
CECA=95EE
CCE2=9898
B6F8=800C
C7D2=4E14
B7BD=65B9
B7A8=6CD5
BCF2=7B80
B5A5=5355
Now to find out what the hell those Unicode bytes were. There's an excellent Unicode look-up at fileformat.info so I used that. Not only did it bring up the characters (with a full Han search), it also brought up the meanings. Sweet mother of dyslexia, I was almost done.

Except that Chinese rarely translates word-for-word the way Western languages like German or Spanish or Norwegian do.

After a lot more copypasta I had:
5168 全 maintain, keep whole or intact
89E3 解 loosen, unfasten, untie; explain
51B3 决 decide, determine, judge
95EE 问 ask about, inquire after
9898 题 forehead; title, headline; theme
800C 而 and; and then; and yet; but
4E14 且 moreover, also (post-subject); about to, will soon (pre-verb)
65B9 方 a square, rectangle; a region; local
6CD5 法 law, rule, regulation, statute; France, French
7B80 简 simple, terse, succinct, a letter
5355 单 single, individual, only; lone
So this is what he had to say about me: 全解决问题而且方法简单. Either he's referencing the my-head-shaped-dent in front of my keyboard or the overall answer was and complete.

Time to go fishing:
Babelfish:
All solves the problem moreover the method to be simple.

Googlefish:
Solve all problems but also simple.
Looks good to me. Looked good to Vera, too. I resolved his problem and made it simple and clear for him.

But all is not well.

Mini-Me had a question about some third-party software support on AIX: "Which version of AIX does $WorkApp work on?" If you know AIX, you know just how touchy versions can be. I sent my protoge to internal support to get an answer.

He got a reply: "Unfortunately we do not have any additional information on the AIX version specifically supported when $WorkApp was released. The only detail to go by is to find out the version of AIX that existed and was released about 6-7 years ago."

Useless fucks. Two can play at that game.
"Mini-me?"
"Yeah?"
"Write 'em back and ask them which version that was."
"Why bother? I'll fucking look it up myself. It'll be easier."
"You don't understand yet. Make them do the look-up."
"But it's faster if I..."
"Their shitball answer deserves repayment. We have a duty."
"I see," he replied, and fired off another mail to our AIX goons.

He's learns fast but still has a ways to go.
x-posted to HuSi where there's also a related poll.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous pulled out a crayon and scribbled:

see you haven't moved to Iceland yet.. I stumbled here after reading your hilarious Iceland diaries :) Takk!
Steinunn, Akureyri, IS

16 April, 2007 16:06  
Blogger ReallyEvilCanine pulled out a crayon and scribbled:

Hæhæ Steini. Takk fyrir! Ég vil að koma til baka, en $MegaCorp er ekki þarna. Hvað skal ég að gera?

I should be back in May and maybe I'll stop forgetting some of the basic grammar. Thanks again for posting a comment. It's nice to know that people actually read and enjoy this stuff. Some of it anyway .

Kveðja,
REC

17 April, 2007 02:07  

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