Monday, April 30, 2007

Only if Your Father Agrees...

Kids learn quick that parents will foist decisions off on each other, especially when they don't have any strong feelings about the subject. When ReallyEvilPuppy asked his mother if he could go see Car Wash, he didn't get a yes or no. He was directed instead to ask his his father, in front of whom he'd have to plead his case. Kids learn quickly which parent is the lighter touch and for me it was mum. Why else would I have asked her first?

Kids figure out the system quickly and soon learn that it's not just whom you ask but how you do it. When it came time to ask to see that 1976 classic, Mother, Jugs & Speed, ReallyEvilPuppy changed his tactics. "Dad, mum says I can go see Mother, Jugs & Speed as long as you don't have anything against it." It was PG-rated but I was able to counter that Bill Cosby was in it. The Coz was best known to my parents as William E. Cosby, EdD, creator of the "educational" cartoon Fat Albert, and race boundary breaker in the TV series, I Spy. They knew he did comedy but didn't know he'd work blue in a film.

My parents found out all about that film a few weeks later and it was a couple years before I was free to go to a film without finding the review in the paper beforehand for my parents to scrutinise. Who knows how much wisdom I missed out on because of that? It was MJ&S that taught me "You can't bribe a city official with an IOU," an important lesson for one who finds himself managing a bar some years later in a city not known for it's lack of corruption.

Chuckie, the epitome of "sloth", is supposed to be the system administrator for $DynaCorp. A few months ago he asked mommy about a problem he was having. Mommy asked him to tell her all about his troubles. Chuckie didn't want to give away everything at once and Mommy spent two months trying to extract the information she needed from a sullen and stubborn Chuckie. As Mommy continued to tell Chuckie that $VPN software looked more and more like the culprit with every update, Chuckie finally just stopped responding rather than sending in the logs we needed. No further response. Root Cause: 6-Customer Error. Case closed.

Responsive Reading:
REC: And that should've been the end of it.
All: But it wasn't. It never is.
Hi!

We have had an ongoing issue with hangs when we work with attached files. Please see ticket FS-041206C9 for details.

We now know the hang is related to attachment size and can happen very intermittently. The client has $VPN installed. Note it does not need to be running just installed.

I'm looking for information on what is generating this issue. Please assign this ticket to European resources!

Thanks,
Chuckie
WTF? Chuckie's in Cali-fore-nye-ae. Why would he want someone in the EU to handle this? The fuckwits normally bitch if the monkey they get isn't in their same goddamned time zone. Clicky-clicky let's find out what the hell Chuckie's been up to.

I thought so. Chuckie has asked a few different Mommies, all of whom responded in the same nurturing, tender fashion. And now?

Responsive Reading:
REC: Chuckie decided to ask daddy.
All: Who's yo daddy?
REC: Woof.

It's time for a little tough love, and my father's admonition all those years ago was pretty close to the answer I sent to Chuckie:
ReallyEvilPuppy,

Three times you've asked your mother if you could go to a movie and three times she's told you to first show her the listings. Then you came to me and said she agreed that you could go -- hoping that I wouldn't check up or contradict her -- when she said no such thing. She said you could go if I said it was OK, which I never did.

Under no circumstances will you be allowed to go to an R-rated film. If you want to go to the movies again you will bring us the movie listing and reviews. Is that clear?

Any questions?

Get rid of $VPN or talk to their support. If the problem happens even when $VPN isn't running but only on machines on which it's been installed, it's changing DLLs and registry values and fucking things up for $OurBigApp. If you're an administrator you should be able to at least understand this basic logic.

One mommy happened to be on-line and I let her know that Chuckie's back. She wrote back that she let her DynaCorp ticket go on longer than it should've to give Chuckie the benefit of the doubt. Oh yeah? Well if he comes back this time without the movie lis..., I mean, server and Ethereal logs, Daddy's gonna send him out to the woodshed.

This ticket, as with all those handled by the mommies before, will close with a Root Cause:6, but Chuckie's asking the same goddamned question five times and refusing to invoke the simplest bits of logic help build the case for my demand: Give us monkeys a Root Cause: 17-Fuckwit!

x-posted from HuSi, where there's a poll.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Solving a Difficult Sudoku: The "Uniqueness" Method

I can't sit in the Cube at the Desk of Hate all day long. When it's time for this monkey to have a smoke, I usually take a sudoku puzzle with me. I do 'em in the train to and from work as well. I've done so many that I can do most puzzles at the hardest level in under 10 minutes. Luckily, Berti hates smoke and so avoids the smoking room which means I'm not subject to his opinions on how the puzzles work.

I don't use strategies such as "Advanced cross-hatching", "X-wing", "Swordfish" and the like; to me they're obvious and nothing more than long names and descriptions for what I already do: scan numbers in rows and columns and when those are all set, start looking for pairs and triplets. However, there's a rule I came up with a year ago which I call "Uniqueness". No other site ever explained this, and when I sent it to the guy with the former Numbah Wun sudoku strategy site, he gave me nothing but a "Pish and tosh". Fine. Fuck 'im. He's wrong, I'm right, you benefit.

NOTE: This method does not work on Killer or Killer-variant Sudoku puzzles because the numbers are also related mathematically due to the cages. It does work on everything else.

This Uniqueness method can be demonstrated with Websudoku's Evil Puzzle #7,645,498,690.








First we get some preliminary numbers out of the way:
















In looking for pairs we have two blocks with 5 and 6. If all four of those boxes are either 5 or 6 then this is an illegal puzzle. It would have two answers.

















One square also has an additional alternative Since Uniqueness demands that it cannot be either 5 or 6, this alternative must be the answer.

















After that one certainty, we can fill in a lot of numbers, starting with the 1 in the bottom left quadrant since 5 and 6 are still blocked in that row, forcing the top to be a 6, forcing the number below the newly-placed 1 to be a 6, and so on. From 45 open spaces we're down to 29.








On Monday I came across Websudoku's Evil Puzzle #8,351,019,029:





















After some quick scanning to fill in the obvious, we've got this:



















Pretty simple, but now what?

I noticed the 1 and 9 in the bottom middle block, and this is significant because there's a 1/9 pair in the top middle block:



















Now that still leaves three empty spaces for which I only know two numbers but then Uniqueness comes into play. In the example, blocks A and B both include the same 1/9 pair while block D has the 1/9 and a third number:



















There's only one of three possible ways to fill two of the circles with 1/9 which gives a legal result. Circles B and C can't be 1/9 since there's already a box in that column which can only be a 1/9. Circles A and C can't be 1/9: this would violate the Uniqueness property allowing two different ways to solve for 1 and 9. That leaves A and C:



















Since the 3 and 8 in the second row from the bottom can only be placed on the top of this bottom middle box, position B must be a 4.

This is the first time that I've come across Uniqueness being a factor early on. It normally appears fairly late in a puzzle with a pair somewhere and the same pair mirrored elsewhere but with a third possibility for one of them. The Uniqueness strategy always works (by definition it must), and is often the last recourse before guessing.

While extremely rare, Uniqueness can also be used if nine spaces house the same pairs/triplets over three rows or columns, along with one extra possible digit in one of those spaces. If I see it again I'll add it here.

These days I'm doing "Killer", "Greater-Than", and "Greater-Than Killer" sudokus. These fuckers aren't kidding when they call their weekly puzzles "mind-bending". I'm grateful to Websudoku (as well as to Sudoku.org.uk) for all the puzzles they've provided me but these days I'm getting more challenging stuff from Killer Sudoku Online. If anyone has any links to sites which offer regular supplies of other sudoku variants (pips and shared cell, for example) please let me know in the comments.

Note: These graphics gave me a chance to try out Paint.NET for the down-and-dirty crap I normally do in PaintShop Pro 3. While it's still young, it's pretty damned good. An imitation Photoshop to be sure, the features it lacks are made up for by the ease of use. They need to make layers copyable and savable; I had to draw the red shading for each graphic individually. The learning curve's very shallow if you know Photoshop and still not terribly steep if you don't.

x-posted from HuSi, where there's a poll.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Cue the Singing Vikings

If my knowledge of $PortalCrap was water, a ladybug could die of thirst. I know that no one can describe it without a load of buzzwords and marketing phrases like "unified portal framework with an industrial strength foundation which includes flexible deployment architectures to drive maximum portal value at minimum cost" and "modular services which include search, collaboration, content management, and interaction management through extensions which expand the value and reach to provide solutions to a greater set of enterprise challenges. to help minimize risk and meet specialized requirements."

OK, but what the fuck does it do? Who knows? Who cares? The only thing that I know it does is hog the goddamned communications ports. It's a petulant child that wants all the candy. If it can't have ports 80/8080/443/8443 all to itself, it won't play. Load $PortalCrap first and we can't use standard comm ports. Load $OurBigApp first and $PortalCrap will refuse any SSL connections.

How do I know this? Because I spent days back and forth with some schmuck who told me that his system which had "no third-party apps" was still failing. It was like being in a Monty Python Sketch:


REC: So what system are you running?

Customer: Well there's UNIX and third-party software; UNIX, $YourBigApp and third-party software; UNIX, $YourBigApp, database and third-party software; third-party software, $YourBigApp, database and third-party software; third-party software, UNIX, third-party software, third-party software, $YourBigApp and third-party software; third-party software, third-party software, third-party software, UNIX and third-party software; third-party software, third-party software, third-party software, third-party software, third-party software, third-party software, baked beans, third-party software, third-party software, third-party software and third-party software; or a five-rack Beowulf cluster of high-end blade servers with a petabyte of RAID-10 storage running a homogeneous mixture of supported UNIX flavours, database, $YourBigApp and third-party software.


REC: Have you got anything without third-party software on it?


Customer: Well there's third-party software, UNIX, database and third-party software. That's not got much third-party software on it.


REC: I don't want any third-party software!



With Ethereal logs I was able to see what was happening and managed to get this guy to reproduce it, but only by promising him that we would indeed also install the spa... I mean, third-party software. Which then broke the system. The fix: he can have the spam... dammit! He can have his $PortalCrap as long as he installs it somewhere other than on any server with $OurBigApp.

Because a lot of our customers use spa... I mean, $PortalCrap, I wrote a Notice. Last year. When prodded, our Doc Manager sends out another request for approval every few months. She did so for this Notice last week.

My Notice is simple and complete. It describes the problem seen, fully explains the cause, and even provides the solution, all in fewer than 300 words. Comes the reply from the Product Monkey responsible: I don't have enough knowledge in this area to comment one way or the other.

You don't need to know it, you fuckwit! You're supposed to know it but you don't need to! Everything's right there in the Notice! Just OK the goddamned thing and we won't get another customer submitting another ticket because spam is causing spam to break whenever spam is installed on spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam...

x-posted to HuSi where there's a poll.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Quick Googler Updates

Vanity searches. You know you do them. So do I, not only to find out where the interest is but also to ensure that this identity doesn't appear with any of my others.

Huzzah! According to Technorati this blog is now in the top million! What an honour, and I couldn't have done it without an average 60 or so of you people who read this daily, even when I'm too busy to only write one entry a week. Over the past year I've amassed a grand total of US$0.87 with Adsense thanks to all that clicking. Life is good. Considering the limited appeal of the general subject matter and the language used to present it, I'm actually still surprised to find I get that many readers, although many of you weren't actually looking for that which you found.

I've never heard the term used before but I'm guessing that someone who works at the company with the motto "Try not to do evil but don't make a federal case about it" is called a "Googler" since I get quite a few searches from people trying to find out what an average workday is like for "Googlers". Here are some others:

landolf solaris
I mentioned a book I was reading and a particular OS in the same month. The name isn't terribly common so Teh Goog has me right under the intended Java developer's info page.

Citrix
Take your pick: "citrix sucks click here", "Citrix problem", "word attachment problem in citrix", "citrix issue with windows updates", "citrix sucks", "Control-M EM on Citrix"... they all lead here, though some of them are pretty far down in the results.

That last one looks like it's a search for the guide to the BMC software which does run on Citrix: the PDF ranks number one.

If you don't leave a question in the comments, how the hell am I supposed to know what you're looking for?

free fucking with free video file.with out registration
Someone in Sweden was really bored at the office.

naked redheads
I'm around the 198th result for that due to my review of the film, Perfume. Whoever this was obviously couldn't get enough nekkid gingers, not that it's a bad thing. Au contraire!

installshield day counter
Not sure what this one ism but I think you're looking for the registry reference counter. It's in the IS docs.

I got some funky Italian searches but when I try them nothing comes up even when using the Google search compare tool. Strange.

canine life values
Huh? Is this some newage pet psychology thing?

chernobyl power point slides
The Soviets never had PowerPoint.

unblock my web bitch
This had me and Mini-Me laughing all morning.

And finally...

fallen kidneys
Three different times over the past six weeks. Some quack's out there selling snake oil. There's no such thing people. Do yourself a favour and go to real doctors who have real medical training and not these idiots with their made-up ailments and "natural remedies". You can tell who the real doctor is: he's the guy who isn't trying to talk you into buying something from him, although he often will give you a free sample or day's dosage of some medication or another.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Leading the Blind

"Achtung! Ein Schild steht vor Ihnen!" I yelled today. "Watch out! There's a sign in front of you!" The stupid bakery fucks had put up their A-frame ad right in the middle of a walkway and a blind woman was trying to negotiate her way to the S-Bahn entrance.

"Thank you," she said.
"One meter to the right and it's clear."
"Thank you very much."

Every so often in Munich you'll see a blind person going the wrong way or about to run into some person or object. People are generally helpful here and will try to stop this person from getting hurt or confused and that's a good thing. They generally do this by grabbing the blind person's arm. This is a very bad thing. Never grab blind people; talk or shout but don't just grab them.

On Monday some twit decided he was going to be Mr Macho and guide a blind girl through the damned station. She apparently didn't know that the escalators at Isartor are backwards; you have to go on the left side, not the right. He just grabbed her arm and started pulling her. She had to be used to this but the initial look on her face was panic. After I'd grabbed my coffay I went down to the platform and this guy was right in front of me, oblivious to everything. As we got to the bottom and he was wandering aimlessly, I grabbed his arm firmly from behind. He jumped.

"That's what you just did to her, and you can see what the hell's going on around you."
I noticed the woman smile just a little bit.

"Don't grab blind people. Talk. Shout. Tap their elbows gently if you must, but Do. Not. Grab. Blind. People."
"OK, OK, I get it."

You do now, sunshine.

Twenty-four minutes later I was in the office and two minutes after than leading another blind man. Mini-me popped up on my screen. It's this stupid ticket he's been dealing with all week about our client uninstaller not working. $BigPowerCo used our BCAI ($BigCorp Automatic Installer) to build a standard client installation which they could then auto-install via the network. The problem was that it wouldn't uninstall. You have to rip the program out manually, making registry changes including deleting classes. Users don't have the permissions and automating a manual removal is tricky.

He'd gone back and forth with them and was out of ideas.

"Have you tried using the BCAI yourself?"
"Yeah, it works fine."
"I meant their BCAI."
"No. Should I have them send it to me?"
"That would probably be a good idea."

The file was on our FTP site today. Paul ran it and finally regained his sight:
"Check out the BCAI.INI file: UninstallManager = no"

Yes, this was a variable they'd set. The default value is "yes". As my head started on its path toward the dent in front of my keyboard it was stopped by the searing pain in my shoulder and neck, the result of a cramp or strain on Wednesday. Pain is pain, though, and as long as you feel it you know you're not quite dead yet.

Root Cause: 17-Fuckwit.
x-posted to HuSi, with a poll.

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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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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hard Had Area

Civilisation is truly in decline.

Because he boinked some fat blonde a few times there's a photographer who now has a kid and half a billion dollars or so, proof to the porn industry that you don't have to pull out for the money shot. Had he just shot his load all over her not-inconsequential ass, we might actually hear some real news, like, say, the subpoena duces tecum Congress sent the US Department of Justice for documents on the Attorneys General firings. Or not. Blind pilots? What's next, iPods for the deaf?

It's no better here. "Check out Feature XXX! Feast your eyes on Feature YYY!! Set your very own colour scheme!!!" And what about the big, gaping CSS security hole? "Pay no attention to that monkey in the corner. We're feature-rich! We're innovating!"

We're a bunch of fuckwits.
Hey $MegaCorp! Did you notice that it's easy to take the client URL and hijack a session with CSS? I can just append any old URL and the browser will be redirected! We need a solution!
Yeah, we need one, too. This one's been documented a dozen times. There are a few things to consider though:
  1. It can't be exploited if you're using cookies
  2. There's no reason not to use HTTPS in any sensitive environment
  3. Since the URL is coming from within the trusted system, there's not much threat
  4. What little threat exists is the same as any other sort of hack against your server

We don't want to use cookies because they might be dangerous. We're also not sure about setting up HTTPS so we don#t want to do that. And it must be a huge problem if the user can just go to the URL and then append the site he wants to go to and get there! This might allow users to get around our firewall! You need to come up with a solution.

Yeah, well I don't want to wear pants at home but when I'm cooking chicken-fried steak, I prefer the Levi's to hot spattering oil hitting Mr Happy. If you want your highly-sensitive information available on-line, you need more than just that firewall you really only installed to prevent your employees spending their working hours on GooTube and i-am-bored.com.

Setting up HTTPS on IIS is fucking point-and-click. If your "admin" is so incompetent that he can't set up SSL on fucking IIS, fire the fuckwit and hire a high school student. All it takes is a click, a right click, a click, a check that the port is 443, three more clicks, selecting a checkbox, then two more clicks. A drunk macaque could enable SSL within a day.

Official Root cause: 1-Defect.
True Root cause: 17-Fuckwit.
x-posted from HuSi, where there's a poll.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Stop, Thief!

A few years ago there was a big row over tickets being reassigned to other monkeys rather than having the helping monkey be added as an assist. The Asia-Pacific region was the worst offender, constantly taking tickets from people who'd put a lot of work into them and reassigning them to their own monkeys, justifying the action because the customer called outside of the other regions' working hours. I thought it had been resolved.

I thought wrong.

There are quite a few downsides to living in Catholic Bavaria. Stores are closed on Sundays (but not all of them). There's no dancing or playing of "joyful" music allowed on either Good Friday or some other Day of Remembrance of the Dead. Until recently it was illegal to wash your car on Sunday. The upshot is a bunch of extra holidays. I had Friday and Monday free, four days to finally process a load of photos in Canon utilities and Photoshop and deliver them.

Which is harder to do when your primary monitor (a colour-calibrated NEC MultiSync FE950) dies. And shops are closed. Finding a CRT locally is nigh impossible these days so I'm going to pay a lot for that muffler. So instead of Photoshop I was stuck building furniture, carrying boxes, and doing all that other crap you have to do when you've moved into a new flat.

Still, the break was nice. Two 4-day work weeks coming on the heels of a two-week "vacation", with four days free in between. I could get used to a schedule like that.

Most of our other orifices were open at least one of those two days and the Asians were there for both. There was a load of mail to read. Why the hell would $AsiaManager be writing me about my $HugeKoreanKorp ticket? I'd already answered it fully while also letting them add milk and eggs. There wasn't really much more to do.


REC,

FYI, I have reassigned ticket AT-115EG-K to $DumbChimp and added you as an assist since you were out both fri and today as well. Hope this is ok


No, it is fucking not OK! I know a lot of OK things and reassigning my I18N specialty ticket to a clueless n00b is definitely not one of them.
$AsiaManager,

I don't believe that reassignment was the correct action. It was, in fact, wholly inappropriate and as such was one of the most incorrect actions possible. $DumbChimp should've been added as an assist. I resolved the problem in my last update; $DumbChimp merely confirmed and held the customer's hand afterwards. Making matters worse, the answer he sent is wrong. Left alone, $HugeKoreanKorp will be fucked since they've mixed Unicode and codepage.

Love,
REC

And the response, 20 minutes later:

REC,

Sorry, the full details were not in the ticket. Typically I request backup help instead of new owner. The TAR requested reassignment of this ticket to an Asia region monkey, preferably Korean speaking since this is a new customer and they are already on the "Special Case" list. I could not get a Korean speaking monkey so I compromised with having APAC monkey picked it up At that point of reassignment, I have considered that this is a new ticket that you have just picked up, you were out for two days and since the customer needs handholding in APAC time and Korean, I decide to go for reassignment and I was not aware the SR would be resolved so quickly.

So the reason you violated our policies again and stole my ticket again to hand off to one of your incompetent chimps again was to get a Korean speaker working on the issue (which had already been resolved), but the clueless 'tard whose numbers need propping up neither speaks Korean nor understands anything about this issue. Nevertheless he gave $HugeKoreanKorp a follow-up answer which couldn't have been more wrong if it had been, "Masturbating with a high-suction Hoover canister vacuum is a perfectly safe and healthy pasttime."

Ticket unstolen. Urgent update mail sent to $HugeKoreanKorp with a CC: to my managers and a BCC: to $DumbChimp.

Fuckwittery is like gangrene or that black mold you get on damp walls. By the time you've actually discovered it, it's too late and probably impossible to get rid of. And it's everywhere. Don't forget to pay for your hot dogs in Kansas. Civilisation is truly in decline.

x-posted from HuSi, where there's a poll.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Red, Red Whine

Dinner last night was Vispannetjes, a Flemish fish stew cooked for me as I worked on rebuilding my network, the phone and DSL having finally been switched on Tuesday evening. Only a month late: not bad for Germany. I no longer have to borrow my neighbour's unsecured wireless network which has connect speeds indicative of a Hayes Accura 33.6 Modem.

Made with salmon and pollock in a creamy sauce with mushrooms and cheese, it was quite tasty. It's also made with red wine. I don't have "cooking wine" at home because I won't cook with any wine I wouldn't drink, and there are enough cheap yet drinkable wines which are fine for cooking and only cost a few euros a bottle. Baron Philippe de Rothschild Mouton Cadet Bordeaux is not one of these. Running around €40-100 a bottle this is stuff you drink slowly and enjoy. You can cook with it, but unless your name is J. P. Moneybags, you probably won't... unless you happen to be my girlfriend.

The wine she served with dinner? Five-euro-a-bottle merlot. The stuff I got for cooking. Because then we'd be drinking the same wine all evening.

I think my girlfriend's fraternal twin Clancy works for $BigEasternTelco.
Hi, we have a serious performance problem after upgrading our production system from version 2.2.a to 3.4.c.12. Everything works perfectly in our test environment but once we rolled out to Production the system slows to a crawl and starts hanging and requires restarting.
The system logs looked fine. The database was under a bit of a load at times but that's nothing out of the ordinary. Strange that the load drops in a short time though... I asked for -- and received -- fully verbose system logs and checked them again. Things looked normal until people started logging in.

I asked for the OS performance logs. The CPUs were all pinning at 100% in a short time. Yeah, that could do it. But Clancy said everything ran sweet when they'd put double the standard user load on the Test system which comprised two brand new, dual quad-core 3GHz Xeons with 16GB of memory. Hmm... and what's the Production system running on?

Four boxes, each running a single 500MHz PIII Xeon with 1GB of memory.

Fuckwits.
x-posted from HuSi, where there's a poll.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Return

Two weeks away from the CubeDesk of Hate was nice (despite severe food poisoning last week), especially since I didn't log into $MegaCorp's networks even once. Unfortunately that meant I came back to a few thousand mails about:
  • the latest emergencies arising out of fuckwitted actions ("We 'fixed' stuff and now it's all broken!")
  • more than a thousand useless mails due to one fuckwit's improper use of a special case mailing list and hundreds of other fuckwits responding to the listserv
  • Further stupid Daylight Savings Time questions ("Do we have to change the dates every month?")
  • Questions about other specialty areas
  • Escalations because I didn't respond to urgent mail within 12 hours
  • Complaints from managers because the Out Of Office function in our E-Mail system is b0rked.
  • A marriage announcement and 140 follow-ups to that
  • Escalations from customers who re-opened year-old tickets and then escalated because the new question wasn't answered inside 24 hours, never mind the fact that we forbid re-opening tickets after 30 days.
  • And so on, and so on, and so on...

At least Mini-Me did a good job of covering my tickets while I was gone.

My desk was clean, cleaner than I thought I'd left it. Turns out that Vera decided that it wasn't clean enough despite my having cleaned and organised everything three days before I left. She'd had time to tell me. Instead she "cleaned" it some more once I was gone. Normally I wouldn't complain about someone else cleaning up my mess, but that woman's idea of "cleaning up" meant she threw away various papers on my desk, some of which had important phone numbers, others which had password hints (necessary when the internal systems are so fucked that you need eleven different passwords (all of which must be changed every 90 days) to work.

It took an hour to come up with the right password just to unlock my mah-cheen.

She threw stuff away. Personal stuff. Highly illegal in Germany. And yet leaving footprints on her scalp can't be conducive to increases in the amount of money $MegaCorp dumps in my bank account each month. Neither do I have her by the short and curlies.

So the whole DST thing turned out to be one big fiasco. Arstechnica agrees. Techdirt agrees. Hell, I agree, too.

On the other hand, that shit gave me something like 70 tickets and direct contact with higher-ups in Engineering, Programming, PM, QA and various levels of management. I was very high-profile. I got two published Notices out of the deal, neither of which was difficult to write. Since Mini-Me assisted on a bunch of those tickets (building testbeds for me) it raised his profile, too. Everyone knew that the DST change was fucking pointless but it was mandated and therefore had to be done. High-profile customers were screaming for fixes. And I was the fucking axle for that wheel.

Giant, useless waste of money overall? Sure, but it was a godsend for me. Now I have to go back to taking shitty tickets and helping Mini_me with the shitty ones he gets stuck with, like this mook:
I downloaded two archives: something_part1of2.zip and something_part2of2.zip. Some of the folders had to be moved since WinZip didn't want to overwrite a directory. One of the folders contains the md5 files. So I the archive is encrypted with MD5 and I need a solution.
Rivest came up with MD5 16 years ago! Why do people who have jobs as administrators not understand that it's a hash, not an encryption method?! Fuckwits.

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In compliance with $MegaCorp's general policies as well as my desire to
continue living under a roof and not the sky or a bus shelter, I add this:

DISCLAIMER:
The views expressed on this blog are my own and
do not necessarily reflect the views of $MegaCorp, even if every
single one of my cow-orkers who has discovered this blog agrees with me
and would also like to see the implementation of Root Cause: 17-Fuckwit.