Thursday, January 04, 2007

Cow-Orkers IX: No Time Like the Present

Most people don't give time a lot of thought. If you log into an application and enter some data, you can look at your watch and that's the time you did it. It could be a lot more complicated inside the system architecture though, and I've become $MegaCorp's expert on the subject. I've had to write a couple documents and issue two edicts, one of which is basically translated as either, "Just give me any ticket that references time," or "Take any ticket about time and then take credit by getting me to resolve it for you playing Chinese Whispers."

Carla's supposedly at my seniority level. My mentoree Paul has been with us for about six weeks now and is considerably more competent than she. He proves this Every. Single. Fucking. Day.

Also, a glimmer of hope.

Carla writes:
I have this ticket which I am currently working on and I would greatly in need of your expertise.

The discrepany is between the timestamp on ID Record vs the timestamp on the database for a similar record. This record was created external and synchronized.

On the Record ID = Created On = 12-Dec-2006 02:56:20PM
On the database = Created = 12/12/2006 1:56:20PM

The following are the settings:

On the Local :
$OurBigApp = (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada); Tijuana
Control Panel > Date&Time = (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

On the server :
Default Time Zone = (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)
Control Panel > Date&Time = (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)
DBTIME = -04:00

Based on the above, I am not able to get the "1-hr" difference ( 1:56:20PM vs 02:56:20PM).

You don't have to work with databases to notice that almost everything is on Eastern time (GMT-5) but the database is on Atlantic (GMT-4). It's right there. Still, anyone can overlook the obvious and I've done before so I didn't go ballistic.

Control Panel > Date&Time = (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)
DBTIME = -04:00

It looks like the DB is set to Atlantic time (or Daylight Savings +1), an hour ahead of the servers.


And that should've been it. If it had been I'd be ranting about the colleague who calls his toddler three times a day and insists on using baby-talk, continuing to do so even after his wife takes the phone back. Drives me up a fucking wall. Instead I got this response not 15 minutes later:
Does this constitute a "1-hr" difference? Should the Timestamp on RecordID show "5-hr" difference" since the System Preference Default TimeZone and Control Panel > Date&Time is GMT-5?

She's Eastern Asian so "blonde" is out. She has no idea about how time zones work in real life much less in software and yet she took the ticket. My forehead probes the depths of the my-head-shaped-dent in front of my keyboard.

Later this morning I bumped into Vera in the hallway and asked about Bulgrohungria where our new offices are, just sort of making conversation and trying to get a little closer to what passes for her "good side". She comes from Bulgrohungria so my apparent interest couldn't hurt. I asked about the distance from the office to the city, the costs of hotels, that sort of thing. I figured it'd be dirt cheap. No such luck -- hotels in the city are around €100-150/night and even outside the city, finding something under €60 is difficult.

But maybe you could go there officially as a part of work...

Hells yeah! Send my ass there for a couple weeks and pay my way! I've mentored an entire office before and I could give a bunch of stupid presentations while I'm there, too. That would stop management bitching about having sent me to HQ for a week with little noticeable return on their investment. Most of the return has been terribly intangible but led to huge tangible results about which I have to constantly remind them.

I should know in February. I'll get at most two weeks' notice and it'll most likely overlap my planned vacation weeks. Two weeks in the Eastern Bloc on $MegaCorp's dime... what could possibly go wrong?

x-posted to HuSi with a poll.

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and would also like to see the implementation of Root Cause: 17-Fuckwit.