Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cow-orkers X: Diaper Rash

Not three minutes after returning to the CubeDesk of Hate from having a cigarette I had to leave quickly for another. Tony, who sits across from me, had picked up the phone. When he does this it's to call his wife and kid. You might think, "What a good father!" Yeah, well... Tony talks to his kid with a high, lispy, baby-talk voice, one which makes the rest of us cringe while looking for sharp objects to stick in our ears, sharp knives for dealing with Tony having been removed from the floor long before I arrived in this office. Tony, like my neighbour Joey, also tries to talk to his kid in English despite his lack of mastery and incredibly bad pronunciation.

And once he's done talking to his kid he talks to his wife. In the same damned baby-talk voice. He does this at least three times a day. He has, on occasion, started speaking to customers the same way if they call within a couple minutes of these exchanges.

Joey, meanwhile, finally has his nose bent back into shape. He got rather angry because I closed all the fucking windows he'd opened when it was -5°C outside. I was depriving him of his badly needed oxygen and because I was the only one to protest his attempts to make the place comfortable for Emperor penguins out loud, I became the target of his ire, a special anger that seemed to have been fermenting for months as everyone else on the floor (save for Tony) kept closing all the fucking windows he kept opening.

I further smooth things by showing him the book I'm now reading, Fänger und Gefangene, by Landolf Scherzer. It's the story of a journalist who went aboard the "Hans Fallada" in the early '80s, an East German fishing and processing ship which ran 100-day tours of duty. Showing any knowledge and interest in anything DDR is a guaranteed way to calm even the harshest Ossi.

Now that we're on speaking terms again it's back to talking about various areas of SQL knowledge and proofreading PowerPoint presentations and distribution mail for him. This saves both colleagues on those lists and our Thai students from having to read an English presentation written and given by a German which include such gems as "Multiple rows becomes inserted" and "Teh join statements having to be for coming after the nesting SELECT in order that he can decide the choices of subdata". And this is how he's teaching his kid to talk.

And on the fuckwit front? Since November I've been dealing with "Gary" and his file server problem. He changed the machine it was mounted on but didn't change the pointers to it. Not surprisingly, no one was able to access files. He finally broke down and agreed to send logs after rounds of insisting it was our software fucking up. The logs showed otherwise.

In only one machine had he changed a single local reference pointer but not any system preference, which meant he also didn't change any other server's preferences and pointers. Still it wasn't working.

Gary was calling me five times a day trying to get me to talk. Nuh-uh. I don't talk to the clueless. He agreed to send logs again and this time I had to explain how to share a directory and write a fully qualified domain name because he figured every machine in his room ought to know that "FileServer/directory" meant "//machine/FileServerShare". Did I mention this is an AIX administrator?

Yet fixing the FQDN in each reference still wasn't enough. We checked permissions. We checked computer names. The file server machine was pingable but he'd still get read and write errors when trying to access any files.

Then I got that one little piece of information that was so unimportant there was no reason to even mention it. The file server was actually an NFS share. Which they forgot to mount.

A Root Cause: 17-Fuckwit could eliminate half the incidents which our programmers need to sift through.
x-posted from HuSi.

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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:

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.