Friday, August 31, 2007

Five Things At Once

I have to make quite a few decisions in the course of my workday. The biggest decisions are made when prioritising who gets my help based on what needs to get done within a particular time frame.

I currently have 22 open tickets at varying stages of completion. Eight require updates. I have a pile of mail to sort through and many specialty info requests from colleagues.

I don't know; maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way. I'm pretty sure the way I do things makes sense but perhaps I just don't understand something. Here's my prioritising dilemma. I don't have enough time to complete all of these:

1) Three colleague requests for Unicode info (one due to an escalated ticket)
2) One request from Sales for Citrix info (deal is dependent on answers)
3) A big customer who always answers my questions within hours and has an active TAR who I can also consult with, and whose system I've currently set up to test on the machine to my left.
4) A smaller customer who received a complete answer eleven days ago and didn't respond, who also didn't respond to the automatic "Please update your fucking ticket" mails sent seven and four days ago, and who decided yesterday that he wants maximum escalation and is demanding a phone call from me two hours after I expect to leave the office and refuses to explain what he wants or if he's even read the fucking two-week-old answer ago much less actually tried to implement it.
5) Editing/rewriting two technical documents (deadline for completion is tomorrow at 10:00a.m.)

I'd start with #3 since the testbed is already set up and while that testing (which requires occasional interaction) is running, knock out the escalation in #1, then answer #2, go back and finish #1, and then deal with #5. That's the plan anyway, and it looks workable.

The man behind Item #4 can suck a fart out of my ass. If I call that fuckwit I could be on the phone for anything from five minutes to five hours. But maybe I'm missing something. Perhaps my logic is fallacious. To the best of my knowledge this customer isn't extra-super-important nor politically connected/sensitive. So why do I know that blowing this one off is going to cause me more grief than failure to complete any of the others, all of which have a greater importance on every scale I can think of?

Whichever choice I make will inevitably be wrong to someone; my concern is damage control -- minimising the overall level of Wrong. No matter what strategy I use, it's a game I appear never to be able to win, Professor Falken.

Item #4 ain't getting done today. Not by me, anyway.


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Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Path Less Traveled

Three weeks of sick leave is hard to enjoy when the reason you're taking it is because you are, in fact, sick. Very sick. Between the illness and medicine I was worse than useless. All I really recall of more than a week of lying in bed was the dreadful thought that I was unable to think. I couldn't watch an episode of Top Gear without getting lost. I couldn't even follow the story line of a lottery drawing. I wondered if that's what Alzheimer's is like and that scared the piss out of me. Luckily I could no more hold onto any train of thought for more than a few seconds than I could hold a 747 down on the ground.

Upon my return to work I found I still had almost as many tickets as I'd had a few weeks before, most of them with requests to the customers to wait for my return since I'm the specialist for that particular problem area. Great. Loads of low score surveys await me.

I plowed into the mail first. After re-sorting to highlight the 2000 useless, auto-generated internal mails about problems with systems I don't use, the ETAs for service restoration, the extensions and completions I had a manageable 1500 or so to slog though. Best to start at the top and get the most current shit sorted.

Shit was right: ESCALATION!!!11!shiftone

The topmost mail was from some manager who'd promised an idiot yesterday that I'd call him today. Bullshit. I won't be in my office when they arrive at theirs and I can't stay late.

I fired off a note stating that such an action was unacceptable. You don't make a promise on my behalf without clearing it with me first. You don't presume to know my schedule and you sure as shit don't volunteer me to stay at least three hours past my normal working day. I have a life outside this fucking cubicle and that's too short as it is.

The E-Mail I sent back expressed these sentiments. Fuckwit manager, rather than accept reality, took offense. I've now insulted her as well as clearly refused to do my job. That got me a 15-minute talk with Greg, a former peer and now manager covering for my other managers who are all away. For fifteen fucking minutes I sat there explaining my mail and my position on the subjects it covered, all to his nodding and follow-ups beginning with "Yes, but..."

Greg has apparently already had the managerial prerequisite lobotomy.

Idiot Manger in the US got her way: some poor schlub over there is in the assist box on the ticket. She made him call the fuckwit. His notes span eight entries. And I was right: the fuckwit not only never bothered to look at the answer he was sent two weeks ago, he didn't understand the subject matter at all. My poor colleague had spent more than four hours on this fuckwit. Four hours! To explain -- using monosyllabic words and diagrams with pretty pictures of bunnies and duckies -- the following ultracomplex 3-step procedure:

  1. Go to the NetSource Admin screen
  2. Go to DataSource subsection
  3. Enter the true network storage paths with FQDNs after testing that they're pingable through a fucking command prompt.

That's it. Open the fucking admin application, go to the right page, enter the fucking path, done. My technotard girlfriend could complete that inside 30 minutes.

If your job is in a data center/NOC and you have no idea what the fuck "UNC", "path" or "FQDN" mean, you are not a "network administrator", you're a fuckwit.

Root Cause: 17

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Rhinovirus Redux

I'm sick as a... dog. Due to the meds I'm having difficulty stringing sentences together coherently. Give me a few more days.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Screenshots, part teary

"You can see screenshot for intuitionistic reference."

What the fuck is "intuitionistic reference"? Please do the needful: English, motherfucker! Write it!

And what screenshot are you on about? There's no screenshot attached, just a couple config files and a spreadsheet. All I see here in an XLS file.

You didn't. Oh sweet Mergatroid please tell me you did not embed a fucking screenshot in Excel!


Stretched from A-1 to DD-866. You fuckwit.

The my-head-shaped dent in front of my keyboard grows deeper every day.

So how would you build the most inefficient screenshot?

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007


A rather common sight here in Munich is two or three women leading anything from one to three dozen generally well-behaved little monsters who are forced to hold hands and walk in twosies. Kindergarteners usually, my observations have been that they have to hold hands until at least the second grade. While waiting for my subway to get to work today, one such group was being shepherded by three women off the U2 and upstairs via the escalator. As one child reached for the handrail, the oldest leader chided him, telling him to get his hand off the rail this instant. The criticism grew sharper when he didn't react immediately.

It happened again as another well-trained child put her hand on the rail, then another boy, each either oblivious to the chewing out the others received previously, or caught in the terrible conflict of following the teacher's arbitrary orders rather than following the instructions drilled in by their parents. Escalator safety is a pretty big thing here in Munich; some kid lost a few fingers back in March.

Every goddamned escalator in this country -- just about everywhere in Europe for that matter -- has a fucking sign showing that you're supposed to hold onto the handrail. The escalator could suddenly stop, your shoe could rub up against the edge and your foot might be pulled out from under you, you could simply lose your balance. There's a reason so much effort went into designing the damned handrail and making it run at exactly the same speed as the stairs, and this idiot woman was telling the kids not to do exactly what they should.

She's not the only one. Jamie at $CompanyCorp kept telling everyone to keep using the MSJVM. She locked down all workstations with the Global Policy Editor, forcing them to use the JVM while banning the Sun JRE. The workstations run Microsoft's OS so theirs must be the right Java environment to use, never mind that the MSJVM was deprecated in 2004, ripped out of most machines which accepted automatic updates a couple years ago, and that we reprogrammed everything to work more efficiently with Sun's JRE. Forget the fact that our docs specifically state that browser should be set to use the JRE and not the MSJVM. Pay no attention to the warnings that $OurBigApp throws if the JRE isn't the default Java environment. Jamie knows better. She's an MCP.

"Jamie, even Microsoft says to drop the JVM and use Sun's JRE."
"They do not!"
"Yes, they do."

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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.