Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Hot Market

The Panopticon -- designed like a giant greenhouse -- is well over 30┬░ today. I have a massive backlog, more than a dozen callbacks and two full repros I have to build, and fuckwitted baby-talking cow-orkers. No fucking air conditioning. Still, this isn't the worst place in Germany to be working. This is, an office around 300km northwest of here. I could almost feel sorry for Sven D├╝sterhaus.

I really don't give a rat's ass about Oracle vs. SAP and CEO pissing contests, but I grew up with the law, worked in it briefly, and on occasion have found comic relief in file courtroom documents. Scientology slapdowns aside, there's some good stuff out in the dockets, whether it's that defense of a student's use of the word "fuck" (anyone have a link to that?) to the entire SCO fiasco, I occasionally take a few hours to read some long document and cross-check it over at LexisNexis.

A buddy told me this morning that I had to check out Oracle's amended complaint. Holy massive collusion, Batman! The scope and scale is un-fucking-imaginable. The aforementioned Sven is SAP's chief counsel and he's fucked. The company knew, all the way to the top. Their documents prove it. The contracts show that customer were participatory in what they had to know was illegal.

When I first heard of Tomorrow Now from a friend who'd left Siebel to join up I asked him how the fuck they could possibly have more information on the software than Siebel itself. He was kinda vague but insistent that they'd succeed and chided me for refusing their offer. TN, he told me, was even going to be offering patches. Umm... how?

Reading through the complaint I found out exactly how: they'd load up their copies of older version, download patches (which they weren't authorised to take), apply it, run a diff on the machine, then collect the mods and rebrand it all.

Question for any Oracle people out there: how the fuck did Tomorrow Now manage to download five terabytes of software before you noticed something fishy? And that using a bank of 20 servers scraping your entire site and catalog from just one IP address?!

The filing reads almost like a Grisham novel without the guns and hotshot attorneys. I'm going to give away the ending: the last page is a demand for a jury trial. Not even the Chewbacca Defense can save SAP. Their only hope may be Steve Martin's old schtick. I'm positively giddy.

Contractually obligating customers to illegally download thousands of gigs of software from the supplier they're leaving? Fuckwits. Only a German like Henning Kagermann could actually think that Oracle wouldn't sue because then they'd have to sue their own customers, too, utterly failing to realise that Oracle could just grant the customers retroactive licenses in return for, um, returning to Oracle. And paying the back maintenance fees, natch.

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Monday, July 28, 2008


The day the we figure out how to run cars on stupidity is the day the derricks go up in Paris. I simply can't comprehend how so much dumb can be crammed into one head.

If you're unable to do telephone banking because there's no fucking dial tone, the French thing to do would be to blame the bank. It must be the bank's fault and couldn't possibly have anything to do with the months of unpaid phone bills.
We are currently using $LoadBalancer we note the same behavior for following We can not perform action expected, and we get the error message "Error contacting license server".
Uh, Sparky? We don't have a fucking license server. You've been using our software for 10 years and should know this by now. $LoadBalancer also has no fucking license server. In fact, the only software which comes to mind that does have a license server is... Citrix. And we don't support it. You can't admin $LoadBalancer because you're using Citrix to get to it and Citrix is broken. Go bother them.

And that should've been the end of it. But it wasn't; it never is.
PLease note today we receive several error message today:
SACLB1RR_14451 (saclb1rr) : ERROR: [saclb1rr]: $LoadBalancer administrator password is not defined yet. Please use menu.

What is the issue?
It's a good thing stupid is massless or there'd be a fucking black hole centered in the 7th Arrondissement. Root Cause: 17.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Petty Office(r)s

I have three days to catch up on all my tickets which no one looked at during my entire week of training. Customers are pissed. I've been officially pulled out of The System. Nevertheless, there's a Ticket Assignment Notification which just showed up in my mailbox. The System knows best.

Not only have I been assigned yet another Solaris problem I have no idea about, Steve has been assigned a problem requiring the ability to see the difference between Japanese characters. We agree to trade, unofficially and doing our best to hide the transactions which management will inspect to make sure we're being good little bitches.

A note last night from a US manager asks me if I can take over Yet Another Citrix Problem which was assigned to Someone Other Than Me, and in taking the reassignment it won't count toward my number of assigned tickets as far as The System is concerned; it only counts toward last Tuesday's assignment quota. I agree anyway.

An hour later comes another mail from some unknown name. Someone in HR. She's seen my profile pic, a particularly funny line drawing animation which has been my profile pic ever since $MegaCorp took over $BigCorp. I've received dozens of mails and IMs in favour of it. I have a link to a site of mine in my profile and dozens of people have clicked on that as well, so I know that they, too, have seen the pic. I know because I have the referrer logs of the site, all coming from xxxxx.$megacorp.com/yyyyy/zzzzz?=$REC_empno. But she's offended. I explained this in an E-Mail littered with management-speak buzzwords and other shitty language abuses that she and her ilk are more comfortable with, stating at the end that should she not change her mind, I would reluctantly -- in accordance with company policy -- remove said offending picture. No word back on that.

What else is in the mail? A note from Giacomo. He'll be back in Munich teaching the DBA1 course in a couple of weeks. Hot diggity! Off to Meathead to get approval for this course as well.

"Hey Meathead. Giacomo's coming back next week to do the DBA1 course. I need approv..."
"You've already had your five training days this quarter."
"That's the minimum requirement per quarter."
"Right. And you've received it."
"But I didn't get any fucking training last quarter. Nor the quarter before that, nor the quarter before that!"
"But you got it this quarter. You can do the DBA1 next quarter."

Minima = maxima only when it's shit I want; I do far fucking more than the minimum number of tickets and still get pushed to "do more".

Fuming, I return to my desk. There's a mail from Mini-Me with an attachment. A screenshot of $OurBigInternalApp with a ticket, and in the owner field, Mini-Me's name. There was a second screenshot of another ticket, also assigned to him. In his note to our manager he wrote, "I'm kinda busy right now but I'll try to look at them later today."

Mini-Me left the company ten weeks ago but The System knows best.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Training III: An Open Letter to Oracle

Dear Oracle,

Classroom training's cool. The free lunch isn't too bad either (for fans of MSG anyway). A week away from my normal hell is also pretty fucking sweet. So please don't take this the wrong way...

When I (or more precicely, the $MegaCorp division I work in) is shelling out for my DBA training which is supposed to include all that horrible PL/SQL shit and RAC and SQL tuning, and I've worked with databases for the past eight fucking years (yours, DB2 and FoxBasePro SQL Server {$year}), I should get a pass on the intro shit. I should not have to sit through hours of fucking explanations to n00bz about tables, foreign keys and the fucking SELECT statement. I may not be a Mastah DBA but I know how to grab the shit I want out of your tables. I can even do it in your shitty, still-not-Unicode-compliant command line SQL*Plus program which will never, EVAR be as good as Toad. EVAR.

That Enterprise Manager copy of Microsoft's point-and-shoot GUI ain't the best in the world either. Would you guys even consider writing something in a language more efficient than Java? PASCAL perhaps? SNOBOL? Fuck, even a DSKY machine might be faster.

No, your browser-based "iSQL" client just doesn't impress me. It's just another "Do X... on the Web". Meh. Accidentally backspace and all your work and history are gone. Would it be that difficult to have the browser write the history commands to a local text file? Yes, I know it's possible to write my SQL in a local editor and then paste it into the browser but then what's the fucking point of having the browser-based client to begin with?

Also -- and this is pretty important -- please refrain from putting really attractive wimmens in my classroom as they tend to distract. I'm not against wimmens in the field; IT tends to attract the lunatics of both sexes so things are never boring. I just think that segregated classrooms might be something you guys could maybe try out. I'm pretty sure that's a wedding ring on her finger and although 30-45% of German women admit to affairs depending on which survey you read, I'm in a classroom and I'm supposed to be able to focus my attention on what the instructor is saying.

That's all I can think of for now. Thanks for the cookies and air conditioning but that horrible excuse for coffay you've got would embarrass Americans and even Turkish resorts. Powdered premix? Have you no shame??


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Friday, July 04, 2008

Training II: LOL Nazis

So I'm sitting through another day of Stuff I Already Know and the teacher, a nice enough Genoan guy who mangles both German and English without prejudice is going over the new syntax and abilities in 11g. We're dropping tables but wait! There's a foreign key! What to do?

My response didn't go over so well.

The blonde is killing me, constantly looking over at me and smiling, looking longer than is normal. She's not drop-dead gorgeous but there's something about her I can't get over. I'm sitting uncomfortably through classes with a constant reduced cranial bloodflow that I haven't experienced since puberty. Chances to talk, however, aren't taken and she quickly kills my attempts at conversation. I even ate with her in the shit canteen (and paid the price for it later) in order to give it a go. No dice.

Anyway, when discussing databases in German you don't talk about "parent" and "child" but rather "mother" and "daughter" tables. It's less awkward than trying to translate the English constructs directly since "parent" is rarely used here in the singular and no matter how you combine "child" and "table", the result sounds bad. So Muttertabelle and Tochtertabelle it is.

And Giacomo went on talking about altering tables as I tried to stay awake. Then he got to the "ON DELETE CASCADE" construct which when invoked, he explained, will not only remove1 the 'mother' table but take all the 'daughters' with it as well.

I didn't actually think about it, it just came out: "Ah, the Magda Goebbels method."

The temperature in the room dropped quickly. She's definitely not sleeping with me now.

1 It helps to know that the German word for "remove/delete" wrt to DB tables is extremely close to the one which means "extinguishing life"

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Thursday, July 03, 2008


"Dog, your training has been approved."
"Citrix? Finally??"
"No, Oracle. DBA path.
"Umm... "

We have a dozen DBAs in the office. While acquiring this skill wouldn't hurt my chances for advancement (because they're already hovering slightly below zero) and would even give me m4d sk1llz to go elsewhere, I'd really prefer the Citrix training because no one else fucking does it here! I'm already stuck with every Citrix problem there is and it would be nice to have a fucking clue about what it is I'm doing.

More importantly an increasing number of our customers want to use Citrix. We have an ever-growing number of contracts which are dependent on getting $OurBigApp to work on Citrix. Fucking hell, Citrix is now doing Xen which, like, you know, we're doing too!

"Why can't I have the Citrix training?"
"Because it's unsupported," Meathead replied.
"It's unsupported because no one knows how to do it or has any contacts there."
"I understand."
"And if you send me to that training, we'll will have someone -- me -- who can work with it and help out Eng and PM so that we can support it."
"But it's not supported now and so we can't send you."
"The fucking Oracle training is twice the fucking price of Citrix'! We have dozens of Oracle DBAs worldwide!"
"We also have a deal with Oracle training so it's not the list price."
"But we don't need more DBAs."
"So you don't want the training?"

I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid.

"Of course I want the fucking training! Beggars can't be choosers. So is it PL/SQL or DB tuning?"
"Professional Introduction to the Oracle 10g Database"
"Why? I've been working with databases for the past 8 years! I know how to fucking SELECT a goddamned row!"
"Oracle's path requires the course. You can't take the next ones without the certificate from this one."
"Son of a bitch."

Considering the rate that training is approved around here, I'll get certified to "Oracle Master" some time before the turn of the century. They really better hurry up with this anti-aging shit.

SELECT standard_complaint FROM blog WHERE (INSTR('17') > 0);

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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.