Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cow-Orkers XVIII: Shrek

There are few actually cool people working for us. Back in the days of $BigCorp I constantly thought, "What a group of social fuck-ups," but then I realised I was also one of the group and was most likely similarly odd. Despite certain historically cool factor things about me, I was one of the dysfunctional. I hung out with a few other miscreants until they, one by one, left. Only a couple of tolerable people remained.

Then $MegaCorp bought us and I found out how truly fucked up software programmers, engineers and support people could be. Ripa seemed tame by comparison. No wonder I'd spent so many years avoiding corporate life. Small wonder I'm trying to figure out how the hell to get out of it again.

I shouldn't call this cow-orker "Shrek" really. With a "c" before the "k" the name becomes the German word for "scary". He's also not green although he certainly isn't anorexic. But Shrek he'll be for the purposes of my stories. Shrek is one of those guys you just have to like. He can do no wrong. He's fun to be around.

He can talk about the details of some stripper's tits in mixed company and no one bats an eyelash. Not even the woman who took great offense a minute later when, as she made some reference to her own tits being unable to produce creamer for the coffee, I responded with, "That's easy enough to fix." I didn't mean me, honey.

Shrek's wife lets him run off with the boys on Saturday night to various Czech strip clubs while she stays home with their young daughters. Wifey gets to go out, too, and Shrek'll stay home with the girls. It's a bit of a lopsided deal. I ran into her on one such outing at a local live music bar with a drop-dead gorgeous friend in tow. This friend really liked Americans but, of course, was already married to one.

He goes to strip clubs, she goes to a local watering hole with passable live music. He ogles tits, she sucks down piña coladas. He gets lap dances, she tries to scream above the music to her hot friend. It's a nice job if you can get it.

And goddamn Shrek is good at what he does which is what got him his department transfer. It's political however, and he's still with us physically despite being one of many who are tired of Joey's yelling on the phone (Shrek plays along in Bingo). He's almost always in a good mood and is always willing to help us out on problems, reading through 100MB dumps, pinpointing the problem inside an hour, and saving us days of testing and ping-pong.

He's got a loving wife, two great daughters, freedom to run around with the boys, a nice house, talent out the wazoo, a sense of humour that doesn't scare people, and a way about him that you just can't get enough of. And I wouldn't trade places with him for the world. There's something else Shrek has: heart trouble. Serious heart trouble. Drunk off her ass at that live music bar, his wife confided in me her fears that she could soon be a widow. He's OK now having put everyone through a scare a couple of months ago, but I fear we'll lose him way too early. And I'll be left with Ripa and Tony. And fuckwit customers.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Reading is Fundamental

My day started out shit by not getting out of bed at 7:30 like a good little monkey. It got a lot shittier when I actually did get out of bed because my hot, redheaded bitch was still under the covers, nekkid. The shit continued as I walked to work in the rain, then had to stand outside the door in that rain for a few minutes as a crane worked on moving the pile of carpet rolls blocking the entrance to the Panopticon. Only once I walked into the office and logged in did I find out the true meaning of a shit day (excluding those days Lassie isn't around), and not just because nobody had bothered to make any coffay.

I can deal with the shit &/or nono-existent coffay, the overnight updates, the conf calls, the cow-orkers demanding immediate assistance, the ever-changing Process Documentation, even most of the tickets which come across my desk (>50%) But these guys?
Hi. We're looking for a procedure to set up an extra server to deal with a different language. See attachments.
A procedure? Let's take a look at that attachment...

A couple screenshot clips of $OurBigApp's admin screens, a crudely-drawn circle and arrow with the words "SEE HERE" drawn using a mouse and pointing to text which reads, "We were thinking we need to create a SysCom component and then write a new URL for other language which would be something like Maybe copy the 'Sales SysComp ENU' to Sales SysComp JPN"

We were thinking? ...would be something like?? Are you a fucking 14-year-old girl considering which dress she wants to wear to the junior prom?
there was no place for this in the contact info section. my twitter id is fuzzywumpkins79 if you could maybe contact me as soon as it can be.
I see.
You are a fucking 14-year-old girl trying to decide which dress she wants to wear to the junior prom.

After about 15 minutes I'd figured out what she was trying to do: give her a 1-step solution to do something that requires 80 steps over a couple of hours after reading around 75 pages of information and instructions.
Dear Fluffywumpkins,

All of the information you need to do this is in the Going Global Guide. If you have a specific question about a specific step or you encounter an error I can help you with that.

And that should've been the end of it. But it never is. An hour later came the response:

Thanks for the details, it really very helpfull.

Can you please advise all the necessary end to end steps to install/add second language on current running server?
She doesn't want to read the damned manual. Tough titties. Now all I have to do is get her to admit to not reading the docs and I can close it out but this is often harder than it seems. Without a clear admission I have to keep putting up with this shit.
Dear Fluffywumpkins,

The full procedure is explained in the Going Global Guide. It's impossible for me to distill the 75 pages of documentation any further and I couldn't fit it into even 50 updates. Please follow the steps as outlined beginning with Chapter 3.

Say it! Say it You fucking numpty! Say, "We don't have time to read" or "We're not interested" or "It's too complicated" but for fuck's sake not "We just want a brief explanation" because we'll have to play another round of ping-pong.
Hi again,

We are only looking for a brief explanation of the process and only the mandatory steps required to install another language. Please help us with this.
I see another fucking escalation coming if I don't close this one quickly.
Dear Fluffywumpkins,

There is no "brief explanation". You are looking at a full installation of the server and additional configuration, all of which is mandatory. You must read the Going Global Guide and follow the directions precisely. I strongly suggest you take the time to print out the worksheets so you don't miss anything.

You will not be able to install any additional languages if you don't follow the steps in the Guide precisely.

And... send, with prejudice. Ten minutes later I get that familiar spidey-sense tingle. I know she's read the update. Fluffywumpkins is not happy with my answer. I can feel her typing. Four minutes after that I get an auto-notify that she's updated her ticket.

We don't have time for implementing the complicated method you wrote about in the Going Global Guide. We need you to provide u with a working solution so that we can have the new language running today.
Dear Fluffywumpkins,

As I wrote before, there is no "brief explanation". None. You are asking me to tell you how to do the impossible. I can't. I have provided you with the only solution available. This ticket is closed.

Status: Closed
Substatus: Resolved -- Solution given
Root Cause: 17- Fuckwit6.5- Customer Research

Smugly I start to relax knowing my day will begin to unfuck itself in only another three hours. Until the PM from Lassie pops up as I'm editing this entry telling me she's starting to feel ill again.

Meh. There's always single-malt.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008


I just got a Superior Service Selection notification. Some customer filled out the damned survey and offered high praise. He even wrote a glowing comment. I looked up the ticket number and saw it was something I not only didn't spend five minutes on, the guy found the problem himself (though using my guidance). It was a simple thing, easy to overlook.

So why am I pissed off about this?

I'm mad as hell because I'm getting Customer Dissatisfaction notices left and right from fuckwits who are unhappy that I didn't magically resolve their problems inside 12 minutes. On the 1-5 scale of customer satisfaction surveys I was given straight 1s by one goat-blower because it took four months to fix the problem.

Never mind that every time he updated the ticket I responded within two hours. Never mind that every time I responded he took three weeks to answer. Never mind that half the time he he finally responded he hadn't actually done the tests or provided the information I'd asked for. Never mind the three full environments I'd had to build, the painful VOIP teleconferences with spotty connections I suffered through, the refusals to provide me with information, even the fact that I fixed something deemed by others as unfixable.

Nope, it took four months so I got slammed.

Customer I didn't do shit for: "I ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ you!!1!1shiftone"
Customer I busted my balls for: "Fuck you!"

Clearly I need to put a lot less effort into my job.

I'd tell every last fucking one of those fuckwits to go DIAF but I have rent to pay and a penchant for expensive whisk(e)y. Edradour port-finished is €70 for a little half-litre bottle; Strathisla 40-year just a wee bit more than that. Of course, I might not need to drink so much of these if I wasn't having to deal with these mooks all day. Chicken & egg.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Stupid Hurts

I've been gone for a while. It started with being sick, then going to a course, then vacation, then getting sick again and by that time moving to a happy place. I've been in such a very happy place that I haven't been able to muster the anger necessary to write about this shit. Until today...

I hit the lottery and then some. This dog's got a new bitch. The downside is that as bad as shit is here at $MegaCorp, I'm doing the Obama brush-it-off-my-shoulder routine because she makes me that happy. Lassie's not here today, though; she's gone all week at a conference. Even that I can handle but yesterday I got stuck with a ticket from $CountryCo and the chinks in my new, non-unhappy MildlyAnnoyedPuppy armour appeared.
Need help for Disaster Recover(DR) installation?
Is it possible to install $YourBigApp with out accessing the database server?
What type of parameters we need to set in DR setup?
Please do the needful by reply today.
What the fuck? It's bad enough that he doesn't know the difference between DR and HA (high-availability) but this pigfucker wants to install what's more or less a giant fucking front end for a database without actually having a database.
Dear Pigfucker,

You write that you've installed $OurBigApp successfully before and you must therefore know that access to the database is required for this. What would you do with a database front-end application which can't connect to the database?

[explanation of HA and methods of implementation]

And that should've been the end of it. I went home and ReallyBadDoggie-styled Lassie one more time before she left for her conference and the world was again good.

Until today.

I'd already woken up in a foul mood with a hangover from drinking Kölsch beer last night and no hot bitch asleep on my shoulder meaning no morning festivities before I left for the Panopticon. I arrived to find a response from Pigfucker.
As we have told you we have installed $YourBigApp in all environment with database access.Now we need to have the DR environment wherein we need installation of $YourBigApp .But we are told that we won't have database connectivity.According to our understanding,while installing $YourBigApp ,it asks for database connectivity.So we are not sure as to how we can go forward with the installation without the database connectivity.
Secondly we are told that we need to have a clone of Production environment.We have checked in knowledge base and have not found any document regarding this.So, can you pls inform about the process of cloning an existing $YourBigApp environment.
Lassie is fond of saying, "Stupid should be painful," and she's right. Unfortunately it's usually their stupid and my pain. I hadn't missed its comforting shape but I returned my noggin to the my-head-shaped-dent in front of my keyboard.
You cannot "go forward". You can't go backwards. Without a database to connect a database front end to you cannot move. You cannot install $OurBigApp without database connectivity. You cannot use $OurBigApp without database connectivity. Without a database containing data $OurBigApp can't do anything.

That you were told by your management you need $OurBigApp to be cloned in no way requires us to design a method to do so. $OurBigApp has no method for cloning environments. By its very nature it cannot be cloned.

This ticket is closed.
Our internal application was "upgraded" over the weekend and I searched desperately for my Root Cause: 17-Fuckwit but this important change, like so many others, didn't make the cut.

I'm back.


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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.