Bill P. Godfrey et al

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

"But there's no danger...'s a professional career."
Oliver's Army, © Elvis Costello and the attractions

Goodness me. Work, work, work. You'd think I did nothing else if I didn't spend so much time doing all those other things I do. Well. It explains my rather quiet spell these past couple of weeks [although a couple of days off also helps explain it, I think...]

I work in the computing department of a University, I deal with web things, video, a big hot pot of technological revelations. However, the past week I've been working on an application that harks back to the dark ages of computing with unfriendly screens, accessable by the secret "arcane codes" and "rituals" that are known by all too few.

I did try dancing naked in front of the screen but it didn't seem to help at all.

The manual didn't help [much] either "do this, this and then this" .. hmm... how come I get "No Job submission" coming up? Whatever can it mean? [one phone call later] oh, so I have to set up all this stuff in these 3 screens first... why doesn't it say that? Okay, let's try. Hmm. That's a strange error, "Unknown error occured" wonder what caused that..

[many attempts later] Let's try it on the live data instead. Oh, the live data works. Right, lets put it in this last screen and we can put the bugger to bed. What? 2 parameters entered, 3 expected? WTF does that mean? It's a screen. There are things in every field. [jumps up and down and finds himself balding but with worryingly hairy hands. oh. ]

Tries to find someone who knows something. Ah. They're not here. Hmm. Calls support. Oh. Oh. Right, yes. Yes. Okay. No probs, I'll try that. [logs onto the unix machine hosting the system]... let's see, go to the applications' home directory. Permission denied. What? [foul language] Maybe I'm on the wrong box. [fails to access the other unix systems] hmm. Maybe they just forgot to give me access. [checks with them] oh. no, no. They gave me everything I'm entitled to. Which means I have a useless account on a system I have no reason to use. Harumph! The only person who has access is the person who's away now. Bugger.

[waits a day, speaks to the person] oh. They didn't create directories - that makes sense. [It was in the service pack documentation support said.. hmmm... eyes dba suspiciously ] Hmm. Still doesn't work. [checks back with the only person who can do anything, notices that there is an additional directory, tries it, it works. Runs around cheering] Informs department it works.

Gets an email back "now what?" .

"Now what?" I thinks, surely that's it? The documentation says "to do this, do this, this and this and everything is a-ok". Hmm.

Re-reads documentation. Glues hair back on head in anticipation of it being pulled out again. Phones support.

Ah. We need either a 3rd party application or one of their additional programs. Additional software? The manual doesn't say anything about additional software! [re-reads manual] It doesn't! Contacts department "do we have any 3rd party software?" [no] contacts the one person who knows anything "did we install this program?" [no] okay... no worries.

[phones support] ah, yes, you want this download. You are patched to service pack 7? [checks] Yes [applied about 2 weeks ago]. You have applied the suplimentary patches [lists off 14 patch ID numbers] um... I don't know. They have to be applied in that precise order you know. Bugger.

Speaks to man who knows.
Speaks to support - for the software to work we need only the first 3 patches - and for once it's going my way. They have been applied! [runs around the office cheering... calms down after noticing everyone looking at me and stops hi-fiving imaginary people] downloads [actually, the "man who can" downloads] the additional client software. Which is password protected. Bugger.

And we leave the story now with the software downloaded, a password received, instructions looked at and everything all set to go... And this had better be the last stage of the whole process.

My suspect my suspicions of the dba not creating directories and missing something in the documentation I suspect are unfounded. If the company can tell you how to do something and not make reference to the vital fact that you need additional software, then something minor like "mkdir import export" ... I think you know what I'm saying.


  • Just an update.
    One day later, just before everyone headed off home irrespective of the deadline, we got it sorted.

    [I must be crazy, I actually enjoyed all of this mayhem.]

    By Blogger M., At 3:51 PM, May 23, 2005  

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