caffeine: (Default)
Here after an uneventful drive. I have a Ford Focus again this week. Not a great car by any means, but it is passable transportation.

Facebook continues to be broken. I cannot post, I cannot comment, I cannot even "Like" a post. The new layout blows. All of the things I worked to get rid of now show up in the Live Feed. News Feed mode seems to have about a 19 hours lag time, perhaps purposefully pushing people to the Live Feed, where we have to figure out some different shitty interface to get rid of all of the crap. I cannot even post on Facebook that I find it annoying. I think [livejournal.com profile] mle292 talked about syndicating feeds from LJ or Blogspot, then people who insist on staying on Facebook can subscribe.

In other news, my company's Project and Portfolio Management system is borked. None of the hours entries from my team have progressed, meaning I could not run my report on Friday, meaning I took heat from the client for not having the status up to date and it is not even my fault. As opposed to the times where I have purposefully waited until Sunday to do it since my team was working on the weekend. What do you want, incomplete information on Friday, or complete information on Sunday night? Apparently incomplete information on Friday. So noted. Note that I also have to fucking drive here on Sunday. Keep in mind if I post the status on Friday I am not updating it on Sunday. I work enough. Fuck.

On a hugely positive note, yesterday was a very productive day. We brewed a Trappist Ale. We moved the Cream Stout to the Secondary. And we bottled the Pumpkin Ale. The Grand Cru is gone, the Nut Brown Ale is going fast. The Scottish Export will be ready on Saturday, the Pumpkin Ale about 3 weeks from now. I think [livejournal.com profile] mle292 is getting another Secondary this week so we can have yet another brew in flight.
caffeine: (Default)
My venerable D620 has encountered a new issue. It no longer charges the battery.

Let me back up to the previous issues. When I first received it, the battery lasted around 30 minutes. I asked IT for a new battery, which they happily had Dell direct ship to me. My IT department is, on the whole, above average, as far as I can tell. But I digress.

The next issue was that the frame was cracked and would shortly allow the LCD to roam free. Called IT, and once again various boxes arrived at the house. I performed a little surgery, removing my newish battery, wifi card, HD and putting them into the temp system. About a week later my laptop returned from Dell in a shiny new case (at least a shiny new lid) and I reversed the surgery, then sent the temp machine back to IT.

Last week whilst on the road, I suspected a Microsoft Update had broken the "Stand By" setting, which is the most awesome of the power settings, since it allows one to close the lid and go. Open the lid again and it is ready for work. I checked my settings and it seemed fine. Then I discovered it was not standing by when I pulled the power and it immediately died. Not good. Checked old battery too - no charge. In fact, neither battery gets even the slightest charge even after 12 hours. Another call to IT tomorrow.

Work

Sep. 16th, 2009 09:35 pm
caffeine: (Default)
Work started today with a meeting I called at 7:30am. I needed to get it out of the way and there was no other time for it to happen today. By the time I got out of my meetings (about 10am), I found out that our development server had crashed. Server, up. DB, up. Connectivity between Application server and DB, up. SQL query works from Application server, check. Application works, nope. Crap cakes! We left the office at 7pm with the dev application still non-functional. Approximately 10 people not making much progress with 2 weeks before testing and 5 weeks to go live and I just lost about 60 person hours.

I did however get to talk to my Mom and wish her a happy birthday. Then after dinner, I talked to my Dad for a few minutes while he was traveling from Lincoln to some BFE spot in Nebraska, while I was in the thriving metropolis of Cedar Rapids.

The job

Oct. 17th, 2008 05:18 pm
caffeine: (Default)
Yesterday I had a 7am meeting and a 6:15pm meeting. I spent about 5-6 hours of today talking on my headset to co-workers and clients. I just finished a follow-up call and a document at 5:15.

Monday I am headed to St Louis for 3 days of client meetings. Go me.

It is time for a drink.
Drink Drink Drink.

The job

Sep. 15th, 2008 02:43 pm
caffeine: (Default)
Not last week, but the previous, I was payed to golf. Hmmm. Well, not really payed to golf, but I went golfing on work time, talked about work stuff, and had the green fees reimbursed. Ok, so maybe occasionally I do get paid to golf.

Today I rescheduled meetings, updated 4 or 5 Excel spreadsheets, read updates on a few documents, approved time and expenses and that is pretty much it. Amazing it does not take all that much to fill up the better portion of a day.

Now, if I just had that last piece of information, I could update the Portfolio management system and get my project entered (that alone takes over 2 hours for a single project). Yeah, Portfolio management systems are pretty rudimentary yet, and this one (Changepoint) is pretty damn slow too. Once the sales guy sets up the client and billing and PO information, then I can put in my project. Each activity needs needs people. Each person needs a location and bill code. You might think once the bill code was setup, it would be in a drop-down box. Hahahaha. Fool! It must be hand-entered for each person, for each activity. Spelling counts! No, there is no way to check it before you save. Why would you even think that would be possible. If you get it wrong, you must edit that entry then save it. Still not show up right? Edit it again. Did I mention that part where each Activity must have people entered, and you have to do this for each person in each activity, and nothing is "carried-over" between people or activities? Yep. Seven activities with 2 people? 8 items to create (original project + 7 activities), 14 person entries to add and save, check each one, then roll-up the project and re-save it. Oh, and the non-drop down, non-fill in fields? Yeah, I need to find those in another project/activity and copy-paste to something like notepad so I can copy-paste them back into the new items. o.O Sadly, this is a highly rated package.

I guess that is why I have most of my meetings over coffee or lunch, or the occasional round of golf. My goal for next summer is to have many more meetings on the golf course. I mean, I have like 20 golf shirts (polos) - I should get some use from them.
caffeine: (Default)
I am forced to work with a new (new to me) reporting application. It crunches OS performance metrics into cubes and allows the creation of graphs. The problems with this reporting are vast, and close to insurmountable.

The documentation does not specify the calculation methods. You just have to trust it. The only trending it does is linear progression. The summaries do not include percentiles or quartiles, only min, max, average, and count (yes, basic SQL math).

So tell me, dear statisticians, does the CPU Busy % taken at 15 minute intervals averaged across 20+ servers for 28 days mean anything? Ok, let me rephrase, does it provide any level of useful information? No. No it does not. Why? First, there is no algebraic order provided. Is it just taking 53760 datapoints and averaging? Is it averaging each server first then averaging each day? Is it averaging each day, then across servers? Second, the data is so diluted it is meaningless. You could have several servers that are pegged and several that are completely idle, everything running at some even percentage, and anything in between. Yet these are the default graphs that it displays and that people are ga-ga over. I spent five hours trying to tease useful information out of the system. The closest I got without making graphs for each server was to show bar graphs of average and max (for a given time period) per function. Still, if I needed to do something with that, i could not. Even the Max is a mystery, unless I want to start extracting the raw data myself. Is it a maximum of the maximum (highest number found)? It max the average of the maximums (max per day per server carries forward)? You might think some interesting trivia like that might be in the documentation. You would be wrong.

So, on Monday I get to dive into it again, make some pretty pictures, call the vendor and ask for answers, and then tell the client the tool they purchased should be replaced by a freaking abacus and graph paper.
caffeine: (Default)
I have to go to Topeka, fucking Kansas. Proof that Kansas is hell - the zip for the Hotel and client site are 66604 and 66606.

Last night I received all of the information I was supposed to have over two weeks ago. I called my boss and said something along the lines of, "I have no bill category (for time/expense) entry, I have none of the information (including Hotel info) that I was promised. Please tell me if this project is delayed." Which is the polite version of "send me the information today or I cancel my flight and reschedule your client." If I did not have the emails waiting when I got home, the next message would have been, "I have canceled my travel plans. Please tell the Account Manager to reschedule with the client."

I do have to thank the local account manager (C), as he suggested calling my boss (K) and saying the other account manager (M) has not delivered the promised information. I told him I did not want to be negative with K, since he was not the one responsible for the delay. C said if M is not delivering, K gets to deal with it. Escalation is sometimes a good thing. Within 3 hours of my voicemail to K, M sent what I needed. That is good, but it still pisses me off. M should have had his shit together two weeks ago and given me that information, the fact that I had to have his peer tell him to do it is very annoying. Unless M never considered that I would reprioritize his shitty little project.

There is still hope. Maybe Kansas will turn into a festering sink hole and I will not be able to go. Oh, wait, isn't it already?

Furthermore, helping fuel my rage, this is a fixed-bid project. My company is going to lose almost 20% on the travel costs compared to if they used someone from Kansas City. And my role is not supposed to be all about the billing, goddammit. I should have known better. I should have lied my ass of and said I have way too much other billable work to do. Which is pretty much true now, but it wasn't three weeks ago.

ETA: Oh, Fuck! Westboro Baptist Church is in Topeka. Maybe there will be a protest and will accidentally run over some of those useless fucks.

Holiday

Nov. 15th, 2007 06:02 pm
caffeine: (Default)
I am unemployed now, by choice, for 6 whole weekdays. No longer at the Bullseye. After Thanksgiving I will start back up with my former employer doing to the consulting thing. I will focus on Project Management and Subject Matter Expertise in the Enterprise Management technology and IT Governance (ITIL) space. I am looking forward to get back into consulting.

I had very good experience at the Bullseye and would recommend it to people. I made many good friends there. I was fortunate that I was a Technical Architect and then promoted to Sr. Technical Architect and was involved in many highly-visible projects throughout my time there. I was able able to drive my vision on some aspects of Capacity Management and Performance Management. I was also able to provide input on Configuration, Change, and Incident Management. And I was responsible for all of my team's web presence. And I got to learn SAS and DataStage. Pretty cool.
caffeine: (Default)
Interestingly, dictionary.com shows an entry for nickle being specific to the US$0.05 coin, but Merriam-Webster redirects nickle to nickel. But on to our story.

Cut for those uninterested in language humor )

Work

Jul. 24th, 2007 11:55 am
caffeine: (Willow Bored)
Work stuff:
I have a couple of really cool projects right now and I just finished another cool project.

By cool I mean converting 100's of person hours per year to a script that takes 10 minutes to run once per month. Next is to convert 100s of person hours to another script that runs once per week (which will be much more difficult). So when I say I can replace someone with a very short script, I mean it.

On the bad side, there are a few people who Just. Don't. Get. It. You have no testing completed, you have the first three tiers of your application in shared components which give us no idea your portion of them, and you want me to tell you what new servers you will need this year and next year, all by Friday this week. I received the technical architecture on Thursday last week. Eat Me.

And the other ones - I am not on your project, someone else is. It is not me. Stop inviting me to your meeting and invite the assigned resource. I really do not care about your little dedicated Windows servers and your purchased application. Especially since it took you over a week to just tell us which windows services belonged to your application. Also, pick a goddamn name. I am tired of seeing it listed as the random selection of one of 6 names.
caffeine: (Default)
...To Java Software Development companies -
To whom it may concern:

Point one. If you claim your software is "Cluster-aware" and "Load-balanced" but you introduce a bug that breaks your cluster/load-balancing function, you better catch it in QA. Oh, you did not know it was broken. How is it fucking possible that it either never worked, or that you broke it in a patch and never caught it? Are you saying you lied? Or are you saying you never test?

Point two. If this same software is "Cluster-aware" and "Load-balanced", when I ask if it can be configured to run more than two instances (for example, use 4 instances instead of 2), you should have an answer. I know that is expecting so very much of you. But as this is your product and you expect people to pay for it, you should maybe think that cluster and load-balanced is not defined as strictly 2 nodes/instances. You silence is extremely annoying. Even if you had the fucking balls to say "we never tested that, we will test it and get back to you next week" or "No, we mean exactly two" would be better than not answering the multiple times it was asked.

Point three. If we are your biggest customer, do you think you might try to test your application to the requested volume? It is your app, and you cannot make it process that much in your own environment, in which you control all aspects of configuration?

Point four. If your application fails to process the above load, and the application crashes, you do not need a bigger server. A) The application, being Java, is self-constrained for Memory. B) The server was not used to the full capacity when your application crashed. How the fuck can you say you need a bigger server? So what? So you can crash your application on the same volume and waste more money? My coworker had a great analogy - "You mean all of the code compilation errors would have just gone away if I had a bigger server? Why didn't I think of that?"

Ok, so maybe not such an open letter. More pointed at a couple of companies that I have had to talk to in the last couple of weeks.
caffeine: (PSP)
Sadly, nothing as cool as a TARDIS. 

But, I did learn about a function in MS Excel today that would have saved me much time had I known about it a few months ago.  When you get up from falling over because I said something positive about Microsoft, especially MS Office, you can read about it.

You can use VLOOKUP or HLOOKUP to reference data based on the contents of matching cells (somewhat like a SQL query).  So if you have a sorted list on one tab, and an unsorted set of the same things on another, rather than painstakingly copy and pasting from tab to tab, you use these functions to copy in the right data.

It is important since I get a dataset every week where the objects (SAN switches in this case) are in a different order.  Now I can say look at the rows in column B (switch name), when you find the same name in a row in column X on Sheet2, put the value from column EE for that row in this cell.  We used absolute references ($B$2:$EE$99) so we could make use of the Copy down function to populate the other cells of this column.  Yes, there are really over 135 columns in the source data.  Not all of them are used and the designer of the spreadsheet really liked merged columns.  Also, they either got paid by line of code, or by how convoluted the code looked.
caffeine: (Default)
Do the Change people not have anything better to do?
RFC1 - I am the Requester, Coordinator, and Assignee (as I was told to do it by the Change team). That was 7 weeks ago.
RFC2 - I am the Requestor, Coordinator, and Assignee. That was 3 weeks ago.
RFC3 - I am the Requestor, Coordinator, and Assignee. Filed yesterday. Rejected yesterday because I am the Requestor, Coordinator, and Assignee.

Stupid, intrusive, overbearing and time-intensive red-tape I can deal with; I work in a megacorp, it is expected. Changing the rules partway through the process just adds insult to injury. Like my previous rants when Security changes the policy for accounts and groups when I am trying to automate and forcing DB schema naming when I am mid-project.

I must have poor timing. If I had done each of these things sooner, they would have gone through previous to the changes and been "grandfathered-in."

Bicycle

Mar. 26th, 2007 08:11 am
caffeine: (Default)
I rode my bicycle to work this morning. It is locked up about 15 floors below me. From home to the office (including parking) is about 6 miles.

How do I feel? I'll tell you once I ride home.

Snow!

Mar. 2nd, 2007 11:52 am
caffeine: (Default)
Another goodly amount of snow has fallen. 
I managed half of the driveway before the the snow thrower ran out of gas.  BGFE [livejournal.com profile] mle292 and I cleared the corner so I could get the Honda out and I ran to Home Depot to get the mix-oil and then to the gas station to fill up. Big sign at Home Depot announcing they were SOLD OUT of snow throwers and snow-shovels.  Fortunately, they still had plenty of the oil mix packages.  I bought extra this time. 

When I got back, MLE had finished the path from the street to the front door and all the way back to the garage!  I filled up the snow thrower and finished the driveway and cleared what the plows had left on the alley so it will be easier to get in and out.  Hopefully the neighbors plow service will be by soon to clear their portion of the driveway and make even easier.  I imagine their service is a bit busy and so I do not really expect them to be by until later.

And in other news, MARSCON!  Soon I will pack and do the last minute Con things and then off to the hotel.  Assuming, of course, that I do not need to be in Jury duty, which would suck, but I find the probability of them calling additional jurors on Friday afternoon with half the city shut down to be a very low risk.  I'll know in half an hour...

You can tell it is a snow day, as the VPN is slammed.  See, I wanted to update my Out Of Office, which I forgot to do last night when I left....

I Win!

Feb. 24th, 2007 09:14 am
caffeine: (Ianto Not2BMessed)
Yesterday, at about 4:00pm, I beat the evil datatype conversion monster and solved all 45 fields.  All hail my mighty powers of string manipulation and type conversion.

Meetings

Feb. 16th, 2007 08:21 am
caffeine: (Default)
Have you ever sat in a meeting, or conference call and listened to someone talk and be some utterly completely wrong and misrepresent something so horribly, you have no idea how to even start to correct them, without resorting to "WTF?! Are you on crack?", so you end up just being quiet and saving the fight for another time? That was yesterday. Fortunately it was a con-call, nobody could see my annoyance or dismay, so I just hung-up when another call came in...
caffeine: (Coffee)
Monday mornings. Ick. Oh, well. Short week for me! Off to MI for Thanksgiving per usual. Going to visit some relatives and consume copious quantities of Turkey.

I was double-booked on meetings this morning, then they were both cancelled, enabling me to actually get some work done, yay!

So, I have a new spreadsheet in my inbox. We need to enter our "Wins" and categorize them according to Bullseye Mission and Area's of Focus. I cannot wait to waste more time that I do not have on rewriting status information and copying in bits from emails into Yet Another Fucking Spreadsheet. If it was not going to be sent to D.Ops I would consider putting something in there from a Star Trek technobabble generator.
caffeine: (Badtz-Maru)
I have a technology tool. It is software. It collects data. In order to collect data more granular than hour averages, I need to know ahead of time so that I can tell it to do something different. I tell every development team and testing staff member this, repeatedly. So, when I get an email an hour after something is complete and then asked for statistics, I really want to say, Great, thanks, cannot do it, data does not exist, goddamn listen next time.

What I really need is polite yet firm way to say
Remember what I told you 18000 fucking times about telling me the day before so I can schedule it? Yeah, do that. And you go tell your team that you forgot. Again.

Usually I just say, great, tomorrow I will give you one hour averages for that time period. And then remind them if they want something more granular they need to tell me at least one business day in advance.

You might think after seeing that once or twice and asking for more detailed data, they might start to understand. As it turns out, no, they just do not get it.

And there is another team - the one I vented about before. Your application took 30 minutes to parse xml for 30 users and took over 2.4CPUs (1200+ MHz Sun Ultrasparc processors) to do it. Something in your application is wrong. Please fix it. So the next time they run, it take 1.4 processors instead of 2.4. But what do they not tell me? That is right, how many users and how long each took. Then they say, Is it better? And I tell them (the same thing over the next 3 tests) "I don't know, you haven't told me how many users or how much time each. But here are the system statistics, please let me know what business volume was used for the test and the response time." Their solution - just not tell me they are testing anymore. Which makes me mad, since if they do get to production, my data is called into question if there is an issue. Since they fail, I get to jump on their head by calling down the power of those who can prevent applications from going live. Thus endeth the lesson.

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