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User Journal

Journal Journal: What do you mean 7PM Korean time?

We're coming up on 20 hours more or less straight working this Korean thing. Went home at 10:30 PM, checked email at 1 AM, saw email from Korean project manager and Chinese engineer, called Korean PM, told him it was not a problem for me to return to the office and work during their downtime period, which will end at 8 AM local time here. I get to sleep then!!!

On the plus side, I'm making a lot of money. Overtime pay is nice. Very nice. It's also kind of fun to be at the center of the crisis, and the person who seems to be doing the most work to move this thing foward. Don't have to worry about anything else for a while and I will apparently get a free day or two off once we get this thing stable enough to de-escalate it a bit.

On the not so good side, it is getting harder and harder to deal with language barrier issues. It's not that I can't deal with them, it just progressively more annoying to have to repeat even the simplest things about 3 times. I'm also probably about to crash, and it gets real lonely here at 2:30 AM. Cultural issues are hard too, I'm not sure I'm not pissing the people in Asia off, but I'm not sure what I can do better.


Journal Journal: I am not a paralegal, definitely not a Korean paralegal 3

I have not had a good day. This whole globalization thing sucks. Email and VoIP are wonderful, but they have made instantaneous worldwide communication too cheap.

I do not want to hear of the issues a US subsidary has with its French parent's IT dept in real time. I have no desire to learn about Korean data privacy laws in the middle of the night. It might be interesting to talk to people on 3 continents in an hour. That would be a truly amazing marvel of modern technology. It's fucking hell to have to use your time zone chart to figure out when you'll receive responses to voicemails.

To summarize my complaints with the world (starting from the international date line and moving west):

Japan: Why do you guys apologize so much?

South Korea: Your data privacy laws suck. Send us the whole database NOW or quit whining.

China: No complaints. I am pleased to know that "WOW you are so early bird", but it's actually just after midnight, and I'm still trying to bail your ass out. The colloquial English phrase you're looking for is "night owl".

India: #include "std_gripes.slashdot". Also, your problems are not that bad. Production servers are not crashing, you're getting multiple fucking email notifications. Deal with it.

France: Do you want it to work by Monday or do you want it QAed? Also, why do you and Germany contain all the competent Europeans? Along with the Chinese, you get a gold star for effort, and a silver star for results. Now reposition yourself a few hours earlier in the day so you're more useful.

US (East Coast): Stop leaving so goddamn early. More importantly, stop coming in so early. Also, learn to read documentation, to eliminate France gripe #1.

US (Midwest): We used to make software here. ANd hardware, hardware powerful enough to dim the lights for a block. Is it possible for your tech support to be any less helpful? Does the legacy of Control Data, Unisys, DEC, and Cray mean absolutely nothing to you? I should not spend 6 fucking hours trying to get an NDA, only to not receive it before you go home. I'm almost literally up the street from you pathetic losers, and I'm still working!!!! Why aren't you?

To summarize, if we don't have an NDA by noon, we're going to SportMart for lunch. And buying baseball bats. And hockey sticks. And a couple golf clubs. And we're hopping on 35E and going south. You've been warned.

US (West coast): You're all assholes.

Japan: See #1. Back here already? Fuck, I wish the Earth would just stop spinning. Sorry, that was bad. Did I mention I'm very sorry? I apologize for my outbursts.


Journal Journal: Budget software 4

Why is the "Databases" icon a wheelbarow?

So, I've decided to keep a budget.

It would seem to a good idea to use some software to aid in this process....

But I don't want to spend money to track money. That seems silly. Money and Quicken both cost money so I think I'll be cheap and install Oracle 9i Enterprise Edition and roll my own schema and UI. (Yes, our Oracle license is generous enough this is even kosher.) Besides, I don't want to be entering a receipt from the grocery store and have a power failure throw my careful financial planning out of whack. Or the sheer absurdity appeals to me. Or I just feel like my Oracle knowledge is lacking.

I suppose you could have a single transaction table and use something like 'SELECT SUM(Amount) FROM Transactions WHERE Account="Checking";' to get a balance. You could use foreign keys to keep more specific information for each type of transaction. You could use constraints to disallow future expense that weren't prudent. And you could use different queries/views to generate some reports.

Anyone have any good suggestions in terms of a schema? The more bells and whistles, the better. Bonus points for using Oracle-specific features which extend the SQL standard.

Beyond that, what's a good choice for the website that goes in front of this massive misallocation of resources? Is it relatively easy to interface PHP scripts to an Oracle DB? I've used the Perl DBI in the past, but Perl seems like overkill here for the web development side of this. Possibly in the future I'd like to reimplement the web frontend using Java servlets, but I'd like to stick to one technology I'm clueless about per stupid project for now.

The Almighty Buck

Journal Journal: "100 EUR? That's real money!!" 1

Does anybody know how to use the Euro symbol in a en-us Firefox 1.0 on Windows? It would really add a lot to this journal.

In the style of my Slashdot mentor, Some Woman, I provide a dramatis personae:

JManager: My manager, not the person who usually runs the staff meeting.
ONG: Other new guy.
SAG: South Asian Guy
EEG: East European Guy

So I am at work today. And we have a staff meeting. And one of the of the items on the agenda is our new weekend support plan. I'm not going to bore you all with the gory details, except to note that in some cases we seem to divide the World into 3 continents: North America, Europe, and Asia. In other cases we seem to divide it into only two: Asia and Not Asia. The joys of being in manufacturing, one step removed.

JManager: "So basically we would pay $100 for doing nothing. At 6PM local on Friday, you can probably take the $100 and run. If you have to work past 6PM, you get $300 for picking up the phone. And $COMPLEX_FORMULA dollars an hour for working on the weekend"

SAG: "It says a hundred Euros, not a hundred dollars".

ONG: "That's like, $132."

EEG: "No, it's more like $134 this week. I should know, I'm going home for Xmas. Grumble.... "

JManager: "That makes 5432 issues with the new plan that management didn't consider: dollars aren't worth very much any more...."

ONG: "I'll take the Euros, that's fine with me."

Me: "Could we just get paid in Euros? I mean, keep the same number on the paycheck, just like this, but give it to us in Euros?"

JManager: "No, absolutely not. We'd go bankrupt. But, maybe we could just keep all the money for ourselves and have all the weekend support done in low-wage countries like America. Anybody up for phone calls at 2AM?"

Watch out, Europeans. We're the new India. We won't work for peanuts, but we will work for Uncle Sam brand toilet paper. Maybe I don't have to worry about being outsourced - by the 2008 I'll be cheaper than the guy in India.


Journal Journal: MP3 player 6

I'm going to buy an MP3 player. Previous attempts at this have been less than successful. I used to have one of the first D-Link MP3 players, it worked well, held about 8MB of music and was eventually dropped by someone else. Hardly amazing by today's standards, but it worked while it lasted. I bought an RCA Lyra to replace it. Worst piece of crap ever. The link software was written by an illiterate monkey and the thing died a few days after the warranty expired.

So, anyway, I'm going to buy another MP3 player. It needs to survive being worn while running, so disk-based players are out. Ogg and Linux support would be nice.

Any suggestions?


Journal Journal: For the IT helpdesk 10

username: RandomPeon
Case Type: Heresy
Summary: IT dept contains infidels
Addtional details:

Vi is installed on HP-UX machines by IT with system image. Emacs is not. Users, even local root users, are not able to cleanse machines except of the actual vi executable (/bin/vi). Emacs depot file does not install, Emacs does not compile!!!! When Judgement comes, Unix support group will pay dearly.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Get your Superwidgets now 3

Superwidgets are the new big thing. They consist of a subwidget, several microwidgets, a foo-joiner, a blarg-tensioner, and come with a widget spanner. The Superwidget will begin production next Tuesday at 4 PM central time if all design is completed on time. The manual for the Superwidget is already written. It is as follows:

"Thank you for purchasing a Superwidget. They are the best thing since sliced bread. Maybe better. Use your superwidget correctly. Store in a cool dry place. Harmful or fatal if swallowed. Keep out of reach of children."

I needed 1 GB of memory and 2 2.4GHz Xeons at >90% CPU utilization to tell you this. And a "medium" Oracle DB (just a few gigabytes of tables). Oh, and an LDAP server. And let's not forget the really fucked-up webserver. And 3 entire days.

Holy shit, our application is, ummmm, resource-intensive.

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