Thursday, April 10, 2008


At this point in my career I can be trusted with root passwords.  I've had them before.  Most often because there's a good reason.  Hell, I used to work at a company where all the developers had root on production.  This implied that all developers were also able to troubleshoot production when needed. 

I'm now at a company where the head of operations guards passwords like they are his secret porn stash.  I am not kidding when I say that if I'm in the room and he needs to type a password, he will not accept me staring out the window, he asks me to leave the room.

Well, I have an app in production, and I know the root password to the database.  His boss gave it to me.  But of course I don't bother telling him that, since it will just be cause for a bunch of annoyance.

Yesterday we are putting out a new build. It is myself, operations guy, and database consultant on the phone because of some schema changes we needed.  I walk operations guy through some local config changes and say, "And here's where you change this to point to the production database, I figured you wouldn't want that hardcoded into the file."

He then starts flipping through his documents, looking for the password, while I examine a smudge on the window.  He cannot find the password (or perhaps because he does not want me to see where he keeps them), he takes the database consultant off speaker phone and the following conversation ensues:

"Steve?  Hey, do you have the password for the database off the top of your head?  Yeah?  Ok, hang on...." (starts typing)  "...thanks Steve."  (pause)  "Oh, DUANE should have it?  He's the one that told it to you???  Oh, really???"


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I Do Love The Marketing Folk

Today I needed a contact database, so I went over to the marketing guy who keeps it and asked for the raw files.  A few minutes later he came back to my desk and this is the conversation:

Marketing: "I looked at the source files and, because of the history with this project, well, there's more than one file, and they're not all CSV files."

Me: "Oh?"

Mktg: "Well you see, originally we only bought a few states, and then I had those, but then we got the rest, so when they sent us that, they sent us a text file with everything but those states we already had.  So then I had to go back to them to get the files for the states we had, but those are a CSV file."

Me: "So what's the big file?"

Mktg:  "That's a text file."

Me:  "But how is it formatted?"

Mktg:  "With commas."

Me:  "Then I think I'm good."

Mktg:  "You sure?  I didn't know if that was gonna screw you up because one is a CSV file but one is a text file."

Me:  "Nope, pretty sure I'm all set."

Monday, April 07, 2008

Hardware Problem

So my dad calls me up with a computer problem.  Now, 9 times out of 10 it's something fairly generic like "Hey, the computer seems slower, what should I do?"  But this time it is, "What would cause the computer to just not come on anymore?  No lights, no fans, no nothing?"  I suggest that power supply is the likely culprit, although worst case I suppose something could have fried his motherboard.  He goes out, buys a new powersupply, successfully gets it installed and connected which is actually pretty impressive if you've never done it, and still...nothing.  So he drops it off at the house.

I try it, he's right, nothing.  I highly doubt that he's coincidentally gotten a bad power supply from the store.  Ok, first step - being a typical geek, I happen to have a random open computer lying around that I am not using.  So I connect up his old power to that computer, and it works fine.  Therefore it's almost certainly not the power supply.

Next step I unplug everything from the new power supply (the one that is in his computer), except the main motherboard connection.  Maybe something is loose?  Nope, no good.  Still nothing.

Then I notice something that doesn't....feel right.  And I mean that literally.  His computer has got the typical setup - the power supply in the back has a regular switch, but then on the front plastic casing of the computer is a big circle button that you push to engage.  I'm pushing it, and it feels like it's stuck or something.  I'm not hearing any sort of click.

So I pop off the front casing of the computer, always tricky depending on the computer maker, you don't know whether it's a pop off or it's screwed down or what.  And sure enough I see a red wire connected up to an LED (hard drive), a green wire connected up to an LED (main power), and a black wire connected up to a little switch, just kinda hanging there.  I push it.  Computer comes on.

I then see that the two little plastic legs that were holding this switch up against the main power button have weakened enough that it was no longer close enough to the button to engage.  That's annoying.  It's not like you can easily replace a part like that :-/.  So I slapped a bunch of electrical tape on it and called it a day. :)