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02/18/2004:

workBLOGS . The Outside Factors


This is the second straight night that I was talking to a client that monitors Project: Valhalla. I must admit that I have overlooked some parts of the system but most I have fixed already waiting deployment and installation on my next visit. The auto-download and update utility is still in conception so I have to guide my client to do things through online instant messaging.

Go to the Desktop. Right click on the Network Neighborhood icon. Find the computer labeled as ShyMonster. No not that one... the one with the green icon that shows Elvis' face. Find the shared folder. Enter this password. Right click. Map network drive. Pound the keys. Pound the monitor. Grab anything you can grab. Test force. Test gravity... and so on.

I think I'm grumbling too much at night that my little kid's sleeping habits are getting affected too. He's awake up to two in the morning watching Finding Nemo or Monsters Inc or Shrek for the Nth time. Yup and I'm already able to talk along with the movie while coding. And this is showing on some of my variables: cSquishy, cNemo, nBruceTeeth, lMikeWachowski and even procedure names: CheckShrek().

This little kid of mine has the makings of a programmer already... I'm almost convinced until he starts to growl and howl that I'm beginning to picture out what IDE or 'x-developer-environment' in the future should be developed in order to accommodate sounds such as this.

But back to Valhalla, most problems really are 'outside factors'. Internet connection... mis-configured OSes. Unchecked daylight saving time features. Users that seem to be suffering from short term memory loss or the password that seems to like to forget their users. Printers that barf out things... name it, I think these things are popping out everywhere.

Just earlier tonight, the client told me that the Report Preview is 'good', it shows the data but when it prints things, it prints nothing. Data is showed in the preview but when the print button is clicked, the printed sheet shows nothing but headers. Weird for it was working fine just yesterday. In fact it was just working this morning. So I asked her to send the database to me, I tested it here at home and things are fine on my unit. Weird now becomes Weird++.

I tried deleting some 'suspected records' and some 'fall guy records' and sent it back to her and still the problem exists. But of course I have to guide her once again from the backing up of databases, copy-and-pasting things and so on. As a programmer you know already how frustrating it is to wait for the results. Once a mind is in motion, the mind gets pissed if the motion is delayed by an outside force. That's Newton's law.

Yesterday I was beginning to wonder if it is WinAPI's way of saying: 'You think you have conquered us already eh? Dodge this! And this!'

And I'm like... 'Whoa... Hoo...' Ah wait that's FindingNemo's Crash dude DialogBox already.

So I created a temporary patch that exports the database to an Excel sheet for an 'easier' way of printing out this time and just when I was about to ask her if she had printed out the file already... her online presence disappeared.

Only to reappear minutes later telling me that Valhalla's shutdown procedure booted her out. This was followed by a slight panic because data won't show in the preview part anymore when I realized that it was twelve midnight already and things were filtered out by date causing the filtering out of yesterday's data.

Good thing changing dates is not that difficult. But since I added an algorithm that checks inconsistencies in dates and interprets it as a user trying to adjust the time to lessen his/her billing so he/she can save some money to buy some shoes, things get complicated once again.

This was the part where momentarily I was wishing I could just Alt+Ctrl+Del the client and start things all over tomorrow. But of course I was not trained that way. I was trained to do the axe kick + bat + flying dragon approach. So I'm saving all of these 'energies' for my next visit.

And just I was about to wrap things up for the night, a five minute block-out occurred.


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