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July 2017

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Apr. 2nd, 2017

I don't complain a lot about work here because I don't have a lot to complain about. I can work from home, and I don't get many urgent deadlines or frantic last-minute demands for things, so I can pretty much do as I like and if it doesn't quite reach the ideal of the Basic Income scheme for fixing capitalism it's pretty close. But the last few weeks have been aggravating and I want to vent.

The problem is my one big important project suddenly stopped working. Question: what changed? Answer: Not my code. Not in any major ways, anyway; all my work the past month has been weeding out a couple little bugs on one web page (caused by nobody giving me an actual specification of what to do, just ``produce something like this'') and then some database work that isn't anywhere near live. So I sent back to the tech departments the question: What changed, because I didn't change anything? And they insisted they hadn't changed anything either.

So we got into multiple rounds of them asking me about how the servers might be set up, and my answering back that I don't know how the servers are set up. Them asking me questions about how IIS does things, and my answering back that I don't know how IIS does things. And then some snotty e-mails about how I have to make fixing this a serious priority because customers are getting frantic. Well, I'm frantic too, but I didn't break anything and I lack all the diagnostic skills to figure out what did break. I asked them if we had any snapshots of the servers from the time when everything was working and they told me there's no way to take a snapshot of server settings like that. I avoided saying they were crazy.

Finally this week I had two multiple-hours, and one quarter-hour, call with my boss. It wasn't an easy one. Tensions ran high. At one point I snippily corrected my boss about the use of the phrase ``begs the question''. I normally let that stuff slide. But we finally tracked down the problem. A Microsoft update had downloaded and installed automatically, without anyone's awareness, and that broke a bit of functionality. Updates aren't supposed to install automatically. The boss said from now on we're going to take snapshots of servers so that they can be reverted to a known working condition. Fine by me. We closed the day with some arguing about which server was which, because as part of the diagnostic process we swapped some domain name assignments and I had trouble convincing the boss of what needed to be done to set everything right.

Trivia: The pink-painted Boeing 247 number N-91R, Reno Champagne Cruiser, flew from Washington DC and Colonial Beach, Virginia, from 1956 to 1957, bringing Washingtonians out to illegal casinos for weekend excursions, until Virginia authorities got word of it. Source: The Boeing 247: The First Modern Airliner, F Robert van der Linden.

Currently Reading: Handwriting In America: A Cultural History, Tamara Plakins Thornton.

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