Thursday, June 16, 2011

Testing is for the Birds

Being a systems administrator, I often get to see developers and team leads run into the operations center under the gun (news to the admins) that they have been getting pressure for a while to fix their application.

Most recently (this morning), a team lead for a group of developers came in, trying to figure out why it was broken. So we dug into the logs. It's a java app, so it uses log4j as the logger, making it nice and easy to see the problem.

Clearly, in the log file, I see a message similar to "we are creating file /application/work/datafile.xml". It is followed up with a line about it transferring the file to another location. That is followed by a stack trace, clearly showing that it failed to transfer a zero byte file "application/datafile.xml".

How did the application make it through testing? It's not even the same directory. In one instance, it's "/application/work", but in the next, it is "/application".

Do we really feel like we shouldn't test? [sigh].

Friday, June 10, 2011


I run a few blogs, but this time I thought I'd start it by introducing myself. First, I'm your average joe. I love listening to U2, the arts (I'm an artist who finally managed to kick the art habit, sort of, and I've been free of that for 3 months), I love cars (working on them, currently restoring and customizing a C3 Corvette), and my wife.

Incidentally, she is the most phenomenal woman. Ever.

Trust me, you can't prove that one wrong. Many have tried. All have failed.

From here on out, I'm actually going to blog about working in the I.T. industry. It's a fickle industry, and continually evolving, so it will always bring a little adventure (even if it's virtual adventure). I'll be covering topics like Linux, security, command lines, scripting, systems integration, communication, and resource management.

Yeah, resource management is an I.T. thing. If you become a follower, you will learn how, and why I believe this. (How and why are almost synonymous in this case).

BTW, I'm not selling the blog this time.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Just because you Can doesn't mean you Should

Here we go. Another rant against people that do things just because they can.

So, I start working on a 1997 Toyota Camry to replace the outside door handle, and I found that to change it :
  1. Roll down the window.
  2. Remove the door panel screws.
  3. Remove the power window switches and disconnect the connector.
  4. Remove the screw holding in the interior door handle bezel.
  5. Warp the bezel - it locks in when pressed in. Here's one engineering school flunky that made it to Toyota for the design.
  6. Slide the door panel upward (why you have to lower the window).
  7. Reconnect the power window switches, turn the key into the on position (don't have to start it), and raise the window. (Yet another flunky from engineering school).
  8. Now, reach all the way inside, and disconnect two latch rods, one for the lock and one for the handle. One you can't disconnect until the door handle is out, but you have to disconnect it before you can get the door panel out anyway. (Another flunky. See where I'm going with this?)
  9. Remove the latch bolts (on the edge of the door) using a torx wrench or driver.
  10. Remove the three bolts holding the door handle in place - just disregard that you can't get to one until the handle is out without coming from the side. (Did Toyota hire anybody who passed an engineering class at all?)
  11. Remove the door handle.
  12. Attach the lock to the new door handle using the bracket and the lower of the double bolts.
  13. Attach both latches to the new door handle (yes, it's still not in place). You must use some magic here, since the latches are in the inside of the door, and the handle is on the outside. (Really, you attach the handle rod first, then you have to slide the handle in behind the lock latch rod and slip it into place.)
  14. Slide the door handle top inside of the door, lift, and lower it in place.
  15. Insert the bolts to hold it in place using a nice magnetic holder to keep from dropping the bolts into the nether regions of the door. Just in case, have extra bolts handy. (Another failure at automotive engineering).
  16. Tighten them.
  17. Re-attach the door latch using the torx bolts.
  18. Reconnect the window switches, turn the key to the on position (don't start the car), and lower the window.
  19. Disconnect the switches.
  20. Lower the door panel into position and press the clips in to hold it in place.
  21. Install and tighten the door panel screws.
  22. Set the interior door panel bezel into position, clip it into place, and install the screw that holds it down.
  23. Install the window switches.
  24. Cuss up a storm at the idiots at Toyota who have never, ever, worked on a car they've designed.
Are they similar results to what the corvette had? Two bolts, from underneath. Go figure.

And who says progress is good? Let's take things back to simplicity. After all, just because you are classified as an engineer and can make design changes doesn't mean you should. [sigh].