Friday, October 21, 2005

if only SQL Server 2005 would bring this feature...

Ok, add this to my Christmas' wish list. SQL Server 2000 doesn't allow where ... in clauses with multiple fields, so the following construction fails:

WHERE name, description IN
(SELECT name,description
FROM temp2
WHERE name LIKE '%computers%')

The solution is a not so pretty concatenation, if fields are strings

WHERE name + description IN
(SELECT name + description
FROM temp2
WHERE name LIKE '%computers%')

But you are forced to use joins if the field is numerical.

I've been receiving a training from INETA as part of SQL 2005 launch this November, I'm planning to ask if they have included any extra features in the new T-SQL, that one would be pretty handy.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

In the emergency room

I phone my dad yesterday, and tried to explain him how was my day while working as Tech Support on Saturdays. He was concerned for all those hours of work, as he knows I work Mon-Fri as well. I said, well, times flies so quickly you have no time to find out what time is it, plus you learn a lot, despite of how hectic things can be, you see lots of real life troubles and you have to find a solution even if you haven't heard about the problem before.
I tried to explain him, well, people host their websites with us, some of them a pretty complex applications, they use who knows what scripts and we give support for about 4 programming languages, let alone three types of databases. The other day a customer was complaining his Ruby installation wouldn't work, so boss said, Lizet, write a hello world program in Ruby and show him his installation is working. But boss! Ruby? all I've seen is a Ruby site with funny comics, and all I remember is the comics...You remember more than I do, so give it a try...Ok, hello world should always be easy.
I also had to debug some perl scripts for a customer or show him the lines with errors, I had to import several databases, watch for server overload a couple of times. It was fun Dad!
I haven't mentioned my dad is a MD, and although he wouldn't work "on call" anymore he used to make a shift a week when he was my age. In the fam we all know more than a story about it. He replied: "It seems to me you're working on an emergency room"
Hrm, I said, yup, I suppose it feels the same :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

This is from Joel on Software and yes, I had to laugh

“Custom development is that murky world where a customer tells you what to build, and you say, ‘are you sure?’ and they say yes, and you make an absolutely beautiful spec, and say, ‘is this what you want?’ and they say yes, and you make them sign the spec in indelible ink, nay, blood, and they do, and then you build that thing they signed off on, promptly, precisely and exactly, and they see it and they are horrified and shocked, and you spend the rest of the week reading up on whether your E&O insurance is going to cover the legal fees for the lawsuit you've gotten yourself into or merely the settlement cost. Or, if you're really lucky, the customer will smile wanly and put your code in a drawer and never use it again and never call you back.”

Check link here

It had happened to me, hrm, lemme think, probably more than three times. One of the projects was a really expensive one and right after the very few deployments it was never used again. For me that was deeply saddening as we had invested so many hours of work in it, the customer did pay, but sometimes you prefer seeing your software being used, even abused, rather than gone to the oblivion.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Working as tech support

I've always wanted to work in a server farm, so when a friend told me he had an available opening for offering tech support on the weekends at a hosting co, I said YES! can I shell access the servers?
OMG, I never thought it could get that hectic on a Sunday, I spent 8 hours without stop attending requests, some were really minor, like "we need to unlock a domain to make a transfer" some were kinda tricky, like "we want to be able use wildcards on our subdomains"...I hope users keep returning after some of my answers, it's hard to keep up with the technical work they demand and at the same time make every customer happy.
This company has the best tech support I've ever experienced, so I didn't want to let them down...Go Go the Penguins! :)