Save by the Log

I had promised to finish my current task within two days. First day I paced myself and did pretty good. As soon as I got in the next day, my boss called me up. We needed to debug some code that got sent out but had problems. It took about an hour. Okay I guess I could absorb that and still make my deadline.

Next there was a session scheduled to fix some data issues with our latest releases. It was a conference call with a lot of my teammates on it. So I tried to work on my stuff while the call was going on. Of courses a number of issues came up during the call where I was the only guy who knew how some data was being set. So I could only half-multitask. The call went on all morning.

In the afternoon I decided to cut lunch short to try to make my deadline. Things were going well. Then I realized the work I tried to squeeze in the morning was done wrong. Had to go back and fix that stuff. Deadline approaching. As I am getting near the home stretch of my task, my network connection goes down. Darn.

I reconnect but my database tool aborts. Luckily I always save all my work to a daily log. I just restarted my database tool, loaded up my log with all my commands, and picked right back up where I left off. What is the moral of this story? I think I had better pad my estimates to factor all these interruptions in there.

Non-Technical Challenges on the Job

I got my next assignment from my team lead. Needed to figure out the code to create a bunch of database tables. Then I need to write the code to put data in those tables. The good news is that we have the blueprint of the tables from another system. And somebody has written some database views that we are converting into tables. So most of the work is just the details.

Thought I would actually have some fun with this task. Then I got the catch. I had to split up the work and assign some of it to another developer on the team. This other guy has hours to work on our project. And he needs some work. The reason I figured this was a setup was because I have worked with the guy before. He needs a lot of hand holding.

Now I don't mind helping out a junior developer or even a new developer. But the guy I needed to work with is supposed to be a senior guy. And he is not new any more. So the management folks figure with his help, we should be able to get things done more quickly. On paper that is fine. In reality, not so good.

So I carved out a little over 25% of the work to give to the other guy. He had some questions early on. I tried to explain the answers to him. The he went loose. When he got to the one piece that was a bit more complicated, he was lost. I had to spend a bunch of time going over it with him in detail. It
took a few sessions. But I think it got through.

The last part of the task was to roll up both our work into one package. It all needs to go out into one release. So I did what I would do if I were developing the work myself. I slowly added the other guy's stuff into mine one small piece at a time. And let's just say there was pain as I debugged the errors and got the stuff to work. How can I get out of this type of setup? Maybe that is the point. I got to figure out how to work in this challenging situation.

Druva inSync for Enterprise Backup Needs

I have been backing up the data from my company laptop to CDs or DVDs for year. Initially I just used the reader/writer in my laptop. However newer versions of my work laptop did not have such a device. That's okay I thought. I could just copy the files to another computer using a USB thumb drive. Took a little longer, but it got the job done.

Now we have a new security policy at work. No home USB drives work in my computer. Damn. I requested a secure USB drive. My boss had to approve the purchase. I selected one with minimal capacity, so the cost would not be too high. The boss was apprehensive. He figured we have some backup systems available online to do the job.

Our company seems to have an enterprise version of Druva inSync available. It seems to back up your data to the cloud. The only experience I have with the product are the emails I get when the software has troubles with a backup. I tested the latest automated backup the software did. Was able to restore a file to my disk. Guess it works.

I played with the Druva client and added some more folders to get backed up every time it kicks off. It is around 2GB worth of data. Hopefully it works. I will have to make sure that I periodically check and test the backups. Cannot go along thinking everything is fine, only to discover that the thing is broke when I need to do a restore.

Typical Friday


I got handed a bunch of database functions a while back by my customer. He told me to get them to work and deploy them. It was a rush job. I fixed some bugs and got the things to compile. Then I did a few tests and fixed some functional problems. Then I pushed them out.
 
Ever since then, problems have been coming up with the functions and I get pulled in to resolve them. The goal was to hand these functions over to another team to maintain. But the other team is busy and says they know nothing about the business behind the functions. Well neither did I…
 
This past Friday, somebody discovered that one of the output tables from the function was empty. The team who was supposed to assume control of the functions was called in to investigate. They had no clue what the problem was. So I got brought in to make sense of the discrepancy.
 
At first I just came up with the direct cause of the situation. The records in one source for the function did not match the records they are supposed to be lined up with. Therefore, nothing was output. That was not a sufficient answer.
 
Of course this was some type of emergency. The valid output was due to some testers a while back. As a work around, I pumped some test data into the output table to give the testers something to look at. Then I dug in to find what was wrong.
 
The source table with unmatched records was quite small, thousands of records instead of millions. So I tracked down what was the problem. Apparently it was loaded with some test data instead of the real deal. There you go. Problem solved. Now there was a reason that the real data could not be loaded in, but that is a whole other story for another day.

Female Rising Star Effect

I got an invite to connect with a stranger on LinkedIn. It has happened before. Just a recruiter looking to make a commission I guess. I looked at their profile. It seemed new - only a few connections made already. Did not put their full name on their profile. The capitalization in the education section was not uniform. Duplicated some information in the education section. The feeling I got was that they did not spend a lot of effort on their profile.

LinkedIn showed me the notification for the invite. I somehow got to the same profile again. The strange thing different was that the connections were up to 50. It took me a few weeks to get in touch with my network to get 50 connections. Hmm. Very strange. The real kicker was when I checked a week later. This recruiter had 500+ connections.

What was the reason? I thought maybe because it was a female that posted her picture. Because the sloppy profile did not warrant a connection. They also seemed to be shooting in the dark with the invites. Maybe they spammed 10k people, and got a quite 500 accepting in no time. What was the purpose? All I know is that I am not accepting the invite. Why would I want to be connected with this stranger? No apparent benefit to me. Still an interesting rising star phenomenon at LinkedIn.

Configuration Confusion

We had a rush to finish our first delivery for testing. Some guys on the team were staying late until midnight to finish tasks. I was gunning hard to be productive so I did not need to work so late. It was hard. But we finally got our first release ready.

Then the configuration management guy calls a meeting. He said things are confusing. We tried to clear the matters up. Then he uncovered that he does not know where he is going to deploy our changes for testing. There are many other streams of work going on. There is currently no place to deploy our changes. Oops.

The lead on my team pushed this issue up to the project managers. He asked them to sort it out and let us know the outcome. Good job. I imagine there was a task on the project plan to take care of these infrastructure issues. Guess nobody paid attention them until the last minute. Now it is too late. Testing will just have to be delayed.

Luckily this is a huge effort. We only just finished drop 1. There are many more drops to go, and many more months of work left (maybe 6 to 9 months) before we deploy to production. Hopefully we have some lessons learned with this first failure. I am not losing any sleep over it.

Top Skills According to LinkedIn

LinkedIn released a list of top skills you should have to get a job in 2016. Unfortunately none of the top 5 looked like anything I was interest in. At least I am studying up in #6 Network and Information Security. That is a long term effort I am undergoing right now. Maybe take another year or two to become proficient. Hopefully the skill will still be desirable then.


The only other skill I am doing a bit in is #10 Java Development. However I am not engaged in that in a hard core manner. It is just that whenever I need a quick and dirty utility, I code it up in Java. Nobody seems to mind that I do that. It keeps me remotely connected to some of the APIs for Java developers.


It is not like I want to chase what is hot now. Because that list if fleeting. But it is nice to see that some activities I am concentrating on are good for my career.