Fun With Beancounters



  • With the exception of COBOL payroll and accounting programs written in the 1960's, most programs I've ever seen, even those that were wildly successful, only lasted 10-15 years before they were completely replaced (either to leverage new technology or for scalability due to growth).

    I am partitioning a DB table using a numeric representation of year, month and some other data: yyyymmxxxxxx. I set my catchall partition to use the value 9999 99 999999, figuring that although it's a Y10K problem, the program will be completely replaced long before that, and if not, then it will guarantee work for whomever is working with it in 8,000 years.

    An astute QA person looked at my design, recognized the Y10K issue and flagged it. I responded with the argument presented above. They called a meeting with a few low and mid level managers to set a policy.

    After some back and forth, someone pointed out that it's unlikely that this firm will still exist in 8,000 years. I responded that there's an old saying: never put anything in writing that you wouldn't want to see on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. If we made a policy that implicitly expected the firm to disappear, even in a ridiculously long time frame, that stockholders, most of whom are not particularly technical, might read it as: management doesn't expect this company to be here forever, and it could impact the share price of the company. Naturally, a low level manager immediately stated that we should have a formal company-wide policy that mandated that we support Y10K.

    I elbowed the guy next to me, who added: but what about Y100K? We don't want people to think we're going to disappear, even in a much longer time frame.

    I shot a look to a friend across the room, who added: and what about Y1,000K? This company should appear to be permanently solid!

    This set off a series of conglomerate-wide high-level meetings with managers trying to define what timeframe appears to be 'forever' without it actually being forever.

    That was three weeks ago. Several official emails have been circulated asking technical folks for their input. Naturally, all the tech folks are offering different views which is totally confusing the higher ups.

    In the meantime, my twelve nine's constant stands.

     



  • This story made my day! Rofl; what a bunch of morons :)



  • All I can say is this...

    I love what you did there, best practical joke on the heads ever.



  • Hmm, expected remaining lifespan of the sun is about five billion years... just a bit too much to fit in an unsigned 32-bit integer :(



  • So your QA person believes that it will only take until the year 9999 for the Earth's rotation to have slowed enough to make a year 99 months long? "Astute" is not the word that immediately springs to my mind.

    If they continue to give you grief, I suggest switching to RFC 2550 format for the date portion of your field, and using "catch-all" for the catch-all value. An RFC 2550 timestamp must begin with an exclamation mark, star, slash, digit, uppercase letter or caret, so the catch-all value matches no valid timestamp.



  • @flabdablet said:

    RFC 2550
    And just imagine all the WTF code from folks who try to roll their own code to emulate that!



  • Your RFC 2550 timestamps will look just like ordinary YYYYMM stamps until 999912. Create a low-priority bug tracker entry for fixing the RFC 2550 parser before then and you're done!



  • Snoofle, are you by any chance related to Scott Adams somehow?



  • @flabdablet said:

    If they continue to give you grief, I suggest switching to RFC 2550 format for the date portion of your field, and using "catch-all" for the catch-all value. An RFC 2550 timestamp must begin with an exclamation mark, star, slash, digit, uppercase letter or caret, so the catch-all value matches no valid timestamp.

    In 8,000 years, there will be a widespread belief that our primitive society believed the world would end when Y10K comes. I don't think we should spoil their fun by planning ahead.



  • @snoofle said:

    This set off a series of conglomerate-wide high-level meetings with managers trying to define what timeframe appears to be 'forever' without it actually being forever.
    You live in a cartoon, don't you?



  • @snoofle said:

    That was three weeks ago. Several official emails have been circulated asking technical folks for their input. Naturally, all the tech folks are offering different views which is totally confusing the higher ups.
     

    Three weeks, there is still hope. If this were science fiction, it would take them until the Jan, 2nd, 10000, to come up with a decision.

    If you really, really, really want to convince management that your 999999999999 is ok, tell them that it's a code that means "forever", and that it will be compatible with date representation even when the date goes beyond the year 10000.

     And don't forget to put this in your code

    boolean isInfinity(dateStr)

    {

       return dateStr.equals("999999999999");

    }

    and write the number of the memo that decided so in the comment. Your colleagues in the year 10k will thank you for it.



  • This is the funniest thing I've read in a very long time!!! Thanks for making my day, Snoofle!



  • @rudraigh said:

    This is the funniest thing I've read in a very long time!!! Thanks for making my day, Snoofle!

    Basically this.

    In addition, I can't help but think that (if the assorted managers ever settle on a sufficiently high number) your company is going to adopt a rather interesting custom system for date representation. So, bonus WTF in the future!



  • @Renan said:

    Snoofle, are you by any chance related to Scott Adams somehow?



  • @snoofle said:

    I shot a look to a friend across the room, who added: and what about Y1,000K? This company should appear to be permanently solid!
    But that gets us into another area: the company may still be around in The Year One Million A.D., but by then we'll almost certainly have evolved extra digits, and will no longer be representing the year in primitive base-ten notation.



  • @da Doctah said:

    @snoofle said:

    I shot a look to a friend across the room, who added: and what about Y1,000K? This company should appear to be permanently solid!
    But that gets us into another area: the company may still be around in The Year One Million A.D., but by then we'll almost certainly have evolved extra digits, and will no longer be representing the year in primitive base-ten notation.

    The executives at Snoofie's company better start planning for how they're going to market to mutants and hunter-killer cyborgs. They don't want to spook the shareholders.



  • Why the pointless worrying about dates beyond 2012???



  • @TheCPUWizard said:

    Why the pointless worrying about dates beyond 2012???
    You do realize that next Monday marks the first anniversary of the end of the world, as originally announced by Harold Camping?



  • @snoofle said:

    I elbowed the guy next to me, who added: but what about Y100K? We don't want people to think we're going to disappear, even in a much longer time frame.

    I shot a look to a friend across the room, who added: and what about Y1,000K? This company should appear to be permanently solid!

    Snoofle's unwittingly revealed who he's working for:

    I have no idea how you managed to keep a straight face in that meeting.



  • @Speakerphone Dude said:

    @Renan said:
    Snoofle, are you by any chance related to Scott Adams somehow?

     

    This is the first funny dilbert I've ever seen.



  • @dhromed said:

    This is the first funny dilbert I've ever seen.
    Looks like an early one, which may go some way to explaining why it's funny.



  • @da Doctah said:

    But that gets us into another area: the company may still be around in The Year One Million A.D., but by then we'll almost certainly have evolved extra digits, and will no longer be representing the year in primitive base-ten notation.

    But you only need 2 digits on each hand to operate an iPhone. Evolution will make us lose digits.

     



  • @TehFreek said:

    @da Doctah said:

    But that gets us into another area: the company may still be around in The Year One Million A.D., but by then we'll almost certainly have evolved extra digits, and will no longer be representing the year in primitive base-ten notation.

    But you only need 2 digits on each hand to operate an iPhone. Evolution will make us lose digits.

    Counterpoint: masturbating with two digits would be unsatisfactory. I believe the continued proliferation of porn will cause us to evolve additional digits.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @TehFreek said:

    @da Doctah said:

    But that gets us into another area: the company may still be around in The Year One Million A.D., but by then we'll almost certainly have evolved extra digits, and will no longer be representing the year in primitive base-ten notation.

    But you only need 2 digits on each hand to operate an iPhone. Evolution will make us lose digits.

    Counterpoint: masturbating with two digits would be unsatisfactory. I believe the continued proliferation of porn will cause us to evolve additional digits.

     

    [i]That[/i] has already been taken care of:

    There's an app for that.

     



  • @TehFreek said:

    But you only need 2 digits on each hand to operate an iPhone.

    But you still need three thumbs to hold it using the "Jobs Grip" method that prevents signal loss from a design flaw makes it works as designed.



  • @PJH said:

    @dhromed said:
    This is the first funny dilbert I've ever seen.
    Looks like an early one, which may go some way to explaining why it's funny.
    He says that EVERY time he sees a funny Dilbert.



  • @Zylon said:

    @PJH said:

    @dhromed said:
    This is the first funny dilbert I've ever seen.
    Looks like an early one, which may go some way to explaining why it's funny.
    He says that EVERY time he sees a funny Dilbert.

    Which goes some way to explaining why it doesn't happen very often.



  • @dhromed said:

    @Speakerphone Dude said:

    @Renan said:
    Snoofle, are you by any chance related to Scott Adams somehow?


    This is the first funny dilbert I've ever seen.

    I choose to ignore your blatant disregard for teh funny, because I just came across one that totally reminded me of blakeyrat when threads start talking about light bulbs:



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Counterpoint: masturbating with two digits would be unsatisfactory.

    I believe several women may disagree on that front.

    @PJH said:

    Which goes some way to explaining why it doesn't happen very often.

    Oddly - over in another thread - I was going to respond to something Nagesh said about communication with this image:

     .. but I didn't.

    I find these days that many Dilbert cartoons aren't really laugh-out-loud material but more for "print out and stick to someone's door" illustrations.



  • @Cassidy said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Counterpoint: masturbating with two digits would be unsatisfactory.

    I believe several women may disagree on that front.

    Look, if we start basing society on what women want, we're going to lose beer, electric guitars, sports cars, fart jokes and war. Fuck that. Also, Ellen would be president, although I'm guessing a lesbian would have more balls than our current POTUS.

    @Cassidy said:

    I find these days that many Dilbert cartoons aren't really laugh-out-loud material but more for "print out and stick to someone's door" illustrations.

    I think the earlier ones were better, before it was solely a "look at these dopey office people, doesn't it make your own miserable existence slightly more tolerable" mass market salve. There were several funny story arcs that took place in his home.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Look, if we start basing society on what women want, we're going to lose beer, electric guitars, sports cars, fart jokes and war.

    I didn't say we were going to base a society on what wimmen want, I just reported that I've seen videos where women ... erm.. actually, no, forget my last. You're right.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Also, Ellen would be president, although I'm guessing a lesbian would have more balls than our current POTUS.

    I believe Ms DeGenerescalls them "ear rings" these days.

    @morbiuswilters said:

    I think the earlier ones were better, before it was solely a "look at these dopey office people, doesn't it make your own miserable existence slightly more tolerable" mass market salve. There were several funny story arcs that took place in his home.

    There's definitely a tired feel about Adam's recent works. I happen to glance back at an earlier book I had ("Still pumped from using the mouse") and it puts recent stuff to shame. Pity, as I remember a time when my daily Dilbert and UserFriendly over first coffee formed part of my morning ceremony.

    Oh, them were the days, my friend.



  • @Cassidy said:

    Pity, as I remember a time when my daily Dilbert and UserFriendly over first coffee formed part of my morning ceremony.

    Dilbert was at least good at some point. UserFriendly has always been excrement. Always.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Cassidy said:
    Pity, as I remember a time when my daily Dilbert and UserFriendly over first coffee formed part of my morning ceremony.

    Dilbert was at least good at some point. UserFriendly has always been excrement. Always.

    Yes. It was basically a proto-xkcd, with better artwork. (Well, Randall Munroe very occasionally comes up with something halfway clever, albeit not funny.) Perhaps the repressed memories of UF are why I detest xkcd so strongly. I'm going to need an NEA grant to study this further.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    UserFriendly has always been excrement. Always.

    It's a context thing. You probably aren't sad enough to know enough *nix to appreciate the geeky in-jokes.



  • @Cassidy said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    UserFriendly has always been excrement. Always.

    It's a context thing. You probably aren't sad enough to know enough *nix to appreciate the geeky in-jokes.

    Wasn't the artist a poseur who actually ran Windows?



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Wasn't the artist a poseur who actually ran Windows?

    Very probably. Dunno. I'm just judging him on the output and not the methods.

    Which is probably wrong of me, but I lacked the time, effort and motivation to dig deeper. Like most things, I didn't take it too seriously.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    @Cassidy said:
    Pity, as I remember a time when my daily Dilbert and UserFriendly over first coffee formed part of my morning ceremony.

    Dilbert was at least good at some point. UserFriendly has always been excrement. Always.

    Yes. It was basically a proto-xkcd, with better artwork. (Well, Randall Munroe very occasionally comes up with something halfway clever, albeit not funny.) Perhaps the repressed memories of UF are why I detest xkcd so strongly. I'm going to need an NEA grant to study this further.

    I think that's already been done (though of course, the Europeans got there first).

    Warning, that link is the stupidest thing you'll see today that's pretending to be smarter than you.



  • @boomzilla said:

    ...the stupidest thing you'll see today that's pretending to be smarter than you.

    I could have a lot of fun with a softball like that, but I'll behave.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @boomzilla said:
    ...the stupidest thing you'll see today that's pretending to be smarter than you.

    I could have a lot of fun with a softball like that, but I'll behave.

    You MAGNIFICENT BASTARD.



  • Not having seen UserFriendly in a good while, I looked 'em up.

    Christ this joke AGAIN!?



  • @nexekho said:

    Not having seen UserFriendly in a good while, I looked 'em up.
    [snip image]
    Christ this joke AGAIN!?

    When you say "in a good while", do you mean more than 11 years? Or does "this joke AGAIN?!" indicate surprise that the archives are accurate? (Not saying that it wasn't an old joke back then, but certainly not as old as it is now).



  •  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    ANSWER THE PHONE!!!!!



  • @blakeyrat said:

    ANSWER THE PHONE!!!!!

    But I would like to discuss the semiotics of telephonic salutations with respect to self-identification as it relates to the dialectical dualism of the self.



  • @boomzilla said:

    But I would like to discuss the semiotics of telephonic salutations with respect to self-identification as it relates to the dialectical dualism of the self.
     

    Yeah, well, you're a dick.



  • @boomzilla said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    ANSWER THE PHONE!!!!!

    But I would like to discuss the semiotics of telephonic salutations with respect to self-identification as it relates to the dialectical dualism of the self.

    Of course, the proper response being "Gracious Good Afternoon, Is This The Party To I'm Speaking?"



  • @pjt33 said:

    When you say "in a good while", do you mean more than 11 years? Or does "this joke AGAIN?!" indicate surprise that the archives are accurate? (Not saying that it wasn't an old joke back then, but certainly not as old as it is now).

    Huh? It's just an ancient as hell "joke" that's probably older than HTTP. It's today's comic. I don't follow.



  • @nexekho said:

    @pjt33 said:
    When you say "in a good while", do you mean more than 11 years? Or does "this joke AGAIN?!" indicate surprise that the archives are accurate? (Not saying that it wasn't an old joke back then, but certainly not as old as it is now).

    Huh? It's just an ancient as hell "joke" that's probably older than HTTP. It's today's comic. I don't follow.

    The comic is also dated 2001, so....



  • Oh, it says 2001 in tiny, sidewards print.

    If you go to User Friendly's homepage, it's under the heading "CARTOON FOR May 23, 2012".

    That took more actual attention than it was worth.



  •  You didn't notice that throughout this thread UF was referred to in the past tense?

     



  • @Watson said:

     You didn't notice that throughout this thread UF was referred to in the past tense?

    I figured it was just because nobody had read UF for at least a decade, not because it stopped publishing.


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