It's only a demo



  • Another team manages an application that manages reference data; creating and configuring customers, accounts, sub accounts, users, products, permissions, etc.

    Late last week, we got to sit through a two hour demo so the guy can show us how if you press a button, the underlying action actually happens. Awesome!

    Half way through the demo, the system hangs and he can't get reconnected, so he opens the pulldown and tries to point the program at the QA db, but accidentally selects 'prod'. I point out what he did, but he responds: Don't worry, it's only  a demo.

    Several clicks later, he's back into demonstrating how to change permissions, entitlements and so forth. I notice that every time he left a page, the status bar very briefly flashed "Saved". I point out that it's saving, but he insists; Don't worry, it's only a demo.

    Over the weekend, several large pre-scheduled jobs were run, and they included the customers that the guy was using as guinea pigs for the demonstration.

    900+K letters and envelopes were automatically printed, stuffed, stamped and snail-mailed as a direct result of those configuration changes.

    Nobody realized anything wrong had happened until the customers started calling and asking: WTF?!

    Management decided it was cheaper not to send out mea-culpa letters and just tell those folks who called that it was a mistake. The lawyers said otherwise. So now, 900+K letters get to be printed, stuffed, addressed, stamped and snail-mailed to tell folks to ignore the previous mail.

    This it's-only-a-demo-so-it's-safe-to-point-to-production mentality is pervasive around here, and this isn't the first time this has happened.

    Today, there was a regularly scheduled meeting on the topic of reducing costs. When it was my turn to speak, I ignored all the technology stuff and simply pointed out that printing, stuffing, addressing, stamping and mailing nearly two million letters because someone was just-doing-a-demo in production and didn't care that it was acting upon his clicks and changes might be a more immediate way to save money, not to mention face.




  • @snoofle said:

    When it was my turn to speak, I ignored all the technology stuff and simply pointed out that printing, stuffing, addressing, stamping and mailing nearly two million letters because someone was just-doing-a-demo in production and didn't care that it was acting upon his clicks and changes might be a more immediate way to save money, not to mention face.
     

    "Change our behaviour? Preposterous!"



  • @snoofle said:

    stamping and mailing nearly two million letters
     

    Maybe he was secretly trying to save the postal service?



  • @snoofle said:

    This it's-only-a-demo-so-it's-safe-to-point-to-production mentality is pervasive around here
    ....what? Seriously, I understand plain old laziness/stupidity, but surely there's a limit?

    How about this, give this guy a gun and tell him to demonstrate how someone would go about shooting himself. Tell him there are real bullets in the gun but it's alright because this is just a demo.



  • @DOA said:

    give this guy a gun...
     

    You, Sir, are an evil genius, and I bow before you!



  • @snoofle said:

    @DOA said:

    give this guy a gun...
     

    You, Sir, are an evil genius, and I bow before you!

    And make sure its not a revolver either.



  • @DOA said:

    How about this, give this guy a gun and tell him to demonstrate how someone would go about shooting himself. Tell him there are real bullets in the gun but it's alright because this is just a demo.

    I saw that movie.



  • At least he was not trying to demo disaster recovery



  • I've seen his type before. I bet this guy also suffers from major confusion when mixing server-side code with client-side code in a single module. He also probably thinks that radio waves aren't flying around the air until he turns on his radio. I'd also postulate that he secretly believes that stripes and spoilers makes his car go faster. No doubt, he's also a name-dropping fiend. In his world, labels are the definition, and the definition is reality. I've dealt with whole teams of his ilk. :(



  • I'm curious how much this screw-up cost the company...



  • @DOA said:

    How about this, give this guy a gun and tell him to demonstrate how someone would go about shooting himself. Tell him there are real bullets in the gun but it's alright because this is just a demo.

    Is that you Phil Spector?



  • So what happened to the changes? If it involves changes to data of the kind that lawyers stick their nose into, you specifically don't want any.

     TRWTF is that this sloppy bag of donuts has access to production.



  • @C-Octothorpe said:

    I'm curious how much this screw-up cost the company...

    Back of the envelope calculation reveals that the postage alone was at least half a million dollars. Depending on the amount of paper and ink involved, the numbers for total cost of materials alone could easily exceed a million dollars. Add in the time wasted dealing with the aftermath, and the number grows even more.



  • @DOA said:

    @snoofle said:

    This it's-only-a-demo-so-it's-safe-to-point-to-production mentality is pervasive around here
    ....what? Seriously, I understand plain old laziness/stupidity, but surely there's a limit?

    How about this, give this guy a gun and tell him to demonstrate how someone would go about shooting himself. Tell him there are real bullets in the gun but it's alright because this is just a demo.

    Maybe somebody did!!!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

     This anecdote has me convinced: Snoofle works for my company or one of our customers. The 900k letters going off unnoticed is a dead giveaway - there are only a few companies with enough print and mail volume to pull that feat off - and we're one of them. More likely Snoofle is at one of our customers, though - we don't generate much in-house, and this is the time of year that our customer service reps wouldn't bat an eye at that sort of volume.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @utoxin said:

    Back of the envelope calculation reveals that the postage alone was at least half a million dollars. Depending on the amount of paper and ink involved, the numbers for total cost of materials alone could easily exceed a million dollars. Add in the time wasted dealing with the aftermath, and the number grows even more.

     Nah. Automation-rate postage is way cheaper than retail. With all the automation and bells and whistles a run this size would trigger, less than a quarter million in postage. Even hand-stuffing the envelopes, a print job this size wouldn't hithalf a million dollars. Auto-stuffing, it'd barely hit $300k even with nice letterheaded paper and custom envelopes. Maybe $500k for full-process color printing (which would be obscene for any sort of letter).



  •  This guy would drive into a large body of water and blame his phone's navigation system because it clearly showed he was on a road. However, TRWTF IMO is that his computer has access to production systems at all. Nobody except the Gods in the NOC and a few other trusted souls should have access to anything production-y.

    Actually, I take that back. Given the number of WTFs you've posted, TRWTF is this company hasn't WTF'd itself out of existence. Sturgeon's Law in practice, I suppose.

    Thomas



  • @Weng said:

    @utoxin said:
    Back of the envelope calculation reveals that the postage alone was at least half a million dollars. Depending on the amount of paper and ink involved, the numbers for total cost of materials alone could easily exceed a million dollars. Add in the time wasted dealing with the aftermath, and the number grows even more.

     Nah. Automation-rate postage is way cheaper than retail. With all the automation and bells and whistles a run this size would trigger, less than a quarter million in postage. Even hand-stuffing the envelopes, a print job this size wouldn't hithalf a million dollars. Auto-stuffing, it'd barely hit $300k even with nice letterheaded paper and custom envelopes. Maybe $500k for full-process color printing (which would be obscene for any sort of letter).

    What with the WTFs Snoofle posts, it's a pretty bold presumption to think they're smart enough to use a bulk mail rate.



  • @utoxin said:

    Back of the envelope calculation reveals that the postage alone was at least half a million dollars. Depending on the amount of paper and ink involved, the numbers for total cost of materials alone could easily exceed a million dollars. Add in the time wasted dealing with the aftermath, and the number grows even more.

    This is the company that ca^H^Hwon't afford to get a computer for a new guy, right?

    @Weng said:

     Nah. Automation-rate postage is way cheaper than retail. With all the automation and bells and whistles a run this size would trigger, less than a quarter million in postage

    If I play around with the US Postal Service's Business Price Calculator a little, I think the lowest price I can find for 900,000 letters weighing 2 ounces (in real-world measurements: about 55 grams, which seems reasonable) each is US$179,100 — but note that I have no idea what all the options mean (what is the difference between "5-digit" and "3-digit" price categories? What are they in the first place? Isn't DSCF the prefix my digital camera uses for the filenames of the photos I take? etc.) But this is just the postage, not materials, printing, stuffing, etc.



  • @Gurth said:

    2 ounces (in real-world measurements: about 55 grams, which seems reasonable)


    Really? A sheet of A4 at 80 gsm weighs 5 grams. Form letters don't normally run over one sheet. Anything above 20g (which IIRC is the cutoff for "normal" letters as far as the UK's Royal Mail is concerned) seems excessive unless using very high quality paper and envelopes.



  • It turned out to be 1,994,754 letters for both runs. They use high quality bond paper, but do all printing/stuffing/postage in-house (AFAIK, it's all automated). They do get a bulk rate as they routinely send paper mail to customers, etc. I don't think they figure in the time of the folks who had to deal with the phone calls from the customers and such as they're already on payroll (yes, I know it's time they could be doing other stuff, but management doesn't see it that way).

    As far as why this person had access to production: only certain folks who are designated as production support have logins/access. This individual is just such a person. They just misused/abused it. Nothing happened to him as a result; he still has unrestricted access for production support (really!)

     



  • @snoofle said:

    It turned out to be 1,994,754 letters for both runs. They use high quality bond paper, but do all printing/stuffing/postage in-house (AFAIK, it's all automated). They do get a bulk rate as they routinely send paper mail to customers, etc. I don't think they figure in the time of the folks who had to deal with the phone calls from the customers and such as they're already on payroll (yes, I know it's time they could be doing other stuff, but management doesn't see it that way).

    As far as why this person had access to production: only certain folks who are designated as production support have logins/access. This individual is just such a person. They just misused/abused it. Nothing happened to him as a result; he still has unrestricted access for production support (really!)

    Bulk mail prices can get rather cheap, but even if it only cost 10 cents a letter that is still almost a $200k mistake.



  • @pjt33 said:

    Really? A sheet of A4 at 80 gsm weighs 5 grams. Form letters don't normally run over one sheet. Anything above 20g (which IIRC is the cutoff for "normal" letters as far as the UK's Royal Mail is concerned) seems excessive unless using very high quality paper and envelopes.

    You're right: I misremembered the old postage-calculating scales I have, which shows the rates for 20-, 50- and 100-gram letters — whereas I thought it started at 50. However, even using 0.5 ounces (about 15 grams) on the site still gives the same price: US$179,100.



  •  Let's not go to the production database. It is a silly place.



  • @Zylon said:

     Let's not go to the production database. It is a silly place.

     

    You win a Charisma point. If you find yourself near my house, there may now be a beverage of your choice.

     



  • @Weng said:

    @utoxin said:
    Back of the envelope calculation reveals that the postage alone was at least half a million dollars. Depending on the amount of paper and ink involved, the numbers for total cost of materials alone could easily exceed a million dollars. Add in the time wasted dealing with the aftermath, and the number grows even more.

     Nah. Automation-rate postage is way cheaper than retail. With all the automation and bells and whistles a run this size would trigger, less than a quarter million in postage. Even hand-stuffing the envelopes, a print job this size wouldn't hithalf a million dollars. Auto-stuffing, it'd barely hit $300k even with nice letterheaded paper and custom envelopes. Maybe $500k for full-process color printing (which would be obscene for any sort of letter).

    I think the cheapest bulk-rate postage is 13 cents so it would be $234,000 for postage.  Which is a pretty big screwup all by itself.

     



  • @t_wheeler said:

    This guy would drive into a large body of water and blame his phone's navigation system because it clearly showed he was on a road.
    Hey, "I" saw that one.

    http://vimeo.com/15249071



  • @Weng said:

    @utoxin said:
    Back of the envelope calculation reveals that the postage alone was at least half a million dollars. Depending on the amount of paper and ink involved, the numbers for total cost of materials alone could easily exceed a million dollars. Add in the time wasted dealing with the aftermath, and the number grows even more.

     Nah. Automation-rate postage is way cheaper than retail. With all the automation and bells and whistles a run this size would trigger, less than a quarter million in postage. Even hand-stuffing the envelopes, a print job this size wouldn't hithalf a million dollars. Auto-stuffing, it'd barely hit $300k even with nice letterheaded paper and custom envelopes. Maybe $500k for full-process color printing (which would be obscene for any sort of letter).

    Okay, so I was off quite a bit. Still, 200k in postage, another 50-100k in supplies, and then all the time and upset partners and customers? That's a pretty darn pricey mistake. They should take it out of his salary. ;)



  • Maybe it was supposed to be a "demo" in the sense of "demolition"...



  • This story reminded me of this incident a few years ago:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmRN00KbCr8

    FBI agent giving a gun-safety lecture to kids, shoots himself in the foot.

    The first WTF is why would he take LIVE ammunition to a safety briefing..

    The bigger WTF is that he loaded LIVE ammunition into a gun, in a classroom full of kids.
    And this guy is in the FBI ??? That incident alone kind of proves he's in the wrong job.

    Even worse, to find this old video I googled "man shoots himself in leg during gun safety demonstration" ...

    there are SEVERAL hits of different stories. No wonder the Darwin Awards is going strong.



  • @Quango said:

    This story reminded me of this incident a few years ago:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmRN00KbCr8

    FBI agent giving a gun-safety lecture to kids, shoots himself in the foot.

    The first WTF is why would he take LIVE ammunition to a safety briefing..

    The bigger WTF is that he loaded LIVE ammunition into a gun, in a classroom full of kids.
    And this guy is in the FBI ??? That incident alone kind of proves he's in the wrong job.

    Even worse, to find this old video I googled "man shoots himself in leg during gun safety demonstration" ...

    there are SEVERAL hits of different stories. No wonder the Darwin Awards is going strong.

    Hey I posted that same link in this same thread on Monday. Also the title of the clip is about DEA, not FBI. You need to ramp up your game if you want to look down on people.



  • @ekolis said:

    Maybe it was supposed to be a "demo" in the sense of "demolition"
     

    Considering what happened, it should have been a "demo" in the sense of a "demotion".



  • @Gurth said:

    2 ounces (in real-world measurements: about 55 grams

    Your dealer is ripping you off.

    @Gurth said:

    0.5 ounces (about 15 grams)

    Your dealer, I want his number.

     

    <checks quote headers> Hey wait a minute, you're both the same person!

     



  • @DaveK said:

    @Gurth said:

    2 ounces (in real-world measurements: about 55 grams

    Your dealer is ripping you off.

    @Gurth said:

    0.5 ounces (about 15 grams)

    Your dealer, I want his number.

     

    <checks quote headers> Hey wait a minute, you're both the same person!

     

    The sad state of these legacy measuring systems means that an ounce could be almost anything. There's at least a dozen different possibilities as to the real mass/volume/weight of "1 oz".


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Quango said:

    This story reminded me of this incident a few years ago:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmRN00KbCr8

    FBI agent giving a gun-safety lecture to kids, shoots himself in the foot.

    The first WTF is why would he take LIVE ammunition to a safety briefing..

    The bigger WTF is that he loaded LIVE ammunition into a gun, in a classroom full of kids.
    And this guy is in the FBI ??? That incident alone kind of proves he's in the wrong job.

    Even worse, to find this old video I googled "man shoots himself in leg during gun safety demonstration" ...

    there are SEVERAL hits of different stories. No wonder the Darwin Awards is going strong.

     Taking things out of order, he didn't load ammo into the gun most likely, he probably carried the gun loaded into the classroom.  Doing such isn't really a WTF, I mean, that's the guy's job, to carry a gun.  He's supposed to know what the hell he's doing, but he's a dumbass because he violated #3, colloquially stated as "keep your booger hook off the bang switch."  He had NO business putting his finger inside the trigger guard; had he not done that, he never would have shot himself, because the gun has a safety.  (If you watch the clip, the best part/the REAL WTF is how he tries to walk it off, ask if everyone is OK, and then continue the demo, asking a teacher to hand him a rifle.  (To be fair, the odds that rifle was loaded are probably lower than for the pistol, but I can understand why he freaked everyone else out.)

     If you're smart, you get your first ND out of the way at a range, and you're smart enough, then once is enough.

     [editted to fix a typo.]



  • @FrostCat said:

    ND
     

    For those who do not live in a weaponized nation: according to Google, ND is Negligent Discharge.



  • @FrostCat said:

    ...

    He had NO business putting his finger inside the trigger guard; had he not done that, he never would have shot himself, because the gun has a safety.

    ...

    To help clarify this...

    Police guns normally do not have a safety switch, the safety is built in and design to disengage when the trigger is pulled.  Hence why it is very important to how you handle one.



  • @FrostCat said:

    "keep your booger hook off the bang switch."

    hahaha, that's what she said.


    ...

    :(


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Zemm said:

    There's at least a dozen different possibilities as to the real
    mass/volume/weight of "1 oz".
    You need a qualifier there - Troy? Avoirdupois? Metric(there's two)?



  • HEY SOMEONE MAKE THAT CLEVER JOKE ABOUT WHICH WEIGHS MORE A POUND OF FEATHERS OR A POUND OF GOLD ITS SO CLEVER ALL CAPS IS AWESOME



  • @Anketam said:

    Police guns normally do not have a safety switch, the safety is built in and design to disengage when the trigger is pulled.  Hence why it is very important to how you handle one.

    In other words they have no safety mechanism at all? So police officers shooting themselves in the foot is a regular occurrence, and if you manage to steal a gun from a police officer, you can go BLAM BLAM BLAM and shoot everyone around you without having to fumble around looking for a safety on an unfamiliar gun? I guess being able to react at a moment's notice is nice, but at what price?



  • But it is not a joke. It is a fact.



  • @ekolis said:

    @Anketam said:

     

    Police guns normally do not have a safety switch, the safety is built in and design to disengage when the trigger is pulled.  Hence why it is very important to how you handle one.

    In other words they have no safety mechanism at all? So police officers shooting themselves in the foot is a regular occurrence, and if you manage to steal a gun from a police officer, you can go BLAM BLAM BLAM and shoot everyone around you without having to fumble around looking for a safety on an unfamiliar gun? I guess being able to react at a moment's notice is nice, but at what price?
    This gives them the extra 0.5 second they need to take care of any witnesses save your life!


  • @Anketam said:

    Police guns normally do not have a safety switch, the safety is built in and design to disengage when the trigger is pulled. 
    I am not familiar with Police firearms, but that seems to completely defeat the purpose of a "safety switch" -- to prevent you from firing the gun inadvertantly.

     



  • @Xyro said:

    But it is not a joke. It is a fact.
     

    Which is more true? a pound of fact in lowercase, OR A POUND OF FACT IN UPPER CASE?



  • @PJH said:

    @Zemm said:
    There's at least a dozen different possibilities as to the real
    mass/volume/weight of "1 oz".
    You need a qualifier there - Troy? Avoirdupois? Metric(there's two)?
    I have never encountered anyone who was confused about the meaning of "1 ounce" except  (a) damn foreigners  (b) pedantic dickweeds



  • @El_Heffe said:

    I have never encountered anyone who was confused about the meaning of "1 ounce" except (a) damn foreigners (b) pedantic dickweeds

    In fairness to the damn foreigners, if you don't live somewhere where snow leopards are indigenous then you might not know that they have other names.



  • @ekolis said:

    without having to fumble around looking for a safety on an unfamiliar gun?
    Safeties are in pretty standard locations...

    And if you wanted to go on a shooting spree, why bother stealing a gun?



  • @Sutherlands said:

    And if you wanted to go on a shooting spree, why bother stealing a gun?
    Why wouldn't you?

     



  • @snoofle said:

    When it was my turn to speak, I ignored all the technology stuff and simply pointed out that printing, stuffing, addressing, stamping and mailing nearly two million letters because someone was just-doing-a-demo in production and didn't care that it was acting upon his clicks and changes might be a more immediate way to save money, not to mention face.


    So have you been fired yet?


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