Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bringing down the house

I had computer training all day today. I was actually looking forward to it because it was something that could make certain boring tasks easier, and that's to easy feat, we are talking accounting here, folks.

So the first half of the day was one class, which went just fine. Then we had another one. It was an intermediary query building class. During the first half hour we went over some theory, and then there was an exercise. That's when our testing environment got really slow and no one could accomplish anything. Everybody's queries were processing, and processing, and processing. Our instructor, a really nice IS guy, started getting nervous. The class was not going the way he had planned at all. We took a short break, and half of the queries were still processing. It was impossible to accomplish anything. IS guy finally called up someone from the system administration team and asked them if they were doing anything behind the scenes. They said yes, but nothing that would cause such a slow down. Finally the instructor decided to abandon any practical exercises, spent 15 minutes going over the theory and dismissed the class two hours early, visibly upset. Around that time my query finally processed resulting in zero results. I couldn't understand why because I had followed all the instructions in building it.

I had my neighbor look into it and lo and behold, I was applying the right criteria to the wrong field. In plain English, I was asking the system to count the number of oranges on the apple tree. Instead of returning the answer, "Dummy, oranges don't grow on apple trees" the system used up all the resources to try to find one darn orange in what seemed to be like every apple tree in the state of New York. As my neighbor and I had discovered this, the instructor received a call from the systems administrator. Later I found out that in this call they had identified why the test environment was so slow: because Student01 was hogging up all the resources with a dumb-*** query.

The instructor was gentleman enough not to share this info with anyone, myself included. But then I confessed to him about my wrongdoing and figured out from his questions that I was the perp who sabotaged his class. I double checked with the systems guy just to make sure no one was pulling my leg. Nope, that was me, all me, who made one student's trip from the Bronx to Manhattan totally worthless, wasted an hour of everyone else's time and made the IS guy's days and days of class prep all in vain.

Made me feel very accomplished and reminded me of an old Ukrainian TV program, which became an idiom "Thy Talents, Ukraine." Something like America's Got Talent.

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