the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur (plonq) wrote,
the Sweet Smell of Burning Fur
plonq

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Stream of thought

I got an email from a client agency recently asking why certain report types were not appearing in their reports. I sat on the email for a while (figuratively) because I was sure that I was filtering those report types because I considered them to be such a pain to deal with -- the report type, not the client. Though that statement could truthfully apply to both.

I had vivid memories of filtering those report types, or at least of planning to filter those report types. When I finally got caught up with all of my more important work (which included surfing for ponies) I finally turned my attention to their report. I took the spreadsheet they had sent me and cross-referenced it against the reports that I have been sending out. The results matched perfectly with my belief that I was filtering the annoying report types. With this knowledge in hand I did what I do best and played dumb.

"Gosh, I don't know why those report types are not appearing in your reports. I will investigate do some digging here."

Then things got confusing, because as I started to dig, I discovered that I was not suppressing those report types. It seems that conscientious me in the past had decided to do the extra work required to send them the full meal of data types. As I traced my way through the various iterations of the data (it comes from four sources and I combine it into a single, unified view for them), the record types that they wanted were there at every step until somewhere between the second to last and last steps, where they vanished.

I began to feel like that Microsoft Tech in the old joke who, when he cannot seem to hit the target at a shooting range, puts his finger over the end of the barrel and pulls the trigger before showing the bloody stump to the man controlling the targets and declares, "The bullet is coming out fine here, so the problem must be at your end."

I admit that I was starting to become a bit frustrated about four hours into my investigation. I purged tables and re-ran partial scripts so that I could trace the records. Everything was feeding, and concatenating, and linking exactly like it should. The report was running perfectly right up to the part where, well, it didn't work. I took care of a couple of other tasks that came up in the mean time, and then spent another forty minutes on the report before I did the only reasonable thing I could think of; I set it aside to go surfing for ponies again.

About half an hour ago I suddenly had a craving for some brown rice tea. I started a cup steeping, and realized that I had some other important business that needed attending as well, which involved removing coffee from my system.

They could boost my productivity by a significant amount if they equipped my desk with two things: a treadmill and a urinal. I would estimate that close to 80% of my most important work-related inspirations have come to me while I am walking to the car at the end of the day, or emptying my bladder. I was in the middle of the latter activity when I had an epiphany so vivid that one could have stamped it on the wall in front of me and it would have been no more clear to me. I saw the formula: >SysDate-20

It was a single formula in a fairly unimportant delete query whose sole purpose was to clean up old records.

"Delete any of these records that are more than 20 days old."

Because more than and greater than totally mean the same thing, right?
Tags: work
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