Kids, spaghetti, symptoms and better practises

Here’s one for all the parents out there?

We had (have) this scenario at work where the simplest analogy for my non-technical friends was an analogy to solving your kids thirst and love for spaghetti. And that’s a messy story.

One of our software development team has a product that has been on a client’s system for the past 2 years and in one of the recent updates (about 3 months after a ‘feature’ update) the product starts getting this error:

WMI Service not responding.

The development team swear blind that they’ve done enough investigations, and the problem is fixed by rewriting their piece of code that touched the “WMI Service.” Of course, they can’t replicate the bug in their development environment, or the Quality Assurance environment. But, they can guarantee the error will go away by not using the above mentioned service.

We’re told to be in partnership with our people, and a summary of our investigations highlights a few interesting facts:

We have no clue why this error occurs, but we can get rid of the error.

The parallel to our child analogy above is, …

My kids all grew up loving spaghetti when they were introduced to solid food. As any parent, aunt/uncle will know: Kids and spaghetti are a recipe for ‘MESS’. Notice the capital letters there.

There are plenty of solutions on the market that budding new parents are urged to try. They have baby bibs made of hard plastic with a ‘catch’ tray that is easier to wipe/clean and can catch some of the ‘refuse’ before it reaches the floor. I’ve even seen promotions for floor plastic sheets, that new parents can spread on the floor to ‘catch’ the debry.

What are we solving above? Nothing really, because none of those products really work for inventive/scheming new spaghetti eaters. Your treating the side effects of the illness. It’s a messy business or you wouldn’t be dealing with kids in the first place, accept it and move on. The above ‘solutions’ are just helping you avoid dealing with the real issue:

Your kid is a messy eater.

Fortunately, most kids grow out of their messy spaghetti problem and elevate to messy bedrooms, messy schoolwork, etc. But that’s a different release.

Back to our team’s problem.

Solving the “WMI Service Not responding,” by ignoring it is cleaning up the after-effects and not the cause of the problem. The development team already know the problem only occurs when the server’s CPU utilisation is maxed out at 100%. They don’t test for this in the development machines or in the test team’s machines.

No, suggesting to install more debugging tools on the server (Visual Studio) isn’t helpful, nothing more will run on the machine and the few people/services already running are struggling.

No, scheduling a server restart every night is not a solution. It resolves your symptoms, temporarily, but it doesn’t solve your problem.

Unfortunately, programs don’t independently grow up and shed bugs like old skin. Programs tend to hold on to atrophied body parts until they get the proverbial code-stink. Code stink gets worse with age, a minor bug can readily become the foundation for a lot of problems.

Find out why you have these symptoms, why is the application using up 100% CPU utilisation. Fix the problem, not the symptoms that’s a better way forward.

Aquatic Center alight, spare a thought for the loss

Yesterday (Sunday) was scorcher in Sydney and we were at the mall (shopping) when our youngest daughter started whining, and complaining she was hot and we needed to go to the swimming pool so she can cool off (their favourite being the Sydney Aquatic Center at Homebush Olympic Park.) We had enough things to do that day so we stayed at the mall and then came back home.

It wasn’t until late in the night, after finally putting the kids to bed that we discovered there was a massive fire at the said Aquatic Center’s parking lot destroying 30+(?) cars and putting up to 5,000 in the center out into the heat as well as the disorientation of real and present danger. Disorientation accentuated with the uncertainty of whether they can get back to their vehicles, and more difficulty for those trying to figure out how to get home with their kids in tow, and the extreme heat of the day.

Fortunately, there were no notices of deaths but there is significant property loss and we feel for those who were directed effected.

It was an awesome display of powers of nature beyond our human control (of course I fear that the fire was human sourced, whether intended or thrown away trash (smoko or glass.) The day was very hot, and the cars themselves and their glass magnifying sunlight on the dry leaves/grass etc. may have initiated the furnace. We’re glad we missed the pool this time.

Strangely, the events are a juxtaposition with our Sunday Service on Philippians 3 and Paul highlighting that God’s salvation doesn’t come from our own power, greatness, good guy. It’s totally depended on someone else’s grace.

New Time Table Promises the Skies

Things look really promising, and colourful with our new Public Transport. The Government has gone all out for a new facelift, those commando dressed dudes are now dressed in smart casuals, and they seem to have more women instead of the gymn rejects?

The Promise?:

Transport for NSW New train timetables start Sunday 20 October

The biggest timetable change in a generation.

On Sunday 20 October a new train timetable will come into effect, changing both service times and frequency of both the Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink services. More than 1,000 extra services will be added to the timetable every week.

On Sunday 20 October a new train timetable will come into effect, changing both service times and frequency of both the Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink services.

  • More than 1,000 extra train services every week
  • Over 600 additional express services every week

Hopefully someone out there benefits from those additional (isn’t 1,000 such a nice clean number?) train services. Looking at the getting to work train, my time slot is later than now. Looking at coming home (more important to me) I’ve lost the train I used to catch.

Bummer, may the next generation will get a better deal.

Looking forward to a HOT day

Various forecasts between 36 and 39 degrees foreshadows a HOT day in Sydney today.

Strangely, walking out this morning isn’t the 20 degrees forecast, but something much cooler. Put a jacket/jumper on for the morning commute. The house is still hot from soaking up yesterday/last-night’s heat so the body’s a little confused.

The bus should haven’t been running for the past couple of hours, but you get on and there’s no hope with the air conditioner because it is sauna class hot.

Coping with the commute is easier today listening to FLOSS Weekly and ZoneMinder.