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Search - "ready we are not"
Some 'wk306' highlights from different people:
Walk around the office in his underwear, because he forgot he left his trousers in the bathroom
Run a red light outside the office due to not wearing his required glasses. When questioned by co-workers, replied "I don't follow those facist rules"
Asking if we work less will we get paid more, because the project will take longer to do (while in a startup with no funding trying to secure some)
Tell a senior dev to stop testing in his spare time, as we won't be able to release on time if he keeps finding critical security bugs
Telling me "your timezone is not my concern", when asking for help with new tooling so we don't have to be online at the same time
Blaming my team for requesting too much help, leading to his team missing deadlines, in a meeting with very senior managers. When the reason we were requesting help was the handover doc we were given was filled with lies about features being finished and "ready to ship" and lacking any unit tests
Being accused of bullying and harassment to the CEO, because someone asked "did you follow up with X about the partnership they emailed us about". The person who was responsible, forgot 4 times, and saw it as an "attack" to mention it in team meetings
Telling an entire office/building mid November they've secured funding for at least the next year, then announcing in January after the Christmas break that its cheaper to move to India, so they are closing the office in 30 days3
Biggest challenge I overcame as dev? One of many.
Avoiding a life sentence when the 'powers that be' targeted one of my libraries for the root cause of system performance issues and I didn't correct that accusation with a flame thrower.
What the accusation? What I named the library. Yep. The *name* was causing every single problem in the system.
Panorama (very, very expensive APM system at the time) identified my library in it's analysis, the calls to/from SQLServer was the bottleneck
We had one of Panorama's engineers on-site and he asked what (not the actual name) MyLibrary was and (I'll preface I did not know or involved in any of the so-called 'research') a crack team of developers+managers researched the system thoroughly and found MyLibrary was used in just about every project. I wrote the .Net 1.1 MyLibrary as a mini-ORM to simplify the execution of database code (stored procs, etc) and gracefully handle+log database exceptions (auto-logged details such as the target db, stored procedure name, parameter values, etc, everything you'd need to troubleshoot database errors). This was before Dapper and the other fancy tools used by kids these days.
By the time the news got to me, there was a team cobbled together who's only focus was to remove any/every trace of MyLibrary from the code base. Using Waterfall, they calculated it would take at least a year to remove+replace MyLibrary with the equivalent ADO.Net plumbing.
In a department wide meeting:
DeptMgr: "This day forward, no one is to use MyLibrary to access the database! It's slow, unprofessionally named, and the root cause of all the database issues."
Me: "What about MyLibrary is slow? It's excecuting standard the ADO.Net code. Only extra bit of code is the exception handling to capture the details when the exception is logged."
DeptMgr: "We've spent the last 6 weeks with the Panorama engineer and he's identified MyLibrary as the cause. Company has spent over $100,000 on this software and we have to make fact based decisions. Look at this slide ... "
<DeptMgr shows a histogram of the stacktrace, showing MyLibrary as the slowest>
Me: "You do realize that the execution time is the database call itself, not the code. In that example, the invoice call, it's the stored procedure that taking 5 seconds, not MyLibrary."
<at this point, DeptMgr is getting red-face mad>
AreaMgr: "Yes...yes...but if we stopped using MyLibrary, removing the unnecessary layers, will make the code run faster."
<typical headknodd-ers knod their heads in agreement>
Dev01: "The loading of MyLibrary takes CPU cycles away from code that supports our customers. Every CPU cycle counts."
Me: "I'm really confused. Maybe I'm looking at the data wrong. On the slide where you highlighted all the bottlenecks, the histogram shows the latency is the database, I mean...it's right there, in red. Am I looking at it wrong?"
<this was meeting with 20+ other devs, mgrs, a VP, the Panorama engineer>
DeptMgr: "Yes you are! I know MyLibrary is your baby. You need to check your ego at the door and face the facts. Your MyLibrary is a failed experiment and needs to be exterminated from this system!"
Fast forward 9 months, maybe 50% of the projects updated, come across the documentation left from the Panorama. Even after the removal of MyLibrary, there was zero increases in performance. The engineer recommended DBAs start optimizing their indexes and other N+1 problems discovered. I decide to ask the developer who lead the re-write.
Me: "I see that removing MyLibrary did nothing to improve performance."
Dev: "Yes, DeptMgr was pissed. He was ready to throw the Panorama engineer out a window when he said the problems were in the database all along. Didn't you say that?"
Me: "Um, so is this re-write project dead?"
Dev: "No. Removing MyLibrary introduced all kinds of bugs. All the boilerplate ADO.Net code caused a lot of unhandled exceptions, then we had to go back and write exception handling code."
Me: "What a failure. What dipshit would think writing more code leads to less bugs?"
Dev: "I know, I know. We're so far behind schedule. We had to come up with something. I ended up writing a library to make replacing MyLibrary easier. I called it KnightRider. Like the TV show. Everyone is excited to speed up their code with KnightRider. Same method names, same exception handling. All we have to do is replace MyLibrary with KnightRider and we're done."
Me: "Won't the bottlenecks then point to KnightRider?"
Dev: "Meh, not my problem. Panorama meets primarily with the DBAs and the networking team now. I doubt we ever use Panorama to look at our C# code."
Needless to say, I was (still) pissed that they had used MyLibrary as dirty word and a scapegoat for months when they *knew* where the problems were. Pissed enough for a flamethrower? Maybe.10
Most successful? Well, this one kinda is...
So I just started working at the company and my manager has a project for me. There are almost no requirements except:
- I want a wireless device that I can put in a box
- I want to be able to know where that device is with enough accuracy to be able to determine in which box the device was put in if multiple boxes were standing together
So, I had to make a real time localization system. RTLS.
A solo project.
Ok, first a lot of experiments. What will the localization technique be? Which radio are we going to use?
How will the communication be structured?
After about two months I had tested a lot, but hadn't found THE solution. So I convinced my manager to try out UWB radio with Time Difference Of Arrival as localization technique. This couldn't be thrown together quickly because it needed more setup.
Two months later I had a working proof of concept. It had a lot of problems because we needed to distribute a clock signal because the radio listeners needed to be sub-nanosecond synchronous to achieve the accuracy my manager wanted. That clock signal wasn't great we later found out.
The results were good enough to continue to work on a prototype.
This time all wired communication would be over ethernet and we'd use PTP to synchronize the time.
There was a lot of trouble with getting the radio chip to work on the prototype, ethernet was tricky and the PTP turned out to be not accurate enough. A lot of dev work went into getting everything right.
A year and 5 hardware revisions later I had something that worked pretty well!
All time synchronization was done hybridly on the anchors and server where the best path to the time master was dynamically found.
Everything was synchronized to the subnanosecond. In my bedroom where I had my test setup I achieved an accuracy of about 30cm in 3d. This was awesome!
It was time to order the actual prototype and start testing it for real in one of the factory halls.
The order was made for 40 anchors and an appointment was made for the installation in the hall.
Suddenly my manager is fired.
Ehh... That sucks. Well, let's just continue.
The hardware arrives and I prepare everything. Everything is ready and I'm pretty nervous. I've put all my expertise in this project. This is gonna make my career at this company.
Two weeks before the installation was to take place, not even a month after my manager was fired, I hear that my project was shelved.
"We're not prioritizing this project right now" they said.
It would've been so great! And they took it away.
Including my salary and hardware dev cost, this project so far has cost them over €120k and they just shelved it.
I was put on other projects and they did try to find me something that suited me.
But I felt so betrayed and the projects we're not to my liking, so after another 2-3 months I quit and went to my current job.
It would've so nice and they ruined it.
Everything was made with Rust. Tags, anchors, RTLS server, web server & web frontend.
So yeah, sorry for the rambling.5
Me: I've not done this before, so any guess would be pure assumption.
Client: Okay, but still, you would have some idea, right?
Me: It might get done in 3 days or may take even 30.
After 3 days:
Client: But you said that it will be done in 3 days. Now you are saying there MVP is not ready. Do you even know, your part is the most critical one in the project. We believed in you. We trusted you. This is insane. It was a wrong decision to choose you.
Me (in my head): Didn't I say, this is the first time I am trying to scrape Coles? It might take time?
Me (in actual): I understand, it is getting delayed. Am trying to get this up ASAP....
Anyone else experienced toxic clients but still didn't lose their cool?14
This is the third part of my ongoing series "The Ballad of the Six Witchers and the Undocumented Java Tool".
In this part, we have the massive Battle of Sparks and Storms.
The first part is here: https://devrant.com/rants/5009817/...
The second part is here: https://devrant.com/rants/5054467/...
Over the last couple sprints and then some, The Witcher Who Writes and the Butchers of Jarfile had studied the decompiled guts of the Undocumented Java Beast and finally derived (most of) the process by which the data was transformed. They even built a model to replicate the results in small scale.
But when such process was presented to the Priests of Accounting at the Temple of Cash-Flow, chaos ensued.
This cannot be! - cried the priests - You must be wrong!
Wrong, the Witchers were not. In every single test case the Priests of Accounting threw at the Witchers, their model predicted perfectly what would be registered by the Undocumented Java Tool at the very end.
It was not the Witchers. The process was corrupted at its essence.
The Witchers reconvened at their fortress of Sprint. In the dark room of Standup, the leader of their order, wise beyond his years (and there were plenty of those), in a deep and solemn voice, there declared:
"Guys, we must not fuck this up." (actual quote)
For the leader of the witchers had just returned from a war council at the capitol of the province. There, heading a table boarding the Archpriest of Accounting, the Augur of Economics, the Marketing Spymaster and Admiral of the Fleet, was the Ciefoh Seat himself.
They had heard rumors about the Order of the Witchers' battles and operations. They wanted to know more.
It was quiet that night in the flat and cloudy plains of Cluster of Sparks and Storms. The Ciefoh Seat had ordered the thunder to stay silent, so that the forces of whole cluster would be available for the Witchers.
The cluster had solid ground for Hive and Parquet turf, and extended from the Connection River to farther than the horizon.
The Witcher Who Writes, seated high atop his war-elephant, looked at the massive battle formations behind.
The frontline were all war-elephants of Hadoop, their mahouts the Witchers themselves.
For the right flank, the Red Port of Redis had sent their best connectors - currency conversions would happen by the hundreds, instantly and always updated.
The left flank had the first and second army of Coroutine Jugglers, trained by the Witchers. Their swift catapults would be able to move data to and from the JIRA cities. No data point will be left behind.
At the center were thousands of Sparks mounting their RDD warhorses. Organized in formations designed by the Witchers and the Priestesses of Accounting, those armoured and strong units were native to this cloudy landscape. This was their home, and they were ready to defend it.
For the enemy could be seen in the horizon.
There were terabytes of data crossing the Stony Event Bridge. Hundreds of millions of datapoints, eager to flood the memory of every system and devour the processing time of every node on sight.
For the Ciefoh Seat, in his fury about the wrong calculations of the processes of the past, had ruled that the Witchers would not simply reshape the data from now on.
The Witchers were to process the entire historical ledger of transactions. And be done before the end of the month.
The metrics rumbled under the weight of terabytes of data crossing the Event Bridge. With fire in their eyes, the war-elephants in the frontline advanced.
Hundreds of data points would be impaled by their tusks and trampled by their feet, pressed into the parquet and hive grounds. But hundreds more would take their place. There were too many data points for the Hadoop war-elephants alone.
But the dawn will come.
When the night seemed darker, the Witchers heard a thunder, and the skies turned red. The Sparks were on the move.
Riding into the parquet and hive turf, impaling scores of data points with their long SIMD lances and chopping data off with their Scala swords, the Sparks burned through the enemy like fire.
The second line of the sparks would pick data off to be sent by the Coroutine Jugglers to JIRA. That would provoke even more data to cross the Event Bridge, but the third line of Sparks were ready for it - those data would be pierced by the rounds provided by the Red Port of Redis, and sent back to JIRA - for good.
They fought for six days and six nights, taking turns so that the battles would not stop. And then, silence. The day was won, all the data crushed into hive and parquet.
Short-lived was the relief. The Witchers knew that the enemy in combat is but a shadow of the troubles that approach. Politics and greed and grudge are all next in line. Are the Witchers heroes or marauders? The aftermath is to come, and I will keep you posted.4
Old old organization makes me feel like I'm stuck in my career. I'm hanging out with boomer programmers when I'm not even 30.
I wouldn't call myself an exceptional programmer. But the way the organization does it's software development makes me cringe sometimes.
1. They use a ready made solution for the main system, which was coded in PL/SQL. The system isn't mobile friendly, looks like crap and cannot be updated via vendor (that you need to pay for anyway) because of so many code customizations being done to it over the years. The only way to update it is to code it yourself, making the paid solutions useless
2. Adding CloudFlare in the middle of everything without knowing how to use it. Resulting in some countries/networks not being able to access systems that are otherwise fine
3. When devs are asked to separate frontend and backend for in house systems, they have no clue about what are those and why should we do it (most are used to PHP spaghetti where everything is in php&html)
4. Too dependent on RDBMS that slows down development time due to having to design ERD and relationships that are often changed when users ask for process revisions anyway
5. Users directly contact programmers, including their personal whatsapp to ask for help/report errors that aren't even errors. They didn't read user guides
6. I have to become programmer-sysadm-helpdesk-product owner kind of thing. And blamed directly when theres one thing wrong (excuse me for getting one thing wrong, I have to do 4 kind of works at one time)
7. Overtime is sort of expected. It is in the culture
If you asked me if these were normal 4 years ago I would say no. But I'm so used to it to the point where this becomes kinda normal. Jack of all trades, master of none, just a young programmer acting like I was born in the era of PASCAL and COBOL9
One of our team mates is based out of the US office. We are physically distant, but after our manager's departure, we lost touch because our scope of work was different.
Me and two other team members work closely with each other from India and dude is alone, working out of the US.
Super smart, very polite, and a fun person to work and be with. Even when our interaction was less, I learnt so much from him.
Since, I am facing some challenges, I decide to use it as an excuse to connect with him for a coffee and also seek his guidance because he is senior to me.
Some things he mentioned,
1. Our new line manager asks him to do things on spot with no heads up. He has to drop everything and complete the ask.
2. Often times, poor guy, is asked to join meetings on immediate basis. Even while he is having his lunch.
3. He never got support from our new manager. Infact, based on the conversation, I realised that the manager supports me more.
4. He is facing same, if not more, issues with tech. And he didn't have any guidance on how to handle the issue.
5. A lot of times he is facing process and system problems which he isn't able to solve because the org culture is that of working in Silos. And he doesn't get any support from manager.
6. Tech has clearly pushed him back when he asked for help and other teams never respond to him.
My man was still smiling bright and was looking things from a positive lens that all of this is interesting and adds to the learning experience which will be valued when we decide to move on from this job.
These are the people who inspire me. Smiling in the time of adversity.
Even when he had his own challenges, he was ready to guide me and hear my frustrations. I offered him help and will make sure to stay connected so he doesn't feel left out and alone in the team only because we don't work together in physical space.
One thing I have learned over time is, while I am facing problems, someone out there is facing more and difficult problems then me. I always tend to blow up my problems out of proportion then what they actually are.
I am the dumbest person that I know and mark my words, I'll die because of my empathy. I wish I could help my team mate in any possible way.2