SkillsPython, Ruby, system integration
Joined devRant on 7/9/2016
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So rewind back about 24 years. I was a little kid who thought computers were the coolest thing evar, and our family had just gotten our first machine (a monstrous tower from a company named CyberMax, running Win 3.11 on DOS 6, 33MHz and a 250MB hard drive).
My aunt (big into coding at the time) came by with a box full of disks and loaded the machine up with all kinds of games and fun stuff. One of the thing she installed was Hoyle Classic Card Games (https://playclassic.games/games/...)
My parents fell in love with this and played it for hours. The problem was, the process to get it started, while not complicated, was still a pain in the ass. You had to either hammer F6 to get the startup menu and type a bunch of commands to switch to the directory and start the game, or let it boot into windows, then leave windows for DOS and do the same thing.
On a lark, when we had gotten the machine, mom had also bought this little dos programming handbook. I can't find it nowadays, but it went into very exhaustive detail on the cool things you could do with batch files. I was a voracious reader, especially on anything to do with computers, and one of the things the book covered was how to write startup menus using the CHOICE command! Little me figured out that you could write this into the AUTOEXEC.bat, and have a menu come up on every start!
It took me a couple days of piddling around (again, I was like 6 or 7, and this was the first "program" I'd ever written), but I eventually got it to the point where you'd turn the computer on, and the first thing it would do is ask if you wanted to go into windows, or if you wanted to play cards. I was proud as hell when this was set up and working!
I didn't do much writing of programs since then (I was more interested in games at the time), but yeaaaarrrs later, I encountered Why's Poignant Guide to Ruby, fell in love, and I've been hacking code ever since2
DO NOT LIE ON YOUR RESUMÉ!
I don't understand why people do this. I understand that some shady recruiters like to "gin up" the occasional resumé, but I'm talking about the people who write that they're familiar with MySQL and can't even write a SELECT, or the people who write that they're familiar with Python and can't describe the differences between v2 and v3.
And the interviews are awkward as *fuck*.
I: "So it says you're good at MySQL, could you answer a few questions about it?"
C: "Uhh... okay"
I (sensing danger): "Why would you add an index to table that already exists?"
C: "I.. don't know"
I (oh jesus I see where this is going): "Okay, we'll skip that. How would you query across a couple of tables?"
I ([internally screaming]): "How about a single query on a single table?"
C: "I don't know that, sorry..."
I (desperately wanting to ask why the FUCK is MySQL on your resumé?): "Thank you for your time, we'll call you."
You almost feel sorry for the guy, but come the fuck on, did you think nobody would check?19
`load pubkey "/Users/karunamon/.ssh/id_rsa": invalid format`
The fuck? I've been using this keyfile for ages. And that's the private key, not the public key.
Maybe I'll try converting it to a different format.
(20 minutes of ssh-keygen command attempts)
Same error. I don't freaking get it. It works. I mean, I know my public key is..
(public key is actually completely mangled with newlines everywhere)
..yknow what, my fault, but you could have at least given me the public key filename, ya jerk.1
Neat: MongoDB. Fairly easy to use, intuitive-ish JSON API. Thinking about using it on a project. Excitement.
Neater: Data validation. You can have it drop writes that don't match a schema. Excitement intensifies.
Braindead: It absolutely will not tell you exactly *why* the write doesn't meet the schema, leaving you to figure that out on your own, smart guy. Mongo smugly crosses its arms and tells you to go back and do it right without actually telling you what the problem is.
Fucking braindead: This has been an open feature request since year of our lord two-thousand-and-fucking-fifteen. https://jira.mongodb.org/browse/...7
Whoever at Zoom decided that this button needed to be at this location on the Touch Bar ought to be fired.
Out of a cannon.
Into the sun.
Or at the very least doomed to have their desktop or webcam shared at random times during sensitive meetings. It is for the grace of God that the client didn’t catch me straining to hear the awful acoustics in their conference room.7
Once upon a time, one or two jobs ago, a really awesome engineer specced out a distributed search application in response to a business need. This company was managed pretty oldschool and required a ton of paperwork and approvals.
The engineer spent many weeks running tests and optimizing the hell out of this app cluster. It flew, and he had the data to prove it could handle production workloads (think hundreds of terabytes of data being processed every single day)
Part of the way he achieved this was having RAID0 on all of the servers to maximize I/O throughput. He didn't care much about data loss, since the application itself was fault tolerant on a much more granular level.
Management, hearing about this, absolutely flipped their shit and demanded RAID6 instead. This despite the conclusive data that the engineer had that proved RAID6 couldn't keep up.
He more or less got told to STFU.
Even this despite the fact that a RAID restripe would actually take many times longer than rebuilding the failed node from scratch (a process that took about 30 minutes by hand, and could probably be automated to be done in less than five), causing a longer exposure to actual data loss throughout the length of the days-long array rebuild time.
The ill-thought-out requirement added about 50% to the cost of the project (*many* more hard drives now required), beyond the original budget, and the subsequent bureaucratic wrangling resulted in a late product launch.
6 months or so later, after real customers were using this product, the app was buckling under around half of its expected workload. A friend of the engineer suggested to management to try RAID0. Sure enough, that resolved the I/O bottleneck.
This rage-inducing story has a happy ending, though! Said engineer left the company not long after this incident, citing it as a reason for his departure. He was immediately hired by another company, making integer multiples of his prior salary.
The product the company botched the launch of by ignoring his spec? It died a few months later. Maybe the poor customer experience was to blame? Maybe the late launch? Maybe it was another reason entirely.
Either way, millions of dollars of hardware now sat fallow. This was a black eye on the company all the way up to the C-level.
tl;dr: Listen to your engineers. You hired them for their expertise.5
VMWare, for what you people charge, would it kill you to do some basic quality assurance on your install media?
Your flagship product, vCenter Server, has a known issue that's been there for at least eight update releases where you can't actually do the install without catching the newly provisioned appliance VM on its first startup, doing init=/bin/bash, and changing the root password by hand.
Because, yknow, having stuff work according to your docs is for *wimps*. Engineers who have to put up with this shit have the ears of their execs, and you can bet poor quality like this will eventually reach the ears of the people with purchasing authority.3
The more I use Go, the more i start to like it. I didn’t realize how nice being able to generate binaries for every OS that matters was, until I had that power. It beats the hell out of trying to distribute a Python app for sure.
Sure, it has its warts.
It’s overly bureaucratic in the same way Java is.
I hate that you can’t import something without using it (most people I’d wager preemptively import libraries they know they’re gonna need even if the code isn’t written yet)
I really wish there was a way to just say “See this JSON blob? All those keys and values are strings, trust me, you don’t need me to tell you the type of each one individually.”
Generics would be nice.
I’d kill for exceptions - any decently sized go program is going to have very many if err checks where most could be condensed down to a single try/catch in most other langs.
I wish the tooling was better. Dependency management was a solved problem when Go was released and yet they chose to ship without it. There’s still no standard. Many hours of time have been wasted dinking with this.
But ya know what? Even with those warts, it’s still easier to write than Java. It’s still write once run anywhere, it’s blazing fast, and doesn’t require your end user to install an entire freakin runtime.
Canoncal.. buddy.. pal..
We need to talk about the content on the server image's login screen.
Now, I get that lots of developers will use the server image out of a desire to keep their environments minimal.. but at the same time, is the same server image that will be deployed on thousands of VMs all over the world really the place to be talking about "great IDEs available on Ubuntu" complete with smiley faces?
I'm dead serious I log in and there are fifty seven lines of crap on the screen. I don't need links to your docs or support pages, I definitely don't need cutesy links to "hey look at this cool stuff you can do on Ubuntu!", and I absolutely don't need advertisements for your paid services.
This is some of the tackiest stuff I've seen outside of Gitlab shilling for GKE in the paid enterprise version.
Stuff like this turns actual users off. Sysadmins, the ones who are going to be seeing this stuff since it's visible on SSH shells only do not care about your cutesy IDE advertising.
Fuck pep8 in general. Fuck harder anything to do with line limits. Fuck with a rusty spatula those who tie it into their git precommits or CI tests.
What's that, it's 2018 and even the shittiest walmart-tier computers have 1080p OR BETTER at a 16:9 aspect ratio?
"lol, 80 character line limit."
Eat a bucket of rancid dicks.
Oh, and since we're forcing you to be so economical with your characters, we're going to force four space tabs. Yknow, rather than simple single tab characters, which could mean everyone can set their preferred level of spacing without bloating the code with whitespace.
Because, yknow, it's entirely reasonable to chew up 1/8 of a line because you're editing a function inside a class definition. God Almighty forbid you try to do a for loop inside that function! Fuck you!
"Oh but you can't have two editors or terminals open side by side without that limit!"
BULL FUCKING SHIT. Here's my shitty 1280x1024 display on my shitty computer with two Sublime editors open side by side. You'll notice the break is at 100 characters. You'll notice I don't have to scroll horizontally to do two things at once. You'll notice I even have room for COMMENTS!
If your code standards require you to make your code *less* readable and *less* clear and take up *more* space to accomplish the same tasks, YOUR CODE STANDARDS SUCK!
Enough with this stupid meme. We're not in the 80s anymore and it's high time to start fucking acting like it.7
It really sucks being the senior guy sometimes because it means there's nobody above you that you can bounce questions off of. No mentor. Just random people on the internet (and stack overflow, eww.)
The rubber ducky on my monitor can only go so far.
It's a constant worry of "am I writing garbage?" and "is there a better way to do this?"
I'd kill for a QA group that I could actually send some of my stuff to and get feedback.2
I really am not a fan of the contortions you have to go through in Golang to deserialize a fucking JSON blob. If this were any other language I would have already had a data structure I could query rather than wasting hours twiddling structs that will be filled properly.7
Yesterday: Enjoying my VFIO machine running on Ubuntu. Windows nastiness confined to a VM, full performance graphics. Heaven.
Today: Take a system update. Systemd hanging on boot. No console output because systemd helpfully prevents all that from showing. AARGH!1
This was about 3 years ago. I’m on vacation and just getting off the plane, when my boss calls me on his cellphone. Apparently the crontab on our main file upload server had gotten nuked, and he was asking if there were any backups.
A word about this server. I work with video, so this thing is doing about a few gigabits of traffic incoming at any moment. The cron jobs are necessary to move and organize these massive files into a sane scheme for processing. Hundreds of drop folders receiving thousands of files resulting in terabytes of data every single day. Our storage vendor tells us we have the third largest deployment they know about.
No cron jobs mean all of this content is just sitting around piling up. I tell him sorry, try contacting $otherAdmin since he’s more familiar with that system.
A few days later, after the vacation, I come back in. $boss and $otherAdmin have reconstructed the crontab from scratch after an all nighter.
I ask how it got deleted.
$boss was training some people how to set up new customers on this file server, and he told the trainees to open the crontab in read-only mode. One of them ran:
Yes, we back up our crontabs now.3
The networking group at my day job, hooooooolly crap I have some unprintable words. But keeping it professional:
* Days to turn around simple firewall whitelisting requests
* Expecting other teams to know the network layout despite not sharing that information anywhere and going out of their way to not share it
* Adding bureaucracy in the form of separate Word doc forms despite having a ticketing system - for no justifiable reason
* Breaking production systems multiple times per month
* Calling in with problems that are clearly network related, being told it’s our systems, and then the problems magically go away even though they swear they didn’t touch anything
* Outright verifiable lies or vague non-answers when they’re not talking to someone at the director level or a vendor from an outside company on conference calls
* Worse packet loss and throughput on our LAN than my home ISP
Doing anything with these clowns is my single biggest source of stress right now. I can’t wait until we get a full SDN stack set up and then we won’t have to deal with them for day-to-day needs any longer.
My boss swears it’s better that we’re not managing the network directly, but I’m pretty sure my friend’s dog could be loosed into the data center to chew on fiber, and eventually the pairs would be connected in such a way as to improve performance.1
The year is 2218. Machines have taken over the world. A small pocket of resistance fights back against them. And in their darkest hour, Windows, which hasn’t been updated in over a century, still won’t tell their strategists what program is keeping the USB drive with their plans open. They don’t want to unplug the drive as that could damage the files.
While they’re trying to figure it out, the attack comes and catches them all unaware.
As a result, humanity is extinguished.
Don’t let this happen to you.5
Using the new project as an excuse to try out the language I was an absolute newbie at. (Python, at the time).
A couple years later when I’m much more proficient and I go back and look at that code, I want to slap past me for putting that spaghetti mess into production.
I’m convinced that CSS is black magic and those that can visualize what it’s going to do before changing code are witches/warlocks.
Usually my attempts end up in humor as the website ends up /comically/ broken. Elements shifted around to not anywhere near they belong, drop downs appearing from completely nonsensical places...
No idea how you all do it.2
Linux networking: A tragedy in three acts
Wherein the system administrator writes their /etc/network/interfaces file as is the custom.
Wherein the kafkaesque outputs of basic networking commands threaten basic sanity. Behold:
# ifup ens3:1
RTNETLINK answers: File exists
Failed to bring up ens3:1.
# ifdown ens3:1
ifdown: interface ens3:1 not configured
Wherein all sanity is lost:
That feel when an intern is tasked with implementing a web frontend for a project you're working on.
That feel when you open up one of the views and it's filled with JQuery spaghetti and your eyes glaze over.
That feel when you actually step through the code, and it actually makes sense and is remarkably light and clever for what it does.
That feel when you learned a bit more JQuery (a library that you never had any experience with before) and it made doing some more things an absolute breeze.
I learned over this weekend that there are no good tape backup systems for Linux. Oh sure, there are a couple of open source projects like Bacula and AMANDA, but they're both a bit too much on the .conf file hell side for me. And fuck literally everything about .tar scripts.
And then you've got things like Backup Exec that, while having its own problems like not being hostable on a Linux machine, will talk to a Linux machine and its connected tape devices with very little hassle.
Linux people: UX is important! Licenses for expensive software are often cheaper than teaching people how to use obtuse systems!1