Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tech support fun

Nothing is fucking better than coming home after a 17 and a half hour day, collapsing in bed, and then an hour later having your on-call pager go off so you can spend the next 45 minutes tailing a log file while a customer de-fubars his Oracle cluster.


Tired and Grumpy

Worked from 9:30 to 3am. Just getting home now. Run into a pretty serious problem and I'm not seeing any easy way out. Shit.

I got some more spam in my LiveJournal comments section today. If this continues I'm going to have to restrict posting to logged on users. This will clearly inconvenience the two out of the three people who post to my blog since they will have to get their own accounts.

Also discovered that Apple recently changed the DVD player that comes with OS X so that you can't do screenshots while it is running. In fact, it specifically says "Screen capture is not permitted when DVD Player is running". That kind of pisses me off since it's a completely arbitrary decision and Apple doesn't really have anything to gain by preventing it since they aren't a movie studio.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Verizon DSL arrived

So my self-install kit for Verizon DSL showed up in the mail today. It isn't supposed to be activated until October first. I love completely one-sided contracts. Check out their Terms of Service. Oh yeah, and it's double sided:

Alot of it is the standard boilerplate I would expect of any provider - the Internet is a dangerous place, we aren't responsible if you get a virus, blah blah.

Here's a few fun snippets:

15.2 You agree that the Internet is not owned, operated or managed by, or in any way affiliated with Verizon and Verizon is not responsible and has no control over the information or materials accessible thorugh use of the Service.

Well, that's a load off. Glad that they are willing to recognize that Al Gore invented the Internet and Sun is "the com in dot com". No Verizon, you own THE TELEPHONE NETWORK.

15.6 You are not authorized to use any Verizon name or mark as a hypertext link to any Verizon Web site or in any advertising, publicity or any other commercial manner without the prior written concsent of the Verizon Licensing Company.

So in other words, if I were to put a link on my website to Verizon's website, like so, then I would be violating their Terms of Service. Good thing I'm writing this post this from my stolen wireless connection instead of my new DSL service.

The really good stuff though is what they consider to be "acceptable use". Here a summary of what is not acceptable:

Verizon reserves the right to deny Service to you if your use of the Service ... and in the sole discretion of Verizon (a) is obscene, indecent, pornographic, sadistic, cruel or racist in nature, or of a sexually explicit or graphic nature; (b) espouses, promotes or incites bigotry, hatred or racism; (c) might be legally actionable for any reason, (d) is objectionable for any reason, or (e) in any manner violates the terms of this Acceptable use Policy.

Here comes the thought police... Don't get me wrong, racism and bigotry are bad, but do I really want Verizon to be the judge and jury on what constitutes "objectionable", "obscene", or "indecent"? At least in the worst case all they can do is terminate my service, charge me for the equipment, and charge me the mandatory early termination fee (yes, they can still charge the early termination fee even if they terminate the contract [see section 13.1.3 of the contract]).

Here are a few things beyond the typical "no spamming or stealing service" rules that constitute a violation of Acceptable use

  • (j) to damage the name or reputation of Verizon, its parent, affiliates and subsidiaries, or any third parties (so does writing this post discussing their ridiculous contract violate their TOS?)
  • (n) to generate excessive amounts (as determined by Verizon at its sole discretion) of Internet traffic
  • (s) to cause the screen to "scroll" faster than other subscribers or users are able to type to it...

The ridiculousness goes on and on, but I am tired and must sleep now.

Weekend roundup

On Saturday Victoria and I went to New Jersey. Had lunch with Grandma (who's birthday was Monday), Lauren, and Greg. Lauren had put together a gift package for me as a thank you for our participation in the wedding, which included awesome stuff like Season 3 of The Office on DVD, various pictures from her camera, Magnetic Poetry - The Office Style, and my very own Dwight-head stress ball.

(click to enlarge)

And no, Lauren did not give me the helpful recycling guide on the fridge. That was the City of New York Department of Sanitation.

Afterwards, went over to Jen and Jon's and played with Jayden for a couple of hours. I don't think I have ever seen such a hyperactive child. He was literally spinning in circles until he fell down. Holy cow.

Went to Michelle's party in Spring Lake that night. Met my high school typing teacher Mrs. Sullivan for the first time in about twelve years. Yummy desserts.

Came back to New York on Sunday. Spent the entire day at the office. Bleh.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Another long day. Arrived 10:00. Left 11:00.

Spent a good portion of my evening trying to figure out how to determine what Edition of SQL Server 2000 is installed on a server. In newer versions, it's alot easier as there is just a registry key to check, but with the earlier versions of SQL Server, it is considerably more difficult. Found a scarcely documented call on MSDN though that might be worth trying.

Apparently you can get the Edition info by making an undocumented call to an export provided by sqlboot.dll

DWORD WINAPI QueryValue(DWORD dwSetting);
typedef DWORD (WINAPI *LPFNQUERYVALUE)(DWORD); // QueryValue function pointer

Yes, I realize that I'm calling it undocumented but pointing to Microsoft's web site. Perhaps "completely unsupported and not in any official API documentation" would be a more appropriate characterization.

It is described a bit by a Microsoft developer in the SQL Server newsgroup too:

This whole thing wouldn't be an issue except you have to have the installation media in order to uninstall clustered instances. So I have to upload 500 MB worth of CD to the server in order to do an uinstall, and it has to be the media that matches whatever the edition I am trying to uninstall.

The whole matter makes me appreciate how much better the install works for SQL Server 2005, despite the issues I have run into there as well.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The saga continues

Had another fun day at work. Got there at 9:45. Left at 11:30. Ugh. Continuing to make forward progress, slowly.

Not that I want to use my blog just to bitch about my job. Unfortunately I didn't do anything else today so that's all there is. Tune in next time for the continuing adventure...

More insomnia

Yesterday worked from 10am to 12am. Came home. Peanut butter and honey sandwich for dinner. Sleep. Kept waking up from dreams about SQL Server clustering. Ugh. Around 5am I watched an episode of "From the Earth to the Moon" on DVD that Dan loaned me. Work starts again in 45 minutes.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Working at a tech company

Somebody at the office has a good sense of humor:

Fun weekend

Had a fun weekend. Vikki came to the city.

Spent most of Saturday with her sitting in the company conference room while I worked on a Monday deadline (which I didn't make by the way). Went to Crooked Tree where we had some absolutely wonderful crepes.

On Sunday ate falafel and played Scrabble all afternoon in Washington Square Park. Beautiful day. Cleaned my apartment. Did some laundry.

Boston 2007 Trip

Finally got my pictures uploaded from the Boston trip.

Click here to see the rest.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fun SQL Server 2005 error for Friday

Here's a good one. This is what the user sees if you attempt to uninstall a clustered SQL Server instance when the cluster disk is offline:

Digging through the logfile reveals the following:

Article: Minimum MDAC Version Requirement, Result: CheckPassed

Loaded DLL:C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Setup Bootstrap\sqlsval.dll Version:2005.90.1399.0
Warning: Disk resource Disk F: is not Online
Please bring it Online if it is needed
Error: Action "InvokeSqlSetupDllAction" threw an exception during execution. Error information reported during run:
Source File Name: datastore\cachedpropertycollection.cpp
Compiler Timestamp: Fri Jul 29 01:13:49 2005
Function Name: CachedPropertyCollection::findProperty
Source Line Number: 130
Failed to find property "ComputerList" {"SqlComputers", "", ""} in cache
Source File Name: datastore\clusterinfocollector.cpp
Compiler Timestamp: Fri Sep 16 13:20:12 2005
Function Name: ClusterInfoCollector::collectClusterVSInfo
Source Line Number: 883
Failed to detect VS info due to datastore exception.
Source File Name: datastore\clustergroupsproperties.cpp
Compiler Timestamp: Fri Jul 29 01:13:49 2005
Function Name: ClusterGroupScope.SharedDisks
Source Line Number: 56
Failed to find a cluster group that owned shared disk: F:
WinException : 2
Error Code: 0x80070002 (2)
Windows Error Text: The system cannot find the file specified.

Source File Name: datastore\clustergroupsproperties.cpp
Compiler Timestamp: Fri Jul 29 01:13:49 2005
Function Name: ClusterGroupScope.SharedDisks
Source Line Number: 56

This might be a nice error to tell the user about, you know, in the GUI....

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Helpful error message

Here's a nice helpful error message I ran into attempting to uninstall a Microsoft SQL Server 2005 clustered instance:

I'm not sure what a SetShilohRoot is but apparently that's the action I'm supposed to take. And I like the trailing carriage return that causes the closed parenthesis to be on a new line.

Even when I know that Shiloh was the code name for SQL Server 2000, I still have to wonder what I'm supposed to do, not to mention that the code name refers to SQL Server 2000 when I'm trying to uninstall SQL Server 2005...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

We are experiencing technical difficulties

Well I had the best of intentions to get my Boston photos onto my blog tonight. After six attempts though, I've concluded it just isn't going to happen tonight. Apparently the file upload feature for LiveJournal's Scrapbook just isn't working (it won't let me upload at all). And the open source iPhoto plugin only works with iPhoto 4 and 5 and it looks like a dead project.

I should just cut my losses and move to Flickr like Jae suggested.

Suzy got married yesterday.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Catching up and not sleeping...

So I haven't posted anything since last week. I went to Boston with Vikki over Labor day weekend, and I have a bunch of pictures to post. Will get to that in a couple of minutes.

Work has been busy. I crossed forty hours this week despite having had Labor day off and it's only the end of Thursday. Went to the bar with Dan and Packy last night. I think I got about three hours of sleep so far (it's now 7:15am on Friday). Don't misunderstand - I wasn't out drinking all night - I've been tossing and turning in bed since midnight. Friggen anxiety.

Reading the last paragraph makes me realize how tired I am since it took three drafts and I still couldn't form complete sentences. The obvious answer thus is for me to just go to work. At least there the compiler won't let me make syntax errors.

I'm starting to sift through the pictures now from Boston, and I must say that my camera takes really good pictures.

Try to go back to sleep or just go to work? Decisions, decisions.... Ugh.