Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On avoiding work...

I don't think that I have ever worked with someone that works so hard to avoid work.

Everyone that I know in the technical community knows what a pain in the neck Dubya's grand idea about moving DST has been. Pretty much every piece of software out there that deals with dates (most, some in ways you would never imagine), needs to be updated (usually via some sort of patch) to accommodate the changes in calculation.

Fast forward to Monday morning (yesterday), the day after "spring forward." I come into the office to find a machine that had software that we forgot about.

For grins, here's the error from the software. It's almost a WTF in itself...

Timezone mismatch: The agentTZRegion value (US/Central) does not match the current environment TZ setting(US/Central).
No problem, I'll go locate a patch. This leads me to the first problem. To even get to the document that tells you how to get the patch, you need a login to their support system.

I do not have said login.

I decide to ask my boss if we have a support contract for the software, and he sets up a game of telephone (a rant for another day) with the guy that has access to the support site--filtering information through himself between me and the other guy. After telling the guy, let's call him Steeeeve, that we needed a DST patch for this software, he sends a doc detailing how to make sure the TZ is set properly. The information in this doc was also spit out with the error and had already been tried.

Steve does what any "good" technical guy does when faced with a problem. He opens a support request regarding the issue (even though it is clearly a DST issue based on version and patchlevel of software that we already gave him). Fine, let's shoot it up to the vendor, and ask their opinion (I hope our contract doesn't charge per incident).

The next day (today), the vendor comes back asking for the timezone file, which I gladly provide. At the same time, the tech asks us to go through a troubleshooting procedure to verify that the timezone file needs to be updated. I go through it and come to the same conclusion that I had yesterday. We need a patch, and I don't know which one it is, and I don't have access to the docs that are linked in order to find the patch I need (they are different based on operating system, architecture, and software version). I tell Steeeeve that I don't have access, but give him the techdoc that has information, and ask him to grab the appropriate patch (and remind him of our os, etc. in case he forgot).

His response was priceless:
So I don’t have to read the whole doc can you tell me what patch number you need?
I had to blink a few times. Didn't I just tell him that I couldn't get to the doc. I remind him of such.
Gotcha. I’m attaching a saved copy. Please note this is not the note [the vendor] wants you to look at.

This new doc doesn't have any patch numbers in it, and references other docs that do. I kindly respond as such.
I didn’t read it, just passed it on. I just updated the SR telling them we know we need to patch and could they provide a patch number.

So after 40 minutes of back and forth this morning, our friend Steve punts back to the vendor because he's to (lazy? illiterate?) to read the doc and download the patch. I wonder how long this will go on. I'm guessing that I still will not have the appropriate patch by the end of today. At least I figured out a temporary workaround so that this does not affect anything that I am trying to do today.