Friday, June 24, 2005

This is the week that was…

I think you all know I try to put a good spin on things but this week has just been one of ‘those weeks’, just one thing, after another, all week.

I love programming, building things, taking something from a spark of an idea and making it real.

I’m a lucky guy, most days, weeks; I get to do what I love. What I don’t love about development though, is indecision. Start, stop, hurry up, and slow down, but not that slow…

For six months now I’ve really been spoiled. I get up, go to the office (most days, but, some days I even get to work from home), and just do what I do, and marvel that I get paid for having so much fun!

Then there are the weeks like this one. You all know about the hardware problems at my office so we can just forget about that for now. On the job I’ve started, stopped, backed up, gone forward, and worked harder this week than any in the last 52 and I have nothing, nada, zilch in the way of forward progress to show for it.

Most times I’d even spin it to myself that I’d ‘learned’ something, and maybe, with time there will have been a lesson in this week. But, at the moment, I don’t see it.

I think the single most frustrating aspect, and this is only one of a dozen from this week, is a little package called ‘Hummingbird’. For those of you who don’t know it, it’s what’s known as an ‘emulator’, it emulates the old green screen terminals we used to use for mainframes.

There are others, one from Attachmate is another pretty popular one.

Well, much of what I’ve been doing has centered on extracting information from Mainframe based DB2 databases and making them available on the network in smaller targeted applications, say to produce nice graphic, for publication reports. The emulator in use when I got there was the one from Attachmate.

Essentially my application will, in the background, log in to the mainframe, establish connections to the DB2 tables, extract the data for the reports and present them to the user all without them having to know ‘where’ that data resides or the rules for retrieving it.

Recently, as I started rolling out my applications they would work on some PC’s and not on others. It honestly had me baffled for a day or so. Then I realized that not ‘all’ the PC’s had the Attachmate emulator, some had ‘Hummingbird’, and some had both. After a few phone calls I discovered that the company had switched to Hummingbird; three ‘years’ ago!!

The development machine I was provided had only the Attachmate product configured, as a result, I’ve been building apps around a technology they abandoned. If that wasn’t bad enough, the version that’s “standard”, well its 7.1, the current version is 10 and the vendor’s support for 7.1 ended (as in they no longer support it) in April of this year.

So now, I’ve got the wonderful task of sorting out an automation object model, on an obsolete version of software, against a very rigid deadline. Sweet, the stuff burnout is fueled by!

So, lest you think it’s all sunshine and rose petals on this side of the screen, I’ve typed one of my ‘rants’, without the smoothing effects of time or the benefit of hindsight. Just my total frustration, at the end of a very long week, at being essentially where I was when it started, maybe even back to Wednesday or Thursday of the prior week.

I think I’ll just hit the garage in the morning and hit some steel with hammers and dollies, grinding wheels, welders and whatever else destructive I can find and make some progress on that old truck until it gets too hot to work.

I’ll let you all know later if my ‘physical therapy’ helps at all!!

Thanks for stopping by and reading… I’ll find something much more fun to write about for tomorrow!!

4 comments:

Firehawk said...

Bill,

I hate that "running to stand still" thing. If it makes you feel any better, I've had a crap week too. It came to a head when I kicked the garbage can with my full strength today, causing the top to come off and blow into two pieces. That didn't make me feel better, but fixing the sprinkler system and giving the dog a bath did. I hope working in your garage has a similarly thereputic effect.

Braleigh said...

I do indeed hope the "physical therapy" works out. I usually just throw on my boxing gloves and attack a cement wall.

These kind of weeks are good for adding fuel to the fire and making one more appreciative of feeling spoiled the rest of the time :D

Spirit Of Owl said...

I guess you of all people must be feeling it to be writing it! Best of luck, I hope you have a great weekend.

Bill said...

Firehawk, Thanks! Sorry your week sucked too.

Braleigh - Exactly! Thery also make you very aware of how you *don't* want to spend your days! I think I feel sorry for that wall though.

Spirit: It made me feel better just to write it out!

The 'garage therapy worked wonders... as soon as I can get some help over here I'm going to move things around so I can do most of this 'body work inside out of the sun though!!

I hope you're all having good weekends as well.