The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Friday, January 14, 2005


I do not handle stress well.

Wednesday was bad.

Yesterday wasn't that bad, but I fell asleep almost immediately upon coming home, and still managed to get up late.

Today is bad.

As if osCommerce wasn't bad enough (that site … how can anybody use that site? It's the most horribly designed site I've come across) I now get to debug the Dansie Shopping Cart.


Only 102 warnings when run with /usr/bin/perl -w (and since perl spits out those warnings when the script runs, it confuses Apache).

Running it without the warnings option gives me:

": No such file or directory

I also like this bit:

 # May not be used without purchasing a license. Do not attempt to run this
 # script on a site other than which it was licensed for.
 # Modification of this script other than:
 # 1. Adjusting the perl path in the first line above.
 # 2. Or setting the $vars variable below.
 # May void your right to technical support and subject you to legal action.

And the customer is upset because she paid for this and she doesn't understand it worked on four other servers and why can't I fix it and … and … and … and …

According to this, I can't debug their 4,000 line script (technically, it was one line; all the formatting had been removed to protect the guilty) without subjecting her to possible legal liability and voiding her warrentee.

The conversation went downhill from there.

The upshot: the customer doesn't care—she wants it working.

So I get the job of debugging some wonderful perl code.

I'm ready to run screaming towards the hills

I'm attempting to debug the shopping cart from hell. I finally got rid of the warnings, and the script is generating the following:

Set-Cookie: shopper_id=91548; path=/;
Content-type: text/html


But Apache still doesnt' like it. I poke around and fine a script:


print "Hello world\n";

Okay. I can build on this, adding stuff to see what Apache might be complaing about. I run this script from the command line and get “: bad interpreter: No such file or directory”.

Excuse me?

# which perl
# more

print "Hello world\n";


I write my own version of this:


print "Hello world\n";

And it worked.

Me: 0. Desk 2:

Okay, probably some invisible character in that's giving the perl interpreter fits. Delete #!/usr/bin/perl and retype it.

: bad interpreter: No such file or directory

Me: 0. Desk 3:

Much mucking around later (and remember, this is a side trek from what I'm supposed to be doing—debugging some comercial perl script) I find out that not only is in the Microsoft text format, but that the version of vi (vi!) I'm using is “smart” enough to deal with the Microsoft text format and keep the file in that format!

Me: 0. Desk 4:

XXXX this, I'm going home.

I ran screaming towards the hills, only I didn't get so far

I should have stayed at work.

Weather wise it was a horrible day—raining and cold. The roads were slick and by the time I left the office, it was dark outside. And along Yamato Road, between Congress and I-95 is an infamous railroad crossing. As I was approaching the crossing guards decided to come down a second time, thus causing me to stop short, least the car get smacked across the top.

Only I got smacked across the rear by the person behind me.

I wasn't in a good mood to begin with; this certainly didn't help matters any.

After collecting my dark thoughts, and making a few calls to let some friends know I might either be late, or not arrive at all (it was, after all, the weekly D&D game) depending upon how things went.

Lake Lumina, being the large American car that it is, suffered no ill effects (except for the license plate, which now has a noticible dent in it). The car that hit me … well … it was hard to tell how much damage it received since it was pretty much beat up to begin with. The other driver and I discussed things for a bit and it was decided that there was no real reason to call the cops.

All things considered, it could have been worse.

The D&D game was a wash, but lately, it's been a wash every session, but since I rarely pay attention to it anyway, it was a nice way to relax (without the clamour of kids).

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