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, November 02, 2001

I blew it.

Well, I blew it. I overreacted and because of that, I lost a year uptime on tower, the colocated server serving up this website (as well as several other websites, and email).

What I thought might be the machine going a bit marginal on me turned out instead to be a rather show-stopping bug (cough cough) in the software that drives this online journal. The ANSI-C spec for time is a bit more weasly than I thought.

The problem is that I thought (erroniously as it turns out) that mktime() would renormalize (say, if the day was set to 32, the month would be incremented and the day set to 1) the time given. An implementation could do that, but it isn't mandated.

And I was counting on that.

I'm not sure why I didn't notice the problem before, but with Mark's level headed guidance (should have called him before I rebooted the server) I was able to track down a problem I should have.


Move over BOFH, here comes Gord …

So a kid, around 19, signs up a new account. He decides to rent Sled Storm, and then never comes back. Well, ok. Gord left a couple messages to return the game, but no luck.

Eventually the young adult phones and says he returned it. Uh-huh … That's right.

So Gord forwards the account to collections.

One day a few months later this lady walks in and starts yelling about how Gord sent her son to collections and ruined his credit rating so now he can't buy a car or stereo or something.

Gord points out the obvious point that he stole a game and is a poor credit risk.

Then the mother throws the game on the counter and says that the game is now back and I have to fix his credit.

“Ma'am, first off, the game is destroyed. Look at it. Second, I've replaced the game already so I don't want it back. Instead, I seek the money for my cost on replacing it and the late fees he owed. Third, your son claimed he returned it.”

This just sets her off. Something about how it's not her son's fault that he stole the game.

“How is it not his fault?”

“Because I brought it back.”

“That excuses the original theft and lying to me?”

“It's not his fault he lied and tried to steal it!”

“Might I ask whose fault it is then?”

Anyway, she starts yelling some more about how her son is never going to rent from Gord ever again. Gord points out that was exactly his point and that he had already closed the account when it was sent to collections. So she stormed out.

The Gord often wonders why people threaten to never come back after they've been told never to return.

The Acts of Gord, The Book of Annoyances, Chapter 3: With Parents Like This …

We're up early, and Spring seems facinated with watching Anne of Green Gables (if only Anne would just shut up!) so I'm surfing the web and I come across The Acts of Gord who seems to run a gaming store up in Canada and has chronicled all the stupid people who have come through his store.

I am glad I don't work in retail.

Guess who's coming to dinner?

I've lived down here for over twenty years and I still don't remember when the end of hurricane season is—the beginning of November or the end of November? Well, it seems that it's the end of November because we have one that just formed in the Gulf of Mexico—Michelle.

While it's still too early to know if it will actually hit us here in South Florida (and so far the probabilities are low), we are expected to get a lot of rain over the next week or so.

I'll keep you posted.

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