Wed, 23 Aug 2006
Is Perl Installed? Don't use this script to check!
Over at use.perl.org Ovid recently posted How to tell if Perl is installed on your computer , an entry that points to a shell script that must die. Go and read the script in the post, I'll wait.
Note: this isn't his code and he's blame free, he just found it and started waving it like a red flag so the anal shell scripters among us have something to moan about :)
Firstly why use ksh? The script doesn't do anything neat so just use sh,
which exists on almost all Unix machines in some form (even if it's bash
in a dress playing pretend). Secondly, why do a
and then COMPLETELY IGNORE the results? You might as well just run
perl -V on the command line as you're using
$PATH anyway. GAH!
Sat, 09 Oct 2004
Just Don't (4 of ?) - Install More Than the Customer Wants
Over the last few weeks I've been involved with arranging evaluations and purchasing of a number of 'enterprise' products. Among the rogues gallery have been IBM (OK but nothing special considering they had near a dozen people in the room), Oracle (Actually very good) and my new favourite, Business Objects (BO), providers of Crystal Reports.
The day started off quite nicely, the BO technical gent came in and did an install of the product we were evaluating on our test server with me watching over his shoulder. The install was hitch free and took maybe an hour. He then took me through some of the administration features (on the OS level) including the logging and auditing support.
He then went to converse with the lady who will be doing the actual report writing, during the course of the afternoon he made a number of subtle hints as to the other powerful Crystal addons we might like to spend money one. One of these caught my attention, logging and auditing, I innocently asked what this got me beyond what I'd already seen; and then I was told what I'd already seen was the optional software. Which we had no intension of buying at the start of the day but that'd been installed for us just in case.
Never install more than people ask for in an evaluation, it leads to mismanaged expectations and distrust of the vendor.
Sun, 19 Sep 2004
Just Don't (3 of ?) - Set up a Website Without ServerAliases
Here is a rarity, something that annoys the hell out of me :). If you have a website then your goal is to get people to view it, or at least it should be if you're sane. So why the heck do so many site admins require me to type in the 'www.' before I can view the site? All it needs is a "ServerAlias domainname" in the Apache config; or what ever you IIS people use instead. Your users can then access the site with a simple http://domainname.tld and everything works fine. And I might actually use your site and click on the damn adverts.
Sat, 28 Aug 2004
Just Don't (2 of ?)
Just don't expect to get new customers when your registration process makes US immegration look open and friendly.
I was recently looking for a piece of software to handle WSDL generation from Java source code, I had no current long term need for the software, I just needed to see how well the technology worked these days and have a look at a real world example. Now put your business hat on, I'm not currently a sales prospect but if the product does what I want then there is a pretty good chance I'll come back to you if I ever need it. Well I would if the eval / trial downloads were a hell of a lot easier to get.
In order to download a 15 day evaluation copy I had to sign up on the site, enter a number of details about my employer and then let them send me a license key via email. Firstly I'll ignore the fact that a key generator for the product exists and is reachable with a quick google. Assuming that a cracker isn.t going to pirate your software because it requires a .registered user. is too ridiculous to consider. It was pretty amusing to look back upon the steps I had to take and realise it would have been faster to pirate the software than request an eval license.
My quick registration, with the value foo in most fields, took about twenty seconds; then all I had to do was wait for an email. And wait I did, ten minutes for the eval key to come in to my shiny Mailinator inbox. I'd like to reiterate that point, I had to wait ten minutes to receive a key that I could generate myself in under two minutes.
Once I received the key and tried the software I was quite impressed, if I need to actually work on the project then it would have made a nice solution, the problem is I vote with my wallet (and my employers purchasing budget) and I won.t give money to stupid people that try and discourage new business.
As a closing argument i'd like to point to a semi-related article, When Search Engines Become Answer Engines, this whole article covers the fact that people dip into websites, you have maybe half a page to hook a potential lead and pull them in, when you require personal details to even look at the merchandise don't count on a record quarter.
Wed, 07 Jul 2004
The conversation was going to be a painful one, sysadmin, the hero of our story felt it in the stream of vindaloo sauce that passed as his blood. "I noticed that our MySQL backups are just raw copies of the data files. I also saw some errors from the tar command about the files being written to while the backup was being run." "Yes, we know about that risk but if we ever need one of the backups we can probably repair the tables." "But isn't the worst possible time to try and repair tables when we have a broken system and need the actual data?" "We've never needed them so far. Anyway this doesn't lock the database or slow it down." *sound of head hitting desk*
If this is you PLEASE think about the possible options, a separate replication host that can be stopped and backed up, online backups (if you use InnoDB tables) or even (this is also bad) just a read lock and table by table SQL dumps are better than copying data you know is probably in an inconsistent state.