Thursday, February 17, 2005

Network Not Work

Network Not Work

So, the other day, my router at home saw fit to, not only stop recognizing the pretty new iMac but completely stop any and all bits from traveling through my little world. Halt! No more 1's and 0's for you! (It's like some kind of data natzi from Hell.) The TiVo stopped working, the trusted old "that's not a laptop, it's actually a paperweight running Win2k" was off the net, even my ethernet had vaporized.

Frustrated, I came to work. Boy, was that a mistake.

At work, you see, I'm testing out a database tool, trying to get it to, among other things, generate data in Japanese, or some language other than English. Sure it sounds easy enough. So, I twiddle knobs, bells, and whistles in an attempt at generating, what looks like (to me anyway,) some legitimately pretty Japanese. (Well, I guess it's about as pretty as Japanese can be, despite the fact that I've no idea what it says and I really don't know what Japanese looks like, so I couldn't tell, for example, if it actually were Korean, Mandarin or any other Asian double byte character set staring back at me. For all I know, I could have had an actual Chinese menu in my hand, with something on it other than "General Tso's Chicken.") Everything started working and I was thinking, "Woot! I got me some pretty Japanese SQL to try out."

Oracle, in their, ahem, infinite wisdom, has these nice little instructions that spell out how to convert an existing database to UTF8 (without hacking the registry which, in hindsight, would have been a lot easier.) They say things like, "chop off your head and, when you notice your ear is no longer attached, you won't feel that bad. Oh, and follow these 99 thousand links detailing how to get some of your data back. You may need it one day. Except for those pesky apostrophes. We got rid of 'em for ya. You can thank us later."

So, I diligently follow the 99 bizillion steps and read the apropos 642 Metalink articles describing, in great detail, how to convert my existing database over to UTF8. Having to google a mere 9 million times, I'm feeling quite triumphant when I discover that, much to my dismay, I don't have a network connection at work anymore now either. Something about yada yada, a domain controller, an account password that isn't valid, yada yada, you know, all that networking "goo" that usually just works and, typically, I don't pay any mind to whatsoever because, well, crap, I'm a database programmer, and I normally just don't deal with that kind of stuff on a day to day basis. I live in the world of select statements and, frankly, if it involves a series of interconnected and oh-so jumbled wiring, a closet, and a flashlight, you may just want to send in reinforcements because, let's just say, it's going to hit the fan by the time I'm done in there. (Sure, I can plug and unplug random wires just as good as the next guy but, sometimes you have to ask yourself, "is that what I really want out of life at this given moment in time and, oh crap, what, exactly, was connected to the other end of this cable again?")

So now, having borrowed a network cable from the lab, I'm sitting at my desk wondering if, in fact, I could fashion it into a noose. Either that or, perhaps, stretch it out really straight and tight on the carpeting and just hope that the little 1's and 0's can "hop" across the rug to the other side, like some demented fleas in a flea circus. I can't bring my network cable home, because, well, it's green and it would SO clash with the pretty white not working, ain't been on the net in months, iMac and, besides, I'm convinced, at this point anyway, there's just about enough of it to make a nice noose and hang myself from the ceiling with it.

Being so bad, with so many things just breaking all around me, I was almost hoping the Evil Baked Goods People would fire off an email detailing some freashly baked cookies on their cart.

I find myself looking at that dead router saying things like, "Oh for the love of God, would you just please start shoveling bits again and stop making me ask so nicely. Next I'll try kicking you in your loopback or get really ugly and send in my trusted friend, Mr. Network Administrator, who will fix your sorry switch for good. What, was your mother a freakin' nibble eating brain dead Unisys mainframe or something? Why can't you just work?!?!?"

Until next time...

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