Ramblings from the Warrior's Den
Thursday, July 25, 2002
Today I got a chance to visit some of the people who I worked with in my previous job at MS, and also realized how little things change in some regards. One of them was having a birthday, and a surprise party was planned. After dealing with miscellaneous crises that happened to pop up at inconvenient times beforehand, I was finally able to escape and drive over to campus, where the party was being held. It was nice to get a chance to talk to some people, many of whom I haven't been able to talk to in a year or more. After the usual "Surprise! Happy Birthday!" bits and obligatory singing took place, that was about the point that things started to go downhill.

Given some of the past history involved, as well as the personalities of some of the people there, I should have seen the warning signs beforehand, and known that putting that many of those people in one small conference room with a cake was probably not such a hot idea after all. It started with some of the little toy stress balls being tossed around, with increasing velocity. It wasn't long before other projectiles began to be tossed. It was about this time that I figured a rapid relocation to the other side of the room was in order, as the commotion started to move in the direction of the birthday cake. Finally, the inevitable buildup reached it's logical conclusion, and the cake fight began. I suppose I should have known something like this would happen. It's happened before (I'll probably save that particular war story for another time), and probably will happen again at some point, whether I'm present or not.

When the frosting cleared, I thought I managed to escape unscathed, but I think I ended up with a spot or two of purple frosting that might not come out in the wash. How much food coloring does it take to make purple frosting anyway? The world may never know.
Tuesday, July 23, 2002
Recently at work, we have begun to use SAP for the validation of invoices created by the system we are working on. This may be the first application that I have ever used that appears to be designed primarily for the purpose of requiring expensive consultants to run it. For example, say you want to print an invoice:

How you would print an invoice in most applications:

-Open the Invoice.

-Hit the "Print" button.

-Watch invoice print.

How to print an invoice in SAP:

-Open SAP.

-Type in VF02" to bring up the appropriate screen to select an invoice.

-Enter the ten-digit invoice number. If you're lucky, the invoice actually shows up.

-When the invoice is on screen, select the "Header" menu and select "Output". This brings up a form with several complex-looking data entry fields.

-Select a blank field and type in some code like "ZSI2" or "Z4SP", depending on the type of invoice being printed, and the desired output. Hope you didn't select the "spam half the company" option.

-Double-click the field you just entered, and type "LOCAL" in the Logical Destination box to ensure that your invoice doesn't end up printing in some dark alley in Singapore.

-Once this is done, click the "Further data" button.

-Select a Dispatch time of "4" to tell SAP to print the invoice sometime during this millennium.

-After all this is done, click the "Back" button three times, start chanting "There's no place like home," and finally click the save button. If you did this all correctly, you'll get a printout of your invoice. If you didn't, you probably faxed your credit card info to some WaReZ d00dZ in Czechloslovakia.

It's good to see that applications are getting to be more user friendly these days.

Sunday, July 21, 2002
In what seems to be an increasingly common use of my time on the weekends, I found myself once again spending a good chunk of the day fixing yet another broken computer here in the den. Even though we have three computers in here, it can prove to be a major source of annoyance when one of them is down, since that often means that the other two are pretty much constantly occupied. It also means that I end up being the one who has to fix everything. This time around, it ended up requiring a motherboard swap (something, it seems, that I've had plenty of practice with as of late.) I figured as long as I was replacing the motherboard, I might as well put in the new CPU (a 1.3 Duron) I've been hanging onto for a while now. Along with this, I also installed a new HSF unit, which makes the computer sound a lot less like a jet engine at close range and more like a vacuum cleaner. Maybe this will make up for my now eerily quiet main machine moved out of it's overclocker's case?

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