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I want to rant…

Posted in Crazy Wisdom on Monday, March 1, 2004 at 3:26 pm by flerly.

it’s been a nice day, but there’s nobody here to vent to at this moment, and I’m just stunned at the stupidity I just had to deal with.

First, damn, it’s a nice day.. why am I sitting here even trying to work? But, well, shit needs to be done.

So, I got an email from Kansas City where my fave friend BS tried to help a new contractor upload a site and can’t figure it out. Asking me to fix it, he sent me a link to where he uploaded the HTML inside the images directory, because it wouldn’t let him upload it anyplace else.

First, our sites aren’t HTML exactly. They are some proprietary perl scripts which use a HTML+widgets filter page (stored in a subfolder), they pull dynamic info from our databases of customer info and MLS info, then generate the HTML. Nowhere, though, is there an actual page called anything.html. Technically when you upload our sites, all you are doing is customizing the HTML portion of the filter files using our web-based tool to modify the HTML parts and uploading images to match it. MAYBE you are swapping out some widgets to pull new/additional data that’s not standard, but likely not.

So, email says “Help me, the site is fucked up.” I go to the domain and get nothing but a Internal Server Error. I go to our config tool and see that someone has dropped in straight HTML on the filter page, all the widgets are gone. Well, that’s not the best start. I copy over the fucked filter page with our default one, but still get the Internal Server Error. Hrm.. so then I have to ssh over to the live server and check out the perl scripts, thinking maybe the one for the home page was missing. Nope, it’s there. On a hunch I decide to hit vi and see what it says, even though I don’t know squat about perl, and like I could find an error if it was there. Well, the error was apparent even to this layperson… the script wasn’t really the script, it was the damn HTML file for the home page that they had uploaded and renamed with the same name and extension as the perl script.

Personally, I find that brilliant in it’s stupidity. It must have been a lot of trouble for them to get permission to edit that script at all, let alone replace it with a crappy HTML page that fucked everything up. I hope somebody is making a whole lot an hour while they tinker with how to fuck up things in new and interesting ways.

Me, at least I’m getting paid something decent an hour to fix these things, and to probably write up a little “here’s how things work, you untrained webmonkey” since a million webmonkeys at a million keyboards wouldn’t figure this convoluted shit out in a million years without some insight.

AND I’ve tried my damnedest to get out of it, but some 21-year-old power-mad “Director of Customer Service” in California insists my presence is required on a 5pm-my-time conference call with a customer so I can explain the changes I made to his site. I simply don’t understand why, since it’s not like I designed some wild new thing for him, or hell, not like I even made a new page. He wanted his damn mug-shot, name and title to appear on every page of the site in the banner area so I added that. VERY complex stuff that, and certainly worth my time to explain. “I just need you to explain it to the customer,” she keeps telling me. I’m starting to think she doesn’t understand it herself or something. I’d sure feel like an idiot if I pressured somebody to get on a conference call just to say, “You know that picture you wanted added to the site? Well I added it. Bye bye.”

In fact… hrm… new strategy… get on the call and make 21-year-old power-mad “DofCS” seem the idiot by doing just that. “Hi, I’m Kim. I’m the designer for your site. Jessica asked me to be on this call so I could explain to you that the request you made for a picture to be added on your site was done, which means, in laymans terms, that now, when you go to your website, you will see a picture of yourself on every page along with your name and title, just like you requested. You see, prior to the request, that did not appear on any page let alone every page, and we wanted to be sure you understood that this change had happened and how that worked, since it seems our customer service is a having a few issues with keeping up with all these changes to the websites, and might not be prepared to troubleshoot any issues with this site change immediately. Therefore, in case there is any malfunction with the image that appears everywhere, we wanted you to understand why it was there so you could explain it to our customer service when you call them for help.”

Addendum 5:10 PM: When you schedule a conference call with various people who have helped fix a customer’s very important issues, try to confirm that the customer is available, say not out of town for the whole week on vacation or anything, prior to getting everyone on the call but the customer.


1 Comment

  1. anonymous has made a Comment

    Ok, so I’m not the only one who has to deal with stuff like that. 😉


    March 2, 2004 @ 2:29 pm

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