November 14th, 2002

self portrait (escher)

This sort of thing happens entirely too often.

    accountant: The database is broken.
    self: Is not.
    accountant: No one can get into it.
    self: We had to shut down the server last night. It's fixed now.
    accountant: No it isn't.
    self: You may have to reboot to restore the connection.
    accountant: I have rebooted.
    self: Not since I told you to.
    accountant: Look. It's not my computer, and it's not the network. You're the database administrator. Go fix it.
So, I check the database from my system. It connects to all the linked tables on that server, no problem. This rules out the database itself, and the network.

Only thing I can figure is they must have told Windows to stop trying to connect to that mapped drive. It's a common mistake - Windows really shouldn't give you the option every time it fails to reach a network resource. I can fix it in eleven mouse clicks, but no amount of effort will ever convince the users not to make the same mistake next time it comes up, or to accept that the problems they cause are in no way my fault.

I head upstairs, sit down at their computer, and check for mapped drives. Still there. Well, that's something, I guess. Already, the situation could have been worse. I test the connections, and they're all fine. So, now we don't need to reboot either. There's nothing wrong with the database, the network, or this users computer. So, what's left?

Is it possible they got into the linked table manager and screwed everything up there trying to fix it? Doubtful. I can't think of any reason that utility would be installed here. But if that's what happened, I can replace their front-end interface in three mouse clicks, thereby erasing all the damage. Another thirty seconds would remove their capacity to do it again.

Just for fun, I launch the database to see what they've done to themselves before I set it right.

...and everything works.
    Oops! Sorry. False alarm.
    The implied accusations and the dragging you upstairs? Completely unwarranted.
    Turns out you knew what you were talking about after all. And, hey! I didn't. How 'bout that?

    Well, okay. That part went unsaid. But I'm sure they were thinking it.

Back in my freelance days, this was the one kind of job I wouldn't feel guilty billing for.
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