Archive for November, 2002

Soap and the Busy Frontier Developer

Ok. Now I have 75 pages of method documantation and 160K of a WSDL document.

That’s beautiful Jimmy, but what’s it mean?
Bollocks if I know.

Well, 160 types, 3 transports, and 43 methods for starters. And a search for something that can turn this into frontier glue code, satisfying the laziness quality. Impatience is setting in too. I think hubris may come into play when I try to write a tool to avoid typing in all the repetitive stuff. Somehow it seems better that way.

My browser tabs so far:

  • http://www.w3.org/TR/wsdl
  • http://www.intertwingly.net/stories/2002/02/15/aBusyDevelopersGuideToWsdl11.html
  • http://radio.weblogs.com/0101679/stories/2002/03/05/aBusyDevelopersGuideToWsdl11PartIi.html
  • http://www.soapware.org/bdg
  • http://docserver.userland.com/soap/rpcClient
  • Apache Axis
  • http://aspn.activestate.com/ASPN/WebServices/SWSAPI/pytut
  • http://www.pocketsoap.com/weblog/stories/2002/02/08/aWsdlClientForRadio.html
  • http://radio.weblogs.com/0101679/stories/2002/02/08/axisradioInteropActualAndPotential.html

The WSDL client for Frontier comes close to being useful, apart for the apparent dependence on .net, which has not gotten anywhere near my machine.

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Murphy Day

Some days you win, some days Murphy does. And sometimes Murphy takes all your processor, memory, and disk bandwith.

My day job uses systems that (among other things) can send lots of email quickly. It’s designed so that for each mailing, at most one person will get a duplicate. (for those of you wondering, it’s all extremely opt in. period.) This is all fine and dandy until the database stops saving, starts eating memory and blows up at 2 am taking the rest of the server down with it. Then I get to reconstruct it from transaction logs. That’s why they’re there, but they’re generally used to ensure that the minutes between saves aren’t lost to Murphy, instead of 8 hours.

At least it’s recoverable. It could always be worse. It’s all ok as long as I can unplug a network cable or get console access. It’s just a real bummer when it’s 2am and the network cable is 15 minutes away. But on the bright side, UPS brought batteries yesterday, so at least the power was clean.

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A Tale of Two UPSes

It was the best of power supplies, and it was the worst of power supplies. They both have their roots in the dotcom boom, the era of transfering money from VCs to the little people, at least until the IPO when they got it back.

In that era my company bought 2 APC upses from outpost.com. And got free overnight shipping for each of them. (70 pounds of lead and steel). One of them is still humming away. The other has had a more checkered history.

It was DOA. So back it goes. APC replaced it with a slightly beefier model and shipped it back to us. Then the battery dies. So APS sends a battery under warranty, neglecting to ask if the shipping address has changed in the year since they shipped us the original replacement.

It gets refused and sent back I think.

We call, get another one sent. This one comes with the wrong connector. I have to email them pictures to prove that the connectors aren’t compatible. That battery is awaiting UPS (the company) to take it back home.

We call, and try to get (yet) another one sent. When this one arrives, we will send the old batteries back to be recycled. Unfortunately, APS is taking their merry time (1 month so far) sending the last replacement. Perhaps they’ve overdrawn their UPS account. Update: It got sent to Colorado. Why? Good Question.

To recap this power supply’s life:

  1. Free shipping from outpost.
  2. Free shipping to the factory and back to our office.
  3. Free shipping a battery to and from our old office.
  4. Free shipping an incorrect replacement to and from our office.
  5. Shipping a battery to Colorado. Unclear if it got delivered. Or returned.
  6. Free shipping a correct replacement battery and the old one back.

That’s 10 (or 11) times across the country for what is essentially 50 pounds of lead and a couple of rackmount ears. 9 of those times, APC has paid for shipping. This pretty much matches the original $500 cost of the unit.

At least the original good unit keeps humming.

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Day of the Dead

Three years, three deaths. Two rebirths so far. We’ll see about the third next May.

Three Webleys came into the theater last night, the very dead original, the somewhat dead last years model, and the now dead current Jason. They performed a shadow box greek chorus recapping the storyline so far and forshadowing the evenings plot. Then the real Jason started singing. Crouched over and on his toes, he started singing an a capella version of Angel Band. (An old gospel song that you might have heard on the O Brother soundtrack.) I shivered as I recognized it. I’m not quite used to Jason singing from that tradition.

Then one of the other Jasons put a shovel and drum stick in his hands, started singing “The Graveyard” and it was back to the normal Halloween antics. The first fake Jason then took the shovel, strapped on the accordion, and we got renditions of 2am and Halloween. It sounded like a Klezmer band gone horribly wrong. But the crowd loved it.

The evening continued with many of the standard Holloween show favorites: Dancing while the sky crashed down, Pseudo Drunken Drinking Song, a story leading up to Thriller, and many of the sad songs of leaving this world.

And of course, there was the ritual death, this time performed in shadow on stage. It felt more stylistic and theatrical than the unknown ambigous endings of the last few years. He was stripped to a loincloth before the knife came down and blood thrown on the screen. He was then hoisted up in a crucifix pose, lowered into the center of the crowd, tied to a rail, and carried a mile though a park to a tree.

It’s at this point that the performance paled in comparison to the previous years. Perhaps it was the weather, the earlier images in the theater, or the police wondering what 150 people were doing in Ravenna park at midnight. It appeared that he was cocooned up and tied to a tree, but the significance wasn’t clear.

If he comes back, there will be a May day show.

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