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Scott's Column
Work Wrap Up, Looking Ahead

April 1, 2008
By Scott Lewis

This month I wrap up the talk about work. Well, at least the work that has been keeping him from writing. Also we will get a glimpse of what is coming up.

Current Topics:

Work Continues

Last month we left off with a strange changing of the status of orders in my system. Well, we found out why. It turned out the application that bills credit cards when they are not charged at purchase time was monitoring orders to see when they were produced. It then updated the order to show it ws paid and it also updated the date we were batching orders by so it looked like we were batching orders for no reason.

We have been chasing similar issues. I would call them bugs, but it really was a matter of getting a lot of sub-systems working together. More testing would have been helpful, but we are moving in sub-system after sub-system at an alarming rate. Better would have been to build everything and test it all together in volume before making a single change over.

Unfortunately the business side of the house would not stand for us shutting them down for any time, no less the amount of time to make such a massive change in the way we do things.

I am still chasing down orders getting hung up in the system as we try to keep the HP data in sync with Oracle data, and multiple sets of Oracle data. If that's not enough we have modified a system that runs off an Access database to bypass the HP mainframe. We haven't started the plan to get off the Access database, so we have more problems instead of less.

Our biggest problem now is that we have a process to keep the HP data in-sync with Oracle and it is very fragile and needs to be monitored a lot. It will fail and then it get behind. When it is behind it will cause problems as it catches up to orders that have been changed from another process.

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Coming Up

Now that the work load is lower I should have more time to spend on this web site. I have almost finished loading my Zune 80 with my classic rock collection. I have about 26 GB on it at the moment in just over 4,000 songs.

Next up is to start building playlists. I have had some problems with the Zune and I want to report on those. I also want to get into current music (from the late 90's to today) and I have a $25 gift card with the Zune Marketplace that I need to use.

I am also planning on an article on getting TV onto a portable device. I hope it will cover more than just the Zune, but it is not about buying TV shows on iTunes.

I am also starting to consider building a replacement desktop. My current desktop was turned into a large brick from a lightning strike. I will cover want I want and the cheapest way to get there.

Stick around. Now that my mind has time to think of other things I plan to write them up here.

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Conclusion

Another short month, but as you can see we finally have some topics in the works. I hope you stick around to read them.

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