JLS (jlsjlsjls) wrote,

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The illogic of computers

I've said it many times before and I say it again: "Computers can never be logical as long as they are built and programmed by humans!!!!!"

The cataloguing database software we use at work is called ITS (Integrated Technical Services) For Windows. Every once in a while, it used to freeze up and we'd have to restart it ... fair enough, every software has its quirks and we had figured out that it had difficulty dealing with what it perceived as simultaneous multiple requests ... the best analogy is an old-fashioned typewriter getting jammed keys (we'd get a couple of people of exit the software for a minute and that would free up the jam and everything would move along smoothly).

THEN, this fall, the computer guys decided that we were LONG overdue to upgrade from Windows 98 (hey, I never claimed we were cutting edge ***grin***). So, one by one, our workstations had Windows 2000 installed. And suddenly, we're freezing up 2 to 4 times a week instead of the mebbe-once-a-month freeze. And the old get-a-couple-of-people-to-exit treatment no longer works ... now we have to get everybody to shut down their computers and then reset the number of users to 0 (we're licensed for 14 and normally have 13 active). Sometimes we have to restart the server as well.

Since Christmas it's been even worse ... last week we froze up 8 times (I'm tracking times and dates for our computer people and the ITS engineers). Now we know what a large chunk of the problem is ... ITS informed us just after Christmas that they had JUST discovered that their software had a major incompatibility with Windows 2000 (does this mean that we are the ONLY client they have who has bravely upgraded THIS far????!!!!!) ... however this does not explain one major puzzle.

THE THING NEVER freezes up on Wednesdays!!!!! Computer guys are baffled ... Wednesday is the craziest, most hectic day of the week for United Library Services ... it's HotList Day. The day that high priority, bestseller type books arrive in massive numbers, are frantically catalogued, processed, invoiced and moved out because they have a guaranteed customer delivery date ... a day when our server is being worked TWICE as hard as any other day of the week!!! And it behaves perfectly

Mebbe it likes the abuse or mebbe it just knows what'll happen to it if it gives us any grief that day. I dunno. The rest of the company (ordering, receiving, clearing, invoices, shipping) operate on a separate server (cataloguing has its very own) ... which means that the theory that they are doing (or not doing) something on Wednesdays that they don't (or do) on the other days of the week doesn't work either.

The only other detectable pattern is that the majority of the freeze-ups happen in the mornings (about three out of ten are in the afternoon); the number of times varies from day to day (this Monday it happened three times in a 1.5 hour period, the second happening five minutes after our restart from the first; yesterday it only happened once) and it happens at different times each day.

I'm not expecting answers here ... just venting in the hope that writing it out would cause inspiration ... but if anybody sees or thinks of anything, no matter HOW illogical, do say so ... at this stage we're ready to start advertising for a virgin cowboy for sacrifice :p


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