Kept silent for a week...

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 07/17/2008 - 15:42

Last week (July 7-13) was basically hell on Earth, for me and for the group that somehow got the name Cabras locas, of which I am part since I joined the National Pedagogical University, where I worked full-time 2003-2005.
It was, yes, the first of my officially three weeks of Summer holiday at IIEc-UNAM, so no problems here. So, why hell on Earth? Because we were in charge basically of anything related with information flow, retrieval and manipulation at the 11th International Congress on Mathematical Education, in Monterrey.
What we thought would basically be one or two days of hard work followed by six days of relaxed vacations (we had even planned to have an internal seminar, showing off the shiny stuff each of us is working on) became... A mind-boggling eight day experience where we worked over 12 hours a day on being human replacements for Google, SQL engines, full-text parsers, report generators, printer watchdogs, and in general lines, just a bunch of unhappy firemen, ready to be called off for whatever task was necessary.
We did have, of course, several calm periods every now and then. We even had to learn how to look busy while doing something compeltely unrelated (that would explain, for example, a couple of low-hanging bugs I fixed for Debian, or some dozens of lines of code I could get off my head).
But my advice for whoever reads this: Don't trust people with long database-handling experience. Specially when they insist that hand-capturing a thousand registers is preferrable (i.e. less error-prone) than parsing three separate databases and discarding duplicates. And, of course, specially when this person is your boss, which is enough of an argument to have it his way.