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I.T. War Stories Part 6 February 10, 2009

Posted by truthspew in Uncategorized.

Ok I lied, there is a part 6.

Did a little three month stint working for a company that shall now and forever more be nameless, if only because when the contract ended I had to remove them from my linkedin list.

I was doing database development work, scripts to convert pipe separated files into other pipe separated files. The process went like this:


The biggest pain in the ass was MIT.

First it started with UPC lengths. I know UPC lengths having setup Point of Sale for nearly five years. All the scanners pass ten digits back to the POS program, they disregard the type digit and don’t report the check digit as that’s only used to verify the number was correctly read by the scanner.

When I got there it was decided UPC lengths would be 13 to conform with GTIN standard. That’s when the shit started happening with the nitwit at MIT.

They’re proprietary application couldn’t accept anything more than 12 digits. Ok, we drop to 11. But 11 digits includes a check and she doesn’t need that.

In essence we never got any data interchange information from MIT.

As a result I had to write conversion programs to add or remove check, type, etc. I’d imagine UPC lengths are still biting them in the ass to this day.

While I was there if they wanted to add a new merchant account on their SCP server they had to put a ticket into Rackspace and wait a couple days for it to be created. I got shell access and just created them on the fly because it was quicker and easier.

That was until one day the CFO decided he should be the only one who knew the root password to the box. Except I was now added to Rackspaces admin site so I just put a ticket in asking for the password and they gave it to me.

In essence they kept me around until I managed to port things to MySQL and they could get their Java app to work with it.

Now I do consulting on my own. I’m about to setup my new web site for Orion Information Professionals. I’ve already done a few thousand dollars worth of work and I think I can learn to enjoy doing my own thing.



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