Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The End of All That Is

This may be my last blog post.
As you may or may not care, my job partially revolves around fooling server computers into thinking that commands issued on networked user machines are being executed on themselves instead.
What isn't managed natively by the software is cajoled into compliance by a complicated matrix of shell scripts, permission settings, batch commands and guilt.
Some of the most basic issues are the most troublesome to implement.
For example, unless you are reading this post on some pimped-out iPhone, chances are there is a row of function keys across the top of your keyboard labeled F1-F12.
These keys do different things depending on the software involved.
And the keys don't stop at 12, really. Adding a "Shift" to the front starts the numbers over at F13.
These hidden special less-used keys don't map so well into a server session.
Normally, who cares?
I mean how often do you use F18?
Well, according to one group of users, the absence of an F23 key is preventing them from doing their jobs.
Since these keys are normally numbered according to importance, with F1 (help, usually) the most important, we can only assume that F23 is a function so obscure as to be almost meaningless to almost everyone on the planet.
But it had to happen.
The solution decided upon was to create a macro (just a keyboard mapping, really) which associates "Shift - F11" on the client machine to "F23" on the server.
Since "Shift - F11" is "F23", we are essentially mapping a key to itself.
Now. This may actually work.
However, I put forth the theory that it is, in fact, likely to work too well.
If "F23" calls "F23" which calls "F23" to summon "F23" which triggers "F23" . . . You know what will most certainly happen.
Tuesday will feature the creation of a Data Singularity Event in our server room.
Multiple quad-core processors and terabytes of available storage will power a black hole, sucking in first data, then the data center, then the whole building, state, and eventually planet.
The end of all that is, my friends.
I'll be the first to admit that this is only a possibility. A likely possibility, and the one which undoubtedly stands the best chance of coming to pass since black holes are known to science.
However, we have to figure in the possibility that the intended function of F23 could have some impact.
The malice is in the intent, our internal jury the only thing which truly deems all action good or evil with no regard to result.
So Tuesday may merely create a rip in the fabric of space and time, creating a gateway to a world ruled by Nazi dinosaurs:

Either way, I recommend having coffee early in the day.

Oh, and if anyone is still alive to be reading this in the afternoon, never mind.

No comments: