Random knowledge IX.

25 January 2007

When all else fails, try doing what you know shouldn't work. I don't care if the docs say it doesn't work, if the FAQ says it doesn't work, if the books say it doesn't work.. try it anyway. Stuff like BIND is like that.

In trying to get a domain working with BIND, what I wound up doing was changing a record for a single host (www IN A xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx) to the FQDN (fully qualified domain name - www.promiseofiris.org. IN A xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx), incrementing the zone's serial number, and then kickstarting the daemon. Lo and behold, the damned thing worked.

A paradox is better than nothing at all.

If you can do it remotely, do it. Save yourself the waste of time walking in and out repeatedly.

Talking to inanimate objects scares most people. Moreso if those objects listen to you.

Document everything. And I do mean everything. Carry a legal or steno pad with you at all times, as well as a couple of pens (in case the one you keep in your pocket at all times just happens to run out of ink when all hell breaks loose). Always have something that you can point to when you say "I told you so."

If you can't point to something right off the top of your head, take the two minutes to go back and look it up. Unless someone's bleeding out right in front of you it's not going to hurt anything, and makes you dilligent. It doesn't take much to plug something into Google so you can copy a link into an important e-mail.

When in doubt, make a backup first.

When not in doubt, get in doubt.

If you're not sure how many, if any, details about something that's best left a functional secret you should post to a mailing list of some kind.. don't post at all. Some secrets are best kept hidden. If you absolutely have to ask a question about it in a public forum, however, get a disposable webmail account, put together the bare minimum of details, distort a few of them (so long as the problem you're asking about isn't distorted also), and then think one more time about it. Leave nothing that can be traced back to home, and certainly nothing that can give away too many clues about what you've got in-house.

Discretion, discretion, discretion.

And occasionally a judgement call from someone higher in the food chain than you are.

Good coffee must be made with boiling water. Otherwise, it's not good coffee. It'll never be good coffee. That's all there is to it.

Never edit your source information file before you start writing the data processing scripts/software to run on it. You might break the pattern of the file layout just enough to completely screw yourself over and waste time trying to figure out what in the hell isn't working right. Try not to change the layout of the data at all unless it's programmatically, i.e., by a utility or your data-cruncher.

Don't get too excited. You'll screw it all up.

Always look at the time/date stamps.

If you do something habitually, no one notices. If you do something only once that contradicts you, just once, people assume that you've been lying to them all this time.