Time for a change

I have been struggling for a long time with gut issues and bad sleep. Part of it may be due to stress, part is genetics, and part is my lifestyle, I’m sure. After many doctors and tests over the past seven years, I’m trying a few more different things. For one, cutting out almost all gluten from my diet for six months on the advice of the GP. The second thing is an attempt at part-time work - for the next weeks, I am using up half a day of leave each workday so I can work from 10 AM to 2 PM while my wife is on holidays, and I will see if being able to sleep differently and spend more time exercising helps things.

The other thing I’m trying during this time is going cold-turkey on video games. Ever since primary school I have played games a lot. Full-time work and other responsibilities reduce the hours a little, but it is still an easy default for me. Taking short breaks doesn’t really work, so I am going to see if a complete cessation of gaming for a fortnight can help me refocus and perhaps sleep better. We’ll see what I think of Eve Online and Don’t Starve Together on the other side.

At Youi, there were quite a few things that I was able to make progress on this week. I’ve finally finished my project to clean up the users with the db_owner role across all of our databases. Every responsible person across the two primary servers has been contacted, and I’ve taken a lot of people down a notch. Now we have a much lower risk of someone dropping an object they are not supposed to (like the entire database). Admittedly, some of the owners never got back to me, so I have to assume they are happy with people having full owner privileges in their space. As long people are aware - I can’t force anything. On the topic of cleaning up, I was also able to load a few more tickets to get data cleaned in our source system so we can stop receiving these ETL errors each morning. Things like a date showing as 0244-02-01 have no reason to be there. Hopefully we can get some more validation place.

One of the above import errors was thanks to a table of ours having a DECIMAL(18,0) column where the source data has expanded to 22 digits. I thought the best way to fix it would be to alter those columns to be BIGINT instead of limiting the number of digits. However, since our Redgate Change Automation tool uses Octopus to deploy migration scripts, and altering this column involved dropping and re-building a clustered primary key, we had problems. After Octopus was still stuck after two hours, I was asked to cancel the deployment so other IT devs could deploy their changes. Someone mentioned using a separate tentacle for our warehouse deployments, though I don’t really know what that means. We might need to make the change manually, and then tell Octopus someone to not run it again.

I got to practice teaching a little again. One of our HR staff was interested in learning about actually building Tableau dashboards, so I spent a few hours going through my process (and realising I am a bit rusty with Tableau. My certification expires soon, too). I do enjoy helping people learn.

Another project we’ve been asked to be a part of is the Finance team’s move from our current core system to another platform. As part of that, they would like to move away from some of there big Excel spreadsheets for tracking reinsurance premiums and losses, plus other figures I don’t quite understand. I sat down with one of them and started to learn about their schedule of loss and how we might be able to store that data in our warehouse, make it easy to update, a little more secure, and let me get reports on the data that they currently use some pivot tables for. Seems a worthwhile endeavour. Even having some more validation on data types should help - a spreadsheet as big as that is bound to have stale formula references, or numeric columns with text that has snuck in. Still, it’s a reminder to me that finance is complicated.

I’ve also taken advantage of Brent Ozar’s sale and bought a week’s access to his Fundamentals of Index Tuning class. He’s a good teach, if a little snarky, and I look forward to learning a lot. One thing I have not been learning a lot about is the Yammer API - apaprently the old export one was silently deprecated a little while ago, and I was asked to repair our process using the new API. Boy it’s confusing, and doesn’t seem to be designed for the bulk exports we want. That’s why we used the old API, but that is no longer an option. They’ve been talking about APIv2 for a while but I don’t see no ham sandwich.