Taking Shortcuts

Traffic Circles, Honey Badgers, and Handicapped Banthas

This morning while dropping my son off at school as I do every day before heading back home to the office I encountered not one, or two, but four different parents who bypassed the traffic circle dedicated to dropping off students and instead utilized handicapped parking spots in front of the school.  I have no issue with avoiding the traffic circle – I find it a waste of energy and just another ding on the ozone by idling in the long line for up to 5 minutes or more to drop off a child at school – I take offense with the use of the handicapped spot dedicated to those who genuinely need it (or went through the process of convincing the Department of Motor Vehicles they need to be able to park there).  Granted, there are some mornings when I use the traffic circle; days when I run late and there is no line for instance.  The other days – those days when I see the line of mini vans and SUVs stretching back to the main road with the soccer moms performing the tasks wearing their walk-of-shame hair and the occasional soccer dad with the emergency stealth bed-head baseball hat on – that I choose to park the car in the parking lot and walk with Trevor up to the front of school.  It’s not a difficult walk – there are no hills, badgers (crazy-honey or plain), pirates, Banthas, or cougars (okay, there are a few cougars, but they’re mostly harmless).  This is not a long walk.  It’s perhaps an additional 5-10 parking spaces beyond the coveted handicapped spots.  This begs the question: Why use the handicapped spots?

Convenience?   Sure, you don’t have to get out of your warm car, show everyone that you’re still in your sleepwear, and may even be wearing two different colored shoes.  You don’t miss out on the punchline to the running gag on the Dougie and Phlegm Boy Morning Zoo radio show.  You don’t endure the chill wind for the two minutes it would take to walk your child to the door and yourself back to the car.  You get home with plenty of time to catch up with the latest Kardashian dish on what passes for news on network television (rumor is the ultra-feminine one, I think her name is Bruce Jenner, is dating Tyler Perry) <— SUBTLE SEO TRICK OR THE TRUTH?

What do we teach our children in the process when doing this?

  • Convenience trumps the law, compassion, and implied social contracts?
  • Being lazy is more important than doing the right thing?
  • We want to unload them as quick as possible and let them become the responsibility of someone else for the next 8 hours?
  • Minor exercise is something to avoid at all costs.

What do we lose in the process?

  • The extra few minutes of the day when we can finish conversations or get them into the school mode through coaching and encouragement.
  • Remind them of important arrangements or plans for the day.
  • Showing our children that exercise even in small doses is something worth doing versus something to avoid.
  • Demonstrating that you care enough about them to take the time out of your day to make them feel important and relevant to you.

What the *#$% Does this Have to Do with SQL Server?

You may wonder why I care to write about this here.  Simple, I see short-cuts every day in my role as a Database Administrator.  I see the poor code implemented because it was quick and easy to do.  The we-have-been-doing-it-this-way-since-1998 code that has never been improved through the years; the this-is-how-I-was-taught-to-do-it code and it’s first cousin the I-saw-this-script-on-the-internet code that was implemented without understanding the possible negative effects or lack of scalability that may be encountered.  I still see products my organization purchases that rely upon maintenance plans for tasks that are better-served through other means or use poor design because it was easier and cheaper to leave things as-is rather than fix them when other customers in the past have brought issues to light with their support staff.  Shortcuts are often a process by which some benefit, but others suffer the effects later.

The Challenge

I challenge each one of you reading this to identify something that you’ve been living with as a shortcut or quick-fix that may not be ready for prime time; one of those one day soon I’ll fix this and make it right issues or tools and make it right yet this month.  We all have them.  We have 14 days and I bet each one of us could carve out the short amount of time it would take to make it right.  Is it your reliance on a single service account for SQL Server used across all your instances?  Perhaps it’s the bit of automated code you use to set up a job or process that you have to tweak each time it’s run because it’s almost automated?  Maybe it’s the use of the sa login rather than everything else that would work and be a better option THAN USING THE SA LOGIN.

Please, after fixing this allegorical splinter in your paw be sure to let us know here what your issue was and what you did to fix it.  I’m sure we could all benefit from the experience.