Rule of Threes

2010-04-13 20:59:55.000 – Mike Finnegan,  IT Observer

I heard an interesting rule today, “The Rule of Threes”. The rule applies to IT related efforts and goes as follows. When something new is to be implemented, it will take three times as long as initially planned, cost three times as much, and when is all said and done, it will accomplish one-third of the tasks. This seemed very relevant (unfortunately) to the tasks I was working on this weekend. We are trying to move our sunrise and sunset time-lapse videos from a .mpg format to a .mp4 format for compression reasons. The current system in place does not support mp4, so I set to updating it to the newest version. This new version supports the mp4 format, but it broke both a required font delegate and additional mpeg conversion application. I updated both of these two items to the most recent versions, and all was well and good. Issuing calls from the command line, everything worked great. I went to bed feeling satisfied, but woke to find no sunrise videos. It turns out everything only works together when run as the superuser, not the user with fewer credentials that the scripts themselves are run by in a cronjob. I narrowed it down to the mpeg converter that is causing the problem, but have not had time to troubleshoot the issue. I am leaving for my offweek tomorrow, so these have to work. Furthermore, Steve (IT observer on the other shift) is on vacation next week, so there would be no work done on it. For this reason, I uninstalled everything I had updated, reinstalled the older versions, and everything is back to normal. Both the superuser and the restricted user can execute everything successfully. It is quite a boggling situation, but one that will eventually be figured out. I thought the updates would be complete in a day. It has now been three days. I thought the videos would be in mp4 format by now. They remain in mpg format. On the upside, I’m salaried, so at least it didn’t cost anything more or less than anticipated!


Mike Finnegan,  IT Observer

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