Guy builds video game in Excel. In other news, least efficient game designer in the world located.

BBC reports that an accountant (of course) named Cary Walkin developed a fantasy turn-based RPG in Excel(!) over the course of 4 months while he was studying for his MBA in Toronto.  “Sssssuuuuure he did” said his employer.

The game, called Arena.xlsm, is developed using nothing but macros (the things that you invariably use to delete all of your data in an important spreadsheet accidentally).

Unfortunately, Macs are not supported (WHO’S GOT THE BUSINESS COMPUTER NOW?!), and it works in Excel 2007, 2010 and 2013.

You can download Arena.xlsm here from Cary’s website.  I’m guessing his next employer will probably hook Cary up with a copy of MS Works for his day-to-day duties…

via BBC News

 

From the Drawers of the Faildesk, March 21st Edition

There’s a reason they’re “High Visibility”

I was recently called to visit a woman who had complained her screen had gone bright yellow. On arrival i found the cause of the problem to be the reflection of her hi-vis jacket that she was wearing!

You see, the thing about electronics?  They will do what you tell them to do.

I have a helpdesk ticket that asks for a new phone. Her’s is broken. Everytime she talks on it the phone is on speaker.

I want to see what process she follows when she answers the phone. She is in another office (with a room full of people) and says: Go to my office and I’ll call you.

She calls, it rings, I pick it up.

She said “See? It’s on speaker.”

I said “No it’s not.”

She says “Its not?!?! What did you do?”

I said “I picked up the receiver”

She said: “Yeah? And?”

I said: ” And I said Hello.”

She asked what else I did, I said nothing. I asked if she was doing anything else.

She says yes, she picks up the receiver and then presses the little speaker button. When it turns green, people can talk.

It’s got you covered

While doing support, I remoted into a desktop where the user was insisting that their “WorldShip” (UPS) program had been deleted.

Upon viewing the remote window, I saw immediately that the WorldShip icon WAS there, plain as day in the upper left hand corner.

After I insisted that it WAS there, and told them where to look, there was a long pause, and then eventually–

“Oh, I’m sorry. I put a sticky note up on the corner of my monitor yesterday, and it was covering it up.”

via: [Spiceworks Community]

Lessons in backup (RAID failure) – never underestimate the cost of data loss

Client (I’ll call then AirStuff) had around forty employees and does design and fabriaction of air handling systems. They have four “beige box” servers, each with a minimum of four 160GB SATA drives in a RAID5 array. All told in 2007 they had around 3TB of storage and were closing in on 75% utilization of it.

We – their MSP – had been hounding them for a year and a half to get a real backup system to replace their round-robin of SERVER-A to SERVER-B and SERVER-B to SERVER-A for four fairly robust servers. It was always, “We don’t have the money for a tape library.”

My phone rings. This is a bad sign, as my phone rings when there’s intractable problems. AirStuff has a server down.

Now, a bit on AirStuff: Their receptionist is our point-of-contact, a lovely woman with a wry sense of humor and a fine sense of when things are going wrong. We work with her because although she’s not an IT pro in any sense of the word, she is very descriptive when there’s problems, follows direction precisely and remembers solutions we’ve given before. In other words: The best of the point-of-contacts you can expect. They also have additional server drives for when they fail – same makes and models as the originals.

She reports: “SERVER-A is down. I went back to it and it was powered off. When I turned it on, I got this screen I’ve never seen before. It says “RAID configuration” and I thought I should call.”

I grab my bag and head out the door, arriving at AirStuff about forty-five minutes later. I talk with the receptionist for a minute to let her know I’m here and get her impressions. She’s baffled.

I head back to the server rack – a wire rack with the four boxes and the switching hardware – and get a look. Sure enough, the server’s dropped into its RAID card BIOS and is looking for configuration. I exit that screen and power cycle the server to get a clean start.

No joy, it wants RAID configuration. I dig into what it’s reporting for the existing and back away as if it’s possessed. Their 4 x 250GB SATA RAID5 no longer thinks it’s a RAID5 array. It thinks it’s TWO RAID5 arrays; one that’s missing two drives, and the other is missing three. I play in the console, power down, replace the known-bad drive in the second bay and hope for the best. No joy, it’s fatal.

I go out to reception and give her the news – we have to blow away the RAID array, rebuild from scratch and restore. She calls in the head of Engineering, as it’s his server for their CAD drawings. I explain “Because that was the backup server, I don’t know where the backup for that server are. Which server was it backup up to?” He gets this troubled look. “No other server had enough space for the 600GB of files, so it was backing up to itself.”

I blink and stand quiet for a few seconds as that bit of news sinks in before telling him the news. “The server is dead and I cannot resurrect the data. I have someone I can call; sight unseen – and this is not a hard quote – you’re looking at five figures to recover the data and there’s no guarantee he can recover anything at all. How do you want to proceed?”

He needs the data. I make the call, collect their server, and drop the server off at his place. It takes a full week, but he delivers 100% of the data back on a 1TB external.

So, in total:
Tape library, because backups are now cool to have: $ 9,000
Recovery of data and copying back to the rebuilt server: $ 12,000
Can’t submit a bid in time with drawings due to server being down and the data unavailable for a large open-bid project which they were pretty much a shoo-in, thus losing both the bid and the construction: $3,200,000

TLDR: Client refuses to see urgency of backup, server fails, resulting in loss of millions in potential revenue.

via: [Spiceworks Community]