Perfect! (Updated)

07.22.09 | Comment?

As I was driving home today – at exactly five miles per hour above the posted limit – I realized that, despite my best efforts, my perfectionism is only getting worse. I still keep fiddling with stuff that works until I have it working perfectly. But I don’t get frustrated or pissed off like I used to. Why is that?, I wondered to myself.

Then I realized it’s because I’m now competent at perfection.

That’s one reason why I was drawn to computers, and why I’m good at working with them: it’s theoretically possible to do something absolutely, positively perfectly, down to the last bit. And when it’s not I’ve learned to live with my limitations.

I still tend to take apart perfectly functional operations because there’s something that’s not… quite… right. For lack of a better term, it offends me aesthetically. For example, I built a job in the Altiris Deployment Server – a tool for installing software and running scripts – which installs Microsoft Windows and then carries out a bunch of custom configurations. Things like turning off the firewall, disabling hibernation, installing the antivirus, etc.

Unfortunately, this led to scripts that contained 25 or 30 steps. Altiris slows waaaaaaay down when you’re dealing with that many steps, making it tough to edit them. And we had different scripts based on hardware vendor (3), Windows version (2), and platform (32- or 64-bit). So that’s 3x2x2 = 12 different scripts for each configuration. And if you want to change just one step, you have to do it 12 times.

So it was difficult to maintain, and as the person charged with maintaining it, I didn’t like that. So today I found that there was a tool you could use to schedule Altiris jobs from the command line. And you could run this inside other Altiris jobs.

So, problem solved. I created one “launching pad” job for each configuration, which then schedules each of the dozen or so other required jobs. And I can change any of those jobs at any point without changing the launcher. Woohoo!

Once again, stubborn perfectionism saves the day, and for one brief moment, I was perfect.

(No, Alice, not as perfect as you.)

UPDATE: I picked a bad day to declare myself perfect, because this guy, he really WAS perfect. Shoot, I can’t even spell Burely.

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