I am very honored to be giving a new talk at MCE 2015 this coming February!

And while it's Christmas season, please enjoy The Devil Take Them, Everyone.

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extremely geeky  extremely geeky

Case 147

Bawan's Table

The Temple’s user support staff—known as the Clan of Infinite Sorrows—had begun receiving complaints about a particular Shopping Cart application. Changes made to the vendor contact information were visible immediately in the database, yet some of the application’s servers would continue to display the old vendor data for days. Master Bawan was sent to investigate.

“Bounce that server,” commanded Bawan when the most recent complaint surfaced. “Then have the user log in again.”

“Your first action is the Last Recourse of the Desperate?” asked the host-master Yishi-Shing.

“My purpose is diagnostic,” replied Bawan, his arms folded.

When the user reported that the information on his screen was now up-to-date, Bawan dove into the UI code created by the Spider Clan, then the business layer built by the Laughing Monkey Clan, and finally the persistence layer provided by the Elephant's Footprint Clan. Eventually he summoned one of the nuns of Elephant’s Footprint.

“Do you know the way to the Lost Hermitage?” asked Bawan.

“I have never heard of it,” said the nun.

“It lies high in the mountains to the North, yet was buried under a SNOBOL avalanche many years ago,” said the master. “Some brothers of our order still labor there underground; I require their assistance. This parchment will lead you to them.”

Bawan gave the nun an old map showing the location of the Hermitage. He followed this with seven days’ rations, a fur-lined robe, a climbing pick, and a snow shovel. Then he hustled her out the door and with Yishi-Shing watched her recede slowly up the Drunken Serpent’s Road.

“I am not certain,” remarked Yishi-Shing, “but in my memory the Lost Hermitage was abandoned a few winters ago, and its monks relocated to a pleasant grotto at the foot of this very mountain.”

“Is that so?” asked Bawan, nonplussed. “Well, I suppose that’s the danger of cacheing data forever in the drawers of my old lookup-table. Perhaps next time I shall print a fresh copy.”

Yishi-Shing nodded. “The error was understandable. Paper is expensive, and some things do change only rarely.”

“It is not by accident that rarely and never are two different words,” said Bawan.