A nice gift beats dollars
Got a new book collection today. Yay! Huh, and that has to do with a
PostgreSQL-related blog exactly what, you ask?
The story goes like this. Back in 2004, I went to Caracas, Venezuela, for a
couple of weeks. During my stay, I was asked to do some consulting for a
courier company that was using PostgreSQL for its mission-critical database.
It was getting very slow, they whined, and had been approached by DB2
salespeople to replace it. The company that did the Linux support for them
was not very fond of ditching their free database for some proprietary stuff,
so they asked me if I could have a look and try to "make it faster".
Turns out they were running PostgreSQL 7.1, which was already quite old, and
had some horrible queries and very big tables. Most of the queries did not
properly use indexes, so their I/O channels were saturated by the constant
seqscans. They needed a lot of tuning, caring, and query refining; but what
they needed the most was an upgrade. So that's what I focused on at that time.
Of course, I was paid for this work.
When I got home, however, they were still having some issues, and on IM I
kept giving suggestions on how to improve queries, pointing the appropriate
indexes to create, suggesting FSM configuration improvements and proper vacuum
scheduling, etc. This went on for almost two years. In those months I never
saw a dime from them and I didn't really care, because it was entertaining most
of the time, and a good experience; and I already had Command Prompt's wage, or
EnterpriseDB's before that, so it felt a bit unethical to behave like we had a
A couple of weeks ago, however, they were having problems again, queries
were taking too long, customers were starting to be annoyed and a pretty girl was starting to pull her hair out — so one sunny saturday her and I sat down and studied some of the
problems and finally figured'em out. Just before I left, I tossed my (shameless plug)
Amazon wishlist URL
to give her an idea.
Today I got this:
For you the not-curious-enough-to-click, that's "The Complete Calvin and
Hobbes". That's right, ten kilogram and ten years of Calvin and Hobbes in the
most beautiful hardcover edition I can imagine. Who wants two years of
support's money? I'll take a nice gift like this any day. This one will keep
me busy for quite a while. Thank you Jacqueline!
Don't get me wrong — I, like most of you, need the dollars anyway for paying
the rent and other mundane stuff. I also enjoy being able to eat :-) and will
happily continue working on stuff I don't quite enjoy as much as doing
PostgreSQL support over Jabber, just to have that privilege. I still have fun
by hacking on the challenge that is Mammoth Replicator.
But I'm a Calvin and Hobbes lover and things like these cannot be beat by mere checks.