The Imagisterium
26Mar/13Off

Audio play: The Troubleshooter

I suppose only IT people will enjoy this, if anyone, but I found it cathartic to write.

The Troubleshooter: An audio play

by Carl Bettis

CHARACTERS:

BRIAN, a help desk tech support specialist for SkeevTech; courteous, cheerful and professional.
CALLER 1
CALLER 2
CALLER 3
CALLER 4
CALLER 5

(Phone chirrs)

BRIAN: SkeevTech, this is Brian.

CALLER 1: Yeah, I'm having a problem with your application.

BRIAN: Just a minute... Okay, I went into the database and cleared the "problem" field. You should be fine now.

CALLER 1: Thank you.

BRIAN: Glad I could help.

(Phone chirrs)

BRIAN: SkeevTech, this is Brian.

CALLER 2: Brian? My name's Chris. I get an error when I try to update a record.

BRIAN: Hold on, please... There, I've deleted the "error" setting from the config file. Is it working?

CALLER 2: Let me try... Yeah, great! Thank you.

BRIAN: Glad I could help.

(Phone chirrs)

BRIAN: SkeevTech, this is Brian.

CALLER 3: Hi, I'm calling to report a bug in your system?

BRIAN: A bug? Well, that's no good. Just a second... There, I've fixed it.

CALLER 3: What was it?

BRIAN: "Bug=yes" was getting passed to the rendering engine. Sorry about that.

CALLER 3: Me too. I lost three hours of work.

BRIAN: Well, I'm glad I was able to help.

CALLER 3: Oh, good for you.

BRIAN: Have a nice day.

(Phone chirrs)

BRIAN: SkeevTech, this is Brian.

CALLER 4: Hey man, your expensive-ass program doesn't work. I've tried it six times.

BRIAN: I'm sorry to hear that. Give me just a minute... Yeah, the "works" flag needs to be set to "True" ... Done. Try it again, and if you're still having problems, give us a call back.

CALLER 4: You bet I will.

BRIAN: I'm sorry for the inconvenience.

CALLER 4: Yeah, whatever.

BRIAN: Have a nice day.

(Phone chirrs)

BRIAN: SkeevTech, this is Brian.

CALLER 5: Hello, Brian. I'm running IE 9 on Windows 7, with automatic updates turned on and popup blocker turned off. When I log in and go to the History tab, then enter my PIN and click the "Next" button, I see a box that says "Data connection error 1507 - null not set to null instance" ... hang on, I just sent you a screenshot ... and then I'm kicked back to the login screen.

BRIAN (exasperated): You're going to have to be more specific. Are you calling to report a problem, an error, a bug, or that it doesn't work?

END

23May/11Off

Answers to “Nerdy fun with dates and primes”

Answers to the questions in "Nerdy fun with dates and primes":

  1. What was the last date to be a prime number in both notations?
    2010-08-09, which translates to 20100809 and 2010221
    (the only such date in 2010)
  2. What will be the next date that is a prime number in both notations?
    2012-03-23, which translates to  20120323 and 2012083
    (the only such date in 2012)
  3. What is the most recent past year with more than one date which is prime in both notations?
    2008 had 3 such dates: 2008-01-03, 2008-10-03, and 2008-10-23.
  4. What is the nearest future year with more than one date which is prime in both notations?
    2013 will have 3 such dates: 2013-08-29, 2013-11-03, and 2013-11-09
7May/11Off

Nerdy fun with dates and primes – Updated

Programmers have a couple of common methods of turning dates into integers for ease of sorting and comparison. Using my own terminology, let's call these YMD-notation (for Year-Month-Day) and YJ-notation (for Year-Julian date).

YMD-notation
yyyymmdd -- the four-digit year, followed by the two-digit month, then the two-digit day of the month, using leading zeros where necessary. Thus, 3/17/2009 would be the number 20090317 -- the 17th day of the third month of the year 2009.
YJ-notation
yyyyjjj -- the four-digit year, followed by the three-digit day of the year, again using leading zeros. Thus, 1/2/2001 would be 2009002 -- the second day of the year 2009; 2/1/1998 would be 1998032 -- the 32nd day of the year 1998.

Obviously, when you turn a date into an integer, it might be prime. The following dates in 2011 are prime in one notation or the other:

Date YMD-notation Prime in YMD-notation? YJ-notation Prime in YJ-notation?
2011-01-03 20110103 2011003 Yes
2011-01-09 20110109 Yes 2011009
2011-01-19 20110119 2011019 Yes
2011-01-21 20110121 2011021 Yes
2011-01-27 20110127 2011027 Yes
2011-02-02 20110202 2011033 Yes
2011-02-17 20110217 Yes 2011048
2011-02-26 20110226 2011057 Yes
2011-03-01 20110301 Yes 2011060
2011-03-10 20110310 2011069 Yes
2011-03-14 20110314 2011073 Yes
2011-03-22 20110322 2011081 Yes
2011-04-09 20110409 2011099 Yes
2011-04-11 20110411 Yes 2011101
2011-04-21 20110421 2011111 Yes
2011-04-29 20110429 Yes 2011119
2011-05-03 20110503 2011123 Yes
2011-05-07 20110507 2011127 Yes
2011-05-09 20110509 2011129 Yes
2011-05-11 20110511 Yes 2011131
2011-05-13 20110513 Yes 2011133
2011-05-23 20110523 Yes 2011143
2011-05-27 20110527 2011147 Yes
2011-06-03 20110603 Yes 2011154
2011-06-13 20110613 Yes 2011164
2011-06-19 20110619 Yes 2011170
2011-06-20 20110620 2011171 Yes
2011-07-02 20110702 2011183 Yes
2011-07-12 20110712 2011193 Yes
2011-07-18 20110718 2011199 Yes
2011-07-20 20110720 2011201 Yes
2011-07-30 20110730 2011211 Yes
2011-08-01 20110801 Yes 2011213
2011-08-07 20110807 Yes 2011219
2011-08-19 20110819 Yes 2011231
2011-08-23 20110823 Yes 2011235
2011-08-29 20110829 2011241 Yes
2011-09-16 20110916 2011259 Yes
2011-09-24 20110924 2011267 Yes
2011-09-27 20110927 Yes 2011270
2011-10-04 20111004 2011277 Yes
2011-10-11 20111011 Yes 2011284
2011-10-18 20111018 2011291 Yes
2011-10-23 20111023 Yes 2011296
2011-10-27 20111027 Yes 2011300
2011-11-05 20111105 2011309 Yes
2011-11-29 20111129 2011333 Yes
2011-12-13 20111213 Yes 2011347
2011-12-29 20111229 2011363 Yes
Prime dates 2011

You might notice that no date in 2011 is prime in both YMD-notation and YJ-notation. That gives rise to the following questions.

  1. What was the last date to be a prime number in both notations?
  2. What will be the next date that is a prime number in both notations?
  3. What is the most recent past year with more than one date which is prime in both notations?
  4. What is the nearest future year with more than one date which is prime in both notations?

Answers in a later post! Update: Answers have been posted.

6May/11Off

Prime trivia

The following are all prime numbers:

31
331
3331
33331
333331
3333331
33333331