Fixing Bugs on a Vacation

June 2, 2021

I was on a short vacation couple of days ago, walking around Monterey. San Francisco has been colder and windier than usual this year, so I was soaking up as much warm sunshine as I could.

I try not to check my phone when I'm out and about, but my excuse this time was that I was looking for directions. There was a notification that a user had upgraded. That's a wonderful feeling every single time. I sent a quick email welcoming him and asking if he was finding everything alright. He replied that one of the pages was erroring out. Of course.

This would've annoyed me back when I was an employee. I was surprised that I didn't mind it at all. I was happy to find out about it so that I could fix it as soon as possible.

Perhaps it is like this. Cleaning up poop is revolting, but you're happy to change your baby's diaper. Actually I don't know about "happy", but how often do have an immediate positive impact on someone's life? Someone you care about. One minute they're crying their lungs out that this is not the life they pictured when they were planning it all out in the womb, and the next minute you've made their life objectively better. Histre is that baby.

But somehow it's not the same when it's your manager or the product team that has shit themselves yet again and you're called upon to change the metaphorical diaper.

If you're travelling with someone, they usually get annoyed if you decide to log in and fix a bug. I remember once when I was on the receiving end of this, and I wasn't pleased at all. My friend Alan was living in Palo Alto at that time and he insisted on meeting for lunch at our favorite Thai restaurant there. I drove down to meet him, and he proceeded to fix a bug the entire time I was there.

In this case, I was with my girlfriend and she is one of the top users of Histre. So she didn't mind me fixing the bug, and was happy about the whole thing.

The bug turned out to be something pretty simple. Luckily I was able to deploy a fix in less than 15 minutes. Periods in usernames made the urls for some pages not match the Django "slug" pattern.

« Return to Article Index