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The Adventures Of Ogden: Man Of The Suburb

Ogden nervously looked around the room of six people, all seated around a large conference table. He looked up at their supervisor, Somerset, who was standing at the podium about to begin the meeting. He looked ill at ease as well.

“I have asked Ogden here to attend our weekly group so that he can begin his investigation.”

“Investigation?” asked Jim, incredulously, “Of what?”

“You know good and well of what, Jim. One of us deleted or destroyed the pre-production FASER database. Now whether this was an accident or . . . intentional, we need to determine how and why it was lost, in order to prevent losses of this sort in the future.”

Ogden studied the eyes of everyone present. This news obviously sat well with no one. But almost certainly one of them had caused this to happen. Everyone who had access to the data was present. And as he looked around the room, there were plenty of possible motives.

Perhaps Thelma, the nearly retired programmer of the legacy system which was being replaced by FASER, deleted the file with the thought that nothing could replace the work that she had done so well (or so she thought!) in the late eighties.

Or the culprit might have been Fred, the developer of the current system. Somerset had just told Ogden that he had great plans for this database. Perhaps Fred was not interested in all of that work.

Still, it could have been Beatrice, the designer, champion and overall mastermind of the tool. Recent rumors spreading around the Demand Chain organization had led Ogden to believe that the numbers which this new database were reporting were not nearly as favorable as Beatrice had hoped. Perhaps she had killed the file before the unpositive numbers were made official.

But what about Perry, the departmental data specialist?  Wasn’t it common knowledge that he disagreed with the way that the data formulas were being calculated? Hadn’t Ogden, just last week, sat across a lunchroom table from Perry and heard him voice this opinion?

“Ogden, it is well know around the organization,” Perry had said as he finished up his ‘Mexican Surprise.’

“It is well known that the Faser Cart_con_diff_extra field, which is what the whole reporting scheme is based on, should take into account the work_day_Actual_to_Exact_pallet field. Not including those factors skews the data by as much as 14 percent. But no one is willing to admit it. And I’ll be darned if this goes out like that!”

As the department meeting continued, there were many unanswered questions. But a few things were certain. The FASER (Formalized Account Servicing of Expedited Reporting, pronounced ‘Phaser’) database was no longer there, and (conveniently for the culprit) since the database had not yet been placed on a server that was regularly backed up, there was no way that the file could be retrieved. It was permanently gone.

As Ogden left the meeting, he felt that the first thing to do would be to check the room which held the server on which the database had been kept. He entered and looked at the machine. It looked unremarkable – there was nothing to note about it. He went to leave the room but something caught his eye. He looked again and saw a slip of paper lying behind the server. He picked it up and turned it over. It said:

Note to self: Faser – Check the dictionary.

Two questions flicked through Ogden’s mind: First – Could this be a clue? And secondly, can you retrieve fingerprints from a piece of paper?

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Join us next month for the exciting conclusion!

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