When Easter Egg Hunts Turn Rotten

Easter is over, and if you’re lucky your kids found all of the eggs you had hidden around the house. If you’re not so lucky, you’ll begin smelling that distinct rotten egg odor in a few weeks, and after looking under every couch cushion, on every window sill and behind every nook and cranny, you’ll hopefully get the last of them. The problem is there is always the chance for a few more surprises in the coming weeks/months, and without properly identifying where you hid everything, it can be difficult to remember if you got them all.

You’re probably asking yourself why a tech blog is discussing kid’s Easter egg hunts. The term Easter egg is also used when describing hidden surprises or inside jokes in programs that were put in by the programmers. These are usually fun surprises that end-users end up discovering at some point and add a little sense of enjoyment and feeling like they are on the inside of the circle that created the joke.

I’ve also seen the word used in a different way. This definition isn’t necessarily the happy surprise found in the other definition. The other type of Easter eggs are those that were not intentionally put into place, but are still included in the end program (sometimes also described as glitches). These are a surprise bug or defect that can diminish the product but were not found when initial vetting by the programmers or end users. These are the rotten Easter eggs that your kids did not find.

When setting up an application, a network, or a server farm, there are several points that require human input. If you have the wrong person inputting these decisions, there can be many unforeseen repercussions down the road. Like catching a whiff of some three-month-old hardboiled eggs that have been sitting at room temperature, finding these types of issues can have a seriously negative impact on your day and your overall view on how things should be done.

The problem with these hidden issues, is that they are often recognized too late, or after the original creator has left. If the person was inexperienced or just taking an easy path towards finishing their tasks, then it is likely that they knew how they set things up and were in no hurry to change them. It’s only after a different set of eyes are on the environment, that there is a realization that things were done incorrectly.

While it is not fun to hear when you’re sitting in a smelly living room, or working through a non-standard network deployment, the solutions to both of these problems are very similar: plan ahead. All egg placers or employees should know how to properly plan where and what they do with their resources (or eggs) and all decisions should be made known and documented. By simply planning ahead, there should be no rotten Easter eggs stinking up your future.

If you have any comments on please hit the comment button at the top of this post, and be sure to follow me on twitter @burked585.

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