LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You Know You're DOOMED When...
your manager says, "I'm looking for a volunteer to work the Holiday. Round up the usual suspects!"
You've stumbled onto another issue of The Crapolla, a journal written for software professionals. No not the managers; I mean the people who do the work.
This Crapolla is sponsored by...
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In This Issue...
The decision making process.
Every time I sit down to write this rag, it's the same old thing. I never have any idea what topic I will be on. In fact any attempt at planning The Crapolla has always been doomed to failure. That being said, this morning I knew it was time to pound out a first draft. At times like this I use a small check list to help me make a decision about my topic.
Let's see, anyone done anything cool? Hmm... My Linux friends are making money hand over first, but nothing earth shattering. They still think my grandmother is someday going to use Linux on a desktop. My friends over at Sun are all overpaid and very bored. Oh! Miss Proofreader went on a trip to Portland. Sent back this nice picture.
No, I'm afraid cool is on the lull here. Better move on to step two.
What were the last three words to come out of my manager's lips? I think they were, "See you Wednesday." Well, no foul there. Make it Thursday just to be safe. I guess we're headed back to number two.
So there I am, in the course of normal everyday diagnosis, tailing a log on a server, looking for an error. My worry was that when I tried to talk to the super secret encrypted computer that I'm testing, I got an SSL error. Hmmmm. SSL errors in the particular program I was running could mean one of two things: a certificate had expired or had been otherwise corrupted, or there was a network problem. Hence I wish to tail the aforementioned log for more clues.
tail -f binkydoodle.trace | grep fek'lar
This should have tossed out a few lines with a common PID for me to continue my search with. Instead the binkydoodle.trace log was full of (How shall I say?) shit. Either binkydoodle was seriously screwed, or I wasn't logged into Kansas anymore.
A quick check of the facts resulted in people telling me that binkydoodle had been upgraded and that I needed a new version of the test program. This new test program would make my needing to tail binkydoodle's logs obsolete.
A quick ftp to /local/boogers/bin/release/stay_out_of_here/binkydoodle/ and I found the new version of twiddlebinkydoodle, my test program. I downloaded the Linux version over to godofthedead, my server, and fired her up.
"Who the fuck released this piece of shit? Who did they sleep with to get their job?"
Back to my own sensory deprivation cubical for a very carefully crafted, "This Program Doesn't Work, and We Seem to be Losing a Lot of Money Today" letter, addressed to the head of engineering, Lincoln, and The Brigadier.
Half a day later, I received a message from the head of engineering that he had forwarded my message off to the head of QA. She was not yet in, since it was not quite 11AM. At 11:30 I tracked her down.
I paused for the reverberation of their words to die down. Then I fired my missile. "Then way does the old version on the same machine get to the host?"
"On the same machine?"
My work was done. When I say that I do not mean my diagnosis of the hosts I need to test, but my work as a major pain in the ass. I went to Taco Bell for burritos sans the onions and don't water down my beans!
"So what's new?"
"The Linux version might not work."
"Okay, I've been real nice so far, so let me expose you to the reality of this. I have machines in the field that are down. You upgraded software and pushed it on us without completing a QA cycle on the final build. Why do I know this? Because any chimp could have figured that if twiddlebinkydoodle couldn't contact the target host, it was horked. Now I needed this fixed two hours ago. I don't have time for your "Change Process". The only change you're going to make is fixing your fatal severity one bug that is costing this company a shit load of money!"
"Do I look like I have a Sun box? Why?"
"It's working on Sun."
"I'm taking it until you fix twiddlebinkydoodle on Linux."
"Time to come out of the Ivory Tower."
With that I hijacked a really nice Sun box. The Brigadier followed up with emails asking how QA released a test program without testing it. The engineer ... well let's say he was very deer in the headlights when I was done.
This brings me to the point of all this crap. Engineers have to start getting their hands dirty. I'm running into too many people who write code and have no idea how people in the real word use the program. I'm also seeing a lot of sequestered people shoving things out the door and expecting the real world to act like their test bench. The only way I see to help is for me to beat on their test bench with an ax while they do their coding. This will help them understand the chaos of the real world.
Jerry Fallwell Says, "It's Dirty!"
Let's play, "Who said this?"
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"It's a good thing I have this shit under control. Oops!"
"Do you remember my first two weeks here, when I blew out about two pounds of snot?"
"Don't screw with me! My sister's a Teamster!"
"He's still alive?"
"I'd like to help you, but you're just too damned stupid."
"Tell me some good news."
"We just held tribal counsel, and you were not voted out of the company."
"I have to say that the green shorts, black socks and leather shoes is one hell of a fashion statement. I think that statement is, 'I can't dress myself.'"
I've got to find my grind stone.
(Destroyer of Laptops - Morale Officer - The Last Honest Geek)
Remember: The Crapolla contains my personal opinions. That's right they're mine, so get your own! And you kids get off my lawn! This whole mess is copyright © 2000 by LowComDom Performances, all rights reserved. Wanna send this to your friends? Go ahead and pass out the URL.
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