LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You Know You're DOOMED When...
you beg HR to be laid off, and they just point at you, laugh, and say, "no ..."
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...
Putting a bell on Hitler's Cat
Take a Letter
PhoneBoy writes ...
I got extremely lucky when I got laid off
from Netscape. That day, I was going
to my old company to talk about working for
them again. Getting laid off was
just a lucky happenstance. Even though the
layoff had emotional impact, it was
short lived when, after accepting it, I
realized I had just been given a
huge gift. Of course, this was in 1998, so
I had a job the following week. :-)
Well it's not all DOOM and gloom out there. At times like these, it's good to make sure your network of friends and colleagues is up to date. You might help them or they might help you.
Take Another Letter
Maureen Fox Writes ...
Fecklar- What a sensitive and thought
provoking piece. Thank you for sharing
your experience and trying to make the
layoff process less scary for the
masses, some of whom will undoubtedly be
needing these words of wisdom sooner
or later. Can you help me with issues on
Death? Any experience there?
What about childbirth? I hear that that
is even more painful, and in many
situations, lasts longer.
On the subject of death, my closest experience would be life-sucking all-hands meetings at Titanic Software. One would enter with a certain feeling of DOOM only to have the CEO tell you to embrace the ice berg. It's at times like this you look around for a harpoon.
What about childbirth? More painful than death? Lasts longer? I think you are confused about the difference between hell and living hell. Since I haven't even gotten kidney stones (yet), I really can't comment. Let me know how it comes out.
Take yet Another Letter
Matt from Purdue University writes ...
Reading your last posting depressed me
more than anything I've read since the
George W. Bush Quote File. Gone are the
high times of easy money and
reckless job insecurity. Looks like I'll
have to go back to running guns to
Central American guerillas and
prostituting 12 year olds to Navy boys
in Tijuana. But, before I have to change
my name and get cosmetic surgery,
in paragraph 5 of your latest installment,
you write "Besides, holding
your head up high will help out the
others who go laid off." I think
you meant "...get laid off." Given the
nature of my new profession, don't
paint Steph's car, fill it full of heroin
and then tip the cops off.
Let's see Steph in jail....
Unfortunately, Miss Proofreader was unable to edit that essay. She was setting up her day trading account. Okay so I won't paint Steph's car, but you seem to have made two erroneous assumptions about me. First, that I could get enough heroin to fill his car (that's a lot of horse). Second, you are assuming that I learned to share in kindergarten.
I think the better course of action is to build some spoof email from Steph to several women in his company's HR department. The usual expressions of un-dieing love, stalker talk, etc. Most people have no idea that mail can be easily faked, and thus believe anything they read.
No Wonder The Post Office Is In Trouble!
Charles Stell Writes ...
Hey Fek'Lar, Have you done this?
Tandem bit twiddling? As an old,
semi-retired programmer it sounds interresting;
but I don't think I'd want a steady
diet of this method. How about you?
Rant or Rave - hand down a ruling
for us common geeks.
$52 65 67 61 72 64 78 2C
For those who didn't read the article it speaks about the productivity gains in team coding. It's a very good article. Thanks for sending it, Charles.
I have not done this, nor have I seen people do it. I can think of the challenges involved in having two people sit next to each other and write code. One is you would need to pair people very carefully. One person would do all the work, and the other would sit around and do nothing but kiss ass and get promoted.
My group and I are being lectured to by another group who is supposed to provide support for our more difficult problems. They haven't been living up to their end of the bargain. The manager speaking has lost me; not in this meeting but long before the meeting ever started. He tossed credibility to the wind a few weeks ago.
The problem with one's teenage years (okay, one of the problems) is that one is too stupid to realize when wisdom is being handed down from the generation above. Hence the joke, "Put a teenager in charge while they still know everything!"
"Never promote an engineer into management," Dad used to say. "You lose a perfectly good engineer, and usually get a really bad manager." (I was too young at the time to point out to Dad that "bad manager" was a redundant phrase.)
One day I noticed that the BABASU was not sending output. I checked and checked. The database said it was active, but there it was with no output. I fired off an email to the group (now lecturing to me) who over-see BABASU operations, pasting in all database information, and how I determined that there was no output. The response I received was from our current lecturer (since I never use real names in this rag, (except Steph's and Bobb's) let's just refer to him as Hitler's Cat), recently promoted from being an engineer. The email conversation that resulted reminded me of just how right Dad was all those years ago.
From: Hitler's Cat
The BABASU is INACTIVE
Why shouldn't I believe this? Please be
BABASU is also in the current directory.
Now, I was looking for an explanation of how I was reading the word ACTIVE incorrectly. Perhaps my terminal was defective and it was incapable of putting an IN in front of ACTIVE. Perhaps the fact that the fridge in my cube has run out of Diet Coke has bearing on the problem. I received back...
From: Hitler's Cat
it's INACTIVE...pull again
Hmmm... not really what I was looking for in an answer. I'm not speaking from actual knowledge, but I would bet that this person hadn't gotten an "A" in composition. I pulled the database again, and there it was INACTIVE. Back to email.
I ain't making this stuff up.
When is this going to be pulled
from the directory?
Now the manager with whom I was writing was never Miss Congeniality when he was an engineer. Now as a manager, he's started to act like a Third Reich Gato. I mean, why not just fess up and say, "Oops! We missed that. Should have been deactivated. Fixed." instead I got...
From: Hitler's Cat
BABASU was part of the blockage we
conducted last week. Yes, it was
INACTIVATED a few minutes ago, and
will be pulled from the directory
tonight. The reply I gave you was
to inform you that it was INACTIVE.
Stop with the unnecessary e-mails.
This is the kind of stuff I have
been talking about with you.
Well haven't I been put in my place by Hitler's Cat? Oh, and that little bit at the end complaining to my boss, the last resort of the intellectually bankrupt. Let me go stand in the oven for a minute.
I love it when managers screw the pooch and come down hard on the person who discovers it. I chalked that one up to he having cranial-rectum inversion until a week later I discovered a router that was blocking traffic on port 25 (SMTP). It was causing a pant-load of problems for some people.
I did the usual you should do in these cases. Build a test and see what the answer is. Yup, port 25 traffic isn't moving. I fired off an email to this effect to the now lecturing group. One of my peers in that group found the router's Admin and asked that I join the conversation. The Admin said, yes, they block port 25 through that router as a normal behavior.
When it became clear that I wasn't going to convince him that this was a really bad idea, I asked that he escalate through his management and I would through mine, and we would let managers fight about this. I fired off a letter to the Brigadier, and cc:ed the peer I was working with and her boss (Hitler's Cat) so that we would all be on the same page.
Not more than an hour later a ripping reply from Heir Gato ...
From: Hitler's Cat
This is NOT true. Port 25 is
NOT being blocked!
So Hitler's Cat didn't bother to look at the facts. He had gotten into a habit of just contradicting me in the fashion of the Monty Python Argument Clinic. He didn't know what he was talking about. The "Full of Shit" meter was pegged. I hit Reply All.
I just spoke with the Admin of the router.
He assures me that it is blocking.
I also tested it.
To which he said,
From: Hitler's Cat
You obviously talked to the wrong person!
Eight hours later, Hitler's Cat sent a letter to everyone to say that the router was no longer blocking port 25. Never a, "by the way Fek was right about this." Couldn't have that, it would make it obvious to the world that junior manager boy is an idiot.
So here I sit writing a column. Hitler's Cat just told us about the 12 hour initial response his group guarantees. (This isn't new, and they blow it eighty percent of the time.) Honest, things are going to be different. Then he slips in that if we escalate to his group, they might just tell us they are too busy. Too busy? My group's workload increased forty percent in the last two weeks. Do I look like I care about how busy other people are?
Somehow, I don't think we're going to be friends. In fact, I think this is going to be a long take-no-prisoners battle. But it does remind me of Dad's wisdom given to me decades ago.
Got to get back to the meeting. It's time for me to ask embarrassing questions, and shoot-down their Excel slides with the facts.
Spring Has Sprung!
Space Alien Anal-Probe Season Begins!
Let's play, "Who said this?"
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"Did you break the copier with your head again?"
"Okay, I admit it. I was an idiot."
"I'm not doing your job for you. You're in marketing, kiss my ass!"
"I would have thought that by now, you would be used to the pain."
"Okay, well I'm going to go pound my head against the wall for an hour or so."
"I must be brain-dead, or something."
"In every life a little rain must fall. Okay, do you want to puke now?"
"Was that a sneeze?"
"No, a cough. I'm giving myself a hernia test."
"Stupid fucking Windows 2000!"
"Isn't that a redundant phrase?"
"Have you noticed that if you boil it down, Pokemon is about cock fighting?"
"At least Pokemons wear condoms!"
"What do you do around here?"
"Damned little, and if you tell anyone, I'll kill you!"
I think he just said he's an excellent driver ...
(Inventor of Chocolate Cheesy Bunny - Morale Officer - The Last Honest Geek)
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