LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You Know You're DOOMED When...
your PVR decides to record the Crocodile Hunter Marathon all by itself.
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...
You may have noticed a lot of code names get used in this rag. That's mostly to provide me with deniability. By not revealing the real names of companies and people, it's much easier to not violate Rule One. But this time round, the code name was not coined by me, but by a manager.
"Tell me why you've been here so long. What keeps you?" he asked.
I said there was "no heavy lifting" to my new Vice President. I did follow up that I had good management and that's hard to find. But this was before I went to India. I could get away with the insolence. They wanted something from me. I figured as long as I was producing, I could be as radical as I needed.
So I went to India, the Twinkee moved on, Manager Six was hired, I came back from India, and when I got back, I got the distinct feeling not everyone was happy. Turned out the VP forgot who bought whom. He thought he was still working at Going, Going, Gone. The trouble was what worked there wasn't working here.
I've worked at a few places where your VP should be in the Sales department rather than your techie spots in the company. This guy was promising everything to everybody. If you mentioned that it wasn't going to happen because, oh let's say the laws of physics, you were the problem. It got to the point that the managers didn't want to say his name for fear he might walk by as they were venting. Thus was Fluffy Bunny born.
One day Fluffy Bunny showed us a graph of what he expected from the Bangalore team. It showed quality taking a steep nose-dive for a full quarter. Not that the amount of work would drop, but the quality of the work would go so low, that anyone in the US turning in this crap would be fired.
We asked how he knew this, and he replied that it's what happened when Going, Going, Gone took their work to Bangalore. I couldn't believe my ears. Going, Going, Gone had what anyone would judge as a failure and he was ready to sign up for that again. He didn't want to entertain the idea that repeating a failure was really dumb.
Then the bomb dropped. The director, a man I would jump through fire for, quit. Remember that comment about good management? It was gone. The Twinkee had gone to Product Management, and now the director bailed. All I was left with was an unproven sixth manager and no heavy lifting.
Times were dark. People started checking what they were saying publicly. Once or twice, I ran a foul of the Bunny in meetings when I would state a fact, be told I was taking it out of context, and then retort with more facts. Then I got called in to talk to the VP of HR.
In my view, there are three things HR does. They hire you, they buy the benefits, and they fire you. I already had the job, it wasn't benefits time, that only meant one thing...
"Now Fek, you know anything you say in here is completely confidential," said The Hatchetman. This guy is famous for doing the dirty work. Our Hong Kong office lives in fear of the day he returns to fire the rest of them he forgot about on his first trip. Who was he kidding? Anything I said was going to be used at the trial.
"How would you evaluate the merger so far?"
Huh? Someone has decided I am qualified to judge the effectiveness of a decision of the Board of Directors? I don't think so. If you want to know how well the merger went, go look at the balance sheet. When some high muckity-muck in your company asks you to evaluate something you aren't qualified to do, he's trying to get you to spill your guts. What was The Hatchetman fishing for?
We talked about the trip, this, that, and finally... Fluffy Bunny. Remember that bit about anything said was held in confidence? Sure, kid. Anyone who rats out their VP, even if you aren't drinking his Kool-Aid, is an idiot. But when asked to evaluate the department's performance, I gave us a D.
These wheels had been started when the director quit. On his way out the door, he lobbed a couple grenades, and the company needed to investigate to establish a firm legal ground. The trouble was they discovered the charges (whatever they were) had merit.
Anytime your CEO sends a letter to the entire company titled "Organizational Announcement" someone has lost their job. This time it was the Fluffy Bunny. But even better, it was to announce the director was coming back, not permanently, but until a replacement could be found.
Apple's done it again. They've taken an industry and turned it on its ear. Not with FUD, not by unfair business practices, but by making something that already exists, but making it work differently than everybody else's products.
I'm speaking of the iPhone, a convergence of phone, music player, and web browser. Others have done this, but there's always something wrong with the product, like they suck at web, or you can't figure out how to mute the music while you answer the phone, etc. Modern mobile phones tend to have really little buttons a person like me can't press only one of at a time. The iPhone changes this.
Just as Woz forever changed computers when he put a normal keyboard on the Apple I, the iPhone is going to forever change the mobile phone. The use of a touch screen gives infinite possibilities for changes to the user interface via a software update. This is really what's so damned good about this product. I'm not a fan of convergence, but I am a fan of good design.
I'm certainly not going to buy an iPhone. But I look forward to 3 years from now when all phones have touch screens. They'll either have the touch screen, or they won't sell. Companies will have fewer hardware switch outs and more software updates to have the coolest color scheme, or best programs, or perhaps the user will be able to skin their own phone. Every phone is going to do this, just like every computer after the Apple I has had a real keyboard.
Thanks, Apple! I hope you sell tons of these to brain-dead teenagers who have to have the latest doo-dad. I'll be waiting for the knock-offs in a few years that are of reasonable price. Better yet, I'll get my boss to upgrade my company phone.
Evil Gossip Mongers Descend Upon Unsuspecting Nation
The Real Tradgety of Anna Nicole's Death
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"We make web applications that look like they were designed in the Soviet Union."
"After you are done in tech, what are you going to do?"
"I'm going back to my roots in porn."
"When she sucks on ice cubes, they expand."
"I need to make a Lego woman."
There's a lack of vacuum.
They pay me to think. These are my thoughts. Do you think they are getting their money's worth?
Remember: The Crapolla contains my personal opinions. That's right they're mine, so get your own! And you kids get off my lawn!
Although written with the software professional in mind, my mind tends to wander all over the place, and I sometimes write about politics, mass stoopidity, dumb things I saw, and whatever else comes to mind.
From time to time, I use salty language, thus The Crapolla is not intended for children, or certain people in the Bush Administration.
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