LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You know you're screwed when...
Your hang over continued until the 6th of January.
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...
Driving Your Clown Car Through the Delicious Cloud
Ok, show of hands, who works for a sane company? <pause> Thought so. I haven't worked for a sane company since 1995. That's when Green Lizard bought Four Heads Software. Four Heads, very sane. Green Lizard, fun (at least in the beginning) but a complete circus.
On days when the Cheeseballs in Product Management have once again decided that testing the product is not necessary, and the Sales department has made up more features, one wonders if it's time to move to another cage in another company. Then one starts talking with friends in other companies only to discover they all work at circuses too. It's like everyone is still believing the crap in the Tornado book. You know, the bullshit that says don't worry about quality, just keep shipping? I guess that crap is still working. To hell with the customer, grab market share.
To say that the internet has changed everything, is trite. We all know this. What the internet did to the software industry was shorten development cycles. All you have to do is release a product that knows how to update itself, and you can shorten the cycle and pump out a new version every six weeks. Why do this? When your Sales Pukes are out there selling, they promise anything and everything to get a customer to sign on the dotted. Then, they turn around and tell the company that it has to make this happen or lose all the money. Your company smells what it thinks are profits, and turns into Godzilla with a ticket to the Tokyo subway. Yes, this is the tail wagging the dog. But since your CEO is probably an old Sales Puke. He's not about to tell the current Sales Pukes to just stick with selling what the company makes. If they can sell a word processor that also sends tweets, then Engineering will just have to make it... in six weeks.
One of the troubles with this idea is documentation is often left out of short development cycles. Docs take real time to craft. At Big A the doc writer would take a few months to do a draft, then we'd all read it, mark it up, and send it back. A month later a new version would appear for more doc review. Good docs take time.
Training is also a problem in the short development cycle. It's hard to start training when there aren't up-to-date docs available. Once there are, you'll probably spend just as much time building your training as it took to create the documentation.
I've developed several classes in my journey through The Valley. In six weeks, I might have a complete outline. I've worked on large projects that took about six months to complete. But then, these projects were for products with 18 month development cycles.
So at the end of the day, what do you get with these 6 week development cycles? A buggy product that wasn't properly tested, which is under-documented, with no up-to-date training program. The customers are confused about which features are in which versions, and just as important, they don't know which bugs are in which versions. When you do cycles this short, you have large bug sets as well as feature sets. When your customers figure this out, they tend to hate you.
In December there were a few days where the internet was abuzz with a rumor that Yipee was going to close down Yum Yum. (I love renaming companies.) If you were a user of Yum Yum, your sphincter clinched up and you started looking for a way to get your data out. The rumor turned out to be untrue. Yipee is planning on selling Yum Yum, having done nothing since purchasing it in 2005 for somewhere between 15 and 30 million bucks. (Nice impulse buy, Jerry. What must you be like in a grocery store?)
This does make one pause to think about all these "cloud" services. What happens if there's another dot-bomb and sites start hitting the floor like a priest's pants at an alter boy convention? What's that you say? That'll never happen again? What are you, new? Everything happens over and over in The Valley. There have been countless chip booms and busts, software booms and busts, and there will be more internet booms and busts. Their magnitude will vary but they will happen. If you're willing to accept my proposition that these booms and busts will continue, you have to accept that some cloud sites are going to die from time to time.
So back to my question. What happens when this comes crashing down one day? Are we content to losing everything from a Yum Yum, a Twitter, or one of the cloud email services? Will we be surprised when it happens? Will it really be a great loss? My own theory is that, like the Yum Yum rumor, there will be much screaming and hollering, and not long after people will forget what they lost. Cloud data does not appear to be as valuable as data stored on a drive you own. I think people should think about their data in this manner.
The good news is almost all of the cloud-based email systems allow local IMAP and POP3 clients with options for offline storage of the messages. Email is important enough to keep a local copy. But most of what's on Twitter is of no importance at all. It's internet masturbation. That's good since I've yet to see a Twitter client that stores anything locally. I'm not on FaceBook, but from what people tell me, there's nothing important there either. (Except all that private information you should never have told Schmuckerberg.) So no big loss if it goes tits-up. But other "social networks" such as LinkedIn contain data you should have backed up, namely your CV/Resume. LinkedIn is a great place to hang your shingle, but it should be a published version of a file you keep in a safe place.
"But what about my banking?" That's a fair question. Your bank is not an internet company and will not be wiped out by a dot bomb. No, it's going to be wiped out by the greedy bastards on Wall Street. When they decide to fleece you, it will have nothing to do with the internet.
Off-Site back up? Yes, please! I use cloud-based back up on two machines. But cloud-based back up services are not perfect have have lost customer data. It should a part of your back up strategy. You should have an automatic, local back up. This will be extremely up-to-date, and easy to get to when you lose a file. But you should also have a cloud-based back up in case your house burns down. This is the only reason I have it, because it's very slow, and almost never complete. But it is a very cheap insurance policy.
My advise is to never have your only copy of data you mustn't lose on the internet. Keep copies, but then use the internet where it is strong. When it goes tits-up, yell "Shit!", then calm down. It doesn't really matter that no one knows you're drinking a Diet Coke and petting the dog.
WikiLeaks Reports Clinton Often Goes "Commando"
Hillary, Not Bill
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"I'm employed to write bullshit."
"I hate auto-correct. I try to write 'Thanks' and it comes out 'Fuck You'."
"Alcohol and root access don't mix."
"Is there anything I can do to help?"
"You can go get me the approval I need to start work."
"Well... is there anything I should be doing?"
"Yes, you should be getting me the approval I need to take care of your customer."
"Is there anyone I should talk to?"
"How about you go back to your cube and stop bothering me?"
"He replied with a vague answer about needing 'an approval from Order Control'."
"You're a dumb-shit. You know that, don't you?"
It's my turn in the Nude-O-Scope.
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 from the Christian Right.
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