Your computer bursting into flames

Posted on September 1st, 2009 6 great comments. Room for one more!

Is it okay if I get a little personal today? Just this once?

I did resist for so long, but I finally feel like I need to mention … the day job.

Okay, I need to bitch.

Are you groaning already? See, that’s why I resisted. I know how you feel about people whining about their jobs, and I totally get it. I mean, there are plenty of people who would love a job, and there’s plenty else to blog about, right?

You couldn’t be more correct in agreeing with me. But  I figure TCL can accommodate everything Toronto-related for at least one post. And I work in Toronto, so it qualifies.

Besides, my intention is to make this as painless, boringless, and whiningless as humanly possible. No names, of course, and I don’t claim that any of this is true. But I think inspired would be a good way to put it. Very inspired.

The People

Manager: My immediate manager (plus a few other people’s, including the art team’s).

MANAGER: Manager’s immediate manager.

Art team: The people who produce the designs and artwork for the software.

IT: The people who manage all the computer hardware and software that we use.

The Words

Bug: Any problem with a piece of software. Could be as small as the wrong colour on a button, or as big as your computer bursting into flames.

Bug ticket: GODDAM COCKSUCKING MOTHER OF A WHORE!! (A notification, usually by email, that the testers found a bug in the software we’ve written).

Code: The instructions (written by us) that make up the brains of the software. If we’re feeling fancy, we call it “source code”. But code sounds cooler.

Build: When all the code, art, etc. get collected and mushed together to produce the final software product.

Specification: A long and boring document that describes, in detail, what the software should do, how it should do it, how it should look while it’s doing it, and so on. At least, that’s what we hope for.

Server: A computer that sits on a network and “serves” data to any other computers that request it. That data could be a web page, Twitter feed, or hardcore pornography. Computers are awesome!

To: MANAGER@employer.com
From: patrick@employer.com
Subject: Requested time allotment report for Tuesday
Sent: Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Time Allotment

10:00 – 10:30: Searching for Manager to discuss bug. After questioning, art team revealed that he is home sick today.

10:30 – 10:45: Had to do some research to retrieve Manager’s unlisted telephone number. The one he recorded for our records is our own office number (we should probably update that).

10:45 – 11:00: Telephone call with Manager to discuss bug. Manager maintained that it was “impossible” for it to be his code so I re-assigned bug ticket to myself for investigation.

11:00 – 13:00: Ran verifications and concluded that the bug must be addressed in Manager’s code.

13:30 – 13:35: Telephone call with Manager who confirmed that, “of course”, the bug was something he needed to fix.

13:35 – 13:40: Emailed response to build team’s complaint regarding errors in our builds. I reminded them that we can’t prepare our code for a build if they don’t tell us they want to do one. We have not as yet been able to develop psychic abilities.

13:49 – 14:00: Discussion with you regarding project X:
Project to be completed by this Friday or next Monday for release in the afternoon, same day. Art team will produce graphics on Thursday and  the specification will be ready by Friday morning. Testing to begin next Tuesday with a round of bug fixes scheduled for next Wednesday. Scheduling discrepancies will be dealt with later. This is to be exclusively top-priority until finished.

14:00 – 14:30: Your team meeting request to discuss why the schedule wasn’t being met. Team agreed that closer attention needed to be paid to scheduling.

14:30 – 14:45: At your request, sat with your assistant to update the schedule with accurate dates and times for current projects.

14:45 – 14:50: Emailed IT explaining why I needed a license for the Adobe Flash development software (specified that I am an Adobe Flash developer). The software lock currently in place on my copy of the expired software is preventing me from effectively doing my job.

14:50 – 14:55: Emailed IT again explaining why my current software was, as yet, unlicensed. I included copies of the six unfulfilled software requisition forms I submitted during my first six months of employment.

14:55 – 15:00: Discussed with you why I required a software license for the Adobe Flash software.

16:00 – 16:05: Larry asked, on your behalf, for a detailed estimate on development time for project X.

16:05 – 16:10: Wong asked, on your behalf, for a detailed estimate on development time for project X.

16:10 – 16:15: Vergil asked, on your behalf, for a detailed estimate on development time for project X.

16:15 – 16:20: You requested an estimate on development time for project X.

16:20 – 16:50: Took lunch.

16:50 – 17:00: Worked on project X.

17:00 – 17:10: Meeting to re-assign priorities. I should now focus all my efforts on project Y.

17:10 – 17:15: Vergil asked, on your behalf, for a detailed status report on the progress of project X.

17:15 – 17:20: Emailed IT to request more disk space on our only development server. Explained that it was the only way to test our software. Request was denied, but I would like to point out that I am willing to purchase an 8 Gigabyte memory stick ($20), out of pocket, to effectively quadruple our storage capacity. Please advise.

17:20 – 17:40: Deleted and compressed data on the development server to clear up some space.

17:40 – 17:50: Sat with your assistant to re-input the schedule from this morning. I’d like to suggest that only one person be responsible for updating the schedule to preventing this type of data loss in the future.

17:50 – 18:00: Produced this time allotment report to identify some of the inefficiencies in our system.

Thanks for humouring me. I feel … lighter.

Should I find myself suddenly unemployed for some reason, I’ll even be able to reveal how much of that is actual, unembellished truth. The number shocks even me.

And as a special favour to you, I will abstain from boring you to tears again for at least a week.

6 Comments on “ Your computer bursting into flames ”

  • Inge
    September 2nd, 2009 1:48 am

    lol Sometimes you just have to get it out. My question is this: How much of this "schedule" was written in duplicate, then triplicate, and then followed up with more useless meetings and phone calls? Did you remember to do everything in black ink only?


    Read more from Inge at: http://dementiafor2.blogspot.com
  • Patrick
    September 2nd, 2009 8:14 am

    Actually, Inge, the schedule's been re-written twice just today. Black ink isn't so much of a concern so much as what stuff is called. It's taken three days to change every instance of "ModuleManager" to "Commander" in our code — at he behest of Manager for whom English is a far-second language. Not because it'll make the software run faster/more reliably/etc., simply because he didn't like the naming convention. At least it wasn't in Cyrillic and at least a decision was made; MANAGER won't decide on anything until the project is completed. Sorry, "completed".

    I'd like to say that the cart is before the horse but the cart is missing both wheels and the horse is nowhere to be found. Probably dead. And Manager and MANAGER are both beating it.


  • Bombchell - in ATL
    September 2nd, 2009 6:44 am

    oh gosh! doesn't sound fun at all. lol I like personal :) I wonder why.


    Read more from Bombchell – in ATL at: http://www.bombchell.com
  • Patrick
    September 2nd, 2009 8:15 am

    Well thanks, Bombchell. Your blog is a pleasant visit too!


  • George
    September 5th, 2009 5:27 am

    That pains … It's life any way, until you are the manager.


    Read more from George at:
  • Patrick
    September 9th, 2009 8:23 am

    Oh God! No way I'd take responsibility, George!


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