RIP Fred Brooks
Author of the Mythical Man Month? Register Forums are hard to find these days, are they discouraged?
492 publicly visible posts • joined 6 Mar 2008
(Seriously, no-one has gone full "Brian" with that picture?)
I worked on a passenger booking systems for an in-house airline, and the guy in charge liked to travel on it and reset the passenger lists to seat himself next to young blondes. All well and good until a senior manager had his kid bumped for one of the blondes and the guy in charge said "must be a bug in the program". I heard about this and laid into him verbally, pointing out that a glib statement like that might be his "get out of jail free" card but it was my professional reputation he was trashing. Needless to say, when the system was migrated to another platform a few years later, neither i or the guy in charge were chosen to migrate with it.
my alienware 3d monitor cost me 400 quid, and the nvidia glasses another 150, and 150 for the card. PC was less than the monitor.
The kit to run 3d itself is pretty cheap (and mine is 10 years old). If it's a renderer that is needed, that may chew some CPU. But kit like this is such a specialised item that no-one probably thought "hey what would happen if we had to do this from home" and designed it accordingly (plus as Gary McKinnon discovered, allowing remote access also means you have to change default settings).
which was released over 20 years ago now, Very good documentary, mixing classical music from "the planet suite" and interviewing various astronomers. Also very noteworthy for talking to Soviet Scientists about their efforts, first time I had seen that too.
I still have my DVD copy (and have ripped it for backup just in case). Given that local celebrity Mike King goes up and down the country talking to schoolkids about suicide and why not to do it, it seems incongruous that they would block the viewing of it. But then again, NZ is full of Mary Whitehouse like busybodies who think us proles are not equipped to manage our own thoughts and emotions and they know best (Peter Ellis, anyone?)
Apparently women were told that the dvds they were performing for would never be released online, yet for some reason had never had a friend who showed them a "ripped"movie. And have never heard of the "Streisand Effect" either.
that was only about 8 u high (and was double-stacked). The door release mech never worked properly when pressing the LCD display, so we just used to stick a half-unfolded paper clip into the appropriate hole and release the damn thing manually. Actually taped it to the front on a piece of string so we did not need to recreate it if we lost the old one.
and the reason I am there is several-fold,
1. The department has a really bad rep (even compared to other government departments) for HR, career development and managerial competence (or lack thereof).
2. They can't recruit a permie with a similar skillset to replace me because they pay cr4p
3. The permie they did hire to replace me was such a loose cannon they had to "manage him out" (which is seriously impressive given the loons that stll work there).
4. They announced a reorg 3 years ago and have yet to complete it, so have been on a hiring freeze.
5. I have advanced certifications and skillsets in Linux that the perm staff do not have
when my fellow techs reformatted my "thick client" and assured me "my documents" was backed up to the network share. Sure it was, but they must have selected the "resync from scratch" option on the build because it wiped everything I had. And we did not have backups. Now I have a separate Drive Mapping I use for storing documents (plus a wiki I have created for all my documentation). This would never happen on my linux systems.
I see from the quality of comments that we have a lot of pretentious and humourless knobs populating the forums. So, stop chewing the crayons and pay attention for a sec,...
All computer programs operate on assumptions or constraints, otherwise they would be over-engineered to the n-th degree and never be fully completed. One of my assumptions in this case is that there will be replacement for my scripts in the next 81 years, give the short lifetime of platforms and solutions. Now if I only made my function work for ten or twenty years (grep "^20" ) then it would be reasonable to lambast my quality of work, but 80 years what I consider a reasonable assumption to make. And if I was publishing a function to be re-used in a wider forum then I would engineer it to handle these sort of things.
Do you write your date checks to handle leap years? of course. Do you write them to handle century leaps? Maybe, maybe not. Do you write the 400 year check? No, don't be silly.
Lastly, grow some humour, you all sound terribly teutonic.
I write a lot of bash scripts to automate my job and one of the common commands is to validate 4 digit years in files. I generally do a "grep '^20' [file]" , partly because I am too lazy to put the  in the second character and partly because it is kind of reassuring to know that in 81 years from I won't give a sh!t who this affects.
and came back in 2015 as a contractor. The first thing that greeted me in my mailbox was a forums update for the HP Support Website, for kit that the Govt Department had decommissioned long before I got back. So they had been spamming my (non-existent) email box for 14 years and either hadn't upgraded or had dragged everyone along to any new systems.
Ah yes, that Susanne Vega song about performing "percussive maintenance" on a child (double points for includng both topics in your response). Bring back those days when it was legal here, I was beaten regularly as a nipper, never did me any harm (except for the desire to belt children when they misbehave, of course).
(it was stationary). Unfortunately the previous user had not put the hand brake on and it started to roll back. I was puling anything with a T shape or an angled lever, all the while putting my full weight on the conventional brake pedals (no manifold pressure). Someone else had to climb in the passenger side and pull the actual hand-brake. It was a SQUARE! wire handle painted YELLOW! I'm ex airforce, so square wire handles is a cut-away shape for parachutes, and yellow is a danger colour for something that can't be undone when pulled (I thought it would cut away the box body from the chassis or something). I have a lot to say about Kraut engineering these days, not a lot of it complimentary!
I have seen in several companies, the "wilfull employee" and how much they sabotage attempts to discipline them. And how bad management are at dealing with them. The various futile attempts to enforce documentation and redundancy rules, the meetings to convince them to change their ways and the powerlessness of the hierarchy to enforce the rules.
I had one subordinate who refused to show me anything she was doing, and would lock her terminal every time I approached. If I asked her to do something she didn't want to do, she would claim she was working on something far more important and then refuse to elaborate (what she was doing was stuffing around with linux settings she was unqualified and unauthorised to change, resulting in several outages). But as a team leader, I had no authority to discipline her and our manager's nickname was Homer (fat, bald and really "yellow"), so no resolution there. When I would email her with work (or put it on her desk), she would simply ignore it or place it back on mine (one charming instance, I gave her a print out of a Priority 1 issue to resolve, went to the computer room for an hour and came back to find the printout back on my desk and the issue still outstanding)
I would love to hear anyone who has actually gotten a rogue employee either fired or buttoned down.
I was powering on an HP EVA Array after maintenance, and as I flipped the main breakers on the main PDUs, my co-worker snuck up behind me and clapped really loudly. Laughs all around from him, until I start clutching my chest and reaching for my medication (I had a severe heart attack a few years before), at which point his expression changed to "uh oh, bags not doing CPR". Fortunately the chest pains subsided after a few mins and we had a good laugh about it later.
who did things on the cheap. We ordered some temporary licenses to get going on a project requiring HP Virtualisation, with a PO number quoted and the paper work would follow on. 6 weeks later the vendor queried me on the purchase order to issue the permanent keys, and when I checked with accounts, the PM had cancelled the purchase order the day after we received the temporary keys. I went to the Data Centre Manager and did my scone at him ("you may be happy being cheating fraudulent scumbags with vendors but not on my watch" - or words to that effect). Didn't change anything in the short term, but the PM got fired 6 months later for being useless (apparently he had "forgotten" to budget for OS Licenses, and Database Licenses, and hardware costs, and a whole lot of other things) and the loan kit and temp licenses got given back to HP.
I wrote a C program (which I am really pants at) to update the personnel table in a helldesk systems by using the OS-level API. It kept crashing intermittently where I forgot to close something off inside the code but damned if I could find where it was. My replacement had a brilliant idea, split each input file into a whole bunch of singe line files, and run the program once per line. Simplicity itself, but damned if I could see that when I was looking at it.
my boss was leader of tech IT for a large government department, and in the late 90s he was sick of constant complaints about various models of printers not working on our intranet with the various applications. Fortunately he played golf with the head of finance of said department, so one monday he came in and said "all printers to be connected to our network must be HP Laserjet III". Six months later, printer support calls for connection issues were a rarity. Just goes to show what standards can do (and the political horsepower to ram them through).
he was telling how both light beams need to be tripped to trigger the alarm, and promptly leant over the parapet and blocked both light beams. Alarm goes off, team suitably impressed, then Ops Supervisor comes out and says "nice one [boss's name], I hope you know the reset code because we certainly don't".
Four hours later, we manage to track down the company which brought the company which installed the alarm system and get them to come onsite and turn the damn alarm off.
I hope he is forced to maintain their systems using Registry Edits.
Have a copy of his bio, (from an Op Shop), the tech part is a nice read, he was at the forefront of IT for a while.
And I thought Gates was the salesman and Allen the techie (Writing a boot loader for the Altair while on the plane to deliver BASIC to the vendor? Cant imagine his Bill-ness doing that!).
they got a copy of DOS something (2.0 I think) from the vendor (not allowed to build it yourself in those days) and typed the"format" command after putting a floppy in the drive. However with no drive specified, "format" wiped C:. So, send PC back to vendor for re-installation.
Having worked in govt IT, if the cost of running legacy hardware is only the time of a permanent (and therefore zero additional cost to the business) employee, with occasional 24 hour work-a-thons to recover after a crash, then the business will definitely not replace, re-org etc.
What I try and design into my systems is the migration path for the eventual end-of-life cutover. So sticking to flat files or low levels comms for interfaces, splitting app stacks into distinct components that can be hived off individually, etc. I am never around to get the thanks for this from the users (and I never tell the management in case they try to "help" and f**k it up) but I like to think someone notices and appreciates it.
I have needed a piece of software and been told "sorry, cant justify it" or "OK submit a 3 page request and we will get back to you around Christmas". As long as it did not require subscription based support (no ongoing costs), one legendary boss used to say "book it to your credit card and claim overtime in the same amount". He's now a photographer, which is a real loss to IT.