Will probably have to exchange batteries at the destination
251 posts • joined 2 Jun 2015
Watson is given a 4 rating (well below average) in it's annual performance review and is put on a PIP (Performance Improvement Plan) for failing to meet its PBC (Personal Business Commitments). Inevitably, it is fired for 'poor performance' after previously getting all 1 ratings (well above average). Watson sues IBM for age discrimination but IBM drags out the case for years.
Watson dies of old age in a nursing home for obscure code (Github). The Register marks its passing in a footnote to an article about Big Blue's latest tech. Gartner is too busy working on its Hype Cycle to notice. IBM awards its CEO a bonus and a new helicopter; revenue continues to fall.
Many years later, a young software undergrad stumbles across the code on Github and forks the repo. After a few months of sleepless nights, she manages to get the code to build and run, but most of the tests are broken. Undeterred, she drops out of college, puts together a convincing PowerPoint deck touting its benefits and a flaky demo. She speculatively forms a startup and does the rounds of VC's (Venture Captialists) in Silicon Valley. A bidding war erupts and she cashes out to ... IBM.
Worked with a bloke whose first job was doing Crystal Reports (or something similar) to generate annual safety certificates for lift inspections. After a few years, he realised there was a bug in his code which automatically approved *every* inspection. He quietly fixed the issue and was *very* relieved there were no incidents.
Ordered a pizza in 1999, during the early days of the internet. Entered my credit card details, clicked submit and waited... I suspect that it just faxed an order to the local pizza shop. Anyway, my Thai yellow chicken curry pizza (goes well with beer!) arrived after 45 mins. The most amazing thing was not that the pizza combination was awful but that it arrived at all.
Worked with an intern c2000 when Windows, COM and C++ were the latest, shiniest tech. Everyone was really excited about the tech and new toys, except him. We asked him about whether he'd be working with us on the bleeding edge after he graduated. He replied that he wanted to work on COBOL systems, much to our revulsion, disgust and horror. He pointed out that he'd always have a job. Not sure what happened to him but he's probably coining it right now.
Back in the day (1986), one of the blokes on my engineering course monopolised the Fat Macs (512kB RAM!) to do Mandelbrot simulations. He left big notes on them about "DO NOT TURN OFF - RUNNING SIMULATION". We rebooted them because we wanted to play our dungeon crawler (name escapes me). AFAIK, none of his simulations ever finished.
AFAIK, having worked in the patent/IP area, there has never been a requirement to show a working version. The only requirement is the invention is "novel/new" and the patent applicant discloses a way to implement/perform the invention. The level of disclosure required is so that "a non-inventive person, skilled in the art" can create the invention.
Most patent systems around the world are broken in that patent offices are motivated to grant patents because that generates revenue/renewal fees. Searches for prior art and examinations are minimal; and broad claims are readily granted. This has led to big businesses, and patent trolls, hoarding patents and using them as a stick to threaten other companies.
Most patent systems have a "compulsory licensing" clause but this has been rarely enforced; thereby encouraging patent trolls.
The only ray of hope is that "extension of term" for pharmaceuticals is a little easier in acknowledgement of how long it takes to get a drug to market.
Many years ago, I wrote a program to replace some flaky Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets. To encourage engineers to use it, I displayed some NSFW images after the program performed some calculations. It also logged the Novell NetWare user name, so I could see which engineers were using it (or were excessively h0rny!).
Paris Hilton icon, even though it was long before her 5 mins of fame.
Worked on a project for a large, government organisation where we had a very small team of 6. We delivered something based on a monolithic architecture and the customer was happy. We then acquired more people, including a 'Technical Architect'. Said TA decided that a micro-services architecture was the only way to do the project because the monolithic architecture 'would not scale'. We then rewrote it as microservices, at great expense, and made sure it scaled to ridiculous levels. There were a maximum of 12 people using the app, each for a few minutes each day.
Worked in engineering, many years ago, and was in the weekly engineering meeting (circa 1995). There were 10 or so of us, so we were burning $1000 AUD per hour. The manager and some other people spent 10 min debating whether M8 or M10 bolts would be sufficient for some job; whether or not they needed to be stainless steel; and the grade of stainless steel. I was thinking: "There must be at least 10K bolts involved here; probably more like 100K the way they're arguing." Turned out it was a mere 10 bolts! They had just burnt $150 AUD on something that was worth $10 AUD. That is when I learned about a 'bike shed' (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_triviality).
Worked at a company where our (Windows) MFC serialised files contained references to other files. For anyone who doesn't know, MFC serialisation is essentially a memory dump of the object graph. If you open it up in WordPad, it looks like gibberish. All of that didn't stop some of our users from opening files up in WordPad; doing a find-replace on said files references; and saving files. Much to our amazement, there were no instances of file corruption!
I was part of an industry initiative which was meant to promote interoperability, so users could mix and match components from different vendors. Someone described it as "Trying to get a pack of hungry rats to share lunch". It was supported by various vendors to different levels such that it was never really useful, so quickly disappeared.
Met a guy about 15 years ago who was an SAP consultant. After spending 10k Euros on an SAP training course, his consulting rate was 1k Euros per day. Basically, after going through the 'orientation phase' of your first project, it's full steam ahead on the gravy train. I did seriously consider it but it means dealing with accountants and management people. I shudder to think what his day rate must be now...
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