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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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it's totally a monday
children of dune - leto 1
I knew it was a Monday when I woke up, sure. But do Mondays have to be so...so Mondayish? I mean, it's a cliche--everything is not really supposed to go wrong on Monday! And why my life thinks it's supposed to is a mystery I am sure I will never solve.

And if this program doesn't stop screwing around I will not snap, per se, but I will finally admit I snapped a long, long time ago and stop trying to control homicidal impulses, because really. Sure, jail time, but on the other hand--okay, I don't have another hand for this one.

What I have learned:

1.) Programmers should not be allowed near programs without adequate supervision. Before you look at me like I'm nuts (even though, yeah, there is that), we have yet another improvement to the system that miraculously makes an already confusing method of inquiry even more confusing by changing a nice single page into a series of a million much shorter pages. I wish I could really get across the full extent of the nightmare that has become my life, but imagine trying to read a fic with six words per page, but pretend the word is a case number and you are supposed to sort all the cases by date, but you can't because the cases are now all on different pages and there is no way to sort them. And there are different types of words, or cases, rather, and you just stare at it and then ask your boss for the developer's name and ten minutes in the break room no questions asked.

Why did they think this was a good idea?

2.) I'm freaking serious about the break room. I only need five and a blue pen.

3.) I'd settle for two minutes and anthrax.

4.) This problem is exacerbated by the fact I don't think any of the programmers have any idea of what they are actually writing. Bear with me. They are each given a small module of a much, much, much larger program, and I get the distinct impression they aren't really aware that there is a larger program. They also really do not understand who they are writing for. I used to hear the arguments they'd make against stuff we wanted the program to do that were kind of insane. I mean, insane.

5.) Only one of five can document.

6.) Of those one in five, none of them speak English as a first language (or second, for that matter), so there's a lot of interpretation between technical speak and layman English with a lot of inquiries into if they speak American English or British English, because wow, can that go tragic places fast. It's not even the language barrier--a huge amount of it is the technical language barrier--I don't think many of them really absorbed How To Talk to the Layman About Hideously Complicated Changes That Make No Sense.

7.) This design is still hideous. Inline frames do not make things better.

8.) One minute and ebola. Just one.


I'm hunting up every h/c dS fic I have read, create a list, and re-read it all when I get home. Maybe SGA too. Something with Rodney and a crushed hand, maybe.

They are each given a small module of a much, much, much larger program, and I get the distinct impression they aren't really aware that there is a larger program. They also really do not understand who they are writing for.

So the program is really like The Cube?

Re: Cube (Anonymous) Expand
*cringe* You mean the designers are designing a program with no grasp whatsoever of what the users are actually going to want to DO with said program? Yeah. Been there. Got the t-shirt.

A language barrier PLUS a technical language barrier... *shudders* We're here for you.

The designers--yes. Yes they are. And they also know better than we do what we want, even if they aren't sure what we do. It's--I don't even know.

A language barrier PLUS a technical language barrier... *shudders* We're here for you.

The rare written documentation is like having a very strange case of visual aphasia or something. I know they have to mean to use other words, but God knows what that was supposed to be.

(Deleted comment)
I do like that food and reading bit.

And ooh. *winces for you* Okay, your day may be worse. Depending on if I get my thirty seconds with the breakroom and a pointy object.

My deepest sympathy. I'm sort of there, except the other two developers? Are no longer here, so I can't even beat them with blunt objects, or anything.

I need to stop there, because ranting will not help. I just...I get it, and I'm really deeply sorry.

*sits with you in solidarity*

Holy shit. With a few minor adjustments, you could be living my life, right now, and probably not even tell the difference. I just sent an email that contained the following to my boss:

I've requested a meeting with X tomorrow. Maybe if we sit there together and I actually supervise her, we can get at least a few meetings set up, so we won't be too desperately behind schedule. I also plan to get a set of questions firmed up so that we can keep the meetings with [Pit Of Vipers staff] as short, direct, and to the point as possible, since we're so far behind where we should be.

Also, X has not to my knowledge done any of the online training provided by our Document Management System, nor has she read any of the document management information I have provided to her. She seems unable to comprehend the function of keywords, search terms, and the autofill requirements and functions. As a co-project manager she insists on being involved in every step, but I feel her complete lack of knowledge of this system, and even of how any document management system is supposed to work, is going to be a more serious problem the closer we get to rollout and implementation.

Good times, good times. Please share the H/C list if and when you finalize it? It's a very Mondayish Monday indeed.

...oh my God. I--have no words. Are you drinking yet? You probably should be. And I do not say that lightly.


Current h/c reading. It also has a sequel, so it is like h/c Christmas.

I love how you think. *glows*

When I was in college (way too many moons ago!), I had a professor that we all despised. The class was structured around project teams, and my team spent an inordinate amount of time imagining the worst possible punishment for this professor. What we finally came up with is that he should be forced to slide, naked, down a mountain of razor blades into a vat of alcohol.

Imagining torture can be soooo satisfying . . .

Feel free to update and embellish as desired. :)

15 seconds and a taser? (OK, maybe this is played out by now.)

so there's a lot of interpretation between technical speak and layman English with a lot of inquiries into if they speak American English or British English, because wow, can that go tragic places fast.

See, this is what frustrates me about my job search. I'm a computer science major (BS from the College of Engineering) with a minor in English. I've been working in this goddamned field for (holy crap!) 15 years now. I write both project design documents and custom software applications to make people weep. I've made Microsoft Office my bitch.

And yet no one wants to hire me.

Um, yeah, so translate all that whining to "I feel your pain", truly.

Right now, I am bitter on your behalf. I would do *anything* for a programmer who understood how to document.

This is the mondayist Monday ever.

It is. It's insanely Monday. It is the Monday of nightmares.

5.) Only one of five can document.

You get one out of five to document? That's magical!!! (And I'm not even talking about user documentation of which we have none here. We used to have someone who did that full time but layoffs of 2002 put an end to that and never brought it back.) I'm just talking about documenting the code so other programmers can pick up the slack.

God. What is with programmers? Gah. Gah.

And I hear you on user doc--the testers (aka my unit), are basically writing the documentation ourselves by guessing what we think the change is and what we *think* its supposed to do. It's--well. Hellish.

Geek-to-English Translation

Wow. Just... wow. I haven't read your 36 other comments (maybe more by the time I'm done typing my own comment), but I have to plunk down my 2 bars of Latinum on this one.

Every programmer in the English-speaking world, EVERY single one, should have to take at least one class on Geek-to-English Translation. I am both a programmer and a trained technical writer (actually took university classes for exactly that), and the skill that got me my very first post-university job - and made the developers love me - was my ability to translate Geekspeak into layman's English (so they didn't have to do it).

Also? Programmers, myself included, have a tendency - a very strong tendency - to implement things because they can. This feature would be so cool! What? No, I don't know if the users need it, but it would be so cool! I'ma implement it and they'll all just love it. Look! It knocks out seven hundred lines of code in this module and I only have to add three hundred lines of code to this module! Documentation? Ummm... we don't have the budget or the schedule for documentation. This is easy to use, right? I mean, it makes sense to me...

We used to call it "Oooh, Shiny! Syndrome". =)

On the other hand, one of my university professors (in the Computer Science department) had a degree in English (or perhaps Journalism?), and would bounce projects if there were typos or grammatical errors in one's comments. For that matter, he would bounce projects if the comments did not meet his very specific, very detailed commenting guidelines. As students, we hated that; as professionals in the workplace, we sure as hell appreciate it, now.

People who haven't been taught the pitfalls of documentation don't even think about things like avoiding jargon and slang, spelling out TLAs (three-letter acronyms) or proof-reading for typos and missing/misused words. Every programmer who works with English-speaking users needs a Geek-to-English translator.

And every "enhancement" needs a kill switch. ;)

Edited at 2008-07-21 05:25 pm (UTC)

Re: Geek-to-English Translation

My job is to LITERALLY translate Engineers into English and sometimes it takes a lot of crow bars to get "WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY??" out of them.

Don't forget, if programmers make an error, and then have the audacity to acknowledge it and go back to fix it, they face potential termination of employment. Because competition is the key to a successful tech workplace.

Busted and Tapestry are both great.

Have you read Northern Light by Shadow? Or crysothemis's Blind Justice?

shenalia can actually document properly. Which is, of course, why the Chair Force saw fit to make him retrain from programming (a job he likes and is good at and contains fellow geeks) to ACC (which contains none of the above, except perhaps the "good at" part when he's got more experience).