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Search - "how does this always happen"
So... This company was in trouble. They hire me to help fix things and build this nice new stack to get rid of their old legacy monster application.
I'm there for three weeks when one of their top investors storms in. Apparently they are turning less profit than they told me during my interview. (Yeah, it is one of the things I always ask, even thought I don't always get an answer).
So this investor/shareholder guy starts on this motivation speech which is basically a veiled threat that "we" need to do better.
Obviously he doesn't know anyone in the room other than the boss. And it was apparent, at least to me, he also has 0% knowledge of anything related to software development. The boss doesn't look to happy about having to let this happen.
Then the guy turns to me. He points his finger at me and demands to know how failing so badly makes me feel...
So I answered truthfully... "I've only been here for three weeks, so I don't think I've been failing too much, yet. Now, how long did you say you've been throwing money at this failure without getting the return you wanted?" Emphasizing the "you" by pointing right back at him.
That doesn't shut the guy up, but he does bring his "motivational" speech to a rapid close.
He doesn't bother saying goodbye when he stormed out again, not even to the boss, who looks a lot happier at this point.
Apparently the guy pulled this stunt every couple of months (or weeks, if he was bored enough). After this encounter, he apparently had enough of trying to "motivate" us developers. We I didn't see him again in the 2 years I worked with the company after that.
I got a pay raise the month after. Apparently that was totally unrelated to this incident... 😙🎵12
My first job: The Mystery of The Powered-Down Server
I paid my way through college by working every-other-semester in the Cooperative-Education Program my school provided. My first job was with a small company (now defunct) which made some of the very first optical-storage robotic storage systems. I honestly forgot what I was "officially" hired for at first, but I quickly moved up into the kernel device-driver team and was quite happy there.
It was primarily a Solaris shop, with a smattering of IBM AIX RS/6000. It was one of these ill-fated RS/6000 machines which (by no fault of its own) plays a major role in this story.
One day, I came to work to find my team-leader in quite a tizzy -- cursing and ranting about our VAR selling us bad equipment; about how IBM just doesn't make good hardware like they did in the good old days; about how back when _he_ was in charge of buying equipment this wouldn't happen, and on and on and on.
Our primary AIX dev server was powered off when he arrived. He booted it up, checked logs and was running self-diagnostics, but absolutely nothing so far indicated why the machine had shut down. We blew a couple of hours trying to figure out what happened, to no avail. Eventually, with other deadlines looming, we just chalked it up be something we'll look into more later.
Several days went by, with the usual day-to-day comings and goings; no surprises.
Then, next week, it happened again.
My team-leader was LIVID. The same server was hard-down again when he came in; no explanation. He opened a ticket with IBM and put in a call to our VAR rep, demanding answers -- how could they sell us bad equipment -- why isn't there any indication of what's failing -- someone must come out here and fix this NOW, and on and on and on.
(As a quick aside, in case it's not clearly coming through between-the-lines, our team leader was always a little bit "over to top" for me. He was the kind of person who "got things done," and as long as you stayed on his good side, you could just watch the fireworks most days - but it became pretty exhausting sometimes).
Back our story -
An IBM CE comes out and does a full on-site hardware diagnostic -- tears the whole server down, runs through everything one part a time. Absolutely. Nothing. Wrong.
I recall, at some point of all this, making the comment "It's almost like someone just pulls the plug on it -- like the power just, poof, goes away."
My team-leader demands the CE replace the power supply, even though it appeared to be operating normally. He does, at our cost, of course.
Another weeks goes by and all is forgotten in the swamp of work we have to do.
Until one day, the next week... Yes, you guessed it... It happens again. The server is down. Heads are exploding (will at least one head we all know by now). With all the screaming going on, the entire office staff should have comped some Advil.
My team-leader demands the facilities team do a full diagnostic on the UPS system and assure we aren't getting drop-outs on the power system. They do the diagnostic. They also review the logs for the power/load distribution to the entire lab and office spaces. Nothing is amiss.
This would also be a good time draw the picture of where this server is -- this particular server is not in the actual server room, it's out in the office area. That's on purpose, since it is connected to a demo robotics cabinet we use for testing and POC work. And customer demos. This will date me, but these were the days when robotic storage was new and VERY exciting to watch...
So, this is basically a couple of big boxes out on the office floor, with power cables running into a special power-drop near the middle of the room. That information might seem superfluous now, but will come into play shortly in our story.
So, we still have no answer to what's causing the server problems, but we all have work to do, so we keep plugging away, hoping for the best.
The team leader is insisting the VAR swap in a new server.
One night, we (the device-driver team) are working late, burning the midnight oil, right there in the office, and we bear witness to something I will never forget.
The cleaning staff came in.
Anxious for a brief distraction from our marathon of debugging, we stopped to watch them set up and start cleaning the office for a bit.
Then, friends, I Am Not Making This Up(tm)... I watched one of the cleaning staff walk right over to that beautiful RS/6000 dev server, dwarfed in shadow beside that huge robotic disc enclosure... and yank the server power cable right out of the dedicated power drop. And plug in their vacuum cleaner. And vacuum the floor.
We each looked at one-another, slowly, in bewilderment... and then went home, after a brief discussion on the way out the door.
You see, our team-leader wasn't with us that night; so before we left, we all agreed to come in late the next day. Very late indeed.9
I had a discussion with a coworker earlier.
I owed him for lunch the other day, and he suggested I pay him back either with cash (which I didn't have), Venmo, or just by him lunch the next time (which I ended up doing).
The short of it: they make money by selling your information. That's worth far more than charging users a small fee when sending $5 every few weeks. Sort of what I expected when I heard "always free," but what surprised me is just how much they collect. (In retrospect, I really shouldn't have been surprised at all...)
Here's an incomplete list:
* full name, physical address, email, DoB, SSN (or other government IDs, depending on country)
* Complete contact list (phone numbers, names, photos)
* Browser/device fingerprint
* (optional) Your entire Facebook feed and history
* (optional) all of your Facebook friends' contact info
* Your Twitter feed
* Your FourSquare activity
(The above four ostensibly for "fraud prevention")
* GPS data
* Usage info about the actual service
* Other users' usage info (e.g. mentioning you)
* Financial info (the only thing not shared with third parties)
So I won't be using Venmo. ever.
I mentioned all of this to my coworker, and he just doesn't understand. at all. He even asks "So what are they going do with that, send me ads? like they already do?"
I told him why I think it's scary. Everything from them freely selling all of your info, to someone being able to look through your entire online life's history, to being able to masquerade around as you, to even reproducing your voice (e.g. voice clips collected by google assistant), to grouping people by political affiliations.
He didn't have much to say about any of them, and actually thought the voice thing was really cool. (All I could think of was would happen if the "news" had that ability....) All of his other responses were "that doesn't bother me at all" and/or "using all of these services is so convenient."
but what really got me was his reaction to the last one.
I said, "If you're part of the NRA, for example, you'd be grouped with Republicans. If they sell all of this information, which they do, and they don't really care who buys it or what they do with it... someone could look through the data and very very easily target those political groups."
His response? "I don't have to worry about that. I'm a Democrat, and have always voted Democrat. I'll tell anyone that."
That's basically saying every non-democrat is someone you should be wary of and keep an eye on. That's saying Democrats are the norm and everyone else is deviant and/or wrong.
and I couldn't say anything after this because... no matter what I said, it would start a political conflict, and would likely end with me being fired (since the owner is also a democrat, and they're very buddy-buddy). "What if they target democrats?" -> "They already do!" or "What if democrats use it against others?" -> "They deserve it for being violent and racist, but we never would" (except, you know, that IRS/tea-party incident for example...)
But like, this is coming from someone who firmly believes conservatives are responsible for all of the violence and looting and rioting and mass shootings in the country. ... even when every single instance has been by committed by democrats. every. single. one.
He doesn't understand the need for privacy, and his world view is just... he actually thinks everyone with different beliefs is wrong and dangerous.
I don't even know how to deal with people like this. and with how prevalent this mindset is... coupled with the aforementioned privacy concerns... it's honestly *terrifying.*69
Man, I think we've all gotten way too many of these.
Normally most interactions that I have are through email. Eventually some would try to contact me via phone. These are some:
"Hey! We are calling you from <whatever company name> solutions! (most of them always seem to end on solutions or some shit like that) concerning the Ruby on Rails senior dev opportunity we were talking about via email"
<niceties, how are you doing, similar shit goes here...eventually>
So tell us! how good/comfortable would you say you are with C++?"
Me: I have never done anything serious with c++ and did just use it at school, but because I am not a professional in it I did not list it in my CV, what does it have to do with Rails?
Them: "Oh the applications of this position must be ready to take in additional duties which sometimes happen to be C or C++"
Me: Well that was not anywhere in the offer you sent, it specifically requested a full stack Rails developer that could work with 3 different frontend stacks already and like 4 different databases plus bla bla bla, I did not see c++ anywhere in it. Matter of fact I find it funny, one of the things that I was curious about was the salary, for what you are asking and specifically in the city in which you are asking it for 75k is way too low, you are seriously expecting a senior level rails dev to do all that AND take additional duties with c++? cpp could mean a billion different things"
Them: "well this is a big opportunity that will increase your level to senior position"
Me: the add ALREADY asks for a senior position, why are you making it sound that I will get build towards that level if you are already off the bat asking for seniors only to begin with?
Them: You are not getting it, it is an opportunity to grow into a senior, applicants right now are junior to mid-level
ME: You are all not making any sense, please don't contact me again.
Them: We are looking for someone with 15 years experience with Swift development for mobile and web
Me: What is up with your people not making these requirements in paper? if I knew from the beginning that you people think that Swift is 15 years old I would have never agreed to this "interview"
Them: If you are not interested in that then might we offer this one for someone with 10 years experience as a full stack TypeScript developer.
Me: No, again, check your dates, this is insulting.
* For another Rails position
Them: How good are you with Ruby on Rails in terms of Python?
Me: excuse me? Python has nothing to do with Ruby on Rails.
Her (recruiter was a woman) * with a tone of superiority: I have it here that Python is the primary technology that accompanies Rails development.
Me (thinking this was a joke) : What do you think the RUBY part of Ruby on Rails is for? and what does "accompanies Rails development" even means?
Me: This is a joke, goodbye.
To be fair this was years ago when I still didn't know better and test the recruiters during the email part of being contacted. Now a days I feel sorry for everyone since I just say no without even bothering. This is a meme all on itself which no one has ever bothered to review and correct in years for now. I don't know why recruiters don't google themselves to see what people think of their "profession" in order to become better.
I think people in web development get the short end of the stick when it comes to retarded recruiters more than anywhere else.6
We all work on the same room: Devs and testers.
In order to communicate with each other without taking off our earphones, we use the chat app.
Ok, sometimes the chat app has delay sending messages.
I really, really hate when one of the testers comes to my desk without telling me he's coming to my desk! >:v and this is the reason why I hate it so much: I'm concentrate in my code, listening to ASP or SPA and, suddenly, I feel a heavy presence behind my monitors. I look up and I see a very penetrating gaze from the corpulent tester looking at me (he's tall). Every time he does that I almost have a heart attack D:
"There's a bug I want you to check" he says.
And I check my chat app if there's a delayed message from him. Nothing, NOTHING >:v
Always, when I want to go to his desk, I send him a message
"Is it ok if I go to your desk?" and he says me "You don't have to ask for it, just come here" but the thing is that I do that because I expect him to do the same :/
Fortunately this doesn't happen every day, but it pisses me off, and I don't know how to tell him to stop doing that because I don't want to be like a... jerk? intolerant? I don't know18
Well fuck me sideways with a rusty lamppost.
Got assigned to a project at work, kind of a biggie, my first actual large project. Been working there since last year, done a lot of research in my spare time and felt like I deserved it or something.
A few weeks ago I posted a rant about a fuckwit that can't even type 'ssh' in a terminal and doesn't know how a basic database system works.
Exactly that happened.
Because of his overconfidence and big mouth he got assigned to the project as well.
He planned a pitch. Stole my words.
He hasn't proven himself in any way and always needs help. Always. And I don't have a problem with people asking for help, I actually tell people not to be afraid to ask if they don't know something.
But I do have a problem with people laying back at work and asking 7 different people how to open a terminal.
Why does this happen? Just why?4
I spent over a decade of my life working with Ada. I've spent almost the same amount of time working with C# and VisualBasic. And I've spent almost six years now with F#. I consider all of these great languages for various reasons, each with their respective problems. As these are mostly mature languages some of the problems were only knowable in hindsight. But Ada was always sort of my baby. I don't really mind extra typing, as at least what I do, reading happens much more than writing, and tab completion has most things only being 3-4 key presses irl. But I'm no zealot, and have been fully aware of deficiencies in the language, just like any language would have. I've had similar feelings of all languages I've worked with, and the .NET/C#/VB/F# guys are excellent with taking suggestions and feedback.
This is not the case with Ada, and this will be my story, since I've no longer decided anonymity is necessary.
First few years learning the language I did what anyone does: you write shit that already exists just to learn. Kept refining it over time, sometimes needing to do entire rewrites. Eventually a few of these wound up being good. Not novel, just good stuff that already existed. Outperforming the leading Ada company in benchmarks kind of good. At the time I was really gung-ho about the language. Would have loved to make Ada development a career. Eventually build up enough of this, as well as a working, but very bad performing compiler, and decide to try to apply for a job at this company. I wasn't worried about the quality of the compiler, as anyone who's seriously worked with Ada knows, the language is remarkably complex with some bizarre rules in dark corners, so a compiler which passes the standards test indicates a very intimate knowledge of the language few can attest to.
I get told they didn't think I would be a good fit for the job, and that they didn't think I should be doing development.
A few months of rapid cycling between hatred and self loathing passes, and then a suicide attempt. I've got past problems which contributed more so than the actual job denial.
So I get better and start working even harder on my shit. Get the performance of my stuff up even better. Don't bother even trying to fix up the compiler, and start researching about text parsing. Do tons of small programs to test things, and wind up learning a lot. I'm starting to notice a lot of languages really surpassing Ada in _quality of life_, with things package managers and repositories for those, as well as social media presence and exhaustive tutorials from the community.
At the time I didn't really get programming language specific package managers (I do now), but I still brought this up to the community. Don't do that. They don't like new ideas. Odd for a language which at the time was so innovative. But social media presence did eventually happen with a Twitter account that is most definitely run by a specific Ada company masquerading as a general Ada advocate. It did occasionally draw interest to neat things from the community, so that's cool.
Since I've been using both VisualStudio and an IDE this Ada company provides, I saw a very jarring quality difference over the years. I'm not gonna say VS is perfect, it's not. But this piece of shit made VS look like a polished streamlined bug free race car designed by expert UX people. It. Was. Bad. Very little features, with little added over the years. Fast forwarding several years, I can find about ten bugs in five minutes each update, and I can't find bugs in the video games I play, so I'm no bug finder. It's just that bad. This from a company providing software for "highly reliable systems"...
So I decide to take a crack at writing an editor extension for VS Code, which I had never even used. It actually went well, and as of this writing it has over 24k downloads, and I've received some great comments from some people over on Twitter about how detailed the highlighting is. Plenty of bespoke advertising the entire time in development, of course.
Never a single word from the community about me.
Around this time I had also started a YouTube channel to provide educational content about the language, since there's very little, except large textbooks which aren't right for everyone. Now keep in mind I had written a compiler which at least was passing the language standards test, so I definitely know the language very well. This is a standard the programmers at these companies will admit very few people understand. YouTube channel met with hate from the community, and overwhelming thanks from newcomers. Never a shout out from the "community" Twitter account. The hate went as far as things like how nothing I say should be listened to because I'm a degenerate Irishman, to things like how the world would have been a better place if I was successful in killing myself (I don't talk much about my mental illness, but it shows up).
I'm strictly a .NET developer now. All code ported.6
Where n is the number of USB-C cables you need, n-1 is the number of USB-C cables you have.
Seriously, how does this always happen? I finally have an excess of Micro USB cables and now nothing fucking uses it. I'm already nearing as many devices using USB-C as I had Micro USB before!3
So I came up with an interesting idea for a quick side project. "Should be doable in an afternoon," I thought to myself.
Then I sat myself down and started diagramming all the components and sections I'd need to build. Suddenly, simple project no longer seems so simple.
...dammit, not again.1
There is a side project that they've been working on. The CEO laid out the details to the Product Owner and Tech Lead. Now what he wants to happen is beyond the scope of the business core itself and it would take months to do the changes just to make the side project work. Now both of them ask the timeline for this, CEO said 1 week. 1 fucking week (he's a dev in his glory days which is why the short timeline). He know proceeds to suggest to us how we should do it (like he normally does). But Tech Lead knows better. So with the help of one of the junior devs, they proceed with the Tech Lead's plan. Now come for updates, they presented that its working and such. The CEO became furious as to why they decided to design it that way (of course you dingus, you gave them 1 week and expect quality). Now what triggered me was 2 things, first is his comment on the way they designed it. Its "flawed design". WTF ARE YOU EXPECTING? YOU ARE A FORMER DEV. YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER. Second, is the junior dev is asking me about the project. WHY IS HE ASKING ME. I always tell him that ask Tech Lead. Some of his questions should have been answered by Tech Lead. He even questions the design itself(why they designed it the way they did). I DON'T EVEN KNOW WTF Y'ALL BEEN TALKING ABOUT THIS PROJECT AND YOU'RE ASKING ME. Flawed design, more like flawed communication.1
There was this tech guy in our project. I don't really know how techy nor what his role was, but I do know he was a techie.
Lately we'd noticed he was behaving more and more managerish. Orchestrating resources over slack, scheduling meetings, the managerial slang... Bulletpoints... It was obvious what's going to happen - he was striving for a manager's chair. Cool. He seemed like a guy who can indeed do this well. And the fact that he's a techie was promising - he should understand so many things.
Boy did that come around and bite us in our asses. Turns out this guy is a googler. If we are working on some case [as we always are] he jumps in and offers his opinion, although he is far from our technical area. We explain how/why it is not a good idea. Then he does some googling and comes back with a different idea! And insists on testing it out... FTR, a single test in our project could take from 1 to 6 hours. And he's a manager now!! We can't just ignore his requests...
Allright, we do that testing. Results are far from satisfying. We continue investigating. He does as well. We'd like to try something out, but there he comes with a new idea! And ofc we are asked to test it out as well.
Our own testing is postponed again.
A few days like this one pass by. In a daily meeting we are blamed for taking that long to do our investigation and we are questioned as engineers.
Honestly? I'm having second thoughts about this new role. It's supposed to be fun and challenging and all, but this kind of shit is just too much...7