Shared posts

23 Jul 00:14

Cupid’s Arrow Doesn’t Always Fly Straight

by Not Always Romantic


Store | London, England, UK

(My coworker is a rather handsome guy. We work in a cosmetics store, and he is regularly hit on by both male and female customers, though is generally seen flirting with the girls. I see him profusely apologising to a rather angry looking woman, who then flounces out and walks off holding another man’s hand. As soon as she’s out of sight, he straightens up, stretches, and turns around with a self-satisfied grin plastered across his face.)

Me: “What are you so happy about?”

Coworker: “You know how my girlfriend works in an electronics store?”

Me: “…you have a girlfriend? Why are you always hitting on the girls that come in?”

Coworker: “Have you seen how much crap I sell to stupid girls that think buying stuff will make me want them? Anyway, my girlfriend works in an electronics store. She always has guys hitting on her for pretty much the same reason people hit on me. As we kept getting all these numbers, we came up with a plan to deal with them.”

(Two of our other coworkers, and a slightly disappointed looking customer have gathered around to listen.)

Coworker: “Basically, every few days we’ll call a few of the numbers and arrange dates with them around the city, sending one of mine and one of hers to the same place at the same time. Neither get the date they were planning on, but people feel like there’s a bond between them when they’re both stood up in the exact same manner. Then, sometimes, you get the ones like exhibit A…”

(My coworker gestures towards the door, where the rather angry looking woman has just left.)

Coworker: “These ones like to come back and rub it in your face that they found a better person when we didn’t turn up. It wouldn’t work if we told them what had happened, so we just act really apologetic.”

Coworker #2: “Holy s***, you’re running a dating service!”

Customer: *blushing* “Um… I don’t suppose you could do that for me?”

(My coworker takes her by the shoulder, and leads her towards some of the products.)

Coworker: “Of course I can. Let’s go and look like I’m selling you something while I do.”

(My co-worker gives the customer a bar and a time to turn up at. A couple of weeks later, the customer came back to give him a thank you card with her new boyfriend! There’s an ever growing number of couples out there who have no idea that my coworker and his girlfriend are the ones to thank for their relationship!)

16 Jul 15:58

The terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances

by Matthew Inman
The terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances

The terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances.

10 Jul 23:27

I Want It: A Ceiling Lamp That Projects Constellations

constellation-ceiling-lamp.jpg This is the Starry Lights lamp designed by Anna Farkas. It projects accurate constellations on the ceiling and comes in four different models (based on the way the stars appear during different seasons): vernal equinox, summer solstice, autumnal equinox and winter solstice. All the stars are as they appear at 45-degrees north latitude though so if you want some southern hemisphere shit you are OUT OF LUCK. Just kidding, they also make custom ones, it's just going to cost you. And considering they start at $1,000 it's probably smarter to pound some holes in a coffee can with a nail then dangle it over a bare bulb. That's what I did, and I think it turned out pretty good. See? There's the Big Dicker. "It's DIPPER." You sure? "Positive." This reminds me of the time I found up Alaska wasn't an island. Thanks to Christian, who saved himself $990 and used a star map to put up a bunch of those glow-in-the-dark stickers on the ceiling the way we all did in high school and college. Hey baby, wanna see the stars? That was classic.
10 Jul 23:27

Classic WTF: Java is Slow!

by Mark Bowytz

It's Independence Day for us folks here in the US, so to mark the occasion, here's a Classic WTF!

Woof.Pete and his manager Dick were ACME Corporation's version of The Odd Couple. They both shared in the support and maintenance of a monstrous in-house spawned order processing / network monitoring / invoice printing / slashy / slash / slash system written in Visual C++. However, while Pete kept up in the latest technology trends and was always on the lookout for new solutions to old problems, Dick was a very conservative manager with twenty-five company years under his belt. To Dick, "change" was only a Good Thing when it added up to 65¢, which was the exact amount required to buy a ginger ale from the soda machine. What kept Pete and Dick from being a perfect couple was that Dick was Pete's supervisor and often times, he got his way.

Back in the late-90's, Pete had caught wind of some "Java" thing starting to pick up steam. When comparing features, he found that many of the kludgy, half-hearted attempts at a supportable solution they developed would have been scads easier to do using Java. Intrigued at the prospect of a better codebase that took less to develop, Pete coded up a new modules in Java as a proof of concept. For a prototype, it seemed to work well. That is, until it hit a roadblock named Dick. You see, Dick had heard about Java, too.

"You're a developer, not a hacker," Dick ranted after being shown the Java prototype, "we already have the right tools for the job at our hands. Anything that must be run as bytecode through a virtual machine will always be ten times slower!"

Order Jamming

As the years past by, Dick continued to have misgivings about Java. Whenever someone said the word "Java", his knee-jerk reaction was *cough*virtualmachine*cough*. As developers from other teams began using Java tools for themselves, he'd shake his head, roll his eyes back, and eagerly await the first opportunity to say "told you so" if anything unexpected occurred. Even something as little as a typo.

Not all Java encounters, however, ended with just an eyeroll. One day, after being impacted by a "major Java failure" in another department's application, Dick dished out some full-fledged, beat-in-the-face, you'll-be-lucky-if-you-have-a-job-in-the-mailroom-once-I'm-through-with-you anger to one of the lead developer in the other group. And for good reason: the application in question was a J2EE-based order processing system that used Oracle databases and Enterprise Java Beans. That fell directly into the crosshairs of Dick's anti-Java artillery.

Curious as to the technical details of the failure, Pete inquired with the developer. The problem, as he explained, occurred in the middle of a seasonal heavy volume period where the number of orders per second peaked into the hundreds. During that time, it took several minutes to complete a transaction, making the performance comparable to that of a crusty old 486. Dick had of predictably blamed Java.

"Had it always buckled under the pressure?" Pete asked.

"No," replied the colleague, "we're on Version 3 of the system; it's not like they had gained thousands of customers overnight."

"So what happened recently to make things so bad?" asked Pete.

"Dick happened."

Previously, the system had used a message queue system to pass data between it and the big server in the Financials group. However, now, every single transaction was saved off to a custom table in the database, dumped to a common directory on Unix, and then were transferred out by a cron job via FTP. Pete asked why on earth they were writing the transactions to text files.

"That's most likely what's slowing the whole thing down so much," the developer explained. "Dick insisted that, if we were to interface with your system, then we'd have to write everything to text files for reliability. He likes to have the data around where he can see it. To the best that we can tell, he just didn't trust the whole Java and database thing."

Though "Javagate" didn't have the outcome that Dick had hoped — having the mature order processing system be scrapped in favor of something a little lower in the alphabet than "J" — he still remained bitter about technology.

A Sure Thing!

Because of ACME's expertise in building specialized logistical software, a Norwegian company named FooNorsk sent some suit n' tie guys to probe ACME for a really big thing: they had just won a government contract to automate the transportation of passengers around the whole country and wanted ACME to develop some parts of the system.

The system would be responsible for tracking all the vehicles (trains, buses and boats) using GPS, automatically planning all the schedules, coordinating different transportation systems, solving problems due to service interruptions, delays, etc. It was slated to be installed in a big server farm near Oslo and require hundreds of servers to run. Oh, and it was to be based in J2EE.

Pete and Dick attended some meetings with the tall, Viking-looking guys. In a break for coffee, Pete was talking with FooNorsk's main engineer about how ACME had done plenty of Java based projects and had so much expertise in the subject.

When the meeting resumed, the discussion went about some more technical details. Dick then sealed the fate of the meeting with these killer sentences:

"So, your system is made in Java? We don't use any Java around here, it's just too slow. It has no use in our line of business. Why don't you use C++ instead?"

Needless to say, the contract was lost in that precise moment.


[Advertisement] Make your team a DevOps team with BuildMaster. Pairing an easy-to-use web UI with a free base platform, BuildMaster gets you started in minutes. See how and others use BuildMaster to automate their software delivery.
10 Jul 23:10

To Con and Insult

by Ellis Morning

“Well, you know, this’ll be easier when you guys need support from us,” Bob told Peter, tugging at the calendar tacked to his cube wall.

From his seat on Bob’s empty file cabinet, Peter blinked. “Wow. I’m already a ‘you guy?’”

Bob laughed disarmingly. “We built the network it’s installed on. It makes total sense.”

“You’re not running up against our non-compete?” Peter asked.

“No, man. We’re ‘consultants’ now- totally different gig.” Bob turned back to add in a whisper, “and making twice the money! Lunch is on an expense account, by the way. Want to come to the steakhouse with us?”

Peter couldn’t fault Bob, especially not in the age when most employers discarded entire divisions like empty bottles of Evian. Still, in a way Peter felt like he was being left to sink or swim, not the company.

“Who came up with this idea?” he couldn’t help asking. “You or them?”

Bob sighed and looked down at Peter, in more senses than one. “Look, it’s not important. Hang in there, man. Maybe one of these days, you’ll get to do the same thing.”

Instead of developing in-house— too expensive— Peter’s company had contracted ConsultPro to implement a SharePoint core to unify dozens of their business applications. The project had lasted over a year, long enough for facades to melt away. The “strategic partnership” morphed from a collaboration of equals to a nimble parasite feeding off a dim- and slow-witted host. Not only was ConsultPro raking in monstrous hourly fees for its “specialized expertise,” it was also poaching three of the company’s engineers.

Peter wasn’t bitter. His chief responsibility lay in network account administration, so it wasn’t surprising that ConsultPro hadn’t come at him with the magical Wand of Consultant. However, there would be lots of knowledge transfer and shared responsibility until replacements arrived, cutting into all the work the department already had to do. Peter was also backup support for ConsultPro’s new solution, and had to familiarize himself with its underpinnings. He read up on documentation, played in the test environment, and handled the smaller tasks that primary support didn’t have time for. Meanwhile, Bob and his cohorts ascended to the land where money hemorrhaged upon those who dressed the most basic observations in the fanciest terms amid the swankest soirees.

The new system had some minor hiccups, as new systems do. It went live, and users acclimated. All went well for several months. Management toasted themselves for hiring outside help and reducing the Engineering budget, freeing up company resources to better focus on core strategies— like management bonuses. Perhaps the company didn’t need so many developers and support reps after all—

—and then, a major crash paralyzed everything. No one could log into the SharePoint portal. Thousands of users lost access to the apps they needed to do business. Peter’s CEO placed a frantic call to ConsultPro. Within an hour, Bob and the other two poached engineers returned to their former workplace and secreted themselves away in the biggest conference room on Peter’s floor.

Peter wasn’t primarily responsible, but decided to drop in on Bob and his old coworkers. “Hey! How’s it going?”

“Hi.” None of them managed more than that. A tension normally reserved for bomb disarmament choked the air out of the room.

“Um…” Peter grasped for something to say. “Anything I can help with?”

Bob ran a hand over his thinning hair, sighing and muttering. “It’s been two hours and we haven’t figured this out. You better clear out of here. It’s really complex, we’d probably bore you.”

Peter peered over Bob’s shoulder, at the error message on his laptop. “It could be that the security log’s full. Have you checked the application’s internal registry?”

The consultants in the room glanced up with a shot, questioning looks on their faces.

Peter walked Bob to the proper registry key. “This should be a 1, not a 4. It does that when the security log is full and has failed to be cleared and saved properly. Run the script save-and-empty-seclog, that should take care of it.”

Stunned, Bob nevertheless complied. Within minutes, everything was up and running again.

“How did you know that?” one of the other consultants asked, astonished.

“It’s in the documentation,” Peter said. “The same documentation you released to us. So this is why you get twice the pay I get?”

Peter shrugged, and left before any of them replied.

[Advertisement] Make your team a DevOps team with BuildMaster. Pairing an easy-to-use web UI with a free base platform, BuildMaster gets you started in minutes. See how and others use BuildMaster to automate their software delivery.
02 Jul 15:41

Velis Auto Brightness Offers Total Control of Your Screen Brightness

by Shep McAllister

Velis Auto Brightness Offers Total Control of Your Screen Brightness

Android: We all know that screen brightness has a huge effect on your phone's battery life, but Android's built in auto-brightness setting isn't always accurate, and doesn't offer anything in the way of customization. Velis Auto Brightness on the other hand oozes customizability, and gives you more control than you could ever need over your screen's brightness.



20 Jun 20:07

Get your photo in space for 25 bucks

by Matthew Inman
Get your photo in space for 25 bucks


20 Mar 01:18

Filebot Gets Your Downloaded Music And Movies In Shape For Your Media Centre

by Alan Henry


Windows/Mac/Linux: If your media library looks anything like mine, it could use a tuneup. Missing subtitles; files that XBMC or Plex won’t recognise because they’re not named properly; missing episode, series or movie info; the list goes on. Filebot is an open source, cross-platform batch file renaming and organisation tool that will whip your library into shape in no time. More »