Ivory Tower Inc.

Scott Adams' primary source for material...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Well...things are going to get awfully interesting. DeepThroat has an upcoming evaluation. PHB will be doing the eval.

There will be accomplishments to celebrate, and issues upon which to improve. Much of the eval will be of the "yada yada yada" variety. We all know how that works.

However, PHB always asks the question, "Are you happy here?" That is where the defecation is going to hit the circulation.

At this point, the info tech group (ITT) is really pissed at a certain couple of ITEs. Those ITEs have been saying some disparaging things about the ITTs, and have circumvented chains of command in their attempts to throw their weight around. (And--anyone who has seen these two ITEs--that is a lot of girth.)

I'm not about to back down on this one. The crap has gone on long enough, and it's time to either do something about it or let things get worse. Right now, the ITT is on the verge of an all-out mutiny.

PHB certainly understands the situation, as he is also on the receving end of the antics of the two ITEs. However, PHB has not done much to date to stand up for the ITT.

PHB has a serious morale problem on his hands. He didn't create it, but if he doesn't address it, he is going to have a Charlie Fox on his hands. We'll see what happens.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Our little ITE has grown up!

Ya know, sometimes I think we're too hard on some of the ITE's here at Ivory Tower Inc. Sometimes I actually feel sorry for them. No! Really! I mean it doesn't last long but I *DO* feel sorry for them for 10 or 20 seconds sometimes.

Today we get word that one of our ITE's has went and got his "Piled Higher and Deeper". Congrats ITE. Doesn't particularly change how we think of you but we do respect your dedication.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I hear that train a comin...

Methinks a certain ITE is about to be educated. Certain other VERY SENIOR PHB's are quite unimpressed with the certain ITE's behavior and the BSP(that's Brilliant Security Person)'s Not-So-PH-but-definate-B is on the right team and is backing BSP to the wall.

Hey ITE: That light at the end of the tunnel? Yeah...hear the whistle? yeah...you can't run fast enough ITE.

Monday, April 11, 2005

When ITE's go off half cocked...

Ya just gotta love this. ITE's function best when treated like mushrooms while the rest of us who actually DO the work are, well, DOING the work.

Recently an evil bad guy(EBG) did some bad things to a super secret project here at Ivory Tower Inc which resulted in two seperate issues that had to be dealt with. One of our brilliant Security people took on the task of finding out what the EBG had done, when EBG did it, and what damage was caused(issue 1) and began the process of reviewing certain policies to insure Ivory Tower Inc could mitigate this threat in the future(issue2). One of the findings from Issue 1 was some passwords needed to be reset. Security person made the appropriate PHB aware and was *TOLD* the situation was rectified. A week passed. Brilliant Security Person(BSP) asked Not-Quite-Handsome Webgeek(NQHW) to check and sure enough the passwords had not been changed. BSP almost lost what little mind remained in BSP's much abused cranium and started firing off emails to the FFV's. One of which resulted in a particular ITE's mushroom being jiggled and ITE raised it's head and said something utterly stupid...as ITEs will do.

ITE seems to have real ownership issues because ITE accused BSP of sidestepping ITE and ITE's Keeper(also known as Virtual-PHB). Here's where the whole mushroom thing comes in. BSP thought it best to keep PHB's of all flavors in the dark while BSP worked out what had to be done. Since the other PHB had requested the FFV's to make the password change and BSP had no reason to distrust PHB(ahem), BSP assumed the password change had taken place or was in the works. When FFVs of all flavors revealed they had never recieved such a request BSP fired off the emails. ITE took exception and "reminded" BSP that "we will review" typically means all ITE's and PHB's get involved.

ITE doesn't know excrement from shinola. ITE has spent too much time looking at picture history books. ITE found out that you don't speak ill against BSP without getting smacked.

Note to ITE: "I was tasked by my PHB with taking care of this. When we talk with FFV's about EBG you are invited to attend"

untyped message to ITE: "STFU you arrogant little swine, when I'm ready to deal with you you'll know it."

This will more than likely be updated tomorrow...

Thursday, April 07, 2005

ITE: A Web Services Expert

We have two systems: system A and System B. System A is being hosted in another country. System B is hosted onsite. We are in the process of developing web services that will provide interfacing between systems A and B.

Enter a certain ITE. She's never designed a database in her life. Neither has she written a line of code in her life. She's not even my boss.

However, she is now an authority on web services. She keeps telling me that a certain programmer (Jane) in my group has developed web services for another system. She did not; Jane wrote the specifications, but another party actually developed the services.

ITE still does not understand this. That, however, has not stopped her from insisting that I develop my services the way that Jane did. Never mind that the vendor with which I am working wants to use the industry standard--IMS--for the web services.

This is what pisses me off. I've worked at several development outfits; I've been a programmer for 15 years. I've designed databases...written systems...even helped implement them.

I have NEVER had someone in a nontechnical capacity--who is not even my boss--insist on a certain method for development. I have NEVER been subjected to this level of micromanagement.

At this point, I am dead set toward looking elsewhere. That was the absolute last straw.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

sure...this makes sense

PHB: "We need a best practice for the use of our version control software. Who can write that for us?"

ITE: "Why not the developers? They use it more than anyone else."

PHB: "No no no...we'll get the Network Operations people to write it...yeah, that's the ticket."


Friday, April 01, 2005

Yet Another IT Car Wreck

Okay, get this. We have have a mission critical web application here at Ivory Towers Inc. (let us call it Application X) that is wired into our main web site. Speaking of that web site, it has been determined that the code is woefully outdated and fraught with accessibility issues. (Don't ask me about the war I started with the ITEs over having the audacity to point out the fact that our accessibility sucks. How dare I imply that the thousands they paid for that site was wasted! But that's another post...)

Where was I? Oh yeah...the web site needs an Extreme Accessibility Makeover... Now as fate would have it, and as often happens in organizations like ours, instead of passing that task off to yours truly (and let's just say I have mad skillz in the areas of accessibility, web standards, and being able to make code do all sorts of things...not many can carry my mouse pad in that arena), we decide to contract the job out to Faceless Foreign Vendor. In other words, we're going to pay FFV at least twice the cost and increase the time to rollout of the product to about four times the waiting period to perform a task of which we had impeccable in house skills to accomplish.

But again, that is not the point of the post. Remember...we started out reminiscing about mission critical Application X, and there is where the real crux of the story lies.

The ITE project coordinator responsible for farming this project out to FFV is totally aware of Application X, and even considers himself an expert in Application X. Mind you without ever actually coding a single line of Applicaton X or sitting in on any of the planning or testing of Application X. However, for argument's sake, let's just let that piece of the puzzle slide on by and grant the ITE PC expert status. At least enough of an expert to realize that mission critical Application X is wired into the live site and that there is a difference between flat code and dynamic code generated by Application X. Still, ITE PC had made no plans on reviewing the code, monitoring exactly what FFV was working on, or a drafting a migration policy for the aforementioned Extreme Accessibility Makeover of the web site. Oh, and for the sake of brevity, allow me to say now that FFV has constructed nothing but a flat copy of the web site, a fact apparently lost on ITE PC.

So, yesterday morning, I see an email in my inbox from FFV to ITE PC (on which I've been graciously cc'd), announcing that they're going to move the their new code to the web server and TOTALLY replace the old code. ITE PC's response is an emphatic "Go for it!"

I'll take a dramatic sip of coffee while I let that sink in. It'll allow all you developers out there who know the ramifications take time to pick your jaws up from the floor.

So...we're going to take these considerably more accessible but otherwise flat as a cyberpancake pages and replace our old, inaccessible but extremely well-wired to Application X pages outright. (Mission critical Application X, I remind you).

On the live site.

No QA in a test environment.

No consulting the Other Faceless Foreign Vendor who built Application X.

Nothing. Just replace the code, page for page.

While there was an incredible temptation in me to just sit idly by and let all this go down, I must admit that I felt horrible at the prospect of the innocent web user coming to our site and not being able to purchase their desired widgets and doodads because some bonehead ITE PC didn't have the foresite to keep every ounce of MISSION FREAKIN' CRITICAL APPLICATION X from being stripped from our web pages!

Besides, they'd have just found a way to blame it on me anyway. As it stands, this incredible lack of planning on the ITE PC's behalf is sure to be saddled on me regardless. After all, since my only involvement in the project was to QA the work of FFV to assure it meets rigorous Ivory Towers Inc best practices, clearly that meant I was to have been closely monitoring the progress of FFVs product, coordinating their interaction with OFFV (the creators of Mission Critical Application X (tm)), and implementing a testing/migration plan as well.

UPDATE: While I rarely have a moment of sympathy for PHB, I must admit that yesterday morning I had just that. In a conference call between PHB, ITE PC, FFV's PHB, and other Ivory Tower Inc. luminaries, ITE PC was heard to exclaim loudly, unprofessionally, and most embarrassingly something along the lines of "Who was in charge in tech department of Ivory Tower Inc. that such a thing could happen?", the "such a thing" being the debaucle chronicled above. Unfortunately PHB did not answer "Well for this project, YOU WERE!"

PHB Does it again

PHB is pissed.

We have two systems: A and B. One system is hosted in India; the other system is in our building. There is discussion about integrating system A with system B.

I contended that you need a common field to link two persons definitively, and even proposed an automated way to do this.

Before I could even complete a sentence, PHB responded by insisting on a manual entry process. After about three cutoffs, PHB stormed out.

As a 15-year veteran of programming, I don't appreciate such dismissive postures.

If I were a fresh, green 18-year-old out of high school, that might be one thing. (Even then, I'd not recommend such treatment of someone undeserving of such.)

In my days as a programmer, I've never had anyone treat me like a fornicating two-year-old.