LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You know you're screwed when...
You work at Yahoo! and you lied on your resume... and you're the CEO.
You've stumbled onto another issue of The Crapolla, a journal written for software professionals. No not the managers; I mean the people who do the work.
This Crapolla is sponsored by...
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In This Issue...
Tackling very Large Movies Under Fear of Piracy.
Jimmy from Nebraska writes...
My company is moving faster and faster. I don't know if I can keep up. What should I do?
Your company must be a well-oiled machine if it keeps getting faster and faster. This is usually the result of good practices such as well-documented procedures, and good training. Toss in a little automation, and productivity goes up.
I've told you the recipe for success. If you're looking for the opposite, the simplest way to slow down your company is to stop writing stuff down. Just stop all documentation. Get rid of the tech pubs department, and lay-off anyone who knows what a verb is. In about six months everyone will have to pause to figure out how to do anything.
While you're at it, also start wearing wooden shoes.
P.S. If your company is publicly traded, please let me know the name so I can avoid investing in it.
The secret's out. There's only one writer left in Hollywood!
I'm at the very beginning of a very large coding project. If I'm lucky, I'll be done by the end of the year. The specs are written, the prototypes are approved. Now it's just the coding. Where to start?
Many people will say, "Start anywhere. It doesn't matter." I disagree. Every morning when I arrive at WTHAIS, I look over the work before me. As I read each item, I think about how complex it is. Then I start with the easiest item. I do this because what I do at WTHAIS is very different than anything I do anywhere else. When I arrive, I'm not really in gear yet. Prioritizing the work by ascending complexity is a good way to ease into work mode.
I learned this from film production. At the beginning of the project, you have a small army of actors, crafts people, and technical people who need to become familiar very quickly. Starting day one of your shooting with a very complex shot is a terrible way to start a film. Complex shots take a lot of time to get right, and they are actually harder in the beginning of the shoot than at the end because, at the end, everyone knows what to expect from everyone else. People will have seen the shot approaching on the schedule. People do a better job of pulling together when they know each other. It's much better to have a real easy shot for the first set up of day one.
In coding, we often work alone. But if we're using a framework, in a way, we're are working with everyone who has ever contributed to that framework. You need to get familiar with their work. At the end of the project, you'll understand their work, and you'll be coding much quicker. But in the beginning, you won't make much progress. This is why I believe you should arrange the work in ascending complexity. Just get the work organized, and then do one simple function that will get your toe in the water.
Unfortunately, my method is still a little frustrating. That's because when you do the small stuff, it feels like you aren't getting anywhere. But time and time again, the small stuff opens my eyes to how simple the hard stuff really is. But it can't be perceived as simple until you have a feel for the environment, framework, and the project itself. So crack open a Diet Coke and knock out a couple easy bits first.
I was recently on holiday in Costa Rica. At one of our stops, there was zip-lining, horse-back riding, and other hyphenated adventures. The entire time, the establishment was taking our pictures. At the end of the day, we stopped by the gift shop to have a look and buy a CD.
In the shop, they wanted us to show them which pictures we were in. They weren't going to just put all of the pictures on the disc. This was quite a hassle because every time a new customer showed up, all the work stopped. The poor shop worker had to keep track of who got which pictures.
This is the worse way to manufacture and sell a high-margin item. The CD cost maybe 25 cents to make after the pictures are shot, but I paid 16 bucks for it. Asking the customer to do so much work, and increasing the probability of a manufacturing error is just plain crazy.
The only conclusion I could reach was that the establishment was afraid only one person from our group would buy the CD and then pass out copies. We've seen in software where fear of piracy harms sales. I can't help but think that this establishment's fear must also turn off some customers.
The good news was, that so many of our group had gone through the hassle and bitched about wanting all the pictures, the guy in the store just put all shots on all CDs. It was a great result, but it shouldn't have been so difficult.
Trouble on the Star Trek Set!
Someone Slipped a Tribble into the Craft Services Kitchen
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"I'm going to get so wired. Lock up your easily-hurt feelings."
"You don't want blow-back from a constipated guy."
"I just got Moby Dick."
"I hear that's curable now."
"It's a subtle evil."
"You crossed my 'Line of Death!'"
I need to try out that Flux Capacitor thingie.
They pay me to think. These are my thoughts. Do you think they are getting their money's worth?
Remember: The Crapolla contains my personal opinions. That's right they're mine, so get your own! And you kids get off my lawn!
Although written with the software professional in mind, my mind tends to wander all over the place, and I sometimes write about politics, mass stoopidity, dumb things I saw, and whatever else comes to mind.
From time to time, I use salty language, thus The Crapolla is not intended for children, or certain people from the Christian Right.
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