LowComDom Performances Presents
The Crapolla According to Fek'Lar
You Know You're DOOMED When...
the Politically Correct Police demand you rename your column, The Post-Food According to Fek'Lar. They weren't too sure of the name Fek'Lar, either. Stalinist Pigs.
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...
We'll check out The Marketing Department Mission Statement of the Week. But first, this sad story about a guy who didn't think it could happen to him.
The consulting business tends to be a very highly paid low risk arena. The premise of the consultant is that they know something you don't and will happily solve your problem or build your application - for a price. There are no exams you need pass to be a consultant, nor any license to acquire, nor any organization to dictate the morals a consultant should adhere to.
My friend Mike quit his job last week. Mike isn't his real name, but I've just gotten married, and I'm in a charitable mood. So I won't use the real name. Mike is one of those high paid consultants. He's like Scotty in Star Trek; he can get your warp drive working with spit and bailing wire - for a price.
Mike had gotten himself into a very unusual situation for a consultant. He had taken a job that was both emotionally and physically hazardous. Mike took a job building an immoral application for an immoral company in an immoral industry. Mike had gotten involved in slavery.
If you think slavery has ended in this world, it's time to wake up and gnaw on your shackles. There have been many charges of slave labor in the People's Republic of China. But Mike did not get involved with our Most-Favored-Nation business partner. Mike was dealing with a company in the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire (or the Ivory Coast to you and me). If you'll remember from history class, this general area of Africa is where slaves were boarded onto ships to the New World for some 400 years. If you asked the average man on the street if this had stopped he would probably say, "yes." He would be wrong.
It's not the African slave trade that does so well these days, but trade of European and Asian people. The current best sellers are young Asian girls for the prostituation trade. There are those who will tell you that the prostitutes of Thailand are just girls looking to make some cash to send home to their poor families, much as many women in Europe resorted to prostitution after World War II to create the enormous doweries required by the relatively few men who were left. This is hardly the case in Asia. Girls are kidnapped and then convinced they owe their owner some debt. They hook to pay the debt; and as all good loan sharks work, the girls are never able to get out of debt. This is a very ugly business.
Through a head hunter (no pun intended) Mike contracted to build a "Human resources application which will allow employers to review candidates across the internet". The application required, "the use of photographs of the candidates as well as a Java applet which will allow employers to build a visual search of candidates via a database." Doesn't sound too bad. Build a web site with some database connectivity. Write a Human Resources application so an employer can browse through web pages of prospective employees. It's the sort of application you would expect a head hunter to want.
The contract, now negotiated and signed, required some travel to present prototypes, run up the expense account, etc. which landed Mike in the capital city of Abidjan. After a leisurely stroll through town and a pickpocketing later, Mike was met by his contact. He began to feel a little worried when he was asked to take a ride in a jeep down a bumpy road while wearing a blindfold.
They say that morality is a matter of perspective. Once Mike arrived at the home office in the city of Dabakala, his perspective changed over the span of a few days. First from shock of the true nature of his "Human Resources Application", to the "If you break this contract, we sell you to the highest bidder" perspective, to the "Hey guys, I've come up with this really cool three letter acronym" perspective.
Over lunch in a yuppie-filled, over-priced, God-knows-what-they've-really-served-you Palo Alto eatery (I just wanted to go to Taco Bell), Mike explained the whole project. As you would expect, it was all the evil doings of a Vice President of Marketing. This clever dick had decided that slavery was due for a comeback. "Everything in human society comes and goes in waves." Sure, so just because we've already retro'ed every decade of the 20th Century, does it really mean we're ready to re-do the 19th?
The Marketing Monkey decided that slavery could comeback into vogue in North America if it was properly packaged. (Hello? Has anyone every heard of the Constitution?) The internet is trendy, so it was decided on as the venue (also having an off shore web server gets rid of a lot of legal problems). The backend revenue would be banner ad impressions on the web server. When the news broke, and the Holier-Than-Thou news industry, and maybe also Jerry Stringer got wind of this, the web server would be up and the news sheep would drive up the web hits, and thus revenue.
The Helsinky Syndrome
When a human is taken prisoner, it has been observed that the hostage will begin to build sympathies toward and even begin to like and agree with the captor. I was beginning to observe this in Mike. He showed me a few screen shots of the application he had built during his month in Africa.
Fek'Lar: "What's BPP?"
Mike: "Body Parts Palette."
Mike: "The client needed a visual search tool for the DB. They're searching for body types, so why not search based on skin tone, hair color, whatever? So I built the BPP"
Fek'Lar: "This is kiddie porn!! you need help!"
My friend had gone off the deep end. It was probably his survival instinct that had kicked in. I was of the opinion that a good Shrink was in order. But then Karma walked in the door, courtesy of the InterNIC (a.k.a. Network Solutions, Inc.).
Network Solutions, Inc.
A few years ago, the National Science Foundation decided that it didn't want to spend 5 million bucks of its budget every year to fund the InterNIC, the official passer out of IP addresses and second level domains. The NSF hired Network Solutions, Inc. to do this dirty work, and make a profit at it. Network Solutions has been grinding through draft after draft of policies. Who has the right to a domain name? Who doesn't? Will they give you any domain name you ask for?
Open a second web browser right now and go to http://www.fuck.com. You won't get anywhere. As popular as the word fuck is, no one has it as their domain, not that it hasn't been requested. The InterNIC will not register fuck as a second level domain. They also won't register slavery either. This fact generated a frantic phone call at 3 AM Ivory Coast time to yours truly.
Mike: "I'm in deep shit!"
Fek'Lar: "Grandma, is that you?"
Mike: "It's Mike, God damn it! I'm in deep shit!"
Fek'Lar: "What continent are you on?"
Mike: "I'm in the US."
Fek'Lar: "Then the shit is not as deep as it could be. What's up?"
Mike: "We got turned down for our domain name. The client's pissed! They're going to sell me to the highest bidder!"
Fek'Lar: "I've got a buck forty-five."
Mike: "Fuck you!"
Fek'Lar: "Didn't you build their kiddie Slave-O-Matic with BPP technology?"
Fek'Lar: "Then tell them you've delivered your part, and ask for your money. The job is over. They're into using contracts, use yours."
Fek'Lar: "Well what?"
Fek'Lar: "So what's new? Which parts?"
Mike: "write.document.arm&leg, and onMouseover(enslave)."
Fek'Lar: "I'm surprised Microsoft didn't support that last one."
Mike: "This is bullshit, God damn it!"
Later that day I heard Mike had set fire to his cube to destroy the evidence. He's spending the next six months on an undisclosed beach attempting to purify himself.
I think it's for the best.
Business: Based in Boston, Mass., Exchange is a provider of customer optimization software and solutions that enable businesses to maximize profitability and revenue growth from new and existing customers through marketing automation and enterprise wide customer management.
Okay, so you tell me. What do they sell?
Let's play, "Who said this?"
Heard in the halls of various software companies.
"That's my motto. 'I Slack on time!'"
"Geeks don't bathe anyway, and European Geeks are worse."
"What we need is a button."
"From now on, my motto is 'Give me my paycheck, and shut the fuck up'"
"I've been asked to design and build the gun, and then help them aim it at my forehead."
I need to encrypt my hard disk before my performance review. No raise, no encryption key.
(Destroyer of Laptops - Morale Officer - The Last Honest Geek)
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