Comment On Circuitous Support

After about six months of learning the ropes, and then actually getting good at the ropes, SJ decided that his job was pretty decent as far as tech support went. [expand full text]
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Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 08:12 • by Larry (unregistered)
Multitrode decided to roll out some fancy new web application for submitting insurance claims and somehow Initech got hired to support it.

Of course, Multitrode didn't write this new application themselves, a development firm did that for them. Initech just managed the servers
Back when I was your age, spaghetti code was the curse of the industry. Random gotos pointing anywhere. Branching into the middle of subroutines, or out.

Then came lasagna apps. Layer upon layer of abstraction so deep nobody knew how it really worked -- if it did. Before you could dig down to the meat you had to scrape aside tons of moldy cheese.

Now we have onion corporations. No one really does anything. They just contract with someone else to do it. And if you peel away that shell (tearfully) you find another contact handing off responsibility but skimming some of the dollars.

It's turtles all the way down! Recursion FTW!

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 08:16 • by Recursive Reclusive (unregistered)
397693 in reply to 397692
"lasagna apps" - I like that. Good metaphor.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 08:21 • by QJo (unregistered)
Or a moussaka application.

On the surface, crispy well-cooked and nicely-browned bechamel UI potatoes.

Under the cover a chaotic, steaming brown stew of completely unknown composition, complete with a few stout black pubic hairs full of bugs.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 08:24 • by QJo (unregistered)
Hang on a minute, here's TRWTF:


Client: "So... when can I expect to hear back from you?"
SJ: (mumbled) "No idea."
Client: "Pardon?"
SJ: "They should get back to you within a day or two."
Client: "The form's due on Thursday, will it be done by then?"
SJ, completely winging it: "Well if it takes too long to fix, we can put an exemption in the system for you."


That's a customer on the other end of the phone there. Just because of the management cockup that has led to this situation is no call to be flippant with them.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 08:30 • by Smug Unix User (unregistered)
397696 in reply to 397695
Most customers don't like it when you tell them communication is one way. Every customer hates being lied to.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 08:32 • by Remy Porter
397697 in reply to 397695
I think it's safe to say that the dialogue features some artistic license.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 08:41 • by GettinSadda
Why didn't he just take to answering the phone with something like "Hello, Support Line, how can I help you?"

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 08:43 • by TheSHEEEP (unregistered)
Okay.
That procedure is not optimal, but... where is the WTF?

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 08:57 • by Meep (unregistered)
It was easy but meaningful work.

Multitrode Insurance was one of the Initech's bigger clients - a state insurance firm that did data tracking and risk analysis and whatever else big insurance firms do, for a bunch of other insurance firms.

So, TRWTF is that for this guy work has to be "meaningful," but if it's a big company, he's not going to ask anyone what it is they're doing.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 09:02 • by Andrew (unregistered)
397701 in reply to 397699
TheSHEEEP:
Okay.
That procedure is not optimal, but... where is the WTF?

I don't get it either. Many of us have worked on shitty corporate apps before, and everyone outsources their customer/client support to India. Unless I'm not seeing something, this is not a WTF.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 09:03 • by LoremIpsumDolorSitAmet
Nope... I can't see the WTF either.

I was going to guess that there was some process at Initech that was supposed to convert and send the support tickets to Multitrode, but it stopped working, nobody noticed, and the developers never fixed any of the bugs.

Instead, it turned out to be a tale about someone who got an extra responsibility, they dealt with it, and the product eventually got better over time, and everything was back to normal. Sounds far too happy to me.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 09:08 • by foo (unregistered)
397704 in reply to 397697
Remy Porter:
I think it's safe to say that the dialogue features some artistic license.
Well, are we supposed to comment on what's written or read the editor's mind?

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 09:08 • by Balu (unregistered)
397705 in reply to 397692
Larry:
Back when I was your age, spaghetti code was the curse of the industry. Random gotos pointing anywhere.


In The World According To SpectateSwamp this is the wet dream of any Desktop Search developer! Random is the key!

(Captcha: ludus - yes, it's a game)

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 09:31 • by @Deprecated
For SJ, and others, one question remained: "Why can't the customers call the developer directly?"


Development Rule #1: Never give your contact information directly to customers if it can at all be avoided.

That only leads to 2 am calls:
"Mister Smith-uh san, pleees?"

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 09:32 • by daef (unregistered)
click on "why can't the customers..." :-)

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 09:36 • by Buggz
For SJ, and others, one question remained: "Why can't the customers call the developer directly?"

Because you need some with people skills. Someone who is good at dealing with people. Can't you see that? What the hell is wrong with you people!?

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 09:37 • by Pista (unregistered)
397713 in reply to 397699
TheSHEEEP:
Okay.
That procedure is not optimal, but... where is the WTF?


The WTF is that the above situation tends to become a standard.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 09:49 • by ubersoldat
ActiveX is TRWTF... or TWTF since there are none in this story.

What a crappy way to end your existence thedailywtf.com. You've got until tomorrow to get even with us Alex.

BTW, does any one know at what time/timezone is the world supposed to end? Because if I'm not mistaken, in New Zeland is already Dec. 21st by now.

Addendum (2012-12-20 10:25):
New Zealand you grammar nazis.

TRWTF is Chrome's spell checker.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 10:00 • by Maya (unregistered)
397717 in reply to 397716
ubersoldat:
BTW, does any one know at what time/timezone is the world supposed to end? Because if I'm not mistaken, in New Zeland is already Dec. 21st by now.
And do you have any proof that New Zealand still exists?

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 10:01 • by campkev
397718 in reply to 397701
Andrew:
TheSHEEEP:
Okay.
That procedure is not optimal, but... where is the WTF?

I don't get it either. Many of us have worked on shitty corporate apps before, and everyone outsources their customer/client support to India. Unless I'm not seeing something, this is not a WTF.


If this was story was a porno, it would go like this:

Pizza delivery guy knocks on door.
Scantily clad woman opens door.
PDG: Here's your pizza ma'am. That will be $15.00
SCW: <seductively putting the money in his shirt pocket> I'm so glad you're here, I've been dying for some sausage.
PDG: Then why did you order the veggie lovers?<shakes his head in confusion and walks away>

End of movie

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 10:01 • by OldCoder (unregistered)
397719 in reply to 397695
QJo:
Hang on a minute, here's TRWTF:


Client: "So... when can I expect to hear back from you?"
SJ: (mumbled) "No idea."
Client: "Pardon?"
SJ: "They should get back to you within a day or two."
Client: "The form's due on Thursday, will it be done by then?"
SJ, completely winging it: "Well if it takes too long to fix, we can put an exemption in the system for you."


That's a customer on the other end of the phone there. Just because of the management cockup that has led to this situation is no call to be flippant with them.

Er, no. Multitrode is Initech's customer, not some random Insurance guy.

Granted, he should have perhaps been more polite to the guy but perhaps being polite involves paying him more money.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 10:08 • by operagost
397720 in reply to 397692
Larry:
Multitrode decided to roll out some fancy new web application for submitting insurance claims and somehow Initech got hired to support it.

Of course, Multitrode didn't write this new application themselves, a development firm did that for them. Initech just managed the servers
Back when I was your age, spaghetti code was the curse of the industry. Random gotos pointing anywhere. Branching into the middle of subroutines, or out.

Then came lasagna apps. Layer upon layer of abstraction so deep nobody knew how it really worked -- if it did. Before you could dig down to the meat you had to scrape aside tons of moldy cheese.

Now we have onion corporations. No one really does anything. They just contract with someone else to do it. And if you peel away that shell (tearfully) you find another contact handing off responsibility but skimming some of the dollars.

It's turtles all the way down! Recursion FTW!

Well, you just gave me a great idea for dealing with this whitespace truncation problem I have.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 10:11 • by campkev
397721 in reply to 397719
OldCoder:
QJo:
Hang on a minute, here's TRWTF:


Client: "So... when can I expect to hear back from you?"
SJ: (mumbled) "No idea."
Client: "Pardon?"
SJ: "They should get back to you within a day or two."
Client: "The form's due on Thursday, will it be done by then?"
SJ, completely winging it: "Well if it takes too long to fix, we can put an exemption in the system for you."


That's a customer on the other end of the phone there. Just because of the management cockup that has led to this situation is no call to be flippant with them.

Er, no. Multitrode is Initech's customer, not some random Insurance guy.

Granted, he should have perhaps been more polite to the guy but perhaps being polite involves paying him more money.


Er, no. That's the customer that he's getting paid to take calls from and support. If I was SJ's supervisor and overhead that conversation, I would have had a talk with him about how to speak to the customer and creating unrealistic expectations. SJ's handling of that conversation was as big a WTF as the supposed WTF in the story.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 10:14 • by camelotbob (unregistered)
Where is the wtf?

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 10:19 • by m (unregistered)
Did anyone else notice that SJ's name changed to CJ?

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 10:20 • by TheSHEEEP (unregistered)
What is that New Zealand you speak of?

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 10:34 • by eVil (unregistered)
"Why can't the customers call the developer directly?"

Given that the vast majority of users of this site are developers, what percentage of visitors reading this line don't immediately answer along the lines of:

"Because we've got important and difficult shit to do, which doesn't involve discussing the technological difficulties of luddites."


The real wtf is that some companies have the customers interupting their developers.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 10:38 • by eVil (unregistered)
397727 in reply to 397694
QJo:
Or a moussaka application.

On the surface, crispy well-cooked and nicely-browned bechamel UI potatoes.

Under the cover a chaotic, steaming brown stew of completely unknown composition, complete with a few stout black pubic hairs full of bugs.


Hmm... you should probably upgrade your chef/wife/mother, if you're finding their pubic hairs in your dinner... with or without the crabs.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 10:38 • by neminem (unregistered)
397728 in reply to 397718
campkev:
Andrew:
TheSHEEEP:
Okay.
That procedure is not optimal, but... where is the WTF?

I don't get it either. Many of us have worked on shitty corporate apps before, and everyone outsources their customer/client support to India. Unless I'm not seeing something, this is not a WTF.


If this was story was a porno, it would go like this:

Pizza delivery guy knocks on door.
Scantily clad woman opens door.
PDG: Here's your pizza ma'am. That will be $15.00
SCW: <seductively putting the money in his shirt pocket> I'm so glad you're here, I've been dying for some sausage.
PDG: Then why did you order the veggie lovers?<shakes his head in confusion and walks away>

End of movie


You've never seen PG Porn? That's sort of how it goes, and it is *hilarious*. So no, this story wasn't like that, it wasn't as amusing.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 10:41 • by Rodnas (unregistered)
397729 in reply to 397725
TheSHEEEP:
What is that New Zealand you speak of?


Never mind, it is probably gone by now. The 12-21-2012 doomsday hits New Zealand first I imagine.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 10:44 • by Rodnas (unregistered)
397730 in reply to 397729
Rodnas:
TheSHEEEP:
What is that New Zealand you speak of?


Never mind, it is probably gone by now. The 12-21-2012 doomsday hits New Zealand first I imagine.


Oops, I should have read all the comments before posting. This is very much like RTFM. We apologize for inconvenience.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 11:22 • by ASalazar (unregistered)
397733 in reply to 397709
Even if it wasn't a link, I did as you said. I wholeheartedly approve.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 11:26 • by Boomer (unregistered)
Multitrode = mib.com

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 12:02 • by (i|=J7}Y&.`Gb) (unregistered)
397736 in reply to 397692
So what do you call a network of daemons that interact with each other over multiple machines. Where each daemon is 5 lines of code and 1000 lines of boiler plate and you can tell what each daemon is doing but don't know who's telling him to do what?

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 12:22 • by Jim (unregistered)
397737 in reply to 397692
[quote user="Larry"][quote]
Now we have onion corporations. No one really does anything. They just contract with someone else to do it. And if you peel away that shell (tearfully) you find another contact handing off responsibility but skimming some of the dollars.

It's turtles all the way down! Recursion FTW![/quote]

I don't know about onion corps... onion at least make you cry, and taste good in burgers... I thinks it more like Matryoshka corporations, they all look good on the outside, but look deep enough and you just have a another dol....

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 12:47 • by jay (unregistered)
397739 in reply to 397704
foo:
Remy Porter:
I think it's safe to say that the dialogue features some artistic license.
Well, are we supposed to comment on what's written or read the editor's mind?


How long have you been in this business? Have you ever SEEN a real requirements document? Of course you have to read the author's mind and not go by what's written.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 12:48 • by Steven (unregistered)
397740 in reply to 397717
I don't have any proof that New Zealand ever existed.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 12:54 • by jay (unregistered)
Wow, the pickings must be getting light.

IT company is presented with a mildly difficult problem. They muddle through and everything turns out basically okay. Nothing dramatic or funny or even mildly amusing happens. The End.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 12:55 • by jay (unregistered)
397742 in reply to 397740
Steven:
I don't have any proof that New Zealand ever existed.


You have to look it up under "Kiwi".

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 12:58 • by da Doctah
397743 in reply to 397701
Andrew:
TheSHEEEP:
Okay.
That procedure is not optimal, but... where is the WTF?

I don't get it either. Many of us have worked on shitty corporate apps before, and everyone outsources their customer/client support to India. Unless I'm not seeing something, this is not a WTF.
Maybe SJ stands for Satyanatha Jaharwalal.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 13:04 • by HowItWorks (unregistered)
397744 in reply to 397711
Buggz:
For SJ, and others, one question remained: "Why can't the customers call the developer directly?"

Because you need some with people skills. Someone who is good at dealing with people. Can't you see that? What the hell is wrong with you people!?

Plagiarism !!! You have failed English Composition 101 and are expelled for presenting this as yours without properly quoting and attributing the source material.

(Great movie, still watch it occasionally.)

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 13:05 • by Matt Westwood
397745 in reply to 397736
(i|=J7}Y&.`Gb):
So what do you call a network of daemons that interact with each other over multiple machines. Where each daemon is 5 lines of code and 1000 lines of boiler plate and you can tell what each daemon is doing but don't know who's telling him to do what?

Um ... a dollop of spunk?

Sorry, that's "jizm" for you across the water.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 13:14 • by HowItWorks (unregistered)
397746 in reply to 397716
ubersoldat:
BTW, does any one know at what time/timezone is the world supposed to end? Because if I'm not mistaken, in New Zeland is already Dec. 21st by now.

My understanding is Winter Solstice (for those of us in N, Summer Solstice for S)

That is at 21 Dec 2012 11:12 UTC

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 13:21 • by HowItWorks (unregistered)
397747 in reply to 397746
HowItWorks:
ubersoldat:
BTW, does any one know at what time/timezone is the world supposed to end? Because if I'm not mistaken, in New Zeland is already Dec. 21st by now.

My understanding is Winter Solstice (for those of us in N, Summer Solstice for S)

That is at 21 Dec 2012 11:12 UTC
fyi, your reading this so you are not among the enraptured.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 13:35 • by Steve Holdoway (unregistered)
397748 in reply to 397717
Maya:
ubersoldat:
BTW, does any one know at what time/timezone is the world supposed to end? Because if I'm not mistaken, in New Zeland is already Dec. 21st by now.
And do you have any proof that New Zealand still exists?


Yup, I'm looking at it through the window as I type. Rumors of demise are grossly exaggerated.

So far...

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 13:38 • by Yet Another Steve (unregistered)
397749 in reply to 397740
Steven:
I don't have any proof that New Zealand ever existed.


of course you do... It's where the LOTR and The Hobbit were filmed... (What do you mean those weren't documentaries?)

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 14:10 • by Daniel (unregistered)
397751 in reply to 397716
ubersoldat:
BTW, does any one know at what time/timezone is the world supposed to end? Because if I'm not mistaken, in New Zeland is already Dec. 21st by now.

Addendum (2012-12-20 10:25):
New Zealand you grammar nazis.

That would be grammar zealots.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 14:47 • by nonpartisan
397753 in reply to 397747
HowItWorks:
fyi, your reading this so you are not among the enraptured.

In case of rapture Community Server will still exist.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 15:00 • by neminem (unregistered)
397754 in reply to 397716
ubersoldat:
BTW, does any one know at what time/timezone is the world supposed to end? Because if I'm not mistaken, in New Zeland is already Dec. 21st by now.

I would assume, given the whole thing started as the result of (misinterpreting) the Mayan calendar, and given the Mayan empire extended from parts of Mexico through parts of Central America, which is in Central time, that if the world really were going to end at that date, it would be reasonable to use Central time for the timezone.

Re: Circuitous Support

2012-12-20 15:24 • by A Nerd With a View (unregistered)
397755 in reply to 397692
Sounds more like Italian food all the way down... FTW!

I just had a delicious meatball sandwich for lunch, too. Yum!
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