A Burning Sensation

  • ParkinT 2013-02-11 06:47
    You mean to tell me we spent millions of dollars building a custom system when we could have purchased an OTS solution for a fraction of the cost, and we couldn’t even build a system that worked without setting fire to the facility?

    US Government Technology Management at its finest.
  • Flo 2013-02-12 08:08
    Robert: Checkmate.
  • Leo 2013-02-12 08:10
    And then Robert was fired.
  • Robert 2013-02-12 08:10
    And Robert still got fired...
  • Ho Miscreant! 2013-02-12 08:25
    They still fired Robert, however. Management actually taking responsibility for something? Never going to happen
  • tim 2013-02-12 08:25
    I want to believe this one's true. So it is :)
  • syockit 2013-02-12 08:28
    <!-- Robert gasped. They were keeping the President's sick daughter in Zone 3! -->
    Someone please explain this fascination with President's daughter, who's always sick when mentioned, since that last cliffhanger which seems to insinuate something scandalous but didn't quite explain anything?
  • MindChild 2013-02-12 08:30
    Resident Evil 4 perhaps?
  • Noah 2013-02-12 08:35
    Not Resident Evil 4... [url =http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Human-Heat-Sink.aspx] The Human Heat Sink[/url] Read the article and comments, and it'll make sense.
  • Remy Porter 2013-02-12 08:37
    This is government work. Nobody gets fired. At worst, a reprimand goes into their file.
  • Hoffmann, Peter 2013-02-12 08:37
    So less abbreviations would be nice for the uninformed readers

    CAPTCHA: Robert was a `haero` for standing up against the Admiral, and a martyr as well
  • HTML Commenter 2013-02-12 08:37
    I don't get it. It needs an Easy Reader version ;-)
  • LoremIpsumDolorSitAmet 2013-02-12 08:41
    <!-- Robert gasped. They were keeping the President's sick daughter in Zone 3! -->
    Someone had accidentally knocked the UPS out of the open window. And I bet after all that interrogation, Robert desperately needed to pee.
  • Spudley 2013-02-12 08:43
    LoremIpsumDolorSitAmet:
    <!-- Robert gasped. They were keeping the President's sick daughter in Zone 3! -->
    Someone had accidentally knocked the UPS out of the open window. And I bet after all that interrogation, Robert desperately needed to pee.


    Well, that would explain the burning sensation in the title, anyway.
  • Kasper 2013-02-12 08:55
    Isn't this the classical example of the NIH syndrome gone terribly bad?
  • QJo 2013-02-12 08:58
    Leo:
    And then Robert was fried.


    FTFY
  • Nagesh 2013-02-12 09:18
    Excellent well written article. Nagesh like it very much.
  • Steve The Cynic 2013-02-12 09:27
    Nagesh:
    Excellent well written article. Nagesh like it very much.

    Message for the site admins: Nagesh likes the article. Delete it NOW!
  • Steve The Cynic 2013-02-12 09:28
    HTML Commenter:
    I don't get it. It needs an Easy Reader version ;-)

    That's a Remy-ism, sorry.
  • ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL 2013-02-12 09:29
    So TRWTF is the usual one of "rolling your own", only this time it wasn't software being rolled.

    It was President Bean's daughter being rolled into Surgery.
  • Anonymous Paranoiac 2013-02-12 09:36
    Ho Miscreant!:
    They still fired Robert, however. Management actually taking responsibility for something? Never going to happen


    Well, obviously, it's Robert's fault as he should have anticipated this turn of events and refused to build a UPS instead of buying an OTS solution. Granted, Robert probably provided reams of paper showing why a home-brew UPS was a Very Bad Idea and would have been fried if he hadn't done it, but that's irrelevant.

    The UPS project probably also took years because, despite being a Top Priority, it was likely never quite as top-a-priority as whatever the Latest Thing that had management excited was.
  • Ben Jammin 2013-02-12 09:44
    I hope Robert made copies of those docs, cause the ones he passed over went straight to the shredder.
  • iMortalitySX 2013-02-12 09:52
    Ben Jammin:
    I hope Robert made copies of those docs, cause the ones he passed over went straight to the shredder.


    Lucky for Robert, that would have landed someone in jail. Government work may be wasteful, but thanks to everyone complaining about not knowning where tax money is going, all documentation has to be kept for a very long time.
  • n/a 2013-02-12 09:55
    The owner of the signature doesn't matter, because Robert _should have explained_ to him what he was agreeing to _and Robert hadn't_ (the boss _totally_ doesn't remember that happening, nu-uh). That's how it goes in 90% of cases in my experience, anyway.
  • Valued Service 2013-02-12 10:23
    Always said lazy people do more work.

    Now I can add to that...

    Cheap people spend more money.
  • nonpartisan 2013-02-12 10:41
    TFA:

    The MPs in the corridors screaming, “Move, move, move!” didn’t help.
    Sorry, but TRWTF here is conducting a real event in a manner different than a drill. If drills are handled correctly, and if everyone thinks a real event is a drill, then it will continue to be orderly and everyone will get out safely.

    My kids' school gives unconscious clues on fire drill days (an extra clipboard in the classroom, for example). So if the alarm were to go off and the kids didn't see the clipboard, they'd wonder what's up. But if there were no such clues, they'd think it was a routine drill even if the other side of the school was already destroyed in flames.

    When I was a kid, I never knew when a fire drill was going to occur . . . and I'm not sure my teachers did either, as I had one particular incident where I stopped to tie my shoe and my teacher damn near pulled me off the ground and told me to get going. Reinforced the concept in me that when the alarm goes off, I needed to be quiet and get out of the school quickly, regardless of anything else.
  • chubertdev 2013-02-12 10:52
    This article is obviously made up. Government desks are drab olive green, not battleship-gray.
  • Sailsman 2013-02-12 10:59
    syockit:
    <!-- Robert gasped. They were keeping the President's sick daughter in Zone 3! -->
    Someone please explain this fascination with President's daughter, who's always sick when mentioned, since that last cliffhanger which seems to insinuate something scandalous but didn't quite explain anything?


    TRWTF is a daily WTF reader that missed this.... sorry, just kidding. :) Something of a fad here recently. Read "Human Heat Sink" from 2/5th I think every post since has had a few comments about the "President's sick daughter." It will die out. Eventually.

    BTW: site needs new captchas.
  • Mike 2013-02-12 11:02
    Well there is orderly and then there is orderly. Most fire drills are slow walking pace to designated areas. I'd think in a real emergency you'd want to up the pace to a light jog (double time should work in a navy building). Drill that way too if you want to keep consistency.

    As for the build your own problem: the money for the electricians was already committed. Parts might have cost more than the full equipment of the shelf but maybe not. Regardless the navy was committed to having X number of electricians around whether or not they needed them so might as well give them something to do. Because one thing bureaucracy hates is giving up underlings.
  • Anonymous Paranoiac 2013-02-12 11:07
    Sailsman:
    syockit:
    <!-- Robert gasped. They were keeping the President's sick daughter in Zone 3! -->
    Someone please explain this fascination with President's daughter, who's always sick when mentioned, since that last cliffhanger which seems to insinuate something scandalous but didn't quite explain anything?


    TRWTF is a daily WTF reader that missed this.... sorry, just kidding. :) Something of a fad here recently. Read "Human Heat Sink" from 2/5th I think every post since has had a few comments about the "President's sick daughter." It will die out. Eventually.

    BTW: site needs new captchas.


    Yes, of course it will pass! Just like that silly fascination with true, false, FILE_NOT_FOUND.
  • otters 2013-02-12 11:24
    Oh man, you gotta love the TDWTF tradition of putting a grammatical error in the most important line in the article.

    We will test NOT articles before it ships!
  • arh 2013-02-12 11:34
    ...and what happened next? Did the Admiral get fired or did Robert end up in a blender? I want to either feel the sweet taste of revenge and lift my mood, or the bitter taste of realizing that it always goes this way, and getting one step closer to madness.
  • C-Derb 2013-02-12 11:38
    I'm surprised they actually went live with the "system". Any U.S. Government entity worth their salt would have spent years developing the custom solution only to finally abandon it and implement the off-the-shelf product.

    And getting upset about wasting millions of dollars? Please. They don't care.
  • chubertdev 2013-02-12 11:40
    otters:
    Oh man, you gotta love the TDWTF tradition of putting a grammatical error in the most important line in the article.

    We will test NOT articles before it ships!


    An error is fonud in every article.
  • Anonymous Paranoiac 2013-02-12 11:48
    chubertdev:
    otters:
    Oh man, you gotta love the TDWTF tradition of putting a grammatical error in the most important line in the article.

    We will test NOT articles before it ships!


    An error is fonud in every article.


    What people don't realize is that the errors are really easter eggs providing us a game of hunting them down and then making fun of them. Sort of the TDWTF version of "Where's Waldo?"
  • pbean 2013-02-12 11:52
    chubertdev:
    otters:
    Oh man, you gotta love the TDWTF tradition of putting a grammatical error in the most important line in the article.

    We will test NOT articles before it ships!


    An error is fonud in every article.


    They are insreted for you're protectoin.
  • Fenix 2013-02-12 11:53
    chubertdev:
    An error is fonud in every article.


    Touché!
  • Mr.Bob 2013-02-12 11:54
    Anonymous Paranoiac:
    Sailsman:
    syockit:
    <!-- Robert gasped. They were keeping the President's sick daughter in Zone 3! -->
    Someone please explain this fascination with President's daughter, who's always sick when mentioned, since that last cliffhanger which seems to insinuate something scandalous but didn't quite explain anything?


    TRWTF is a daily WTF reader that missed this.... sorry, just kidding. :) Something of a fad here recently. Read "Human Heat Sink" from 2/5th I think every post since has had a few comments about the "President's sick daughter." It will die out. Eventually.

    BTW: site needs new captchas.


    Yes, of course it will pass!


    Just like a kidney stone; hence, the burning sensation.
  • Ken 2013-02-12 11:58
    Anonymous Paranoiac:
    What people don't realize is that the errors are really easter eggs providing us a game of hunting them down and then making fun of them. Sort of the TDWTF version of "Where's Waldo?"
    But with Where's Waldo there's only one. When you find him, you're done.

    With TDWTF, you can never be sure you've found them all.
  • Publius 2013-02-12 11:58
    The one listless corridors were now choked with an urgency never found in government facilities.

    "listless corridors" preceded by a misspelling of "once"? "Choking urgency"? I think even a Vogon would blush.

    Don't get me wrong, reading the article is still better than going back to work.
  • Zylon 2013-02-12 12:06
    nonpartisan:
    My kids' school gives unconscious clues on fire drill days (an extra clipboard in the classroom, for example).

    Geeze, who's been blackjacking the clues?
  • herby 2013-02-12 12:07
    chubertdev:
    This article is obviously made up. Government desks are drab olive green, not battleship-gray.
    Sorry, wrong service. This was most likely some coastal installation (or Great Lakes) you never know.
  • Olly 2013-02-12 12:11
    An auditor, the VP of Global Purchasing, and the president's daughter stood before the Admiral's battleship-gray desk while he ranted incessantly about Robert, who moments ago had been granted extended leave at the lovely Guantanamo Bay detention camp. In the corner of the room, smoke arose from an overheated shredder.

    "I want to know who is responsible for the UPS fire!" he screamed. "We have enough ammo here to level the town" he added, stomping out the last of the flaming scraps of paper from the shredder.

    "It wasn't me" assured the VP of Global Purchasing. "I approved the request for an off-the-shelf UPS."

    "I just identify risks" said the Auditor. "To ensure repeatable results, I work from the same checklist every time I review the base. There's nothing on my checklist about a homegrown UPS, so I couldn't have been expected to flag it."

    All eyes turned on the president's daughter just as she threw up, Within a half hour, everyone in the Admiral's office was dead from a highly virulent disease previously unseen in human history.

    Gee I love a happy ending!
  • chubertdev 2013-02-12 12:13
    herby:
    chubertdev:
    This article is obviously made up. Government desks are drab olive green, not battleship-gray.
    Sorry, wrong service. This was most likely some coastal installation (or Great Lakes) you never know.


    I thought that I remembered seeing more green than expected at Great Lakes, but then again, that was a while ago.
  • cellocgw 2013-02-12 12:18
    Hoffmann, Peter:
    So less abbreviations would be nice for the uninformed readers


    I think you mean "Less abbreviations FTW!!!!ONEONEONE
  • nonpartisan 2013-02-12 12:23
    Zylon:
    nonpartisan:
    My kids' school gives unconscious clues on fire drill days (an extra clipboard in the classroom, for example).

    Geeze, who's been blackjacking the clues?
    My daughter told me that she knows when there's a fire drill because there's a clipboard in the classroom (presumably for taking roll, not sure . . . or maybe it's a checklist).
  • ObiWayneKenobi 2013-02-12 12:33
    Sorry Robert, but the President's sick daughter is in another zone.
  • North Bus 2013-02-12 12:34
    Move, move, move!
    Woo hoo! Space Mutiny reference!

    Don't believe me? Check the source. The MST3K joke follows the line.

    Move, move, move! Now breathe! Make your heart beat! Move! No-wait stop.
  • TGV 2013-02-12 12:58
    Olly:
    An auditor, the VP of Global Purchasing, and the president's daughter stood before the Admiral's battleship-gray desk while he ranted incessantly about Robert, who moments ago had been granted extended leave at the lovely Guantanamo Bay detention camp. In the corner of the room, smoke arose from an overheated shredder.

    "I want to know who is responsible for the UPS fire!" he screamed. "We have enough ammo here to level the town" he added, stomping out the last of the flaming scraps of paper from the shredder.

    "It wasn't me" assured the VP of Global Purchasing. "I approved the request for an off-the-shelf UPS."

    "I just identify risks" said the Auditor. "To ensure repeatable results, I work from the same checklist every time I review the base. There's nothing on my checklist about a homegrown UPS, so I couldn't have been expected to flag it."

    All eyes turned on the president's daughter just as she threw up, Within a half hour, everyone in the Admiral's office was dead from a highly virulent disease previously unseen in human history.

    Gee I love a happy ending!

    Is that you, Brad?
  • operagost 2013-02-12 13:19
    nonpartisan:
    TFA:

    The MPs in the corridors screaming, “Move, move, move!” didn’t help.
    Sorry, but TRWTF here is conducting a real event in a manner different than a drill. If drills are handled correctly, and if everyone thinks a real event is a drill, then it will continue to be orderly and everyone will get out safely.

    My kids' school gives unconscious clues on fire drill days (an extra clipboard in the classroom, for example). So if the alarm were to go off and the kids didn't see the clipboard, they'd wonder what's up. But if there were no such clues, they'd think it was a routine drill even if the other side of the school was already destroyed in flames.

    When I was a kid, I never knew when a fire drill was going to occur . . . and I'm not sure my teachers did either, as I had one particular incident where I stopped to tie my shoe and my teacher damn near pulled me off the ground and told me to get going. Reinforced the concept in me that when the alarm goes off, I needed to be quiet and get out of the school quickly, regardless of anything else.

    Until you trip over your untied shoelace and are trampled to death under the 1,000 students evacuating behind you.
  • n_slash_a 2013-02-12 13:23
    TRWTF is that it took "a few years" for a group of electricians to create a UPS. Then again, it is the government....
  • Bananas 2013-02-12 13:25
    The one listless corridors...

    I would much rather walk through listless corridors than corridors that are moving energetically.
  • PiisAWheeL 2013-02-12 13:34
    Mr.Bob:
    Anonymous Paranoiac:
    Sailsman:
    syockit:
    <!-- Robert gasped. They were keeping the President's sick daughter in Zone 3! -->
    Someone please explain this fascination with President's daughter, who's always sick when mentioned, since that last cliffhanger which seems to insinuate something scandalous but didn't quite explain anything?
    TRWTF is a daily WTF reader that missed this.... sorry, just kidding. :) Something of a fad here recently. Read "Human Heat Sink" from 2/5th I think every post since has had a few comments about the "President's sick daughter." It will die out. Eventually.
    BTW: site needs new captchas.
    Yes, of course it will pass! Just like that silly fascination with true, false, FILE_NOT_FOUND.
    Just like a kidney stone; hence, the burning sensation.
    I quite liked true, false, and FILE_NOT_FOUND. It was the no laughing matter jokes that needed to take an arrow to the knee.
  • Anonymous Bob 2013-02-12 13:35
    nonpartisan:
    TFA:

    The MPs in the corridors screaming, “Move, move, move!” didn’t help.
    Sorry, but TRWTF here is conducting a real event in a manner different than a drill. If drills are handled correctly, and if everyone thinks a real event is a drill, then it will continue to be orderly and everyone will get out safely.


    In a real event, instead of moving in an orderly manner outside, you instead sneak off to find the fire! Make pics of it and post to Facebook!
  • Anonymous Bob 2013-02-12 13:45
    At my old company we had more than a few false alarms. A couple of times they happend when I was taking a dumper break. I just decided to stay put unless I smelled smoke...

    Then again, that would have been an embarrassing place for my charred remains to be found.
  • jay 2013-02-12 13:51
    Remy Porter:
    This is government work. Nobody gets fired. At worst, a reprimand goes into their file.


    If Robert is a government employee, then the worst that will happen to him is that the boss will get so fed up with him that he promotes him to get him to another department.

    If he's a contractor: different story. Contractors can be fired pretty easily.

    When I worked for the government, I only saw one government employee ever get fired. That was a guy who was -- I am not making this up -- selling child pornography from government-owned web servers, and his traffic got so high that he crashed the department's network.
  • DrPepper 2013-02-12 13:53
    C-Derb:
    And getting upset about wasting millions of dollars? Please. They don't care.


    For a fact: my daugher is a nurse in the army; and after training sessions involving lots of medical equipment, they discard (throw away...) hundreds of dollars of bandages, cold packs, and MREs, etc; because apparently it would be more trouble/cost more to return these items to inventory.
  • mag 2013-02-12 13:54
    All these acronyms are really catching fire, the burning sensation felt from glancing over one is slightly soothed by the interrupting couple of seconds to think "Ohhhhh it's from a reference before???"

    Seriously.. we have enough acronyms to deal with in computer science during this internet age.
  • jay 2013-02-12 13:54
    Anonymous Paranoiac:
    Sailsman:
    syockit:
    <!-- Robert gasped. They were keeping the President's sick daughter in Zone 3! -->
    Someone please explain this fascination with President's daughter, who's always sick when mentioned, since that last cliffhanger which seems to insinuate something scandalous but didn't quite explain anything?


    TRWTF is a daily WTF reader that missed this.... sorry, just kidding. :) Something of a fad here recently. Read "Human Heat Sink" from 2/5th I think every post since has had a few comments about the "President's sick daughter." It will die out. Eventually.

    BTW: site needs new captchas.


    Yes, of course it will pass! Just like that silly fascination with true, false, FILE_NOT_FOUND.


    And Irish Girl.
  • jay 2013-02-12 13:56
    n_slash_a:
    TRWTF is that it took "a few years" for a group of electricians to create a UPS. Then again, it is the government....


    In the government, it takes "a few years" just to complete the paperwork required to schedule the conference room to hold the meeting to start the project.
  • jay 2013-02-12 13:59
    C-Derb:
    I'm surprised they actually went live with the "system". Any U.S. Government entity worth their salt would have spent years developing the custom solution only to finally abandon it and implement the off-the-shelf product.

    And getting upset about wasting millions of dollars? Please. They don't care.


    When I worked for the government, every now and then someone would point out how much money we were wasting. And I came up with a stock answer. I'd say, "Don't worry about it. It's not like it's real money. It's just tax dollars."
  • Zylon 2013-02-12 14:02
    nonpartisan:
    Zylon:
    nonpartisan:
    My kids' school gives unconscious clues on fire drill days (an extra clipboard in the classroom, for example).

    Geeze, who's been blackjacking the clues?
    My daughter told me that she knows when there's a fire drill because there's a clipboard in the classroom (presumably for taking roll, not sure . . . or maybe it's a checklist).

    Wow... you're dumb. Okay, imma be explicit this time--

    The word you wanted was "subconscious", not "unconscious".
  • da Doctah 2013-02-12 14:06
    Anonymous Paranoiac:
    chubertdev:
    otters:
    Oh man, you gotta love the TDWTF tradition of putting a grammatical error in the most important line in the article.

    We will test NOT articles before it ships!


    An error is fonud in every article.


    What people don't realize is that the errors are really easter eggs providing us a game of hunting them down and then making fun of them. Sort of the TDWTF version of "Where's Waldo?"

    I thought that's what the unicorns were for.
  • jay 2013-02-12 14:07
    In the days after 9/11, the Air Force base where I worked at the time got really paranoid about security. It seemed like at least twice a week they evacuated our building while they inspected a suspicious package, and we all had to go out and stand in the parking lot.

    And it occurred to me: If I wanted to pull off a terrorist attack against the people in this building, I wouldn't mail them a letter bomb. I'd just call in a bomb threat. Everybody goes out and stands in the parking lot, which is separated from the highway by a simple fence. Then I'd drive up to that fence and toss a hand grenade into the parking lot.

    i.e. our defense against potential threats was to have everyone leave a fairly well-protected place -- cement walls, armed guards at the door, etc -- to stand in a completely vulnerable place -- open parking lot with no protection except a chain-link fence.
  • Double E 2013-02-12 14:07
    I thought this was The Daily WTF, not The Daily SOP.
  • laoreet 2013-02-12 14:13
    jay:
    Anonymous Paranoiac:
    Sailsman:
    syockit:
    <!-- Robert gasped. They were keeping the President's sick daughter in Zone 3! -->
    Someone please explain this fascination with President's daughter, who's always sick when mentioned, since that last cliffhanger which seems to insinuate something scandalous but didn't quite explain anything?


    TRWTF is a daily WTF reader that missed this.... sorry, just kidding. :) Something of a fad here recently. Read "Human Heat Sink" from 2/5th I think every post since has had a few comments about the "President's sick daughter." It will die out. Eventually.

    BTW: site needs new captchas.


    Yes, of course it will pass! Just like that silly fascination with true, false, FILE_NOT_FOUND.


    And Irish Girl.


    But the goggles really do nothing. No quack.
  • ObiWayneKenobi 2013-02-12 14:41
    PiisAWheeL:
    It was the no laughing matter jokes that needed to take an arrow to the knee.


    I knew a fellow adventurer who took an arrow to the knee, and let me assure you it was no laughing matter.
  • Captcha:conventio 2013-02-12 14:45
    C-Derb:
    And getting upset about wasting millions of dollars? Please. They don't care.

    Also it doesn't matter how much tax money you spend on useless stuff, since it benefits the economy and creates jobs. Some guy told me so.
  • dkf 2013-02-12 16:48
    Anonymous Bob:
    At my old company we had more than a few false alarms. A couple of times they happend when I was taking a dumper break. I just decided to stay put unless I smelled smoke...
    Having done training on evacuation beyond the standard induction level (I was an evac warden for my building for a while) I can tell you that was a really dumb move on your part. You need to be out of the building before you can smell smoke, as smoke's genuinely dangerous (carbon monoxide, cyanide, that sort of thing). Also, there's other reasons for evacuating a building and you don't know when you hear the alarm which one it is; my favorite is a gas pipeline leak, when you suddenly have all sorts of problems like explosion risk and idiots who think that as soon as you get out of the door it is time to start smoking. Yay for stupidity!

    Of course, there should also have been someone whose job it was to check every space in the building — including the toilet facilities — to see if there's anyone in there and report whether anyone might need rescuing by the fire brigade if there's a genuine fire. With larger buildings, that can be multiple people (each with their own zone). If there was nobody checking, that's Yet Another WTF…
  • A developer 2013-02-12 17:01
    Oh the good ol' G-Jobs.
    They're fantastic when you're a contractor because you can juggle 4-5 of them at the same time and still be more productive then the average person "working" there.
    At one point I was pulling in $400/hr for a couple of weeks. It was great.
  • A developer 2013-02-12 17:04
    Thanks god UBL is dead otherwise you would have given him a "Brilliant" idea.
  • AN AMAZING CODER 2013-02-12 17:11
    Mike:

    As for the build your own problem: the money for the electricians was already committed. Parts might have cost more than the full equipment of the shelf but maybe not. Regardless the navy was committed to having X number of electricians around whether or not they needed them so might as well give them something to do. Because one thing bureaucracy hates is giving up underlings.


    Except one could conclude that since it took 2 years to (poorly) wire up an array of batteries the electricians WERE in fact needed for other duties and only focused on this project in it's off time.

    Every time I read these WTFs, I can't help but wonder if the submitter ACTUALLY did proper diligence BEFORE shifting blame to the manager. Yes there are many PHBs (especially in government and healthcare), but there are also semi-competent managers who hire people smarter than them that they lead, but trust them to do their job well -- which includes calling them out when they see something wrong BEFORE it happens. I've seen many people be the latter as well. ("But you told me to do X! If you would have let me do Y instead this wouldn't have happened!" But they never spoke up about Y)

    Perhaps the multiple WTFs are:

    1.) The person signing off on allocating resources to this project (assumingly The Admiral) not having a single status report in "years"
    2.) The lead of this redundancy project (assumingly the submitter) allowing such a shitty implementation with such high risks take place within his realm of control without pleading with his boss, and alerting his superiors if his pleads went unheard.
    3.) No supervisor, project manager, or lead between the Director (whom one would assume deals with PEOPLE issues) and the submitter (whom one would assume deals with implementation).

    But at the end of the day, those could all be summed up as "government run operation that doesn't have to worry about the next paycheck".
  • AN AMAZING CODER 2013-02-12 17:20
    jay:
    Remy Porter:
    This is government work. Nobody gets fired. At worst, a reprimand goes into their file.


    If Robert is a government employee, then the worst that will happen to him is that the boss will get so fed up with him that he promotes him to get him to another department.

    If he's a contractor: different story. Contractors can be fired pretty easily.

    When I worked for the government, I only saw one government employee ever get fired. That was a guy who was -- I am not making this up -- selling child pornography from government-owned web servers, and his traffic got so high that he crashed the department's network.



    My father is a contractor for the government, whom manages government employees. He's told me a few stories about some of the dumb stuff the people he manages do, including doing nothing for days on end despite him having to work late. He can't get them fired because they're on government payroll, despite providing evidence.

    Apparently they have to commit a non job duty related offense like not actually showing up for work in order to get fired. But apprently, showing up and doing nothing doesn't count as "not showing up".

    I don't get it.
  • wombat bob 2013-02-12 18:18
    I worked for a company who routinely had to evacuate the office because the fucking electrician kept wiring the AC fan backwards so that it would smoke and burn.
    I got a number of afternoons off for that gong show.
  • F 2013-02-12 18:27
    Anonymous Bob:
    At my old company we had more than a few false alarms. A couple of times they happend when I was taking a dumper break. I just decided to stay put unless I smelled smoke...

    Then again, that would have been an embarrassing place for my charred remains to be found.


    Why? You'd be dead.

    Captcha is showing up black on dark grey. Damn difficult to read, except of course for a robot.
  • F 2013-02-12 18:31
    jay:
    In the days after 9/11, the Air Force base where I worked at the time got really paranoid about security. It seemed like at least twice a week they evacuated our building while they inspected a suspicious package, and we all had to go out and stand in the parking lot.

    And it occurred to me: If I wanted to pull off a terrorist attack against the people in this building, I wouldn't mail them a letter bomb. I'd just call in a bomb threat. Everybody goes out and stands in the parking lot, which is separated from the highway by a simple fence. Then I'd drive up to that fence and toss a hand grenade into the parking lot.

    i.e. our defense against potential threats was to have everyone leave a fairly well-protected place -- cement walls, armed guards at the door, etc -- to stand in a completely vulnerable place -- open parking lot with no protection except a chain-link fence.


    So what's the problem? The security isn't there to protect the staff.
  • juan 2013-02-12 19:58
    I call shenanigan....even the most dumbass manager know that you never ask who sign off but instead just get loud at random peoples involved and blame the implimention not the stamp....
  • Ligupo 2013-02-12 20:04
    nonpartisan:
    TFA:

    The MPs in the corridors screaming, “Move, move, move!” didn’t help.
    Sorry, but TRWTF here is conducting a real event in a manner different than a drill. If drills are handled correctly, and if everyone thinks a real event is a drill, then it will continue to be orderly and everyone will get out safely.

    My kids' school gives unconscious clues on fire drill days (an extra clipboard in the classroom, for example). So if the alarm were to go off and the kids didn't see the clipboard, they'd wonder what's up. But if there were no such clues, they'd think it was a routine drill even if the other side of the school was already destroyed in flames.

    When I was a kid, I never knew when a fire drill was going to occur . . . and I'm not sure my teachers did either, as I had one particular incident where I stopped to tie my shoe and my teacher damn near pulled me off the ground and told me to get going. Reinforced the concept in me that when the alarm goes off, I needed to be quiet and get out of the school quickly, regardless of anything else.

    Totally agree. You should have several drills a year - if you have new fire wardens, you might let them in on the secret for the first one (just so they know they're prepared). After that, the fewer people know it's a drill the better (we always get tipped off by the bosses PA that it might be wise to go for a coffee at X o'clock....).

    Regarding extra clipboards and that ilk, you really need to worry when a Fire Drill requires pre-planning (at least to the point where there's extra props) - it sort of suggests the evacuation plan wouldn't quite work in a real event....
  • Paul 2013-02-12 21:05
    Captcha:conventio:
    C-Derb:
    And getting upset about wasting millions of dollars? Please. They don't care.

    Also it doesn't matter how much tax money you spend on useless stuff, since it benefits the economy and creates jobs. Some guy told me so.
    If only the hateful angry old stupid white men would get out of the way, we could print up many more trillions of dollars and just hand them out like candy to everybody. In fact who needs to create jobs when everyone can be rich just by getting a check in the mail.

    So sad that a few stupid people are allowed to ruin it for everyone else.
  • Sailsman 2013-02-12 21:13
    dkf:
    Anonymous Bob:
    At my old company we had more than a few false alarms. {...}
    Having done training on evacuation beyond the standard induction level (I was an evac warden for my building for a while) I can tell you that was a really dumb move on your part. You need to be out of the building before you can smell smoke, as smoke's genuinely dangerous (carbon monoxide, cyanide, that sort of thing). Also, [b}there's other reasons for evacuating a building and you don't know when you hear the alarm which one it is;[/b] my favorite is a gas pipeline leak, when you suddenly have all sorts of problems like explosion risk and idiots who think that as soon as you get out of the door it is time to start smoking. Yay for stupidity!

    Of course, there should also have been someone whose job it was to check every space in the building — including the toilet facilities —


    Of course, in the building I work in, You can't tell if its an alarm or a warning that the conveyor belt is going to start... plus, dust from falling cardboard boxes set the alarms off at least twice a year... plus, the building is actually several buildings, but the fire doors are never shut, so it might be in another zone... so we rely on the person that gets sent around to tell us when it is real... (40+ people in my department, spread all over a warehouse)
  • Marco 2013-02-12 21:25
    jay:
    In the days after 9/11, the Air Force base where I worked at the time got really paranoid about security. It seemed like at least twice a week they evacuated our building while they inspected a suspicious package, and we all had to go out and stand in the parking lot.

    And it occurred to me: If I wanted to pull off a terrorist attack against the people in this building, I wouldn't mail them a letter bomb. I'd just call in a bomb threat. Everybody goes out and stands in the parking lot, which is separated from the highway by a simple fence. Then I'd drive up to that fence and toss a hand grenade into the parking lot.

    i.e. our defense against potential threats was to have everyone leave a fairly well-protected place -- cement walls, armed guards at the door, etc -- to stand in a completely vulnerable place -- open parking lot with no protection except a chain-link fence.
    No surprises there - when there's a threat of damage, people are not their primary concern....
  • Harrow 2013-02-12 21:44
    Zylon:
    nonpartisan:
    Zylon:
    nonpartisan:
    My kids' school gives unconscious clues on fire drill days (an extra clipboard in the classroom, for example).

    Geeze, who's been blackjacking the clues?
    My daughter told me that she knows when there's a fire drill because there's a clipboard in the classroom (presumably for taking roll, not sure . . . or maybe it's a checklist).

    Wow... you're dumb. Okay, imma be explicit this time--

    The word you wanted was "subconscious", not "unconscious".
    Unconscious is the correct word here. Although, a more correct phrasing would be "My kids' school unconsciously gives clues..."

    The school is unconsciously providing the clue, and the students are consciously interpreting it.

    If the abovementioned daughter knew that there would be a fire drill, but could not tell how she knew, then we would say she subconsciously interpreted the unusual presence of the clipboard.

    -Harrow.
  • Harrow 2013-02-12 21:48
    jay:
    In the days after 9/11, the Air Force base where I worked at the time got really paranoid about security. It seemed like at least twice a week they evacuated our building while they inspected a suspicious package, and we all had to go out and stand in the parking lot.

    And it occurred to me: If I wanted to pull off a terrorist attack against the people in this building, I wouldn't mail them a letter bomb. I'd just call in a bomb threat. Everybody goes out and stands in the parking lot, which is separated from the highway by a simple fence. Then I'd drive up to that fence and toss a hand grenade into the parking lot.

    i.e. our defense against potential threats was to have everyone leave a fairly well-protected place -- cement walls, armed guards at the door, etc -- to stand in a completely vulnerable place -- open parking lot with no protection except a chain-link fence.
    This is the same principle by which the TSA gathers hundreds of airline travelers into compact target areas in front of their inspection stations.

    -Harrow.
  • Anon 2013-02-13 01:30
    I thought I was reading WTFs, not 40-year-old Conservative jokes, that weren't funny the first time around, updated slightly to keep up with tech.
  • georgir 2013-02-13 03:28
    Anonymous Paranoiac:
    Sailsman:
    syockit:
    <!-- Robert gasped. They were keeping the President's sick daughter in Zone 3! -->
    Someone please explain this fascination with President's daughter, who's always sick when mentioned, since that last cliffhanger which seems to insinuate something scandalous but didn't quite explain anything?


    TRWTF is a daily WTF reader that missed this.... sorry, just kidding. :) Something of a fad here recently. Read "Human Heat Sink" from 2/5th I think every post since has had a few comments about the "President's sick daughter." It will die out. Eventually.

    BTW: site needs new captchas.


    Yes, of course it will pass! Just like that silly fascination with true, false, FILE_NOT_FOUND.


    Well at least I have not seen any brillant Paulas recently, so there is hope.
  • tin 2013-02-13 03:33
    syockit:
    <!-- Robert gasped. They were keeping the President's sick daughter in Zone 3! -->
    Someone please explain this fascination with President's daughter, who's always sick when mentioned, since that last cliffhanger which seems to insinuate something scandalous but didn't quite explain anything?


    I'm pretty sure the president's sick daughter is actually Irish Girl.

    Note: I thought of this BEFORE I read page 2 of the comments ;)
  • ubersoldat 2013-02-13 03:56
    Perfect title!
  • QJo 2013-02-13 04:02
    Ligupo:
    nonpartisan:
    TFA:

    The MPs in the corridors screaming, “Move, move, move!” didn’t help.
    Sorry, but TRWTF here is conducting a real event in a manner different than a drill. If drills are handled correctly, and if everyone thinks a real event is a drill, then it will continue to be orderly and everyone will get out safely.

    My kids' school gives unconscious clues on fire drill days (an extra clipboard in the classroom, for example). So if the alarm were to go off and the kids didn't see the clipboard, they'd wonder what's up. But if there were no such clues, they'd think it was a routine drill even if the other side of the school was already destroyed in flames.

    When I was a kid, I never knew when a fire drill was going to occur . . . and I'm not sure my teachers did either, as I had one particular incident where I stopped to tie my shoe and my teacher damn near pulled me off the ground and told me to get going. Reinforced the concept in me that when the alarm goes off, I needed to be quiet and get out of the school quickly, regardless of anything else.

    Totally agree. You should have several drills a year - if you have new fire wardens, you might let them in on the secret for the first one (just so they know they're prepared). After that, the fewer people know it's a drill the better (we always get tipped off by the bosses PA that it might be wise to go for a coffee at X o'clock....).

    Regarding extra clipboards and that ilk, you really need to worry when a Fire Drill requires pre-planning (at least to the point where there's extra props) - it sort of suggests the evacuation plan wouldn't quite work in a real event....


    At one stage in my career I served on the fire safety team. One of our responsibilities was to ensure that everybody was out of the building when the alarm went. There was one particular manager who would refuse to play the game, and continued to sit in his office typing away at his laptop. Nothing we could do about it. It was pointed out at higher level of management that his tardiness reflected badly upon the safety team (and in this, specifically *me*), but of course he didn't give a damn for that particular point.

    He was a less-than-pleasant person to share a workplace (and indeed, universe) in other ways as well.
  • Steve The Cynic 2013-02-13 04:14
    Sailsman:
    Of course, in the building I work in, You can't tell if its an alarm or a warning that the conveyor belt is going to start... plus, dust from falling cardboard boxes set the alarms off at least twice a year... plus, the building is actually several buildings, but the fire doors are never shut, so it might be in another zone... so we rely on the person that gets sent around to tell us when it is real... (40+ people in my department, spread all over a warehouse)

    When I was at Uni, in the mid 80s, the dorms I was in freshman year were a bit elderly, especially the fire alarm system. We didn't need fire drills because every few weeks, at any time of the day or night, we would get the alarms going off because of faults rather than actual fires. While it is vaguely amusing to have the alarms going off at a weekday lunchtime when (almost) nobody is there, going outside in your pajamas at 2am in upstate New York winter isn't much fun. Especially when you have to wait at least ten minutes for campus security to come from their cozy little hole just across the street.
  • dkf 2013-02-13 05:42
    QJo:
    At one stage in my career I served on the fire safety team. One of our responsibilities was to ensure that everybody was out of the building when the alarm went. There was one particular manager who would refuse to play the game, and continued to sit in his office typing away at his laptop. Nothing we could do about it. It was pointed out at higher level of management that his tardiness reflected badly upon the safety team (and in this, specifically *me*), but of course he didn't give a damn for that particular point.

    He was a less-than-pleasant person to share a workplace (and indeed, universe) in other ways as well.
    The right way to deal with such people is to report the fact that they are there to the person in charge of the overall evacuation of the building. “One person, Dick J Erkwad, remaining in room 42. Otherwise clear.” Like that, if someone needs rescuing then at least the fire brigade know where to go. It's important that you never put your own life at risk when doing your duties in regard to building evacuation; you haven't had the training for that, nor are you paid to go into dangerous areas. (Well, I assume not…)

    It also means that it's clearly communicated up the hierarchy who it is that isn't taking safety seriously enough, but that's not your problem. This is the sort of thing that a bureaucracy is quite good at handling.
  • no laughing matter 2013-02-13 05:51
    PiisAWheeL:

    I quite liked true, false, and FILE_NOT_FOUND. It was the no laughing matter jokes that needed to take an arrow to the knee.
    Like you I was a very funny comedian once...

    But then i took ...
  • Spudley 2013-02-13 05:53
    Captcha:conventio:
    C-Derb:
    And getting upset about wasting millions of dollars? Please. They don't care.

    Also it doesn't matter how much tax money you spend on useless stuff, since it benefits the economy and creates jobs. Some guy told me so.


    Not only that, but once you factor in the income tax paid by those jobs and the sales tax on the materials and equipment they use, the goverment ends up recouping most of the money anyway.

    Goverment beaurocracy: It's like a perpetual motion machine for money!
  • Spudley 2013-02-13 05:55
    tin:
    syockit:
    <!-- Robert gasped. They were keeping the President's sick daughter in Zone 3! -->
    Someone please explain this fascination with President's daughter, who's always sick when mentioned, since that last cliffhanger which seems to insinuate something scandalous but didn't quite explain anything?


    I'm pretty sure the president's sick daughter is actually Irish Girl.


    ...and you never know... her name might even be Paula Bean.
  • TimB 2013-02-13 05:57
    QJo:

    At one stage in my career I served on the fire safety team. One of our responsibilities was to ensure that everybody was out of the building when the alarm went. There was one particular manager who would refuse to play the game, and continued to sit in his office typing away at his laptop. Nothing we could do about it. It was pointed out at higher level of management that his tardiness reflected badly upon the safety team (and in this, specifically *me*), but of course he didn't give a damn for that particular point.

    He was a less-than-pleasant person to share a workplace (and indeed, universe) in other ways as well.


    During my training, I was told that the correct approach to these people is:

    "Excuse me...the fire alarms going off"
    "I don't care. I'm too busy"
    "Suit yourself"

    And then alert the fire service that there's still someone inside when they get there. I was told that I don't get paid enough or have the appropriate training to deal with stubborn asshats.

    Which is a huge improvement on my training when I was in college and working at McDonalds to pay my way. That conversation was:

    "In the event of a fire, who should leave first?"
    "Me."
    "No. The correct answer is 'The Customers'"
    "Not at minimum wage it isn't"


    Captcha: Letatio. John took his wife out for dinner in hopes of getting letatio that night
  • QJo 2013-02-13 06:07
    TimB:
    Captcha: Letatio. John took his wife out for dinner in hopes of getting letatio that night


    Don't be silly, she's already eaten - think you'll be able to get her to swallow?
  • Jim Blog 2013-02-13 14:10
    Robert:
    And Robert still got fired...


    Yeah, I'm kinda thinking this story wouldn't have ended well for Robert...
  • Bill C. 2013-02-13 20:12
    QJo:
    TimB:
    Captcha: Letatio. John took his wife out for dinner in hopes of getting letatio that night
    Don't be silly, she's already eaten - think you'll be able to get her to swallow?
    The intern didn't, and I don't want to know about the president's daughter.
  • Trasvi 2013-02-13 20:24
    No joke: As I was reading this article, the fire alarm went off at our development office and I had to evacuate. No MP's yelling 'move move move' though, and the 'fire' was in the form of 'bagel left in the toaster too long'.
  • Coyne 2013-02-13 21:51
    This describes the absolute end stop in NIH.
  • Gruntled Postal Worker 2013-02-14 00:24
    Remy Porter:
    This is government work. Nobody gets fired. At worst, a reprimand goes into their file.


    Nonsense. I get fired from government jobs all the time.
  • Zemm 2013-02-15 07:29
    Harrow:
    The school is unconsciously providing the clue, and the students are consciously interpreting it.

    If the abovementioned daughter knew that there would be a fire drill, but could not tell how she knew, then we would say she subconsciously interpreted the unusual presence of the clipboard.


    Then the alarm is part of a three pronged attack. The first prong being superconscious.
  • Thisisso Familiar 2013-03-06 02:45
    iMortalitySX:
    Ben Jammin:
    I hope Robert made copies of those docs, cause the ones he passed over went straight to the shredder.


    Lucky for Robert, that would have landed someone in jail. Government work may be wasteful, but thanks to everyone complaining about not knowning where tax money is going, all documentation has to be kept for a very long time.


    ...and no one drives above the posted speed limit and everyone always washes their hands thoroughly before leaving the restrooms. ;)
  • Thisisso Familiar 2013-03-06 02:49
    C-Derb:
    I'm surprised they actually went live with the "system". Any U.S. Government entity worth their salt would have spent years developing the custom solution only to finally abandon it and implement the off-the-shelf product.

    And getting upset about wasting millions of dollars? Please. They don't care.


    <3
  • ASM826 2013-03-10 21:24
    They are not green in the Navy and Marine Corps. Lots of battleship grey. Desks, file cabinets, doors, etc.
  • Essex Kitten 2013-03-12 06:52
    Then they sold the technology to Boeing.
  • Nagesh 2013-04-25 14:03
    Steve The Cynic:
    Nagesh:
    Excellent well written article. Nagesh like it very much.

    Message for the site admins: Nagesh likes the article. Delete it NOW!


    WTF Don't you want me to keep visiting?