Classic WTF: The Indexer

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  • Tankster 2012-12-24 06:05
    happy fristmas!
  • Gareth 2012-12-24 06:16
    Repeat after me:

    Any time you're manually redoing the same thing over and over, a computer can probably do it faster than you.
  • No'am 2012-12-24 06:19
    At least they were scanning the maps as opposed to placing them on a wooden table and photographing them.
  • Tom 2012-12-24 06:52
    dir *.tif /b > filelist.txt
  • TGV 2012-12-24 06:54
    Gareth:
    Repeat after me:

    Any time you're manually redoing the same thing over and over, a computer can probably do it faster than you.

    Are you trying to be meta?
  • sw 2012-12-24 07:34
    This is amusing until you realize that the funds being wasted were taken at gunpoint from hard working citizens. Kind of takes the humor right out of it.
  • justanotheradmin 2012-12-24 07:46
    Gareth:
    Repeat after me:

    Any time you're manually redoing the same thing over and over, a computer can probably do it faster than you.


    10 PRINT "Any time you're manually redoing the same thing over and over, a computer can probably do it faster than you."
    20 GOTO 10
  • p 2012-12-24 07:58
    If you didn't want to slice the maps the best way to do it would be to make a light box on a table and right a medium format camera with a scanning back to take pictures
  • ¯\(°_o)/¯ I DUNNO LOL 2012-12-24 08:20
    Gareth:
    Repeat after me:

    Any time you're manually redoing the same thing over and over, a computer can probably do it faster than you.
    This is why we need to have Akismet automatically add the frist post to every article. Think of how much time that will save!
  • David 2012-12-24 08:22
    Apparently the dir secret got out somehow, so TRWTF must be that someone cleared to work at a secret military location can't keep secrets.
  • Luke 2012-12-24 08:51
    sw:
    This is amusing until you realize that the funds being wasted were taken at gunpoint from hard working citizens. Kind of takes the humor right out of it.
    No, those citizens were working so hard out of a selfish desire to hoard money. Guns are too good for them.
  • Dave 2012-12-24 09:04
    TGV:
    Gareth:
    Repeat after me:

    Any time you're manually redoing the same thing over and over, a computer can probably do it faster than you.

    Are you trying to be meta?


    Well, if stating the bleedin' obvious can be considered "meta". He's also missing the whole point, which is that old Gustavo doesn't *want* it done faster.
  • trtrwtf 2012-12-24 09:31
    sw:
    This is amusing until you realize that the funds being wasted were taken at gunpoint from hard working citizens. Kind of takes the humor right out of it.


    Any time you're manually parroting an idiotic slogan over and over, a computer can probably do it faster than you.
  • Matteo 2012-12-24 09:32
    Which meant they had to tear them up, and tape them together again: slow, and adding wear to the original (possibly valuable) material.

    A metallic arm with a digital camera and good illumination (well, not in 1996, but in ~2003) would do a better and faster job. I heard something about Walt Disney making even movies out of the concept :-).

    Multiple cameras, if the maps are of the same size, might make the process even faster, granting the usual overlap which is needed for later printing, etc.

    Frankly, I see it mostly as a win...
  • Sarten X 2012-12-24 10:28
    They’d carefully slice up the large 6’-by-4’ maps into pieces that would fit in the scanners, scan the map pieces in to the file server, tape up the originals, and then return it to the archives.

    Being married to a librarian, I say with certainty that this is TRWTF.
  • alexgieg 2012-12-24 10:28
    My father told me a conversation he (or a friend of his, I don't remember) had with a retired civil engineer from former East Germany:

    Once the guy had finished college, he got a job projecting bridges at the State company responsible for that, and received his first assignment: a pile of trigonometric calculations, I guess for weight/mass distribution, to be done by hand (no computers back then). By the end of the day he had finished the calculations, and went to his boss desk to deliver the sheets. His boss looked at that and asked: "What is this?", at what he replied, a little uncertain: "Er... the trigonometric calculations you asked me to do?" His boss paled, and said: "Are you crazy!? You should do a single triangle a day! Don't ever let them know you've finished everything in such a short time!" The young engineer apologized profusely, took back all but one sheet of paper, and went back to his desk to hide the remaining sheets, having figured how his career should proceed from now on.

    The story might be bogus, but it rings true nonetheless. Governments...
  • rickb 2012-12-24 11:01
    Actually the real WTF is why the guy didn't go ahead and use the script and then goof off the rest of the week pretending he was still doing it manually.
  • youngin 2012-12-24 11:15
    I can totally relate to this story. Before college I was hired as a temp to manually parse a computer generated list that arrived as an email, print it, and type it into an access database. There was a team of ten people that did nothing but this, all day, every day. Copy paste alone would have been a major improvement, but I had bigger ideas. I thought my script wizardry would dazzle my boss. Instead she was absolutely livid. I was threatened forbidden from showing that script to anyone. Instead I finished out my contract at the nearby movie theater while my script churned away with strict limits in place so it wouldn't do too much work. It took me years of corporate work to understand her response. I had unwittingly obviated her and her entire ten person team.
  • moz 2012-12-24 11:26
    sw:
    This is amusing until you realize that the funds being wasted were taken at gunpoint from hard working citizens. Kind of takes the humor right out of it.

    No, the government had mostly stopped murdering people by 1986. The wages of people like Gustavo came under "the price we pay for peace".
  • Coyne 2012-12-24 13:16
    justanotheradmin:
    Gareth:
    Repeat after me:

    Any time you're manually redoing the same thing over and over, a computer can probably do it faster than you.


    10 PRINT "Any time you're manually redoing the same thing over and over, a computer can probably do it faster than you."
    20 GOTO 10


    How can this be faster when the computer will never finish?
  • Hasse 2012-12-24 13:24
    TRWTF here is the business analyst not understanding the underlying system and the proposing this manual work. The poor guy doing the work would only to blame if he could have known better. If there where honors to to earn for finding better ways to do the work he might have liked the new solution.
  • AC 2012-12-24 14:51
    Coyne:
    justanotheradmin:
    Gareth:
    Repeat after me:

    Any time you're manually redoing the same thing over and over, a computer can probably do it faster than you.


    10 PRINT "Any time you're manually redoing the same thing over and over, a computer can probably do it faster than you."
    20 GOTO 10


    How can this be faster when the computer will never finish?

    I'm sure if Grace Hopper took Gareth's advice, she'd never finish either. The computer would have a higher slogan/sec count than she would, however.
  • Yaos 2012-12-24 15:22
    No'am:
    At least they were scanning the maps as opposed to placing them on a wooden table and photographing them.

    Funny you should say that. Our department used to be the department that digitized all the paper maps. I was only a little 10 year old babby back then (around the same time mentioned in the article), but they told me the way they digitized the maps was using a light pen(?) and used it to mark roads and other features. This saves a lot of steps compared to the article, since they are manually inputting data points directly into the GIS software.
  • Captcha:luctus 2012-12-24 16:07
    youngin:
    I can totally relate to this story. Before college I was hired as a temp to manually parse a computer generated list that arrived as an email, print it, and type it into an access database. There was a team of ten people that did nothing but this, all day, every day. Copy paste alone would have been a major improvement, but I had bigger ideas. I thought my script wizardry would dazzle my boss. Instead she was absolutely livid. I was threatened forbidden from showing that script to anyone. Instead I finished out my contract at the nearby movie theater while my script churned away with strict limits in place so it wouldn't do too much work. It took me years of corporate work to understand her response. I had unwittingly obviated her and her entire ten person team.

    1. Go find boss+1.
    2. Ask him/her how much the ten person+boss team cost per month.
    3. Offer to do the same work for exactly 50% of that quantity.
    4. Enjoy your 5 salaries for doing basically nothing, until someone else offers to do it for half of that.
  • Joanna 2012-12-24 17:23
    Not only did I work Christmas Eve, I'm also working Christmas Day.
  • anon 2012-12-24 18:27
    I seriously have no corporate experience, but would this actually work?
  • anon 2012-12-24 18:27
    Captcha:luctus:
    youngin:
    I can totally relate to this story. Before college I was hired as a temp to manually parse a computer generated list that arrived as an email, print it, and type it into an access database. There was a team of ten people that did nothing but this, all day, every day. Copy paste alone would have been a major improvement, but I had bigger ideas. I thought my script wizardry would dazzle my boss. Instead she was absolutely livid. I was threatened forbidden from showing that script to anyone. Instead I finished out my contract at the nearby movie theater while my script churned away with strict limits in place so it wouldn't do too much work. It took me years of corporate work to understand her response. I had unwittingly obviated her and her entire ten person team.

    1. Go find boss+1.
    2. Ask him/her how much the ten person+boss team cost per month.
    3. Offer to do the same work for exactly 50% of that quantity.
    4. Enjoy your 5 salaries for doing basically nothing, until someone else offers to do it for half of that.


    I seriously have no corporate experience, but would this actually work?
  • Norman Diamond 2012-12-24 18:29
    Mark Bowytz:
    Our hearts at TDWTF go out to you poor schmoes (all 5 of you) who are stuck having to work today.
    My heart goes out to you poor schmoes who had to work yesterday. The emperor's birthday was Sunday so yesterday was a substitute holiday Monday. Everyone who doesn't get off for Japanese national holidays, you should go on strike and teach a lesson to your communist and capitalist overlords.

    Coming soon to Windows, Linux, OSX, and FreeBSD: Resource file entries for religion, to accompany resource file entries for language and national locale.
  • Bill C. 2012-12-24 18:36
    Gareth:
    Repeat after me:

    Any time you're manually redoing the same thing over and over, a computer can probably do it faster than you.
    You're right. A computer can do it faster than me. Way to ruin the experience for both me and the indexer (assuming she can't tear a telephone book in half).
  • John Hensley 2012-12-24 18:38
    sw:
    This is amusing until you realize that the funds being wasted were taken at gunpoint from hard working citizens. Kind of takes the humor right out of it.

    Oh yes let's please do this to another thread (go away)
  • gnasher729 2012-12-24 18:47
    Captcha:luctus:
    1. Go find boss+1.
    2. Ask him/her how much the ten person+boss team cost per month.
    3. Offer to do the same work for exactly 50% of that quantity.
    4. Enjoy your 5 salaries for doing basically nothing, until someone else offers to do it for half of that.

    There's a problem when the ten person + boss team are Argentinian army, much better armed than you, and not unwilling to use their arms.
  • Norman Diamond 2012-12-24 19:44
    The dir command sorts in a different order from Windows Explorer, displays real names instead of localized special folder names, and includes the . and .. directories.
  • Almafuerte 2012-12-25 01:28
    This was back in '96. Argentina has been a democracy since '83. So, no, it wasn't taken at gunpoint.

    Still, this article is depressing. I've read TDWTF every day for years, this is the first article I remember coming from my country, and it's about corrupt assholes wasting our money.

    Regardless, the corrupt guy here is not gustavo (He's still corrupt, but considering what the military usually do, I'd rather have him at a desk stealing his salary). The truly corrupt here is Sergio, who kept his mouth shut. Looking the other way: So abundant.
  • Almafuerte 2012-12-25 01:30
    Why wouldn't we work? There is no god. What are we going to celebrate on Dec 24th? The anniversary of the institution that silenced Galileo and brought us the crusades?
  • AndyCanfield 2012-12-25 02:14
    One time I went to the biggest photo shop in town to get one page digitized. I swear, the guy stepped out the front door onto the sidewalk, put the paper on the sidewalk, and took a picture of it with a hand=held camera. But, hey, it worked, didn't it?
  • Simon 2012-12-25 04:50
    trtrwtf:
    sw:
    This is amusing until you realize that the funds being wasted were taken at gunpoint from hard working citizens. Kind of takes the humor right out of it.


    Any time you're manually parroting an idiotic slogan over and over, a computer can probably do it faster than you.


    Well, you never know... it's entirely possible that it *is* a computer, parotting that slogan... :)
  • Tractor 2012-12-25 08:31
    Norman Diamond:
    The dir command sorts in a different order from Windows Explorer, displays real names instead of localized special folder names, and includes the . and .. directories.


    ... which are really big problems when you're only listing .tif files.
  • orthodox 2012-12-25 09:17
    Christmas eve here is on 6th of January, so no, it's not everywhere today.
  • savar 2012-12-25 09:47
    Almafuerte:


    Still, this article is depressing. I've read TDWTF every day for years, this is the first article I remember coming from my country, and it's about corrupt assholes wasting our money.


    If it consoles you at all, when I read this I didn't notice the word Argentinian and I assumed it was the US government. I realized it was not us only when I read that Gustavo didn't want to be fired for having a useless job. In the US, federal workers are impossible to fire, even if they are inept and/or have nothing to do. In fact, my experience is that a large portion of the federal workforce aspires to having a useless job so they can kick back and watch more YouTube.
  • Steve 2012-12-25 09:51
    At frist this was very WTF.
    The longer I work the less WTF this seems.
    Maybe its just old, and I am not surprised by it. Classic!
  • Gunslinger 2012-12-25 18:09
    Gareth:
    Repeat after me:

    Any time you're manually redoing the same thing over and over, a computer can probably do it faster than you.


    So, the computer can comment "frist" faster than whoever the hell is doing it on here? Is that really a step up?
  • Meep 2012-12-25 20:05
    John Hensley:
    sw:
    This is amusing until you realize that the funds being wasted were taken at gunpoint from hard working citizens. Kind of takes the humor right out of it.

    Oh yes let's please do this to another thread (go away)

    Sorry, it's kinda hard to forget how much all the useless spending costs when you see the money being sucked out of your paycheck every two weeks.
  • WTFer 2012-12-25 20:41
    At gunpoint? Wut?
  • Jeff Grigg 2012-12-25 21:20
    Tom:
    dir *.tif /b > filelist.txt


    Darn you! That's what I was going to suggest!

    And darn; certainly if Gustavo was half smart, he could have done that and either goofed off for 99% of the time, or worked on stuff that had real value.

    And the reduction in ERRORS would have been major!
  • jkupski 2012-12-26 09:17
    Almafuerte:
    This was back in '96. Argentina has been a democracy since '83. So, no, it wasn't taken at gunpoint.

    He's talking about taxation in general, and not about a dictatorship.
  • Elcho 2012-12-26 09:27
    anon:
    Captcha:luctus:
    youngin:
    I can totally relate to this story. Before college I was hired as a temp to manually parse a computer generated list that arrived as an email, print it, and type it into an access database. There was a team of ten people that did nothing but this, all day, every day. Copy paste alone would have been a major improvement, but I had bigger ideas. I thought my script wizardry would dazzle my boss. Instead she was absolutely livid. I was threatened forbidden from showing that script to anyone. Instead I finished out my contract at the nearby movie theater while my script churned away with strict limits in place so it wouldn't do too much work. It took me years of corporate work to understand her response. I had unwittingly obviated her and her entire ten person team.

    1. Go find boss+1.
    2. Ask him/her how much the ten person+boss team cost per month.
    3. Offer to do the same work for exactly 50% of that quantity.
    4. Enjoy your 5 salaries for doing basically nothing, until someone else offers to do it for half of that.


    I seriously have no corporate experience, but would this actually work?


    I'd say no.
    You would probably get fired to make boss+1 realize that he is an idiot.
  • Random832 2012-12-26 11:09
    Why is it that everyone in these stories always assumes they'll be out of a job, instead of just doing the same amount of work doing something else that previously didn't get done because there was no-one available to work on it?
  • Random832 2012-12-26 11:10
    Almafuerte:
    This was back in '96. Argentina has been a democracy since '83. So, no, it wasn't taken at gunpoint.


    So, what exactly _are_ the people your democratic government sends around to your house if you don't pay your taxes armed with?
  • trtrwtf 2012-12-26 11:28
    Random832:
    Almafuerte:
    This was back in '96. Argentina has been a democracy since '83. So, no, it wasn't taken at gunpoint.


    So, what exactly _are_ the people your democratic government sends around to your house if you don't pay your taxes armed with?



    Okay, cutting to the chase: how are socialized services paid for on your anarchist collective? Or do you just do without roads, bridges, fire departments, police, army, and so forth?
  • Ozz 2012-12-26 12:27
    trtrwtf:
    Okay, cutting to the chase: how are socialized services paid for on your anarchist collective? Or do you just do without roads, bridges, fire departments, police, army, and so forth?
    Here in the U.S. I'm assuming the same way they were paid for before the federal government started taxing people's income in 1913.
  • the beholder 2012-12-26 12:56
    Ozz:
    trtrwtf:
    Okay, cutting to the chase: how are socialized services paid for on your anarchist collective? Or do you just do without roads, bridges, fire departments, police, army, and so forth?
    Here in the U.S. I'm assuming the same way they were paid for before the federal government started taxing people's income in 1913.

    Oh no, not this CRAP again!

    Okay people, if want to argue, bicker and whine politics, gun control, nazi spaceships, hypothetical pokemon battles between Napoleon and Churchill, or whatever the hell you're bent on that IS NOT a Curious Perversion on Information Technology™ get to this thread. It's already ruined after all, so no point screwing this one too.
  • EvilCodeMonkey 2012-12-26 16:52
    Coyne:
    justanotheradmin:
    Gareth:
    Repeat after me:

    Any time you're manually redoing the same thing over and over, a computer can probably do it faster than you.


    10 PRINT "Any time you're manually redoing the same thing over and over, a computer can probably do it faster than you."
    20 GOTO 10


    How can this be faster when the computer will never finish?


    Can you never finish faster than the computer?
  • Random832 2012-12-27 10:22
    trtrwtf:
    Okay, cutting to the chase: how are socialized services paid for on your anarchist collective? Or do you just do without roads, bridges, fire departments, police, army, and so forth?


    The difference is those aren't a waste of money. One can complain "the funds being wasted were taken at gunpoint from hard working citizens" without being, in general, against taking money at gunpoint from hard working citizens.
  • Valued Service 2012-12-27 12:06
    trtrwtf:
    Random832:
    Almafuerte:
    This was back in '96. Argentina has been a democracy since '83. So, no, it wasn't taken at gunpoint.


    So, what exactly _are_ the people your democratic government sends around to your house if you don't pay your taxes armed with?



    Okay, cutting to the chase: how are socialized services paid for on your anarchist collective? Or do you just do without roads, bridges, fire departments, police, army, and so forth?


    Person A: I don't like excessive taxes.
    Person B: Well, how will you go without roads.
    Person A: We can give up something other than roads to lower taxes.
    Person B: Oh noes, logic!!! I'm melting.
  • trtrwtf 2012-12-27 14:55
    Person A: Taxes are evil because they're taken by force
    Person B: How do you intend to pay for needed services then?
    Person A: You're just a big old poopyhead.
  • NotHere 2012-12-27 17:33
    We have an app that relies, in part, on a large list of items we receive from our clients during setup.

    Normally, they send us a file and we import it straight away. Well, after I had gotten back from a nice long vacation I found that some of my people were hand typing the lists.

    I asked why they would ever do that.

    The response: They figured it would take a while to do it by hand and weren't sure what else to do while I was gone...

    The WTF here is simply that I had forgotten to leave a sufficiently large task list for them.
  • jas88 2012-12-27 19:26
    Random832:
    Why is it that everyone in these stories always assumes they'll be out of a job, instead of just doing the same amount of work doing something else that previously didn't get done because there was no-one available to work on it?


    My faith in humanity was actually boosted slightly when this happened to me a few years ago.

    On a $2m government contract (in the UK), one of the companies involved had an admin assistant seconded to the project. One of her tasks was to take a spreadsheet of log entries extracted from the firewall guarding the web server, pick out the obvious spider entries, then do some basic analysis (number of requests per page; number of distinct IP addresses requesting at least two different pages each day, excluding our own organisations' IP addresses). This ate up most of her allotted 1.5 days per month to work on the project.

    She was actually quite happy when I set up a Perl script which did the same analysis in under a second for each month. Apart from anything else, this left her with time to do more useful things on the project. (Or maybe just meant she still billed for the 1.5 days but spent them out shopping. TBH, I'd still prefer that to actually having work like that done manually!)
  • danbruc 2012-12-28 00:39
    Something like this cannot be true. In no possible world. With no possible interpretation of quantum physics. This is just plain impossible.
  • Eduardo 2012-12-28 02:38
    I'm from Argentina too. I bet Gustavo is still screen-printing the filenames without knowing the existence of Google Maps. Here, the military (and most of our government) stayed in other time.
  • John Hensley 2012-12-28 03:36
    Random832:
    Irrelevant political bullshit

    I wish someone would take you out of this comments section at gunpoint.
  • el_slapper 2013-01-02 09:00
    Big classic

    I've been in another form of this : I was maintening an old COBOL application, that did crash each time it did receive unfit data. 90 minutes of work to repair the mess, each time. It happened usually 10 to 20 times a month, mostly at the end of the month.

    I've been foolishly asking for ages either more control in the emitting application, or for the right of changing the mechanism. I was about to get crazy.

    Finally, I did replace the "crash" mechanism by a little mail "file FFF rejected because of reason RRR" send to the file emmitters. The worse? They did love it! They had rejected the idea one thousand times. Now, I spend my time to more useful duties, as, errrm, repairing other crashed applications.
  • Mike 2013-01-02 09:10
    No'am:
    At least they were scanning the maps as opposed to placing them on a wooden table and photographing them.


    Which is now the best way to do most digitisation, but not an option in the 90s

    TRWTF is slicing and re-taping the maps! I wonder how good that tape is holding now that the sticky has oxidised!

    As for the maunal inefficiency, many governments have an obligation to employ ex-service men for life, so this kind of mindless job creation serves a bigger purpose.
  • PPH 2013-01-03 17:06
    Gareth:
    Repeat after me:

    Any time you're manually redoing the same thing over and over, a computer can probably do it faster than you.


    Now, go to work for a company with a 250+ department of clerical workers built around the concept of maximizing manpower consumption. Because the department head's job title/status/paycheck is based upon how many employees he has reporting to him. That's Gustavo * 250 plus several layers of management.

    Now, have that department head weasel his way into having IT contracting and acquisition responsibility for all engineering departments. Just to make sure nobody actually cleans up the mess. So now you've got an Oracle database from which they print weekly reports of duplicate entries (on old-school fan fold paper) and have half a dozen people go through them with highlighters to fix the bad entries. Instead of adding a key violation and other input validation to prevent the bad entries in the first place.

    You'd say to yourself "These people suck. I'd never use a product from such an incompetent organization. They'll probably be out of business soon anyway." Well then, don't ever get on an airplane.

  • anitet 2013-01-07 05:17
    I read this thinking ti was just like the UK. One government agency hired Fred, put him through 3 days of intensive interviewing and when he stepped in the door his new boss told him that he had to work slowly. It transpired that there was not enough work for 1 person in the team let alone 2. They overestimated everything and the management team re-inforced this approach.
  • Like a NaN 2013-01-10 15:18
    The success of a protest is rated on how many times you can yell your half-rhyming mantra until you're interrupted or you get tired and go home.
  • Mr. TA 2013-09-18 11:47
    Yes it was.

    The fact that some idiots voted for politicians who did not promise new taxes but then imposed them anyway, and that the politicians WILL send armed agents to your house if you don't pay up, makes it no different than the high-tax monarchies of years past.
  • Mr. TA 2013-09-18 11:49
    It is idiotic, I suppose, to acknowledge that one's money is taken without doing anything about it. But hey, we can't help it but to at least complain.