Charles Robinson

Charles Robinson has done a little bit of everything in the IT world since getting an internship at age 16. He currently holds a position as an IT Security Analyst at a company in Wisconsin. He has maintained comedic writing as a hobby throughout, writing for various websites, blogs, and now The Daily WTF. When not neutralizing hackers or writing, he enjoys drinking beer, gaming, and attending heavy metal concerts.

An Excelent Start to a Career

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Hal was a wiz kid computer programmer at age 15 in 1976. He could make the toggle switches and LEDs on his Altair 8800 dance at will. In college, he was class valedictorian after earning his computer science degree in 1984. Hal was destined for greatness and the real world was about to get rocked.

Hal's college friend Victor, who graduated two years prior, was already running his own startup company that made Unix-based financial planning software. Remembering Hal's brilliance, Victor recruited him to join his company the day after graduation. Victor needed the wiz kid-turned-wiz adult to create the equivalent of Lotus 1-2-3 in Unix. It was a tall first project but it paid well, so Hal happily signed up. Besides, everyone knew that spreadsheets were gonna change the world.


A Learning Experience

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Jakob M. had the great pleasure of working as a System Administrator in a German school district. At times it was rewarding work. Most of the time it involved replacing keyboard keys mischievous children stole and scraping gum off of monitor screens. It wasn't always the students that gave him trouble though.

Frau Fritzenberger was a cranky old math teacher at a Hauptschule near Frankfurt. Jakob regularly had to answer support calls she made for completely frivolous things. Having been teaching since before computers were a thing, she put up a fight for every new technology or program Jakob's department wanted to implement.


This Process is Nuts

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A great man once said "I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were merry." As pleasing of a sight as that was, what if the squirrels weren't merry?

Grady had an unpleasant experience with bushy-tailed rodents at a former job. Before starting at the Fintech firm as a data scientist, he was assured the Business Intelligence department was very advanced and run by an expert. They needed Grady to manipulate large data sets and implement machine learning to help out Lenny, the resident BI "expert". It quickly became apparent that Lenny didn't put the "Intelligence" in Business Intelligence.


Robot Anarchy

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Chaz had a pretty sweet gig as a software architect at a tech-based toy company. Being able to play around with computers AND toys all day wasn't terrible, but the pot got even sweeter when his company licensed a cool robotic product from a certain Danish toy company that specializes in small, colorful bricks. Chaz was happy to become the lead platform architect for this exciting new initiative.

The intended outcome was to make the robots consumer-programmable via an interface with a smartphone app. Chaz had grand ideas for how he wanted to build the app and backend from the ground up with stability, performance, and security as the main pillars. That dream was dashed by Stellan, the CFO-turned-CTO, who insisted they develop against the same in-house platform they'd been using for over a decade. Chaz argued with Stellan until he was blue in the face, but Stellan scoffed at him, "I don't care if smartphones didn't even exist when our platform was designed. The cost of building a whole new one would be astronomical. We want a quick turnaround and high profit margin on these robots!" Stellan clearly showed he was far more qualified to be a CFO than CTO.


The Ballad of Bart

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Alvin had the fortune of working with an exceptional talent while he was employed at Virtucon. Bart knew how to do everything from desktop support to software development to database administration to IT security. Not only was he proficient in all of them, he also knew them better than those with many years of experience.

Bart had been with Virtucon since the early days, racking up nearly 20 years of tenure. During this time, he 'mastered' everything and asserted himself to the point that no changes could happen without his approval. His changes were auto-approved because of course any idea he had was a good one. This led to myriad problems for fellow IT people like Alvin, who were hired after Bart.


Calculated Security

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Carl C spent some time in the late 1980's at a software firm that developed avionics and global positioning systems for military and civilian customers. In their employ, he frequently visited Schlockdeed Corp, a customer with a contract to develop a new generation of jet fighters for the US military. Due to the top secret nature of their work, security was a big deal there.

Whenever Carl entered or left the facility, he had to pass through the security office to get clearance. They would thoroughly inspect his briefcase, jacket, lunchbox, and just about everything short of a full cavity search. Despite the meticulous nature of daily inspections at Schlockdeed, some of their "security measures" bordered on the absurd.


A Mean Game of Pong

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Mark J spent some time as a contractor in the Supply & Inventory division of a Big Government Agency. He helped with the coding efforts on an antiquated requisition system, although as he would come to find, his offers to help went unappreciated.

Ameprod game console, displaying a Pong game
By Wojciech Pędzich


A Dark Cloud Looming

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Buford was a contract developer working at a mid-sized financial firm. He had just wrapped up a lengthy project and was looking for something new to sink his teeth into. Tanner, the manager in his area, tasked him with moving their implementation of Jenkins into "this great new thing they call The Cloud."

Tanner recently returned from a conference with a bunch of swag from a company called PuffyCloud. They claimed to have the easiest cloud-based implementation of Jenkins in the business. "It's pretty much just a copy-paste job according to this whitepaper they gave me. Take a look, create some user stories, and have it done by the end of the next sprint," Tanner instructed.


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