• YellowOnline (unregistered)

    Masochists wouldn't be what they are if they wouldn't enjoy it...

  • Np (unregistered)

    There are just some people that don't really trust computers or programs if it doesn't involve the users input. I've seen many issues with people blindly doing search and replace. But eventually there is a limit to such idiotic manual labor. He should at least present the boss with something so he can double check his work after 4-hour a day of useless typing. Then after a year the boss might learn to actually trust it.

  • ANON (unregistered)

    Hm, why not ask the person who shall use the new feature if he will before you implement it? Could save some work.

  • Take five (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Terry (unregistered)

    But what would his boss be doing if he wasn't doing this? If you're the boss of a development team and don't trust that software can be developed to aid in your daily function, then I don't believe you belong in that job.

    maybe it is job security and a little work martyrdom.

  • foo AKA fooo (unregistered)

    BOFH solution: Slow down the process even more (insert growing sleeps, install some malware, whatever) until it eventually takes up 100% or more of his boss's working hours. At this point, he'll have no choice ...

  • foxyshadis (unregistered)

    TRWTF is that Devan never went any higher. Obviously, his boss knows that his only position in the company is as a glorified file clerk, and he's going to be shitcanned as soon as automation happens, so it's in his interest to stall as long as possible.

    Devan should have just written an automated trigger to update date fields based on whatever algorithm they use, and left boss twisting in the wind.

  • ubersoldat (cs)

    I expected this to end with Devan getting his way, all the process automated and many many people fired since they aren't needed anymore.

  • Ben (unregistered)

    Work in the public sector, does he?

    Capcha: ideo. Noun. The idea of an idiot.

  • Nimrod (unregistered)

    I don't think Nimrod refers to what the author thinks it refers to...

  • QJo (unregistered)

    I expect to hear lots of similar stories from other devs in similar positions. I was one such. In my case, like Devan, I was expected to come up with ways to streamline our operation, and timesaving was rewarded with recognition of having done a good job.

    For one such enhancement, having removed a task that kept a team busy for a considerable amount of time a day, we were all rewarded with big wide flat-screen monitors twice (or more) the area of the ones we had been using, which was brilliant.

    On another occasion I removed the need to copy a whole load of stuff from screen to XL, sort on one of the fields, make a list of etc. etc. and then manually update blah blah, which was the work of 2 people.

    This was the sort of bread-and-butter work that I was delighted to do. But of course there was one such situation that Devan would have recognised. I removed the need to type in the name of an input file, and an output file, and a load of other parameters, in a specific format as specified by the run notes, twelve times in a row. Instead, all the user needed to type in was a month and a year, and the DCL script would construct the parameters and pass them into the suite of programs automatically. Job done, you'd say.

    But no. It was specifically rejected by the person whose job it was to type this stuff in day after day, because it would make her look not busy enough. I don't know what the ultimate fallout was from that, because soon after I was delightfully promoted up and out.

    "The problem with automation is not that it will make machines think like people, as that it will make people think like machines."

  • jas88 (cs) in reply to Ben
    Ben:
    Work in the public sector, does he?

    Funnily enough, when I read this I was reminded of automating a task a few years ago on a government contract. We had an admin assistant who complained that analysing the web server logs took a long time each month - she was sent a CSV file, then had to load it into Excel, sort it, count and filter out bot hits, then filter out all single accesses except those which downloaded PDFs - then count the remaining number of unique IPs.

    Fortunately, she was funded to spend a set amount of time on the overall project (around a day per week IIRC) and had plenty of other work, so replacing the day or so it was taking up each month with a small Perl script doing the job in under a second made her quite happy.

    I can imagine her employer, billing the government by the hour for her time counting and filtering spreadsheet rows manually, might have been upset otherwise though...

  • Frosh (unregistered) in reply to Nimrod

    In the United States, "Nimrod" has lost all meaning thanks to multiple generations who have grown up watching Loony Tunes cartoons wherein Bugs Bunny sarcastically refers to the hunter Elmer Fudd as Nimrod. Lacking Biblical literacy or additional context, these children inferred "nimrod" as being a synonym for "idiot." That's how the common usage of Nimrod in the United States came to be.

  • vt_mruhlin (cs)

    Any chance the boss is doing some manual intervention, only updating certain records with the new date?

  • Smug Unix User (unregistered)

    Run the process in parallel for a few weeks checking the outputs from both. If the process can make duplicate outputs of the human input then document the process and automate it. Create a waste prevention incentive program to reward people for removing manual tasks.

  • sir_unwtf (unregistered)

    There is a very easy solution to this.

    You diff the datasets or show what actions will be taken. You output that as a preview and provide a confirm action button.

    I think Devan was not that smart.

  • UpNDown (cs)

    Should have moved one additional level down: a button on each record to change to today's date. Then the boss could examine each record as he wished to, see that he wanted to change the date, and clicked the button. You see, changing the date was a reminder to the boss that that record had been examined. Sort of a "checked this" flag. So changing them all at the same time was removing that feedback.

  • Franky (unregistered)
    update the date field of all of the selected records with today, and save it to the database. [...] His boss didn't like the idea that you could press a button without manually checking
    ... and that is totally understandable. Some people like to review changes before they get written to the db. Why not just transform the data and show him for review? So the dev fails to implement for the needs of his user.
  • TopTension (unregistered)

    I'd rather have the boss mindlessly typing backspace than him taking too much interest in what I am doing.

  • Qazwsx (unregistered)

    TRWTF is that the boss was using backspace instead of overwrite mode. That's where the real time saving would have been.

  • VanMan (unregistered) in reply to Qazwsx

    Welllllllll... To go to the right place to start the overwrite, you still have to go back 2 characters with the arrow keys. So yes, no backspace (or different key). But no, yes you still need 2 keystrokes.

    Unless he uses a mouse?

  • Nagesh (cs)

    That sole task is keeping boss important in organization, but also tying him to do that job and thus not freeing him from dong more important thing. Boss should accept Devan suggestion and free himself.

    BTW - is boss a girl or guy in this story?

  • pjt33 (cs) in reply to VanMan
    VanMan:
    Welllllllll... To go to the right place to start the overwrite, you still have to go back 2 characters with the arrow keys. So yes, no backspace (or different key). But no, yes you still need 2 keystrokes.

    Unless he uses a mouse?

    Train him to use vi.

  • Rfoxmich (unregistered)

    "Devan still sits there" <- TRWTF

  • ideo (unregistered) in reply to sir_unwtf
    sir_unwtf:
    You diff the datasets or show what actions will be taken. You output that as a preview and provide a confirm action button.

    I think Devan was not that smart.

    Franky:
    Some people like to review changes before they get written to the db. Why not just transform the data and show him for review? So the dev fails to implement for the needs of his user.
    "No amount of offering to let him scan the changed records before committing the changes could change his mind."

    I think sir_unwtf and Franky are not that smart.

  • Scribbler (cs) in reply to Nagesh
    Nagesh:
    That sole task is keeping boss *important* in organization, but also tying him to do that job and thus not freeing him from dong more important thing. Boss should accept Devan suggestion and free himself.

    BTW - is boss a girl or guy in this story?

    Yeah, the thing is that people often don't like change until it's been done. Some because they've been burned by promises to improve things that made things worse, others because they're just ornery cusses. It's why getting forgiveness is easier than getting permission.

    Don't think the guy/girl thing matters much in this particular case, since that behavioral pattern is standard for humans in general.

  • Anon (unregistered)

    You do of course realize that the moment the bosses job was automated he'd probably be laid off?

    If you had the opportunity wouldn't you try to stave off your rapidly approaching obsolescence?

  • pjt33 (cs) in reply to Anon
    Anon:
    You do of course realize that the moment the bosses job was automated he'd probably be laid off?

    If you had the opportunity wouldn't you try to stave off your rapidly approaching obsolescence?

    That assumes that the next layer up of management realise that he spends all his time doing those updates - and they probably don't, or they'd replace him with a secretary on a lower wage.

  • Josh (unregistered) in reply to pjt33
    pjt33:
    VanMan:
    Welllllllll... To go to the right place to start the overwrite, you still have to go back 2 characters with the arrow keys. So yes, no backspace (or different key). But no, yes you still need 2 keystrokes.

    Unless he uses a mouse?

    Train him to use vi.

    G Ctrl-V gg ll c dd Esc

    Replace dd with the date. Done. Feel free to replace l with right arrow. (Case Sensitive)

    CAPTCHA: nulla Devin's boss' job was nulla after he told the higher-ups about the above command

  • Josh (unregistered) in reply to Josh
    Josh:
    Devin's

    Devan. Whatever, that's a weird name anyway

  • Dzov (unregistered) in reply to Frosh
    Frosh:
    In the United States, "Nimrod" has lost all meaning thanks to multiple generations who have grown up watching Loony Tunes cartoons wherein Bugs Bunny sarcastically refers to the hunter Elmer Fudd as Nimrod. Lacking Biblical literacy or additional context, these children inferred "nimrod" as being a synonym for "idiot." That's how the common usage of Nimrod in the United States came to be.
    WTF. I had no idea nimrod wasn't an insult.
  • anonymous (unregistered)

    Automate the entire process, but make it write to a temporary table, before your boss ever touches the data. Your boss can manually update everything as normal in the live table.

    Finally, the next day or something, have a second automated check that goes back behind and compares what your boss did to what the temporary table held. Have it generate a diff for you, and manually correct any mistakes (or even have it change them automatically, if you're ballsy).

    At least then, you know it got done right.

  • Mojo Loco (unregistered) in reply to Dzov
    Dzov:
    WTF. I had no idea nimrod wasn't an insult.
    There used to be some PBS show sponsored by The Nimron Press. I used to get a good giggle out of that as a kid.

    Captcha: vindico. Success through wine

  • Mojo Loco (unregistered) in reply to Mojo Loco

    erm, Nimrod Press.

  • anonymous (unregistered) in reply to Dzov
    Dzov:
    Frosh:
    In the United States, "Nimrod" has lost all meaning thanks to multiple generations who have grown up watching Loony Tunes cartoons wherein Bugs Bunny sarcastically refers to the hunter Elmer Fudd as Nimrod. Lacking Biblical literacy or additional context, these children inferred "nimrod" as being a synonym for "idiot." That's how the common usage of Nimrod in the United States came to be.
    WTF. I had no idea nimrod wasn't an insult.
    AFAIK it was only ever in common usage as an insult.

    Similar to Poindexter, Lolita, Honest Abe, or Hitler, it was just a name until a famous figure came along and people started associating it with particular attributes of that person.

  • herby (cs)

    What to do? Run a verification script on the dataset to confirm that the job was done properly. If the task is done manually, I'm sure that there will be an error sometime. Make sure that everyone knows that the boss made the error.

    Why does the boss wants to continue the task: Maybe he is shuffling off a buck or two into his private account. He doesn't want it automated in case there is an audit.

    All in all I like the BOFH idea: make the task longer and longer each day.

  • amomynous (unregistered)

    Our company have an idiotic rule that every single employee must fill a monthly "satisfaction" survey. Mandatory.

    After a few months complaining on the survey itself that ordering us to fill that damn stuff every single month was leading me to frustration as no changes were seen (by everybody, that was a widespread feeling) and it was damn boring to rate dozens of company divisions that I had absolutely no contact to, I automated the frustration. I wrote a Greasemonkey script that checks "not applicable" on every rating and submits every one of the forms, one after another.

    They get their useless data, and I don't bother more than a minute every month about it.

  • chubertdev (cs)

    If it isn't broke...

  • Nagesh (cs) in reply to Dzov
    Dzov:
    Frosh:
    In the United States, "Nimrod" has lost all meaning thanks to multiple generations who have grown up watching Loony Tunes cartoons wherein Bugs Bunny sarcastically refers to the hunter Elmer Fudd as Nimrod. Lacking Biblical literacy or additional context, these children inferred "nimrod" as being a synonym for "idiot." That's how the common usage of Nimrod in the United States came to be.
    WTF. I had no idea nimrod wasn't an insult.

    Nimrod = Hunter!

  • anonymous (unregistered) in reply to Nagesh
    Nagesh:
    Dzov:
    Frosh:
    In the United States, "Nimrod" has lost all meaning thanks to multiple generations who have grown up watching Loony Tunes cartoons wherein Bugs Bunny sarcastically refers to the hunter Elmer Fudd as Nimrod. Lacking Biblical literacy or additional context, these children inferred "nimrod" as being a synonym for "idiot." That's how the common usage of Nimrod in the United States came to be.
    WTF. I had no idea nimrod wasn't an insult.

    Nimrod = Hunter!

    Words change.

  • evilspoons (cs)

    As an almost-30-year-old Canadian (thus influenced heavily by American culture), I will also say I've never heard the word "nimrod" used in any sense except as an insult equating to "dimwit" or "moron".

    As for the original article, I'm pretty sure if I were Devan I would have just had the program generate a script so the boss could review the output. It might not take the boss any less time but at least it would relieve him of the aggravating clicking every time the records needed updating! Eventually this boss would get used to the script doing its job and problem solved.

  • Chelloveck (unregistered) in reply to jas88
    jas88:
    Fortunately, she was funded to spend a set amount of time on the overall project (around a day per week IIRC) and had plenty of other work, so replacing the day or so it was taking up each month with a small Perl script doing the job in under a second made her quite happy.

    I can imagine her employer, billing the government by the hour for her time counting and filtering spreadsheet rows manually, might have been upset otherwise though...

    Why would her employer be upset? As you said, she was funded to spend a set amount of time on the task. Regardless of the time it actually took her. Her employer should be happy that she's freed up to do other billable jobs. Double billing FTW!

  • swschrad (unregistered) in reply to Terry

    ten gets ya twenty that is ALL the boss is doing... capable of doing... and it makes him look extra-special busy controlling workflow. don't break his rice bowl.

  • Chris Drost (unregistered) in reply to evilspoons

    This. All of this.

    The proper solution is to do the equivalent of jQuery's:

    $('.target-column').value(padWithZero(new Date.getDay()))

    and reuse the existing "submit" button. Then there is one button which you press which changes all of the records, but which fits his boss' requirement that he should be able to look through all of the dates before saving them.

  • A Guy (unregistered) in reply to QJo
    QJo:
    "The problem with automation is not that it will make machines think like people, as that it will make people think like machines."

    I don't think that's true -- you can't make people think (as brillant as that would be)

  • Dave (unregistered)

    Pretty sure the boss is brighter than Devan. One of the first jobs I ever had, I was employed to do something much like Devan's boss was doing with the backspace-backspace-d-d. Of course I spent the first two days automating it all, and took a full-time job down to a ten-second click of a button once a week.

    I showed the boss, who thanked me very much for making myself redundant, and fired me on the spot.

  • np (unregistered) in reply to Dave
    Dave:
    Pretty sure the boss is brighter than Devan. One of the first jobs I ever had, I was employed to do something much like Devan's boss was doing with the backspace-backspace-d-d. Of course I spent the first two days automating it all, and took a full-time job down to a ten-second click of a button once a week.

    I showed the boss, who thanked me very much for making myself redundant, and fired me on the spot.

    Your boss sounds like a nimrod. So much potential wasted. He could have waited a little while and seen how many other jobs you make redundant. After your output of redundancy improvement slows down, then fire you.

    Captcha: ingenium, that would have been much more ingenium.

  • Spencer (unregistered) in reply to foo AKA fooo

    No, BOFH solution would be to get rid of the boss. The painful to the boss, the better.

    Of course, if the boss is spending half his day doing some manual task, that's half a day he's not supervising you (and possibly doesn't even know if you're in the office or down at the pub)

  • I'm an implementer too (unregistered)
    snoo:
    It then lets you go through and manually update the date field of any records you want by simply typing over the relevant range of characters. It also lets you type over anything else you want, but it will only record the underlying (unchanged) record with the new date.
    fle:
    Of course, if you overwrite id 123 with 456 and change the date field too, record 456 will be updated even though you changed the id for what was really record 123.
    snoo, meet fle. fle, meet snoo. Overwriting of fields other than the date gets ignored, true? false? filenotfound?
    snoo:
    It then lets you go through and manually update the date field of any records you want by simply typing over the relevant range of characters.
    fle:
    Devan decided that this was ridiculous and took it upon himself, as part of his job to automate stuff, to implement an export/import mechanism for the selected records. Thus, you could export the data, edit the file, do a change-all and import the data back into the application.
    snoo, meet fle. fle, meet snoo. Devan's boss overwrote dates particularly on special records that needed to be special again today, but a change-all would also overwrite dates on special records that weren't supposed to be special again today, true? false? filenotfound?

    snoofle, it's good you were an implementer at WTF Inc. instead of a boss. Though actually if you were a boss, your contradictory specifications would put you on par with typical bosses that make this industry what it is.

  • Joe Pfeiffer (unregistered)

    Do that too many times and the boss might think of letting you do it... Demanding the manual check...

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