• amischiefr (cs)

    TRWTF is this guy actually went to work for a place that he KNEW gave shitty service. What did he expect?

  • Bob (unregistered)

    They need to be using a wooden table. And XML.

  • Blue Note (unregistered)

    This is depressing. Are there any good IT jobs out there?

  • Alan (unregistered) in reply to amischiefr
    amischiefr:
    TRWTF is this guy actually went to work for a place that he KNEW gave shitty service. What did he expect?

    Probably just for anecdotes and TDWTF submissions.

  • WayneCollins (cs)
    TRWTF is this guy actually went to work for a place that he KNEW gave shitty service. What did he expect?

    Apparently, he expected a chance to make it all better and look like a hero. Of course it gave shitty service for a reason, and that reason isn't that the company had only hired idiots before and now suddenly had the sense to hire the one guy who knew what he was doing.

  • axus (cs)

    His new method sounded kind of brittle... which is sad, because the original method was even worse.

  • stratos (cs)

    Yes adding a hacked perl script that by his own admission no one will probebly understand is a much better solution that using a bug tracker.

    The process may have been flawed, and certainly would need to be replaced with something that might have actually been efficient, however that almost never includes eleborate perl scripts using VNC and permagick. Unless of course where talking about bugzilla.

  • SlyEcho (cs)
    it would need PerlMagick, a dozen or so Perl modules, Wine, xdotool, a VNC server, lots of config tweaking, the works.

    What would you do if someone wants to put this in your server? And who's going to maintain this Rube Goldberg-like mess?

  • Quango (cs) in reply to Blue Note
    Blue Note:
    This is depressing. Are there any good IT jobs out there?

    Yeah, mine's pretty good. I decide what technologies I need to use, I work at home and buy my own kit. My customer (only one at present) is fairly docile and pays well.

    Downsides: specifications are usually an email of two paragraphs and I have to make up the rest on my own best judgement. Well... actually maybe that's not a downside

  • Joe (unregistered)

    So wait, is this a multiple choice test? Q1: Which of these is the WTF in the above story.

    1. AQ&V's hideous network
    2. Mike's hideous solution to the ticket logging
    3. AQ&V's hideous network ticketing system
    4. All of the hideousness above
  • Jay (unregistered) in reply to Quango
    Quango:
    Blue Note:
    This is depressing. Are there any good IT jobs out there?

    Yeah, mine's pretty good. I decide what technologies I need to use, I work at home and buy my own kit. My customer (only one at present) is fairly docile and pays well.

    Downsides: specifications are usually an email of two paragraphs and I have to make up the rest on my own best judgement. Well... actually maybe that's not a downside

    puts on his puppy-eye goggles Can I have your job?

  • Gnubeutel (unregistered) in reply to SlyEcho

    shhh, quiet. Let the script kid do it's work. There's a bunch of good WTFs waiting here.

  • Pine Scented (unregistered) in reply to Joe
    Joe:
    So wait, is this a multiple choice test? Q1: Which of these is the WTF in the above story. 1. AQ&V's hideous network 2. Mike's hideous solution to the ticket logging 3. AQ&V's hideous network ticketing system 4. All of the hideousness above
    What a hideous comment!
  • faceless_tech (unregistered)

    ouch. sad thing is, i used to work in a place like that... although, the customer service was excellent, everything you did was stonewalled because you werent a battery chicken at a desk.

    TRWTF is that these companies are still in business.. sigh

  • Dugeen (unregistered)

    There's no need to put (sic) after every malapropism, it interrupts the flow. Don't worry, we won't think that it's you who's saying 'deterrence'.

  • Addison (unregistered)

    Damn, talk about self-righteous. Every comment so far has been "What a terrible solution. Mine would have been MUCH better!"

    I think TRWTF was that there were hundreds of people willing to work at a crappy job for probably sub-average pay doing something no sane person would find enjoyable in any stretch of the imagination. And when someone tries to improve the situation they are thwarted at every turn.

    The human ability to preserve the status quo never ceases to amaze me!

  • BigG (unregistered)

    TRWTF isn't the process (The Process be Praised!!), but the goal of their processes. It seemed that all anybody does is track problems and enter tickets. Nobody is charged with actually resolving the tickets or dealing with outages. But hey, we know every little detail of the problems! (Maybe the Florida office has the responsibility to solve problems?)

  • Ren (cs)

    TRWTF is that Mike didn't 1) find out who could get huge budgets, 2) immediately quit, 3) setup a consultant firm, 4) offer his services to the higher-up at a VERY high cost 5) ???? 6) Profit

  • jpers36 (cs) in reply to Addison
    Addison:
    Damn, talk about self-righteous. Every comment so far has been "What a terrible solution. Mine would have been MUCH better!"

    I think TRWTF was that there were hundreds of people willing to work at a crappy job for probably sub-average pay doing something no sane person would find enjoyable in any stretch of the imagination. And when someone tries to improve the situation they are thwarted at every turn.

    The human ability to preserve the status quo never ceases to amaze me!

    He's trying to solve a bad process by implementing a bad design. That's a bad solution on multiple levels.

  • Scott R (unregistered) in reply to Quango

    What do you do, exactly?

    Just curious. Not that I have any intention of imitating it at all. Nope. Curiosity.

  • Scott R (unregistered) in reply to Quango
    Quango:
    Blue Note:
    This is depressing. Are there any good IT jobs out there?

    Yeah, mine's pretty good. I decide what technologies I need to use, I work at home and buy my own kit. My customer (only one at present) is fairly docile and pays well.

    Downsides: specifications are usually an email of two paragraphs and I have to make up the rest on my own best judgement. Well... actually maybe that's not a downside

    Sorry. The above comment was in response to this.

  • Zed (unregistered)

    Seems to me that he had a bad solution but that it was better to have a bad solution than no solution.

  • SuperousOxide (cs)

    Halfway through I was expecting a story about his coworkers being enraged about him automating away their jobs, or the story of how his good-intentioned fixes blew up caused catastrophic damage. Instead we just get a story where his bosses intelligently tell him he can't just go throwing things up on the servers without proper specs. I'm disappointed.

  • Zapp Brannigan (unregistered) in reply to jpers36
    jpers36:
    Addison:
    Damn, talk about self-righteous. Every comment so far has been "What a terrible solution. Mine would have been MUCH better!"

    I think TRWTF was that there were hundreds of people willing to work at a crappy job for probably sub-average pay doing something no sane person would find enjoyable in any stretch of the imagination. And when someone tries to improve the situation they are thwarted at every turn.

    The human ability to preserve the status quo never ceases to amaze me!

    He's trying to solve a bad process by implementing a bad design. That's a bad solution on multiple levels.

    You're right and badness isn't additive it's multiplicative (sic).

  • Bob (unregistered) in reply to Dugeen
    Dugeen:
    There's no need to put (sic) after every malapropism, it interrupts the flow. Don't worry, we won't think that it's you who's saying 'deterrence'.

    That's not a malapropism.

    The "sic" is there so that Alex doesn't get a hundred emails telling him he made a typo. I'm not sure why he didn't just correct it though...

  • The Amazing Gordo! (unregistered) in reply to SlyEcho
    SlyEcho:
    it would need PerlMagick, a dozen or so Perl modules, Wine, xdotool, a VNC server, lots of config tweaking, the works.

    What would you do if someone wants to put this in your server? And who's going to maintain this Rube Goldberg-like mess?

    Needs .NET

  • pjt33 (cs)

    In addition to all the stuff mentioned already TRWTFs include:

    1. Asking root access to write a script which ought to be running on a less privileged account;
    2. Being given it!
  • Throknor (cs) in reply to Bob
    Bob:
    Dugeen:
    There's no need to put (sic) after every malapropism, it interrupts the flow. Don't worry, we won't think that it's you who's saying 'deterrence'.

    That's not a malapropism.

    The "sic" is there so that Alex doesn't get a hundred emails telling him he made a typo. I'm not sure why he didn't just correct it though...

    It's generally bad form to alter a quote; sic is used to indicate when there is a grammatical error to indicate it wasn't missed by the author/editor, the person speaking did say it.

    Also, there may have been an undercurrent of "See how smart he is? He used 'deterrence' incorrectly!"

  • Major Blud (unregistered) in reply to SlyEcho

    The real WTF is that this guy decided to go around procedure, install a bunch of Perl modules that could affect a ton of other application on this server, and backdoor a VNC server.

    Maybe next week we'll get a submission from his boss detailing a story about this crazy network admin that wanted to install a bunch of crazy SDK's and Wine on a production server without going through the proper channels.

  • somewhiteguy (unregistered) in reply to Joe
    1. Yes
    2. Yes
    3. Yes
    4. Yes

    This whole article is full of WTF. I'm working on re-writing some applications that use Mike's kind of "fixes." That is not a fun job. On understanding the problem, Mike should have quit and moved on.

  • Addison (unregistered) in reply to jpers36
    jpers36:
    Addison:
    Damn, talk about self-righteous. Every comment so far has been "What a terrible solution. Mine would have been MUCH better!"

    I think TRWTF was that there were hundreds of people willing to work at a crappy job for probably sub-average pay doing something no sane person would find enjoyable in any stretch of the imagination. And when someone tries to improve the situation they are thwarted at every turn.

    The human ability to preserve the status quo never ceases to amaze me!

    He's trying to solve a bad process by implementing a bad design. That's a bad solution on multiple levels.

    Not if it works. I wouldn't buy a meat slicer if I needed to make a sandwich. I'd pull out a knife and stab away until I had some meat hacked off for my sandwich. He may not have designed an optimal solution, but I would wager a guess that it was faster and easier than any of the better solutions. Plus once the management sees how well it works they might give him the resources to design and build a much better solution.

    I would also argue that we don't have enough detail to justify labeling it as bad design (or good design). It sure sounds like a steaming pile of unmaintainable crap, but considering the starting point it's an improvement. If worse comes to worse they can just not use it and go back to doing everything manually. The business stands nothing to lose and lots to gain in the form of productivity. Of course this assumes the script doesn't break anything.

  • diaphanein (unregistered) in reply to Jay
    Jay:
    Quango:
    Blue Note:
    This is depressing. Are there any good IT jobs out there?

    Yeah, mine's pretty good. I decide what technologies I need to use, I work at home and buy my own kit. My customer (only one at present) is fairly docile and pays well.

    Downsides: specifications are usually an email of two paragraphs and I have to make up the rest on my own best judgement. Well... actually maybe that's not a downside

    Quiet, you, or I shall replace you with a very small shell script.

    puts on his puppy-eye goggles Can I have your job?

  • resa (unregistered)

    This has got to be IDT.

  • jpers36 (cs) in reply to Addison
    Addison:
    Not if it works. I wouldn't buy a meat slicer if I needed to make a sandwich. I'd pull out a knife and stab away until I had some meat hacked off for my sandwich. He may not have designed an optimal solution, but I would wager a guess that it was faster and easier than any of the better solutions. Plus once the management sees how well it works they might give him the resources to design and build a much better solution.

    I would also argue that we don't have enough detail to justify labeling it as bad design (or good design). It sure sounds like a steaming pile of unmaintainable crap, but considering the starting point it's an improvement. If worse comes to worse they can just not use it and go back to doing everything manually. The business stands nothing to lose and lots to gain in the form of productivity. Of course this assumes the script doesn't break anything.

    Problems with the current process:

    1. Distinct homegrown apps instead of a more centralized solution
    2. Low priority on fixing tickets
    3. No understanding of security
    4. No change management process
    5. Large amounts of manual entry

    Mike's fix targets (5) above, alright. It ignores (2). On the other hand, it adds to (1), and depends on (3) and (4)! When Dick comes along and decides to do something about (3) and (4) -- which I would argue caused most of the problems in the first place -- Mike gets angry that his "obsession" is being thwarted and sends an email off to The Daily WTF.

    Mike's attacking a process/architecture-level problem with a design-level solution, and a bad one at that.

  • Mark (unregistered)

    This is a great example of how IT people do NOT get it. The answer is not a simple technical solution, its to get management to buy into it.

    This kind of thing is so typical, the technical guy sits down, whips up a technical solution and is dumbfounded when his whiteboard scribbles are not instantly acted on.

    In this case, documenting how many mh (manhours) the processes are taking, researching any other systems that may be affected by changing this one, the expected number of hours to implement the fix (including debugging), the expected manhours saved (i.e. when will this start paying for itself), how will things be done during the interim - will both systems be run in parallel to ensure the values match - and is that factored into the cost equation? how what happens to any invoices/records in-progress if you have to back out of the process because of some unforseen issue, training and documenting people on the new system, etc.

    These are the types of things that actually allow a technical person to get approval to implement something. Writing code (the fun stuff) is the LAST stage of any project, not the first.

  • Rob (unregistered)

    His solution has 'ugly hack' written all over it. Now, I'm not saying that makes it wrong, but it certainly makes it 'potentially wrong'.

    The problem he's run into (one that a lot of programmers run into, one that I've personally run into) is that he wants to do a job he wasn't hired for and probably isn't particularly qualified to do.

    They interviewed to find a guy who'd sit there and enter trouble tickets using their poorly designed trouble ticket entering system. They felt he could do that, so they offered him a job.

    They weren't interviewing someone to take on a lead developer role to spearhead the 'Ticket Automation System'.

    It's one thing to 'cowboy' up a useful script or app and use it as you see fit; and another thing all together to deploy it for actual use in the company and have other co-workers running.

    As a developer - sure - it's frustrating. You see a workable solution that makes things better and you can provide that solution.

    If you are hired as a janitor at Google; it's quite possible that you would be an amazing team lead on some project. Nothing about being a janitor necessitates your inability to be an amazing team lead. But, unless you were hired on as a team lead - you'd better stick to taking out the trash if you want to keep your job.

  • iToad (unregistered) in reply to The Amazing Gordo!
    The Amazing Gordo!:
    SlyEcho:
    it would need PerlMagick, a dozen or so Perl modules, Wine, xdotool, a VNC server, lots of config tweaking, the works.

    What would you do if someone wants to put this in your server? And who's going to maintain this Rube Goldberg-like mess?

    Needs .NET

    And XML.

  • Jax (unregistered) in reply to Mark

    Quoted for truth.

    Technology doesn't solve people problems.

  • whoever (unregistered) in reply to Mark
    Mark:
    Writing code (the fun stuff) is the LAST stage of any project, not the first.

    Well, it's definately cheaper if you don't test...

  • Charlie (unregistered) in reply to faceless_tech
    faceless_tech:
    TRWTF is that these companies are still in business.. *sigh*

    If you knew the clients at our company, you'll understand why such businesses will never die. Too many people don't actually care whether their problems get solved. They just like giving money to well-dressed salesmen (especially when it's only their company's money, not their own).

    Why must the world be full of such bullshit?

  • ClutchDude (unregistered) in reply to Addison
    Addison:
    jpers36:
    Addison:
    Damn, talk about self-righteous. Every comment so far has been "What a terrible solution. Mine would have been MUCH better!"

    I think TRWTF was that there were hundreds of people willing to work at a crappy job for probably sub-average pay doing something no sane person would find enjoyable in any stretch of the imagination. And when someone tries to improve the situation they are thwarted at every turn.

    The human ability to preserve the status quo never ceases to amaze me!

    He's trying to solve a bad process by implementing a bad design. That's a bad solution on multiple levels.

    Not if it works. I wouldn't buy a meat slicer if I needed to make a sandwich. I'd pull out a knife and stab away until I had some meat hacked off for my sandwich. He may not have designed an optimal solution, but I would wager a guess that it was faster and easier than any of the better solutions. Plus once the management sees how well it works they might give him the resources to design and build a much better solution.

    That works, till one day, while hacking away, your imprecise stabbing misses the mark, enough to stab your hand. I bet after that the idea of nice meat slicer or pre-packaged sliced meat sounds really good....great now I want a sammich.

    It's one thing to "throw something" together for the short term with the plan to implement something more solid. This protagonist in this story doesn't seem to see the difference.

  • FMannan (unregistered)

    You dont mean AT&T by any Chance :o) ....?

  • RocketRick (cs)

    I've seen this same sort of thing far too many times. People like Mike need to realize that automating a bad process doesn't improve anything, it just makes it faster to do the wrong thing.

    On top of that, his proposed "solutions" were cringeworthy in and of themselves, and arguably worse than the broken manual processes that they were intended to automate.

    • Rick
  • Orclev (unregistered) in reply to Rob
    Rob:
    If you are hired as a janitor at Google; it's quite possible that you would be an amazing team lead on some project. Nothing about being a janitor necessitates your inability to be an amazing team lead. But, unless you were hired on as a team lead - you'd better stick to taking out the trash if you want to keep your job.
    Then there are the rare few companies that are more concerned with improving things than they are with pigeonholing people based on their job title. From what I've read Valve is one such company. When Valve is doing design work on a game it doesn't matter what your job in the company is, you can offer suggestions and ideas (and I'd assume if you had the talent write up a proof of concept) and if the other employees like them they'll be used.

    It would be nice if more companies worked like that, it shouldn't matter what your "job title" is if you have something useful to contribute. In fact, seeking input from someone not traditionally associated with the field of the problem (or product/process/whatever is being worked on or used) can often lead to surprising insight into the problem/process/etc. and possible solutions or improvements.

  • JamesQMurphy (cs) in reply to whoever
    whoever:
    Mark:
    Writing code (the fun stuff) is the LAST stage of any project, not the first.

    Well, it's definately cheaper if you don't test...

    Cheaper yet if you don't deploy and support!
  • Bob's sense of dread (unregistered)

    This is scarily similar to my current job.

  • mmmm....sandwich.... (unregistered) in reply to Addison
    Addison:
    Not if it works. I wouldn't buy a meat slicer if I needed to make a sandwich. I'd pull out a knife and stab away until I had some meat hacked off for my sandwich. He may not have designed an optimal solution, but I would wager a guess that it was faster and easier than any of the better solutions. Plus once the management sees how well it works they might give him the resources to design and build a much better solution.

    I would also argue that we don't have enough detail to justify labeling it as bad design (or good design). It sure sounds like a steaming pile of unmaintainable crap, but considering the starting point it's an improvement. If worse comes to worse they can just not use it and go back to doing everything manually. The business stands nothing to lose and lots to gain in the form of productivity. Of course this assumes the script doesn't break anything.

    If I were making a couple hundred/thousand sandwiches a day, I'd probably look at buying a meat slicer as opposed to hacking off a piece of meat, and the occasional finger.

    Since this company likes to maintain the status quo any solution backdoored like this is going to be there for a really really really really ... really really long time which means WTF after WTF is going to be piled on top of the WTF. A polished piece of **** may look like a chocolate bar, but it's not going to taste like one.

  • Anon (unregistered) in reply to FMannan
    FMannan:
    You dont mean AT&T by any Chance :o) ....?

    Amazing! Somebody give that man a medal!

  • Captain Oblivious (unregistered) in reply to mmmm....sandwich....
    mmmm....sandwich....:
    Since this company likes to maintain the status quo any solution backdoored like this is going to be there for a really really really really ... really really long time which means WTF after WTF is going to be piled on top of the WTF. A polished piece of **** may look like a chocolate bar, but it's not going to taste like one.

    I saw that Mythbusters too!

  • stEvil (unregistered) in reply to iToad
    iToad:
    The Amazing Gordo!:
    SlyEcho:
    it would need PerlMagick, a dozen or so Perl modules, Wine, xdotool, a VNC server, lots of config tweaking, the works.

    What would you do if someone wants to put this in your server? And who's going to maintain this Rube Goldberg-like mess?

    Needs .NET

    And XML.

    Mike is currently writing a script to run a script to add another technology to this comment automatically. Soon TDWTF won't need readers, as his contraptions develop self-awareness and post endless bickering comments with inherent self-reference disguised as ironic hypocrisy.

    All you scripts are belong to Mike

Leave a comment on “Fighting the Current”

Log In or post as a guest

Replying to comment #:

« Return to Article