Pure dihydrogen monoxide is tasteless, but:
The DJs’ joke was totally immature—think grade-school level—and yet remarkably successful. They warned listeners that dihydrogen monoxide was coming out of the taps in the Fort Myers area. Of course, dihydrogen monoxide is water, but people were so freaked that Lee County Utilities had to make a statement saying that their water is safe to drink.
I came across a humorous post from thedailywtf.com on an “innovative” way to measure productivity through SVN check-ins, which of course met with expected results, with some employees increasing their productivity by over 600%. It also led to the development of a nice little reusable asset that could be used to increase productivity:
Still, it irked Milo that he wasn’t reaching his full productivity potential. He was wasting a lot of time writing code; time that should be spent checking code in….
With his script, dubbed “PHLEGM” (Programmer’s Helper for Literally Engaging in General Machination, named by one of his colleagues), he could stretch what would usually be one checkin to 20-30 commits. It’s evolved like an open source project with his fellow team members adding new features.
The post also led me to an old Joel post on productivity related to Amazon’s attempt to measure customer service productivity based on number of calls logged:
“Thank you for calling Amazon.com, may I help you?” Then — Click! You’re cut off. That’s annoying. You just waited 10 minutes to get through to a human and you mysteriously got disconnected right away.
Or is it mysterious? According to Mike Daisey, Amazon rated their customer service representatives based on the number of calls taken per hour. The best way to get your performance rating up was to hang up on customers, thus increasing the number of calls you can take every hour.
Joel’s also been quite critical of productivity measurement and incentive based systems at work before. However, I can’t think of a better alternative to the usual rating systems used in companies, especially large ones with tens of thousands of employees. Can you?
Clients complaining of bugs in an application is quite a common scenario, but what about this case from Worse Than Failure where the client wated some “bugs” to be implemented:
All these non-implemented bugs added up to one unhappy customer. In their eyes, the software was far too “unbroken” for them to use. So, after spending a year and a half developing outdated and mediocre software, David’s team put on the final touches: a slew of bugs that made it look and function like the original.
Now that’s what you call software development
- Ask engineer how the damn thing works.
- Deafing silence.
- Just start writing something. Anything.
- Give this something to the engineer.
- Watch engineer become quite upset at how badly you’ve missed the point of everything.
- As the engineer berates you, in between insults he will also throw off nuggets of technical information.
- Collect these nuggets, as they are the only reliable technical information you will receive.
- Try like hell to weave together this information into something enlightening and technically accurate.
- Go to step 6.
We have seen people push starting their cars and other vehicles, but trying the same on a train is not what one would expect to hear. However, this is the exact news I came across in today’s paper (link to online article). In this case, the train was left stranded in a neutral zone (with no electricity) when one of the passengers pulled the chain and halted the train. However, to get the train up and running, a few hundred passengers pushed the train about 60 metres to the nearest live point. Now, this is something you don’t hear too often.
I was going through one of the Geek Trivia articles on TechRepublic on the origin of the 404 – page not found error (which everyone would have encountered at some point of time), and it contained a link to a very interesting and humorous page. The page is something like a page not found error from the “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” world, with the server giving you a nice lecture. Wonder what it would be like if we had the server responding in a similar fashion for all the errors that we encounter on the web.