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Web valleyofthegeeks.com

Jacob Insufferable WebLog

Nate Orenstam
Sunday, April 07, 2002

Related News:

The Online WebLog Of Jacob Whiner

Java Programmer to the StarsInternet Fire Hydrant
Monday, April 8

Only five more days to go until I ship my new masterpiece Internet DeskJockey. I, Jacob Whiner, software genius, have been working on this program for two and a half years now. With only five days to go until it's finished. I've been publishing my project diary using Internet DeskJockey final beta for a week and it seems to be working pretty well. Last Monday's entry ended up getting cross-linked with the Linux LuserLand WebLog and the BBC News Feed, which was a bit of a problem since I inadvertantly posted all our payroll information. But I think I've got a work around, so it should be ok. And it's not like I posted it on Slashdot.org or something. I mean, what self-respecting programmer is going to read BBC news anyways?

Internet DeskJockey 1.0I like to say Internet DeskJockey is the ultimate creative outlet. This software is to publishing on the Internet what firehydrants are to dogs. Not sure what that means, but it sounds pretty cool. Unfortunately, those marketing dweebs didn't want to go with it. So I did the graphic with the dog and the firehydrant myself and it came out pretty good. You'd think they would have been grateful but Jan just said something like well, should she be writing the code then? As if! Then they kept yammering on about benefits, breakthrough productivity, throughput and a bunch of other marketing buzzwords. I said, what the heck are you talking about? You'd think we're selling laxatives or something! They got all upset about it and finally that designer chick with the frizzy hair started crying. I was trying to be nice but how was I to know she had an eating disorder? If anything she looked way too skinny and when I said that that's when she stormed out. Well, if she comes back, we'll have to dock her half day's pay.

Then I said we should try to do some kind of co-marketing partnership with the "18 and New" escort service as a way to get to programmers. Jan got all upset about this. If they were underage, I could see her point, but I mean its right there in the name, so of course it's all legal. I said, if we're catering to programmers, we have to cater to their tastes, not hers. Then she said something I didn't catch and she stormed out also. Geez, no one told me managing marketing was going to be this hard. At least with the programmers, I can buy pizza and video games and we all have a great weekend in the office.

With the launch in 5 days, people will really see what I'm capable of doing. I'm not just a lowly programmer. I'm a marketing genuis, too. *grin*.

Watch Your Assets
Tuesday, April 9

I finally finished the data integration module. This thing is really cool. Bruce was supposed to get it finished a week ago, but he had some lame excuse about his son being born. I mean, its not like I'm asking his wife to write the code. She's been out for a week anyways. Of course, before I wrote the data integration module, I had to rewrite his meta-folder module. I tried to make light of it, I told him I never meta folder I didn't like, but he just shook his head and said do whatever you want you're the boss anyways. Which is what I was gonna say, so I guess he's still a team player. But I told him since I was re-writing his code, the least he could do is arrange for the tape backups. Oh well, he'll get over it.

I can't believe how easy it is to write code when you don't have to worry about those pesky QA engineers. They never did any good. Spent all their time complaining about bugs. So I fired them. They were just slowing things down. Gotta make this deadline. Worked for about 12 hours and then I got hung up researching a new algorithm for creating hash table entries using pig latin. Hell, if that's not a patent, I don't know what is. I'll miss those guys. Plus I'll probably have to run into Dennis when mom has us over for dinner. Still, he had it coming when he claimed overwriting the Windows registry was a "stop ship" error because it cased Windows to crash. I mean, to me that's a Windows bug plain and clear. Users should have a back up of that stuff if it's really important. At any rate, I hope mom doesn't side with him. Otherwise, I'll have to cut her from the board.  Like my dad used to say, you can't be a winner if you're not a Whiner! Whiner comes from the old germanic word for winner anyways, or at least it could have.

And to top it off, J. still won't have dinner with me. That's the last straw. How come if I'm the boss J. still won't go out with me? You'd think J. would have gotten the hint when I said my kneck was sore from programming so much lately. Instead J. just stomped outta here and said something about HR. I don't know what HR has to do with anything. I fired the HR chick yesterday anyways. She was always going on about rules and regulations anyways. I guess now I'll at least be able to re-install the video surveillance cameras. Everyone says in a software company your assets go home every night. So why shouldn't we try to watch our assets? Hey, I like the sound of that. I wonder if there's a marketing slogan in there. Be a bigger corporate asset with Internet DeskJockey. Pretty cool. I haven't seen Jan or anyone from Marketing today. They must be having another one of their offsites at the spa or something. She doesn't invite me anymore ever since I had that panic attack in the mudbath. Still, doesn't seem entirely rational to me that you'd have a bath of mud. That's gotta be an oxymoron, like Military Intelligence or Microsoft Works.

All Bloggered Up
Wednesday, April 10

Do I have to do everything myself? Now the docs guys can't keep up with me. I wrote the friggin' code and now they can't even figure out how to document it. I mean, who really reads documentation anyways. I told them to make some screenshots and they insisted we need a user interface before they could do that. Well, I suppose in their old way of thinking that makes sense. Still, it would have been nice to give me a bit more warning. I was going to build the user interface Friday, but I suppose I'll have to whip it into shape today so they can do their bloody documentation. I should have just delegated this a couple of months ago, but I don't think Bruce ever would have gotten it right anyways. So now I'll have to do the whole thing. I don't have a date tonight, so what else is there to do but more coding?

Thank God I left Apple when I did. Those guys were such jerks. There I was working away in the advanced technology group and no one could figure anything out. They thought they were so smart with all their theoretical research. Boy, I showed them that time. Still, how was I to know Galium Arsenide was flammable. I think Steve never really forgave me on that. He was really fond of that car. I told him if he hadn't parked in the handicap spot he would have been fine, but that's when he flipped out. Kept screaming about what if he was in the car and I told him that if he was in the car, then probably he would have had the top on and even when the wall came down, he would have been fine. Good thing I parked my bike in Bruce's cubicle otherwise I would have been picking up the pieces all the way to Bandley Drive. Steve was never happy when I brought him his decaf chai either. Always complaining. He really had no sense of fashion either. Same old black turtleneck day in day out. When I told him he should try some other colors he just started sputtering. Man, that guy just couldn't take advice from anyone.

Still, if I'd stayed, I'd probably be like, Vice President of while-loops or something. I wonder if I would have my own assistant by now. Then I'd definitely be able to score a date on Saturday nights. I guess that's why all those guys still hang out at Apple. I mean, its not like they're doing anything interesting with all that iPod, iMac iNonsense. I coulda built one of those using the spare parts from my Aeron Chair and that Apple Newton I took as my severance. I guess everything has a purpose though. If it weren't for Apple, I wouldn't have came up with the idea for Internet DeskJockey. I was spending so much time prowling the user groups, I decided to build a tool to let me create my own online groups where no one could vote me out.

Still no sign of Jan and the marketing team. I sent her 4 emails and at least half a dozen instant messages. I guess I better walk over to her office and look for her.

Only the Lonely
Thursday April 11

I went to Jan's office and there was just a resignation letter sitting on her chair. Pretty sarcastic though. She wrote "I bet you won't even find this for days until you realize your big launch is in total shambles." I wonder what she meant by that? Probably some kind of woman thing. People always say how women get too emotional about stuff. I remember this time, we had this programmer babe on one of the QA teams at Apple, and she was really as good as the rest of the guys, but she got totally upset when we she found out that they were storing all kinds of porn on the servers. We figured we were helping on the whole productivity front since we could download videos from the local servers far faster than from the Internet. She went berzerk though and missed the whole point. Luckily we were able to move it all over to the QuickTime lab and claim it was for compression testing before anyone higher up found out.

Now I had to fire the docs guys also. I went looking for John to tell him to take them off payroll and there was no sign of him in his office. He finally got rid of those stupid plants and family pictures I was teasing him about, too. He was so worried about the financial situation, he's probably going to be happy we're able to reduce the expenses. He took it hard last month when we had to start charging non-programmers for parking. I told him it was only fair since they were just a cost center and we needed to make sure we kept our servers running at the hosting company. Our ISP is our lifeline to the outside world. You'd think a guy with twenty years of accounting experience would understand all this without me having to explain it to him.

Boy, its getting pretty down to the wire now. Still, the pig latin hashing algorithm is doing great. I upgraded that a little bit and wrote a special hash table viewer I could use when debugging stuff. Then I filled out another patent application. I couldn't believe how complex and archaic the patent process is though. Seems most people do this with a high-priced lawyer and searches at the patent office. I figured there's a better way, so I put my head to it and came up with Visual PatentMaker. It took a little while, so I might have to cut some features from Internet DeskJockey software to make the ship date. Most people don't really use printing or graphics, so I figure it's a good tradeoff. And if we stick to the leading developers as customers they're never gonna look at the online help.

I started thinking about my top 10 most romantic Silicon Valley dates. I could only come up with six, but I still think that it coulda been something pretty good between me and J. Here's the list:

-Trip to Fry's (Sunnyvale) That's the one with the computerized piano and the computer museum exhibits.

-Hike along Redwood Shores, near the landfill. Pretty good until my shoe got stuck in the mud and then it just got swallowed up.

-Picnic visit to the original Hewlett-Packard garage in Palo Alto with the recruiter from HP.

-NASA-Ames Center wind tunnel. Pat was supposed to meet me there, but blew me off.

-Stanford Linear Accelerator visit (Ok, that was with my mom, but still, it was pretty cool.)

-Romantic dinner at Taco Bravo with that real estate agent when I closed on my condo.

I swear, next year I'm gonna start on that holiday party date thing a lot sooner so I don't get stood up. April seems a bit too soon, but why chance rejection by waiting until September? I wonder if I can just put it in the employee handbook and make it like a job requirement or something.

Going for the Gold
Friday, April 12

Spent all day holed up in my office writing code to try and finish everything off for the final launch. Just as I was about to dive into the last of the user interface code, I decided to write up what I learned about Patents and see if I couldn't turn that into an article for Dr. Dobb's Journal. I figured that would help with the publicity on the launch since the marketing team isn't around anymore. By the time I was finished though, it was a bit long, so I took the first half and re-worked it as a book. I've sent it off to Prentice Hall to see if I can't get it published. If not, then I think I could probably whip up some code to publish it automatically using Internet DeskJockey, a chapter at a time every week for the next six months. That might make a nice Version 2.0 feature anyways.

Can't stop thinking about sex. I found this Adult Origami web site that's pretty cool. Then I wrote a program that would automatically generate new origami forms from a Java servlet, but I got hung up with some problems with the runtime system. It may be better to just create a new Origami Programming Language from scratch rather than deal with this Java stuff. Not sure it's really going to catch on anyways.

I finally came out of my office around 7:00 pm for the beer bust I told everyone about and there was no one around. I called Bruce at home and his wife picked up. I heard her say "you win" and then there was some baby screaming and somehow we got disconnected. What's up with that? I guess everyone else left early today so they'd be rested for tomorrow. That's cool. It gives me some more time to finalize the user interface. I sent an email telling the integration team to be ready for the final build tomorrow. No complaints from them, which is good. They seem like a good group, if a bit quiet. I can't remember how many there are in that group. I'm sure I met them during the interview process.

Beta Late Than Never
Saturday, April 13

I just stayed in my office all night programming, trying to stay awake by alternating between the Internet DeskJockey code and the Origami project. I made a fresh pot of coffee this morning so it would be ready for the integration team when they got here. Unfortunately, then I fell asleep again at my keyboard. This is a major annoyance because I end up with this criss-cross pattern on my face. I was concerned that the marketing folks would notice, but then I remembered they never worked Saturdays even before they all quit. Well, screw 'em.

I spent the rest of the afternoon finishing off the user interface module. I had to grey out most of the menu items, since Bruce never checked in that code, but I think its still pretty good for a 1.0 product. At least people will be able to see the vision of what we weren't able to finish on time. And that will encourage them to send in their registrations if they want to get all the features. Heh heh. The marketing team never came up with stuff nearly this good.

Then I checked back in the integration lab and it looks like everything passed A-OK. They must have come in and done everything quietly when I dozed off. And they made me a pot of coffee too, so I guess they're pretty good guys. I can't remember what their names are, but I'll have to send them a thank you spam email or something. I'm so tired. Where the heck is Bruce?

Accrual World
Sunday, April 14

Supposed to get the gold disk out Friday, but didn't make it. Still, it's not like the sales guys have been selling a lot yet. Not even sure we have sales people anymore. Had a sales meeting when we originally announced the product. It was still in Alpha and I told them I was going to have to spend an extra six months to fix Bruce's code. Told them if they didn't like it I could automate the sales process with an eCommerce module. Don't remember seeing them around much since then. God I'm tired.

All I have to do now is push the Send button and Internet DeskJockey will actually make its way out to all of the beta sites, the emails will start posting to all the news groups and the eCommerce module will begin taking orders. Gotta concentrate. So tired. Just need to submit one last command...

EIDE 45 MB (C:)
File system damaged or invalid.

About the author
Nate Orenstam, Java Programmer to the Stars, is a frequent lecturer on areas of Java security.

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