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Abort, Retry, Stumble?

Posted on | January 8, 2008 | No Comments

I’m now a firm believer in information overload. Quite frankly, I think that information overload is good for us, we laugh and discover more things than we normally would. The problem remains that our bosses get irritated when things don’t get done ‘on time’.

Note: ‘on time’ usually means a reasonable amount of time that is seen only from the vantage point and perspective of an unreasonable person, in most cases.

I’ve spent the better part of the day chasing down build errors with Roadsend + GTK. Most normal people would not take this long but bigloo issues interesting warnings, so I really wanted to find out what it was yapping about.

I fired up my browser to dig for clues and there .. gleaming in the upper left hand corner of my screen is that “Stumble!” button. In most workplaces, you’d look at that button like an alcoholic looks at Jim Beam, except your wife wears a tie.

When geeks get distracted, someone always gets paid. Our employers get miffed because its not them getting paid, or is it?

I’m really starting to think that its not the information that is best described with ‘overload’, we fit the description much better. How many times have you slammed your keyboard drawer shut on the way out to get a big bite when you’ve spent 3 hours on something that just refuses to work? Shouldn’t employers prefer that we decompress at the same place that most of us eat lunch (at our desks) ?

To all geek handlers, err, I mean I.T. managers, I don’t think ‘information overload’ is going to turn great employees into unproductive bandwidth consuming slugs. I think information overload is simply going to expose existing bandwidth consuming slugs which happen to make up 60% of your workforce.

The truth hurts, I suppose, that guy you hired to do your interviews who wears so much hair gel that he’s become a fire hazard isn’t helping.

In 12 hours time today I did the following:

  • Wrote a few tech articles
  • Installed bigloo and made it smaller
  • Got Roadsend + GTK working, after shutting up a bunch of nasty warnings.
  • Compiled phpbb into a native ELF32 executable
  • Answered all of my e-mail
  • Re-loaded the OS on 4 servers and installed Xen
  • Got a few hundred lines of code written on a POSIX shell based installer that I’ve been working on
  • Answered all of those pesky questions that people delight in asking via instant messenger
  • Stumbled about 50 pages

For the most part, I work from home. I don’t make as much as some of my friends but I do get to show up in boxers. If your stuck in a cube farm, here’s a letter that you can send to your handler, err, manager:

Dear dude who wears so much hair gel that the fire department follows you: If we can’t decompress at our desks, we have no choice but to go after your job. Save yourself some headache, stop messing with the NAT and let us do what we do.

Maybe I’ll produce some patches for bash that catches every 1/127 exit status and presents an “Abort, Retry, Stumble” prompt. Well, maybe not, if your working for a lacquer head your probably forced to use Windows anyway.

Ah well, I suppose its the thought that counts :)

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