Welcome to the Crab Bucket


My husband has been in the working world, as a professional, for 30 some years.  I’ve been in this weird ghetto of the working world called publishing for 20 this fall.

And what we’ve found, and which is being brought home rather strongly by some friends’ experiences, is that most workplaces, work fields, work environments, are crab buckets.  Most people don’t get much done, and they don’t want anyone else to.

Husband is in a good place right now, because it’s a small office, with congenial co-workers, and I… well, there’s always indie, right.  But for most people, it’s impossible to escape the crab bucket.

This is another of those unfortunate consequences of humans being built from the clay of the earth, aka on the frame of a great ape.

Great apes are social animals, and belonging to the band, preserving your position in the band and climbing the hierarchy is ALWAYS more important than whatever the avowed goal of the band.  Which is why most work places consist of “If I just take the big monkey down, I’ll be chief.” even if that destroys your actual productivity or the money your company might make.

Our government works the same way, btw, which makes it all make so much sense, right?  Pulling power plays is way more important than the good of the nation for any and all of those apes.

Frankly, having seen how the sausage is made, the miracle is that anything gets done at all, and we’re not all still in the Savannah knapping flint.

Thing is, sometimes, for some blessed amount of time, in some places that seem like they were touched with special grace, you get people who work together at least minimally well, and don’t put blocks in each other’s way.  People who put the task first.

It’s very rare.  It didn’t even really happen at the constitutional convention, which is why slavery survived, unfortunately.

But it happened SOMEWHAT and that’s enough to make it The Miracle at Philadelphia.

And when it happens, here and there, occasionally, in offices and workplaces throughout the land, miracles occur.  Suddenly, work gets done at a rate that should be impossible, things get accomplished that should not be possible.

It falls apart.  Of course it does.  The Monkey Games resume.

Honestly, even working with myself, the monkey brain will get in the way of the writing, mostly by telling me things are impossible.  If I can shut it down just a few minutes, I can get great stuff done.  (Maybe not on prednisone, but.)

So… try to minimize your monkey.  When friction arises in work, examine whether it is real or the sort of “oneupmanship simian games humans play.  If it’s the later, try to control it, at least if you give a hang about the results.  Because those games rarely have anything to do with the actual issue, the actual product, the actual work.  They’re monkey dominance games.

But what if you’re the one being played games on, and you can’t get them to stop — as is so often the case with Odds? — what do you do?

If you can, leave.  If you can’t then remember you can accomplish most things so long as you don’t care who gets the credit.

Make your goal to get the job done.  Make your goal to accomplish as much as you possibly can towards the goal.  If that fails, just  find another place/another way to work and keep on going.

It’s rather horrible that as humans try to do anything they’re hampered by their monkey brain, but then the attempt to be like onto angels, knowing good from evil didn’t work any too well.  And if we could do that, maybe we’d lose task of what humans are and need (you could say that Darkships is an exploration of this.)

Right now, right where we stand, though, we have a culture to rebuild which is being torn apart not only but also because some young monkeys feel the need to symbolically kill their elders to claim dominance.  Hence all the putting down of past greats by untried, unblooded people.  And the ridiculous listening “to the children.”

The crabs pulling us back into the bucket, until we can all be boiled together are many.  And all we can do is FIDO (F**K it, Drive on — as Brian Holcomb keeps telling me.)

There are things we can do.  One thing we MUST do is remove funnels (Yeah, I just got the new Microsoft terms of service.  Regulating speech, really?  These are my middle fingers, boyos.)  There are way too many monopolies on the net, and as always happens the boss monkeys are trying to absolute control.

And then when monkeys start monkeying with the important stuff?  Just move on.  Throwing poo in their faces is optional.  (But highly recommended if they’re politicians.)

Go do things.  Ignore the naysayers, even the ones in your brain.  FIDO.


270 thoughts on “Welcome to the Crab Bucket

  1. Crab buckets, yeah I have worked in a few situations like that. As to the M$ terms of service, got the email this morning and thought it was a phishing expedition. Now? Might be time to switch OS’s.

    1. Apple: “it’s safe in the walled garden”
      Microsoft: “the world swirls around the anus of Redmond”
      Linux: “It’s an oper… ooh, look a squirrel!”
      BSD: “like Linux, but with jackboots”

        1. Would be a lot more if some morons hadn’t decided software was copyright instead of patent.
          It’s a friggin’ machine, not a novel. And, you should have to show actual novelty (and utility) to get any protection from reverse-engineering, and then only for a time.

          If that simple change were made, all sorts of solid, secure “Windows” OS’ would be out there for cheap and free. Including some Linux ones.

          1. I have no problem with actual source code being under copyright.

            It is all the “look and file” and api style assertions that bother me.

            If it was patent then requiring a license on API and look and feel would be easier.

            1. The copyright issue is why you can’t reverse engineer it and put out your own operating system. And it’s an obvious abuse of IP law to make it a copyright instead of a patent.

              1. I wish Putin would thow some more rubles at the ReactOS guys. It’s still a bit too unstable for general office use. I have some clients I’d live to be able to decouple from the Redmond mothership, who won’t consider anything that doesn’t look exactly like Windows.

                1. > won’t consider anything that doesn’t look exactly like Windows.

                  Windows 98, Windows 2000, WIndows 7, Windows 2003 Server, Windows 2008 server, Windows 8 or Windows 10?

                  (there’s a point in there)

                  1. Remember how Windows 10 originally had a design that got rejected by users because it didn’t look like windows? (It “felt” like an Android phone, to me.)

                    There are design features that “look like” Windows. One is, well, windows, another is the start button and menu, a third is ability to customize look and feel far beyond what Apple or Android allows.

                  2. All of which look extremely similar or can be set to be extremely similar from a user’s perspective.

                  3. Most users have never seen a Windows versions older than 95. 95 to 7 all look and work much the same; users poke around a bit, shrug, and go on with their work.

                    8 and 10… I’ve been buying old copies of 7 on eBay, for clients who absolutely refuse to have anything to do with the “tiles full of advertising” interface of the newer versions.

                2. Oh, and:
                  > Putin would thow some more rubles at the ReactOS guys.

                  I can’t think of anything that would make me trust an OS *less*.

                  1. Frankly, I’d trust the Russians with “telemetry”, backdoors, and zero-day exploits more than I’d trust Microsoft…

                    Not that I trust the Russians per se, just that they’d have less interest in my stuff than the dirtbags in Redmond.

          2. Actually, software patents are possibly the biggest impediment to technical progress out there. You can reconstruct-from-scratch something that’s copyrighted, and still use all the same principles. But with patents, you’re restricted from using those principles or anything that leads to them. It would be quite possible to patent “an algorithm that adds numbers” and prevent anyone else from using basic addition. And yes, this has been done, with mixed results; some hold up in court. And not everyone wants to license their precious patents, so you may be stuck with a monopoly source. (This largely explains Oracle.)

            Think of it like this: Copyright prevents you from using the same words in the same order. Patent prevents you from using those words _at all_ .

            1. It would be quite possible to patent “an algorithm that adds numbers”
              Well, no, it should not. Because, well, let’s let the patent office show why not:

              In the United States, there are five elements of patent eligibility. The USPTO states the following:
              1.In order for your invention to qualify for patent eligibility, it must cover subject matter that Congress has defined as patentable. The USPTO defines patentable subject matter as any “new and useful” process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter. Machines or processes are patentable subject matter, but the laws of nature are not. So, you can patent a machine for sorting packages, but you can’t get a patent for sunlight.
              2.The invention must have a “utility,” or in other words, be useful. Note that this requirement is only for utility patents (see next question, below).
              3.The invention must be “novel,” or new.
              4.The invention must be “non-obvious,” meaning its use or function can’t be something that is simply the next logical step of an already patented invention. Much of the argument between the USPTO and patent applicants revolves around the issue of non-obviousness.
              5.The invention must not have been “disclosed” to the public prior to the application for the patent. For example, if you’ve written an article describing the invention before you apply for the patent, the USPTO may deny the application because you’ve already disclosed the patent and therefore it’s public knowledge.


              Utility patents are what most people associated with patents and are the type most frequently granted. Utility patents cover:
              Processes – business processes, computer software, engineering methods, etc.
              Machines – anything that performs a function
              Articles of manufacture – a catchall category that covers anything manufactured
              Composition of matter – pharmaceuticals, chemical compounds, artificial genetic creations

              A utility patent is the most powerful form of protection, but also the most difficult to attain (see requirements below), and last 20 years from the date of filing.

              Now, that 20 year protection is idiotic. That’s an entire generation required to submit to your monopoly. It should be 7. Period.

              Now, the USPTO certainly has patented some stupid crap that it should not. That is solvable by making the personnel in the office answerable to lawsuits for violating the law.

              Think of it like this: Copyright prevents you from using the same words in the same order.
              Well, along those lines, publishers/authors have most certainly kept others from using words that even used substantially the same words. For ideas that are fairly universal.

              So, failures of the system to comply with reason and sanity really don’t hold up either side over the other.

              And not everyone wants to license their precious patents
              You don’t license it, you don’t get any protection from a patent. I can just copy it and use it as is. Oh sure, you can try and enforce a EULA, but you can’t do it simply on the basis that all the 1s and 0s are in the same order, or that the mechanism was the same.
              Whereas, copyright is assumed based simply on the fact you wrote it and published it, no matter how novel or new it is.

          3. I can tell you’re not a programmer since you think software patents would be a good idea. (And I mean absolutely no insult by that). It’s a pretty universally-held opinion among programmers — I never see anyone arguing the counterpoint — that patents on software are a lousy idea. For one thing, the U.S. Patent Office is woefully ill-equipped to judge the novelty of patents, resulting in some patents that should never have been granted because there was prior art that pre-dated the patent by several years. (Patents are supposed to be granted only for novel ideas, and ideas that are in wide circulation already are supposed to be rejected). For example, one guy managed to claim a patent on scrollbars years after the first implementation of sctollbars.

            But the worst thing about software patents is that you can find yourself in violation of a patent and not even know you’re in violation. For example, let’s say you wanted to write a new video-playing program. So you read up on the various video standards like H.264, and start writing your program to display H.264 videos. You haven’t copied anyone else’s implementation, you’ve just followed the published specification, which says “An H.264 video is compressed by applying this math formula, and to decompress it, you apply this other math formula”. So you write your program to apply that other math formula. Whoops! You’re in violation of someone’s patent, which covers all programs that apply that particular math formula. There is NO way to avoid being in violation. Result: your video player program can’t legally decode one of the most popular video formats.

            Did you ever wonder why there are so few video player programs out there (at least for Windows)? There’s Windows Media Player (which used to be atrocious and is now merely bad), there’s VLC (which is developed outside the US, in countries that don’t allow patents on software) and there’s…. pretty much nothing else. Oh, there’s MPlayer, but if you’ve even heard of MPlayer you’re probably a Linux user. The reason why there’s so little innovation in that field is that just about every video format younger than 15 years is covered by software patents, and NOBODY is allowed to implement their own decoder, not even a decoder they wrote from scratch without ever looking at anyone else’s code. Software patents are a classic case of government interference on the market: they make everything you buy more expensive or less innovative, invisibly, and you don’t even know how much they’re harming you.

            1. The fact they are idiots does not mean software should receive lifetime protection. When those patents are brought up in court, the Patent Office should be held responsible for all subsequent litigation costs.

              You don’t punish the user for the government doing something stupid, and an unscrupulous operator taking advantage of it. Instead, you take the gov’t to the woodshed and you punish the unscrupulous operator. Or you’re not really talking justice.

              Your example:
              Whoops! You’re in violation of someone’s patent, which covers all programs that apply that particular math formula.
              Except you can’t get a patent (legally, or properly) for implementing an open standard. That’s the entire point of an open standard. That patent should be struck down in a court of law, and the Patent Office should be held to account for all costs associated with doing so.

              Software patents are a classic case of government interference on the market
              Well, the Founding Fathers considered them an engine of innovation. (Of course, the Founders also didn’t think you should get a patent for 20 years. Sheesh. But that’s the fault of the idiots who did the DCMA.)

              I know that I’m asking for reason and sense to apply, and that’s a stretch in today’s world, but asking for anything less is simply capitulating to the idiocy and surrendering to the technocrats.

              BTW, I deal with software all the time (I’m a software test engineer), and I programmed when I was younger.

              Since the bits of code are like cogs in a machine (you really cannot put them in different orders), there is no way that preventing someone from “copying words in exact order” is not giving someone a total monopoly on an operating system or major software.

              1. Except you can’t get a patent (legally, or properly) for implementing an open standard. That’s the entire point of an open standard. That patent should be struck down in a court of law, and the Patent Office should be held to account for all costs associated with doing so.

                Most of your examples are like this — what should happen in an ideal world. And I agree with you about almost all of it: all of those things should happen. (I’m sure I would find a point here and there to quibble about.) But in practice, that never happens, because it costs SO much money to strike down a single patent in the court of law (and you can never count on the judge holding the federal government responsible for costs) that the smart decision from a business perspective, nearly every time, is to say “Eh, we wouldn’t make enough money from this to recoup our losses in striking down the patent. Just shelve the project idea and do something else instead,” And so the innovative competitor to H.264 is never made.

                Since the U.S. Patent Office has proven itself completely incapable of managing software patents properly and rationally, my preferred solution is to abolish software patents altogether. And then, to address the very valid issue you raise about the length of copyright, drop the length of copyright for software down to 17 years after it is first made available on the market, no renewals possible. Things like MS-DOS and WIndows 3.1, and even Windows 95, should be entering the public domain at this point: nobody is going to make any money from them any longer, but they’re a part of computing history that should not be allowed to vanish down the hole of “nobody has the right to open this up and look inside”.

                1. Whoops, mistyped a closing tag. The parts that should have been italicized are “should happen”,and “the smart decision … nearly every time is to say …”.

                2. But in practice, that never happens, because it costs SO much money to strike down a single patent in the court of law (and you can never count on the judge holding the federal government responsible for costs)
                  That’s exactly the problem. But you won’t fix it via the other method. You fix it by agitating and shaking things up. Of course, at this point, the agitating and shaking required likely involves the sorts of things we don’t like to discuss.

                  I also think copyrights should be shortened. And it would certainly help things. And the folks who wrote DCMA and voted to make it law should be [self-censored].

      1. I dusted off my Unix skillz from the 90s and went with an old school Linux (Slackware), but I’ve heard good things about Linux Mint for newcomers. Ubuntu has good support, and is popular.

        I’ve been using the LibreOffice suite, and it’s good at sucking in MS files and working with them. OTOH, I don’t do ebooks, but the latest version of LO is supposed to support the format. YMMV.

        (Not quite sure when our last Windows computer was last turned on. 6 months, maybe…)

        1. Been on various versions of Linux since ’96. I currently use Mint for most everything, as it’s stable and doesn’t get in my way (my #1 priority for an OS). But Ubuntu, raw Debian, and pretty much any of the other distros out there are pretty easy to use and often are tailored specifically to one or another community of users. They’re worth kicking the tires on; you can make a live CD or bootable USB from pretty much any distro and test Linux out, then shutdown, remove the bootable whatever, and get right back to your current OS.

          1. For anything but writing and music I am an Debian user. In fact, writing only just moved off Debian but I am working on getting the relevant program up in Wine.

            1. And if you run into problems, you can always contact Wine with a detailed description of problem, and it gets fixed (eventually.)

              I’ve been hearing of a sudden massive wave of entitled snowflakes, who probably just moved to Ubuntu and absolutely flooded the help channels and demands that stuff be fixed NOW NOW NOW – supposedly even harassing devs on their private emails. Oy.

              1. The 3.0 release broke Paint Shop Pro. I’ve been waiting for them to get around to fixing it. It hasn’t been urgent; worst case, I’ll reinstall the old version.

                  1. I just experimented with Krita, the old KDE image editor. It works similarly to Paint Shop Pro. I imprinted on PSP like a baby duck, but making the move to Krita might not be too bad.

                    All I use an image editor for is rotate-and-crop, and sometimes reducing file size or changing the storage format.

          2. Been with Mint myself for some time now too. Had the hard drive die and wanted a clean install of windows . . . they refused to allow it. I gotta get the bloated version from emachines. The only thing I had I needed windows for was my Garmin. It died.
            Been thinking of an upgrade to my tower and really can’t see much reason to get windohs on the replacement.
            A few weeks ago, I did accidentally open my laptop in win7, but being a Toshiba (with their horrid bloat and drivers), it is about as stable as ME so before it crashed. I convinced it to restart back into Mint.

            1. JP, I’m using a Toshiba my company issued, and have for years. They’ve proven the most stable laptops I’ve ever seen.

              Lenovo, OTOH, managed to trigger our company’s “Three major hardware issues in 6 months and we’ll replace it no matter what the budget says” policy for me and two other consultants on a single project.

              1. Never was an IBM laptop fan nor Lenovo or Le No Go since the Chi-com buyout.

                My Toshiba is an ultra-cheap $400 version with an early Win7 64 bit version. I went to Linux (several flavors before settling on Mint) because it was getting more and more buggy (that garmin program would not update or install) with more often locking up or random restarts. Also I watch MotoGP and other racing unavailable here in the US via streams, and-
                A: the video lurched, locked, and crashed too often no matter what browser I tried to use.
                B: the site I used most loves ads that are highest paying possible, which seems to be 90% malware, virus, or phishing when one uses windows.
                In mint either the attempts fail (ads are often blank and the false “close” buttons are not there) or they can’t attempt to auto-install because they tend towards windows targeted programs.

              2. Lenovo might also beat the “have Putin throw money at it” bar for failure to trust– company belongs to the Chinese gov’t, IIRC through a few shells.

        2. I’m using Linux Mint and can confirm that it is user-friendly for the most part. I’m not hugely fond of LibreOffice, but that has more to do with the conversion BACK to M$ docx than with the actual software.

        3. Allow me to put in a plug for MX Linux. (mxlinux.org), the distribution I handle the package repositories for.
          It has an excellent, friendly help forum, can be installed normally or run as a LiveUsb with persistence and unlike most other distros has a very good, searchable manual included. Our goal is “It Just Works” and for me it does.

      2. OpenBSD – paranoid Canadians with flappy heads
        NetBSD – the squirrel Linux looks at…
        ReeeeeeBSD – used to be FreeBSD until trans SJWs installed new CoC

        Minix – most popular OS evar! (sponsored by Intel and INTEL)

      3. From the mid-90s:
        The difference is that Unix has had thirty years of technical types demanding basic functionality of it. And the Macintosh has had fifteen years of interface fascist users shaping its progress. Windows has the hairpin turns of the Microsoft marketing machine and that’s all.
        –fun @thingy .apana .org.au

        Things haven’t changed much.

  2. > the monkey brain will get in the way of the writing, mostly by telling me things are impossible. If I can shut it down just a few minutes, I can get great stuff done.

    Alas, there are entire cultures which can’t manage that. Wells collapse, roads deteriorate, streams silt up, well, that’s just the way it is, nothing can be done.

    That some predecessor laid the roads, dug the wells, and re-routed the streams doesn’t seem to make it any more possible for it to be done again.

    1. Percy Shelley – Ozymandias:

      And on the pedestal these words appear:
      ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings;
      Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
      Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
      Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
      The lone and level sands stretch far away

    2. I thought all those failures were due to theft by the capitalist patriarchy stealing it from the people who made it (why they don’t make more remains unanswered).

    3. That strikes me as the saddest aspect of the Rdical Islam war; there were nations in the Middle East that were, however slowly, moving into the modern world and getting things done. But the obsessions of the Establishment Left caused the West to punish moderates and reward nutjobs. And so the nutjobs predominate, and a lot of their nutjobbery interferes with them getting core stuff done.

      The Establishment Left really has a lot to answer for in the Third World.

      1. Not just in the third world- they did the same nice thing for the various minorities in the US as well- supported and rewarded radicals, while ignoring or mocking moderates as “sellouts” or “uncle toms”. See “Radical Chic” for a great example.

        1. Oh, my, yes. And I think the number of Radical Chic games the Establishment Left was playing with assorted Islamic vermin had a lot to do with the widespread Bush Derangement we saw. I think a lot of them were scared that Bush would start digging into who was providing support for CAIR and Hamas and the like, and prosecute. He probably could have. They WOULD have in his position. That he had more pressing issues than going after not-terribly-effective political opponents would never have occurred to them.

          And now they have a political opponent who just MIGHT start prosecutions of terrorist fellow-travelers if there’s a major attack. I don’t think Trump would, mind, but he’s more likely to than Bush was.

          Of course, he also has more justification. To still be playing Radical Chic games with the Islamofools at this late date is a little like still being a supporter of Stalin after the publication of THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO.

          1. That he had more pressing issues than going after not-terribly-effective political opponents would never have occurred to them.

            And THAT is why the activists scare me.

            Not because they disagree on basic things. But because they disagree on basic things and cannot drop it for anything. Even when their lives are on the line…..

            1. Well, really, in the example I’m using it’s a matter of them never really believing that power could go to someone who opposes them. So, they got a scare under Bush, but then Obama got elected…twice. Amd everything was supposed to be right with the world, and all the Right initiatives would go forward, forever. So they went righ back to playing footsie with the more ‘intellectual’ Islamotwits.

              And then Trump got elected. THAT wasn’t supposed to happen. It simply never occurs to them that the voters might have. Enough. Of. Their. Shit.

              If they believed that their lives were at risk they might stop. But they don’t. They won’t belive it right up until suddenly the risk is immediate….and then they’ll bitch that nobody protected them.

              1. Heck, they were even writing books* predicting a permanent Democrat majority, based on demographic projections because, really, nobody gets smarter as they age (well, okay, with Dems running the education racket that might be true) and immigrants never think about raising the drawbridge once they’re across it and straight line projections are always reliable.

                *See: The Emerging Democratic Majority, a 2002 book co-authored by John Judis and Ruy Teixeira.

              2. It simply never occurs to them that the voters might have. Enough. Of. Their. Shit.
                Because, even though they are living in a democratic republic*, and use that concept against us, they believe in totalitarianism. I think many of them never grasped the old saw about “People’s Democratic Republic” being none of the three – they saw “democratic republic” hand-in-hand with communism/socialism/fascism and just thought “how ducky!”

                and then they’ll bitch that nobody protected them.
                Even as their bodies cool.

          2. The thing is that the Left doesn’t think that Islamic terrorism will ever, or could ever, be a real threat to them and their vision of the future.
            Those like us, however, they do see as such a threat.

          3. … like still being a supporter of Stalin after the publication of THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO.:

            Heh. About that. From a recent effort by the New York Review of Books :

            Hat Tip: Power Line.

            1. That could have been an error in memory. He did write a lot of novels. In fact, in the Archipelago, he refers the reader to one novel for his account of the more lenient parts of the gulags.

              1. No, it was a lack of understanding of how bad communism is/was. That appeared in a very lefty article.

      2. The Establishment Left really has a lot to answer for in the Third World.

        For one thing they’ve ensured no Third World ruler will “do a Qaddafi” and disarm. They’ll need those WMD when they “go Assad” on their domestic foes.

  3. Doesn’t “The Crab Bucket” sound like a great name for a seafood restaurant or an Indy band?

    1. So… try to minimize your monkey.
      That SO needs to be a meme of some kind. And on t-shirts and coffee mugs.

      1. Check your insurance coverage first. Do not try this at home.

        en are ‘zapping’ their penises to treat erectile dysfunction
        Move aside, Viagra — there’s a new treatment for erectile dysfunction, and it’s, well, shocking.

        The procedure, called GainsWave, zaps tens of thousands of sound waves through a man’s penis to improve blood flow and enable erections. Scary as it sounds, urologists and sexual-health proponents are getting excited about it.

        “People in the community who deal with erectile dysfunction often use the word ‘promising’ when they talk about this therapy,” says Dr. Michael Reitano, the physician-in-residence for men’s health startup Roman, the creators of the erection-tracking app Morning Glory.


        “It can mean everything for a man,” says [Dr. Kate Kass], who piloted the GainsWave technology about two years ago at her practice after seeing its success in Europe. She uses it with her patients regularly now. “It takes away stress on their relationship, improves their self-confidence, and their confidence in other arenas of life. It can be a huge relief.”

        Gainswave was recently highlighted on biohacker Dave Asprey’s podcast. Asprey, who hopes to live until he’s 180 years old, gave the procedure a try with Kass. (Hey, he’ll probably need something like this when he rounds 100.) In a video documenting the experience, Asprey applied a numbing cream to his penis. Then, Kass used a device that looks like a cross between a nail gun and a heavy-duty vibrator to shoot small jolts of sound waves all over the area. (She says some men experience a pins-and-needles-like sensation, but it’s otherwise painless.)

        Asprey described the sensation as “less trouble than a heavy workout” and ultimately “anticlimactic.”

        [END EXCERPT]

        1. Whoops! Clipping, 5-Yard penalty.

          Men are ‘zapping’ their penises to treat erectile dysfunction”

  4. (Closes LibreOffice Writer document, whistles innocently.)

    My sympathies on the prednisone. I have to deal with its little brother in eyedrops (Prednisolone), and that gives me elevated eye pressure. The alternatives are either a) too weak b) hideously expensive and moderately effective, or c) complicated. The doctor is going with “c”–glaucoma drops. Oh well.

    1. Cheer up. I’m on three sets of drops to fend off glaucoma. Beats the alternative all hollow.

      1. I have held the theory that much of MS behaviour since the Clinton Administration can be explained by the principle that they never again want to be accused of being an effective monopoly. Thus all corporate strategy is premised on an effort to drive users away.

        1. Well, Apple had the chance to get me this year. My Window’s dependent software is now all available on Mac and my bil lent me an old Mac laptop to take things for a spin.

          It kept freezing. I couldn’t get the diagnostics to work.

          I went to the Apple store, had to sign in, then waited about 15 minutes to be told by a snotty 20 something, that it was too old for them to support even to help you run diagnostics.

          I told him Acer or Dell owned him a commission check and didn’t look back.

          1. It has long been noted that the strongest inducements to not use Apple products are Apple users and representatives. People catch a whiff of that cult scent and shy away.

            1. The sad thing is I had really high hopes. I mean, I could use FL Studio, Reason, Arturia V, and NI Komplete on the music side and Scrivener for writing while having, in the same OS, a full Unix command line and all my wonderful Unix based development tools/environments.

              1. If you want to run Mac software but not deal with Apple employees, look into putting together a Hackintosh (a PC running OS X). There are easy-to-Google instructions out there. You do typically have to bypass some of the technological measures that Apple put in place to protect their hardware monopoly, so it’s technically a violation of the unconstitutional part of the DMCA — up to you to decide whether that would bother your conscience or not. For me, it wouldn’t bother me, but I don’t have any need to run OS X software so I haven’t done it.

                1. P.S. I’m not suggesting using a copy of OS X that’s illegal-because-unpaid. If someone feels OS X is worth using, they should pay Apple for it. What I object to is the monopolistic clause in the OS X license that says “You may only use this on Apple hardware,” when Apple hardware is no different internally than any other PC: Intel CPUs, standard PC motherboards and memory chips, etc. That part of the license I have no qualms about helping someone to bypass, but I won’t help someone download a Bittorrent file of OS X. The latter would be stealing, the former wouldn’t be.

              1. I didn’t say all Apple users are obnoxious pretentious snobs … just a critical mass. And the mass of them in the US is pretty critical.

              2. I’m on a iMac right now. Owned it since 2010. I should really get a new hard drive for it and see if I can get Linux running on it.

            2. Apple lost me in the early ’90s with the Classic II. A ‘net acquaintance had an SE 30 and was running a MOTU Midi Time Piece for a complicated music setup. My budget said no to the SE 30, but according to the info that was out there, I was under the impression I could get a Classic II and build the machine up to SE 30 standards. That was a big nope. 10M RAM maximum, as much HD as would fit, and the processor was one of those half-bus IO jobs, so it could never be as capable as the SE 30.

              It worked, sort of, but the Apple fan club lost a member. The non-standard IO also meant that the MIDI interface wouldn’t talk to anything (well, I’ve seen a hack to let it use USB, but I’m not interested in that).

              I’m mulling over getting an off-lease Dell and building a custom kernel for real time use. My expectations of what I think I can try are a bit more realistic than the Classic II days in the early ’90s.

              1. I’m running two off-lease HPs here and have parts sitting around from the various upgrades i have done on these…

                1. The laptop to replace the one the Empress gave a glass of water is a “certified refurbished” from either New Egg or TigerDirect. (same company, now, but the sites are different)

                  I think it and the new hard drive cost $200; I wanted something I could only type on…turns out it DOES run games, including Final Fantasy 14. Just fine.

                  1. Just a comment.

                    I’ve never purchased anything from New Egg but have to praise them for one thing.

                    I got a call from them concerning a “iffy purchase”. Apparently, somebody using my info tried to purchase from them but they suspected something was wrong so contacted me.

                    Since it wasn’t me, they stopped the transaction from going through. 😀

                    1. I’ve got nothing but good for their customer service; their prices on normal stuff is OK, their deals tend to be quite good, make sure you’re buying from THEM and not a secondary dealer for that review.

                      We bought Elf a PS4 when he was gone for six months– they were really good about helping us un-bork a screwup in delivery. (His apartment had internet that went all to heck during weekends or any time college was not in cession, and some odd delivery policies that seemed designed to encourage theft, but there aren’t a lot of furnished apartments near his job.)

                      I don’t know if they still do, but I seem to remember a big warning during checkout that you were buying marketplace items, NOT NewEgg whatever the assurance is items; some dealers are covered by the “no bad eggs” policy, it says on the pages.

                  2. Since when are they the same company? Newegg is in City of Industry, Tiger Direct is in … Illinois, iirc

            3. Reps, certainly. The whole computer business is based on the sort of planned obsolescence nonsense that helped strangle the Detroit auto industry in the 1970s.

              1. As noted above, I’ve been running a 27″ iMac since 2010–I bought it used, it’s a 2009 model.

                9 years and still going is a pretty good run.

                I have a Mac SE that still boots, but it hasn’t be “used” since the mid-90s, so that really doesn’t count.

          2. *cough* If you’re upset about these TOS, going over to Apple is like voting Dem because you’re mad at the GOP tax plan.

            1. No, I was thinking of going to Apple to be able to run all the things I use in one environment instead of keeping a Debian VM running on my Windows boxen (music needs low latency so its OS gets to run directly on the hardware).

              If the major music software ran on Linux I’d just go straight Linux (or BSD or even Coherent if it was still around).

              Scrivener got a shot because music was keeping me on Windows. If I’d been able to be full Unix I’d have kept my hacked up scripts that did similar things. However, at $45 and I don’t have to do the dev and I’m having to keep Windows anyway it was worth buying.

          3. I have to good fortune to live near a liscenced Apple dealer that is NOT an Apple Store. Look around; there are more than most people realize.

            1. Maybe next iteration. This year’s laptop is purchased and the ability to move laptop and desktop is off the table for a few years.

              That is why you don’t just tell customers “too old, go away”.

              1. Which location? (I can’t exactly say why it matters.)

                (He may have been correct in his information, but presenting it to someone as “too old; go away” is How to Lose Friends and Influence Them To Your Competitors. And also indicates a lack of imagination.)

                1. He didn’t say I was too old but the box and that wasn’t his phrasing but his attitude…like something from 2010 was beneath him.

                  Perimeter Mall, Atlanta was the location.

              2. At the very least, if a piece of equipment has genuinely aged out of what you have the tools, training and applications to support, a good customer service rep will explain exactly why they can’t help you in a friendly, polite, and non-condescending manner, and can at least ask the manager about securing a one-time discount for a newer machine so as to preserve a loyal customer.

                If a customer wants something you just can’t give, you have to be honest, but at least trying to help goes a long way.

                1. Some enthusiasm and, well, geeking a bit can help, too.

                  Drawing off of how a guy reacted to my dad’s (I think then 15 year old) bag phone:
                  “Oh, WOW!!! I haven’t seen one of these in years– and it worked alright before the upgrades? Oh, wow. I’m sorry, but they only build in backwards comparability for one or two major advances. This is like when they changed how TVs work, so the broadcasts are all digital– it can send way more signals and do a better job, but these really old ones simply can’t understand it– when did you say you got this?!?!”

            2. If never had an issue with the Apple store, always been very helpful when someone puts a passcode on one of the iPads used as cash registers in the park without telling anyone what it is. ‘Cause for some reason the iTunes installation on my work desktop won’t properly reset an iPad to factory.

            3. And hopefully you don’t live near an Apple repair facility like the one in the news. The iPhones there are dialing 911 dozens of times a day, for unknown reasons. (My inner storyteller wants to construct a story about it being a criminal plot to instill a “Boy Who Cried Wolf” mentality into the cops before a mega-heist there.) I can’t remember where I first read about it, but here’s one link I found just now:


  5. Worked for two major corporations then 25 years in Civil Service. Always tried to never surprise my immediate supervisors by failing to keep them informed, though I was I admit a big fan of asking forgiveness rather than permission.
    Got along well with most bosses, but for those I did not I tried twice as hard to make them look good. Funny thing, they would get promoted based on their performance, but never seemed to excel in the new slot. Curious that.
    One time, briefly, I took a senior management position which I quickly came to loathe and detest. Looking people in the eye and lying to them is an integral part of management and I’ve never had a taste for it.
    After that experience I actively arranged to never rise above team lead again, and did my best to see that my team got the lion’s share of the credit. And again, funny thing, team members that took advantage of the team’s success to move up and out never seemed to meet expectations in the new job. Some wanted to come back to the team, but, odd coincidence, they were always the ones that required the most baby sitting and guidance, so unfortunately their old job had been filled with someone else, so sorry.

    1. Only spent three years in Civil Service (rumors that I escaped while yelling “see ya, suckers! I’m free AAAHAHAHAHA!” are nothing but lies. I didn’t call them suckers, of course). Didn’t know I was stealing your style at the time. Other than the senior management thing, that could have been me these past fifteen years.

      1. During my tenure as NASA civil service I lead experiment data teams on several Spacelab missions, worked experiment and facility integration on the ISS, did a stint in ground support for US experiments on the Russian MIR, and wound up as lead Operations Engineer for the Earth departure stage of the Ares 5 heavy lift vehicle under the Constellation program. When that was cancelled I decided it was time to retire.
        Can’t complain, I was a part of some amazing scientific investigations, some of which I like to think worked better and produced more science because of my efforts.

        1. That is a fine legacy to have, sir. Can’t ask for much more than to have done your best and contributed to the better understanding of the universe that way.

    2. “Looking people in the eye and lying to them is an integral part of management and I’ve never had a taste for it.”

      THIS. And it seems to be an integral part of business today.

      As I put it to the project manager, “You know that not all of our customers are morons, and they’ll draw one of two conclusions from our telling them this: Either we’re the morons because we actually believe what we’re saying, or we’re dishonest and are deliberately lying to them because we think they’re morons. Or both. Which of these options do you think is going to end well for us?”

  6. I work from home for American firm and number one thing I like about my job is that I don’t get caught up in office politics or have to deal with endless pronouncements from human resources. It is my dream job, I don’t know how long I would survive if I actually had to go to an office every day.

  7. I’ve… long suspected my inconsistent ability to perceive office games at all has hobbled me somewhat.
    (It can be subtle. I’d basically wound myself up enough to convince myself I was incapable of communicating with people I didn’t know because every freeform message I send got sent back to me for correction (frequently just for phrasing). Then I remembered that I’ve literally worked customer service and other things like that, with good reviews. I think the coworker in charge of verifying may have been a jerk.)

    Yeah, the more I think about it the surer I am on that one. Yeesh.

    1. Interesting enough when I left to retire (small firm, programmers also do customer support. Single product, limited customer type, just very large product with lots of different functions. Interestingly enough not easy to find programmers that can also do customer support) the co-employees miss me some, but the customers really miss me. The “get to the point” issue I ran into with co-workers was not a problem with clients because they got told WHY whether they asked for it or not. I was asked for, repeatably (other sources). Do the guys all miss me, they say they do. Does my boss miss me, says he does. We discussed me doing consulting work, & even set a fee, but they’ve never called, & I won’t ask, so they can’t be missing me that much. I stayed out of office politics, which got loud.

      1. My unfortunate and depressing observation is that more often than not middle and upper management would accept turning out a sub optimal product or providing inferior service rather than surrender the slightest bit of what they perceive as their control.
        Do a superior job no matter what and often as not both your co-workers and your management feel threatened and react accordingly.

        1. “Do a superior job no matter what and often as not both your co-workers and your management feel threatened and react accordingly.”

          But, but, … I was raised to do the job, to do my very best, I can’t (couldn’t) do any different.

          1. As I was myself, and that’s how I generally performed.
            But I caution those of like inclination not to expect praise, as you will for the most part be sadly disappointed. You do it for the satisfaction of a job well done, not for the accolades of others.

            1. Praise always surprises me. Growing up if a job was well done, rarely heard anything. If it wasn’t, however, heard about it – forever – & had to redo, or correct deficiencies, with someone standing over me. Side effect on the job, if not hearing anything, then presumption is doing the job correctly. If I then hear I haven’t been, I am not happy, & will take correction, but will definitely provide feedback (in some form or other) that correct instructions, &/or corrections, were not provided in a timely manner. But then my job was of a type of “it’s works” type of feedback without input from someone else.

        2. Or, to quote Harlan Ellison on TV scripting: “We don’t care if it’s crap, as long as it’s Wednesday!”

          1. I can only imagine Harlan’s reaction come 8:30 Thursday night in 1966 and the TV screen offers nothing but a placard announcing “We are sorry to inform you that this week’s episode of STAR TREK will not appear because Mr. Ellison says his script is crap. We hope to have something ready for next week’s scheduled episode.”

      2. I have a theory that most programmers do not make good customer supporters because good programmers have a tendency to think in logical patterns, and most good customer support people have to deal with emotional and highly irrational customers.

        1. If the code wasn’t such crap, and the product wasn’t hyped beyond reason, written to checkbox specs and standards, and if it actually did what the customer expected about half the support calls would flat out go away.

          I worked as a TSE for about 18 months a little over a decade ago. Some people should not be allowed to TOUCH computers. Some of those people have a job title that looks something like “software engineer”.

        2. Frequently the customer is perfectly rational, just looking at something differently than the programmer.

          Just think how many times you’ve heard both: “Why on earth would they want to do that?” and “What do you mean, they don’t support that basic thing?”

          1. “Just think how many times you’ve heard both: “Why on earth would they want to do that?” and “What do you mean, they don’t support that basic thing?””

            Often the response was. *”It does. Setup is buried. Here it is. Here is why.” Or. “Okay. If you insist. How bad do you want it?” Latter, depending on how unreasonable it appeared, if it was at all doable, the quote cost was very high (Well over # hours needed, no credit towards annual maintenance hours + wanted it now). Once a client actually said “yes”, surprised both boss & me. Client got change.

            *Saved a client from a lawsuit based on one of these answers.

            1. Sadly, sometimes the answer is “programmers don’t actually know what goes into ___.”

              The example I was thinking of was mildly out there for normal people– cattle. An amazing amount of herd tracking software is based on dog breeding software, so there is only one option for the sire.

              This is not useful when you really want to avoid breeding your replacements with their grandfathers because purebreeds are rather inbred already, but she might have been sired by any of three bulls, and her mother was sired by any of three others, and four of those are still in the herd!

              1. That is why programmers have to be able to talk to end users, to know why a request is being asked. And I get it.

                One of the projects I worked on required reworking how something was done & required it be done by the guy who dealt with the software systems underlying library & class structures. Something that had been needed for the 8 years I’d been there, then came a request that forced it. So, we worked together to design it & get classes written so I could make the program changes. While we were at it, added in a couple of other design changes. This guy did not work with clients. I don’t know how many times a day, let alone overall when he’d say, this or that shouldn’t be at this level or shouldn’t be done at all. Occasionally he was right, at least the class level that should be responsible, most time he was wrong, especially with the latter, already being done & taking whatever away was not a good idea.

              2. One of the reasons when I retired, I said no to “project bid” work from my former employer. Willing to take hourly wage for hours worked on any project, but not an over all bid. Changes & entire new programs requests, you got a sentence, maybe a paragraph. Not near enough to get even close to what was needed, at least for me. I almost always ended up calling & talking to the main contact to get a walk through on what, how, & why, with pictures if needed. As a consultant that ability went away. Project based I’d have to make changes under the same bid until it was “right”. Hourly, not right, okay, try these changes, here’s the bill; there’s a difference between a code mess up & not enough information to begin with. I made perfectly clear why hourly was the only way I’d work as a consultant.

        3. They may deal in logical patterns, but they are often not the same patterns the customer is using. So they and the customer go round and round not communicating.
          Then there’s the tendency to assume the customer must be a moron or they wouldn’t be calling support. That might actually have some support in reality, but it’s a problem when you tick off the smart guy.

          1. Company I worked for was a rarity. It was EXPECTED to hear from clients. There are annual Client conferences, some of which is how-to workshops, most of which is: These are the changes from the last year, these are the wish list from prior years not yet done, what needs to be done, why, & how critical. FWIW. Adding those federal forms everyone gets showing you had insurance & how much you paid each month, that isn’t used for anything, an Obamacare requirement, is one of those items that became a high priority for the HR add-on module out of one of those conferences. Granted only two clients had that add-on, but they were BIG long term clients.

          2. *thinks of the long list of companies her mother will not work with, and which have pissed her off enough to never touch, or that tried it on her husband when the support knew less than he did*

            Yeah, “you are a moron” vs “there is a failure of understanding somewhere” is easy, but dangerous.

        4. Agreed. I am a rarity. Now, part of it is the clients dealt with were Accountants, or Bookkeepers, & occasionally an IT intermediary because since it was software allowing the actual users call … (yes sarcasm). Calls we got were:
          1) Software “broken” or needed custom tweak for client, or perceived so.
          2) How do I? Fair, because the documentation was limited to: “This is the field. It takes X.” One of the few generic/custom software where equivalent software how to or for dummy’s (for comedy relief) was needed, badly.
          3) Questions/request where the answer was “Not an accountant. Don’t know your agencies* requirement/rules/laws. However, this is what the software will/can do, flow, & why.” Or how to help a bookkeeper do an accountants job without claiming to be an accountant.

          *Software was a specific type of accounting package for county/city agencies if you work for 3 counties & one city in Oregon, or over half the counties in CA & WA, then you probably know what software I am taking about, and know who I am; I was the only female. Company was starting to deal with federal agencies, the last year I was there, but was not extensive, yet; I’ve heard that is expanding.

          FWIW. True software support call center. I would not have lasted six months. Yes, had days where wished I could take the phone & throw it out the window; year-end, & there were 3 year-end periods to deal with. But there were days the phone never rang. Ultimately did a lot of programming over phone support. Plus part of my ability was to make associates out of the callers, at minimum a working relationship; not happening in a call center.

    2. I’ve… long suspected my inconsistent ability to perceive office games at all has hobbled me somewhat.

      I’ve long suspected that my basic inability to perceive office games has kept me out of trouble. For example, I’ve been told by a former cow-orker that I was the only person to ever leave employment with a particular former boss on friendly terms. That was, however, largely because whatever games he played never made an impression on me and I just kept plugging away at my code.

    3. I work in the IT end of Human Resources.
      For the past two-and-a-half years, I have been in an office OUTSIDE the main HR suite.
      My office is about the size of a cubicle. It’s a converted closet. I refer to it as “The Shoebox”.
      I LOVE it.
      I don’t have to see, and I don’t have to listen to, the interactions and politics going on in the HR suite.
      I stay in my office, with my computers and software packages.
      I hear about the arguing, and backbiting, and disagreements, well after the fact if at all.
      TPTB have offered to move me into the HR suite several times since I got to my shoebox.
      I politely declined the offers.
      It’s much easier to deal with office politics when you don’t have to hear it or see it first hand.
      From now on, any job I move to after this one, I want an office away from everyone else.

  8. Old Russian Proverb:
    It is not enough that I do well; it is also necessary that my neighbor suffers.

    I recall surveys, back in the Eighties, finding that Americans were willing to accept lower rates of economic growth provided Japan’s growth rate was also lower (even as it remained ahead of America’s.) The fact that this reflected bad math comprehension* was irrelevant to those expressing such opinions.

    *If the US Economy is over twice the size of Japan’s, US growth of 2% might still represent greater growth than Japanese growth of 4%. And 2% growth is easier to maintain.

    1. Growth… Subtract all the growth bought from expanding the money supply.
      It’s all phantom wealth that has no market if people try to cash it out at the supposed value. If they try, this wealth evaporates because the valuations are insane and not connected to any reality. Such as Tesla – twice the ‘value’ of Ford while making a tiny fraction of the product at a loss. But it is cool and new and green. – Snort –

      1. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but the problem is that ANY measure of wealth runs into the basic fact that money and value are shared delusions. Delusions that make the world go around.

        I think that’s a lot of what motivates the Socialistic Left;they know just enough about value, money, and commerce to scare them shitless. They don’t understand it, and thinking about it makes their heads hurt.

        What they don’t grasp is that even with a nice paternalistic State controlled economy, run by little nonentities like themselves, they STILL won’t understand it…and it WILL crash.

      2. I suspect this is not the place to get into advanced economic statistical modeling, but for an example of the fallacies of wealth just take a look at what is happening to all that wealth “created” in Fascistbook’s market valuation.

  9. Our military does a pretty good job of organizing to avoid this, though there are always (despised) self-promoters. Talk to our guys, though, who’ve had jobs training people in other armies (or air forces). You often either get “important people don’t work, and I’m an important person” or “I have learned something that makes me an important person, I will not jeopardize my status by sharing this skill with anyone else.”

    1. That is soooo true. And they can get really upset when you offer that same information to others.

    2. Ran into the latter in civilian work. Contracting, and other places. Folks like that get mighty anxious when you figure out their “secret” and end up utilizing it to get the job done. Because they were a bottleneck in the smooth operation of the company, they thought they were important. *shakes head*

      Work ethic, adapatability, anticipation of need, and ability to work with others are severly underappreciated qualities, in my experience.

      1. > Because they were a bottleneck in the smooth operation of the company, they thought they were important.

        I’ve worked with him, several of his cousins…

        If they spent as much effort *doing* their job as they did protecting it, they wouldn’t have people scheming to get rid of them….

    3. I’ve run into office workers like that.

      The one in particular had some Byzantine system of filing the forms that agents needed for customers that only she understood.

      Somehow it doesn’t occur to people like that that, if the company were to fire them, their labyrinthine system would be scrapped, and something new would be put in place by their replacement.

      Far better for an employee to make an accessible and easy to understand system, so that the company won’t have to go to the trouble of scrapping their system if the employee suddenly gets hit by a bus.

      (And so much less frustrating for the employee’s replacement if there are clear and explicit instructions on how to do the job!)

      1. What doesn’t occur to people like that is that IT will eventually bypass their system.

    4. “I have learned something that makes me an important person, I will not jeopardize my status by sharing this skill with anyone else.”

      I run into this universally in IT. If you’re the only one who knows exactly how to do something, and don’t document it well, you have “value”.

      1. More likely you have time to do the code, but they won’t give you the time to properly document it, since they get paid for the code. They don’t get paid for the documentation (or at least I’ve never seen it.)

        1. We are supposed to get paid for the documentation too. Since we’re on a time and materials contract the time writing the docs is still billed to the client.

          Guess how much documentation we produce?

        2. Yes. ^^ This ^^

          To the point when I retired I made sure the features only I had a clue on what was going on was very well documented, with pictures, not only what, but why. I had worked with one of the new guys, so doesn’t count, on one of the items, before I left; poor guy was only there a week overlap, & I was only there 1/2 days. Another had been thoroughly documented for years because I only worked on it, 3 maybe 4 times a year. I even sent the actual documents, & shared drive links to the documents, in separate emails with email title of “hey. Does someone want to go over these with me before my last day?” I got called back in (for 4 hour consult fee) on one, less than 4 weeks after I left. Actual time to provide answer & point to documentation & go over documentation: less than an hour. The item that had been documented for years, when they asked me to come in, my answer was sure, but it is documented, this is where it is, & I am going to have to refer to it, are you sure you want to pay me to come in; answer no. I still get questions passed to me via the guy I’m still in contact with via text; or was, it has stopped since my answer turned to “it’s been over 2 years!!!!” Know the answer, not the point.

      2. *snickers* My husband got bounced all over the command he was working at with TDY assignments that basically consisted of un-borking stuff folks had done like this.

        Go in, figure out what they’d done, fix the dumb stuff and write up how to find everything.

        If it took more than a week to figure out what they’d done, it was a big deal. Most of the issues were inconsistency or sheer memorization. (Oh, and one idiot officer who would come in and delete everything she didn’t recognize on duty weekend. Thank God for backups.)

        1. one idiot officer who would come in and delete everything she didn’t recognize on duty weekend


      3. It’s also a pretty good passive-aggressive revenge tactic if you get fired or quit. I’ve seen it happen a few times, in one case where the guy who knew all the secrets and his wife worked at the same company and they laid off the wife out of the blue, and he quit soon after. T’weren’t pretty…

        1. Ouch. I bet.

          Even if the person is “available”, response is not always helpful. I was hired to take on a project they originally contracted out, then brought in house. Contractor knew from the onset this was happening, was still doing some work for company, & got paid every time I called with a question, so no resentment. No documentation either. Good thing I had experience with software where the original programmer was long gone with no documentation. I did call once on how the index file structure worked. His answer: “I pulled that of the internet & got it to work” Really???? Gee, thanks. I had problems to figure out, one was a coding error, & one wasn’t a coding error, but still had to be solved. I wrote a dissertation on how that section worked. Heck with hanging myself or anyone following. This was also software with main program & 4 interconnected libraries, where you had to compile the DLL’s, which would fail, then compile the main program, which then you could compile the DLL’s; main program had classes the DLL’s needed. Circular referencing, oh joy. Before I was done, I had that tangled mess untangled/cleaned-up, & documented. I also had changes required for hardware down to a couple of months; including supporting multi-byte languages. Software has been shelved since 2006 or so, once the DOS Falcon unit was retired.

          But then I’ve been on the other side too. After loosing my job in 1996 I was called by the company that took over the software. I was perfectly willing to help (for a fee, duh). But ultimately they would not take my main (free) suggestion, so I declined the contract. Well declined in that my hourly rate was a 2.5x’s too high; they wouldn’t take no for an answer.

  10. Well, when I think of “crab bucket” I think of the idea that “the other crabs don’t want any other crab to escape the bucket”. 😦

  11. Some thoughts…

    Small teams work better than big teams. I’ve held senior positions in organizations with hundreds of people, and in teams that counted our strength on our fingers. The small outfits delivered a lot more. I’ve seen the same thing in industry. There’s a very definite “Band of Brothers” dynamic at work…the fewer the men, the greater share of glory.

    If you’re an Odd, seek the frontier. Whether it be professional or physical. There’s a lot less back-stabbing on the frontier.

        1. Dilbert has one problem. Like the Duffel Blog, it has become uncomfortably close to reality.

          1. As I see it, the problem is far worse than you describe, as it’s reality that has become uncomfortably (and unsustainably) close to Dilbert and The Duffel Blog.

          2. I lived it with the former Plant Manager in Texas. Though I didn’t despise him, he was a decent boss not of the pointy haired varety. It was one where we both ran into each other and were reminded we were supposed to have done something but neither could recall just what it was.
            Turned out there was a very similar Dilbert within days of that.

          3. “Dilbert has one problem. Like the Duffel Blog, it has become uncomfortably close to reality.”

            After working as a programmer for 33 years … wait, what? Has Become? Dilbert isn’t a documentary?

            1. Well the rumor is that software companies were searching for the author thinking it was their company since it matched well.

        2. That one’s kind of amusing, but I’ve already run into reality that eclipses it.

          Boss: Our product needs to be ready in 5 weeks.

          Employee: If we all give 100%, it’ll be ready in 6 weeks.

          Boss: Then everyone needs to give 120%.

          Employee: A lot of us are considering trying out for the New England Patriots. They only require you to give 110%.

          1. Heh. Demonstration time, I saw one the oncet. ‘Twas even better with a crowd of engineers…

            Toady: We need everyone to give 110%! Our product *must* be in customers’ hands by the 11th!

            *translation from Rana Bufolus: “Our salesmen made a promise to the customer without checking with design and manufacturing, and we need you guys to pull our @sses out of the fire.”*

            Engineers: *muttering*

            Manufacturing: *concerned muttering*

            Bruce, engineer of my acquaintance with no social skills: Nope.

            Today: ???

            Bruce: Won’t work.

            Today: That’s not the attitude we need! Everyone must give 110% to make this company great!

            *translation from Rana Bufolus: “I am really personally screwed if this doesn’t work!”

            Bruce: *takes a styrofoam cup from the coffee station* Okay. Fill this cup for me to 110%. *Plunks down the water carafe put there for speakers to drink from* Show me how it’s done.

            (Note, this wasn’t one of the dinky little 8 oz cups you get at the gas station. These were the engineers’ cups. Big ones.)

            (Second note, Bruce is one of those people you don’t just say no to. Social skills, had none. But presence, he had. Also, Toadys gonna toad.)

            Today: Uhh…

            *Toady fills cup to normal level, about an inch from full, and stops*

            Bruce: Nope. Keep going.

            *Toady fills a bit more*

            Bruce: Bit more, I think.

            *cup is completely full now. A dribble escapes the cup, running down onto Toady’s stack of papers, upon which the cup was placed*

            Bruce: Now 10% more.

            *Toady, with slightly shaking hand overfills the cup. Papers ruined. Red faced Toady. Quietly chuckling engineers. Manufacturing guys having coughing fits. ‘Twas glorious.*

            Bruce: And that’s what 110% gets you.

            1. And of course the real world translation of 110% is we expect you to work an extra day’s worth of unpaid overtime either as longer days or on the weekend.
              I worked the government side of several SEB reviews and one of the things we looked for was a bidder’s tendency to fudge their valuation of one full time equivalent. Let them and they would claim their employees would work nine hour days six days a week in order to low ball their bids on manpower. For the true number start with a 40 hour week, subtract holidays and whatever their typical vacation time was, then deduct mandatory training hours and estimated sick leave. Your 2080 hour FTE quickly shrinks down to somewhere in the 1800 hour range.

              1. That, and chronic underestimation of software complexity and troubleshooting time. Rule of thumb: Take the vendor’s estimate of the number of software loads and triple it. Base your estimate of test resources and time on that number.

                1. When estimating software actual work hours, I would assign a “reasonable” value, then quadruple that estimate. That was just hours for the project. Usually came in between triple & quadruple. My last job would give the boss an estimate for a change & he would half the hours for the bid. The last few years the hours the programmer actually estimates goes on the bid but half is charged & the other half assigned to the maintenance contract programming allotment. That’s how he’d been doing things for years, but not showing the programming allotment. Hours on the bid weren’t when changes got done, there was up charge if they wanted the change “right now”.

              2. Lar, in my 20 years with my current company (software big 5), I have NEVER seen a project that could have been delivered to schedule and all requirements with a 40 hour week. And all sides know this.

                1. Absolutely, same here. but all contract proposals had to include manpower estimates as FTE, full time equivalent, and for a true apples to apples comparison we had to make sure bidders weren’t low balling by jacking their hours. Per Federal labor regulations we could not allow bidders to cook the books by claiming unpaid overtime. Real paid overtime translates to a fractional FTE so had to be shown in their documentation.
                  Of course on my end I was CS and on a 40 hour tour schedule so usually had my 40 in by Thursday night. Then I worked Friday and many Saturdays off the books. Extra hours weren’t paid, but my bosses found other ways to compensate my efforts.

                2. Let me guess. Review time: “You’re not putting in 60 (or 70) hours a week, under performing expectations” or (although not mentioned during “reviews”) carrying over most if not all your accumulated vacation/sick/personal-leave to the point of actually loosing some because you can only carry so many. OR you actually take said leave before it expires, which at that point it does come up in annual reviews as “not a team player or under performing expectations”.

                  Been there done that. When asked for my “reasons”. My response was (knowing the answers): “Who deals with house emergencies, waiting for electrician, etc.” “Who takes the kids to doctors?, etc.”, Ans: “My wife.” Me: “Well guys, I am the wife*. Hubby is required to work OT. He. Gets. Paid. For. Working. OT. I don’t. I’m nominated for the chores.” Hubby’s job was salary, not exempt. Which was monthly pay + OT on anything over 8 hours/day & 1.5x’s weekends & designated holidays. Yes, this attitude, more than my qualifications, actual work performances (VS over attendance), age, or gender, resulted to timing as when I got cut when the company went into bankruptcy & breakup. If that hadn’t happened, my raise percentages likely would have continued to be “sub-par” compared to others.

                  *One of the guys also had this problem. His wife had the required weird hours OT requirement (nurse I think). But she’d often be home during the week, so those days he’d work long hours & so everyone else would know. Me, when I stayed late, people often didn’t realize it. Or I’d work at home. That stupid perception thing again.

                3. I worked in video games for about a decade, and there was not a single project I worked on that didn’t get scrapped and restarted halfway thru the schedule, with no commensurate change in deadline or budget. Not a single one.

                    1. I dunno about hookers and blow, but in one case the company’s staff tripled in size, we spent an entire year on crunch time, and I got type 2 diabetes from eating catered restaurant food every night. And at the end if it all I got laid off because once the game was out the door all those employees were nothing but burn on the bottom line. Left me a tad jaundiced about certain industries and their general practices…

                    2. Game industry is not one I’ve ever worked for or applied for. Don’t play games, so figured was not a good fit.

                      Locally there seems to be either none or a lot of small startup game companies. Eventually they get bought up, larger company shuts down local office after 6 months or a year. Those who are out of a job from the buy out, eventually start the cycle over.

                      Happened with part of the company I worked for between 1996 & 2002. Small piece the bankruptcy pieced out & got shelved. But it was late 2010 before couple of the managing engineers from the old company got it going under the old name. By then I’d been working where I was at for over 6 years. Thought about looking them up, but ultimately decided, no.

                    3. Well, generally, the game industry and VFX are both project-based and if the powers that be don’t manage to line up another project, yes, you get laid off at the end of the project. If they don’t, they end up like Foundation Imaging.

            2. Remember one vacation. Had phone with me but only for emergencies for the group, even then coverage was going to be way iffy, so it was turned off. Got back to civilization, late Sunday, & there were about a dozen texts & calls from work from the entire week. I ignored them until I was back at work Monday morning. Did not have time to actually look at them, before I was cornered by marketing regarding the emergency. “Why didn’t you return my calls & texts?”, me: “What don’t you understand about backpacking in the wilderness?” Apparently I was not a team player.

          2. I was pulled into one of those “all hands meetings”. After the boss finished explaining the need to deliver a new system in an impossibly short time during an already busy period and asked us to be team players and offer suggestions…any ideas… It got very quiet. No dept. wanted to tell him the truth of how impossible the initial sales promise had been. Finally I raised my hand to give the obvious only possible solution:

            “Maybe we could bribe the Pope into changing the calendar again.”

    1. Organization design makes a huge difference in these dynamics. Generally, an organization centered around missions rather than functions—putting the engineers and marketing people in the Gerbilator Business Venture as opposed to putting those engineers and marketing people in centralized engineering and marketing organizations–will have much more wholesome and productive organizational behavior.

      There are such things as economies of scale, of course, but they are often overstated vis-a-vis the very real (but harder to quantify) *diseconomies* of scale.

  12. There’s an idea in Freud—and this is one I think he didn’t actually get entirely wrong—that primitive human politics is either submission to the abusive father, or brothers banding together to kill and eat the father. We seem to be in a “kill the father” phase. The irony is that it was largely encouraged by boomers who had their own “kill the father” phase, and didn’t realize that they had become the father.

    1. The avant garde has become the rear garde without realizing it.

      See also reports that competent surveys of crowds at March For Our Lives rallies are predominantly people over fifty:

      Here’s who actually attended the March for Our Lives. (No, it wasn’t mostly young people.)
      In the days before and after more than two million Americans participated in the March for Our Lives, the gun-violence conversation has focused on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas survivors and their “student movement.”

      The school shooting in Parkland, Fla., and the passion of the teenage survivors have become a catalyst for the current movement. With the help of some well-resourced benefactors, including Oprah Winfrey and George Clooney, the survivors organized an extraordinary rally in D.C. and sister marches around the country in a mere six weeks.

      However, the young faces of the advocates have created an assumption that “youth” and “students” are the core of the movement. My research tells a different story about who participated in the March for Our Lives — and it is more complicated and less well-packaged for prime time.

      As part of my research on the American Resistance, I have been working with a research team to survey protesters at all the large-scale protest events in Washington since President Trump’s inauguration. By snaking through the crowd and sampling every fifth person at designated increments within the staging area, we are able to gather a field approximation of a random sample. So far, the data set includes surveys collected from 1,745 protest participants.

      During the March for Our Lives, my team sampled 256 people who were randomly selected. This gives us the chance to provide evidence about who attended the March for Our Lives and why.

      Like other resistance protests, and like previous gun-control marches, the March for Our Lives was mostly women. Whereas the 2017 Women’s March was 85 percent women, the March for Our Lives was 70 percent women. Further, participants were highly educated; 72 percent had a BA or higher.

      Contrary to what’s been reported in many media accounts, the D.C. March for Our Lives crowd was not primarily made up of teenagers. Only about 10 percent of the participants were under 18. The average age of the adults in the crowd was just under 49 years old, which is older than participants at the other marches I’ve surveyed but similar to the age of the average participant at the Million Moms March in 2000, which was also about gun control.


      … the new protesters were less motivated by the issue of gun control. In fact, only 12 percent of the people who were new to protesting reported that they were motivated to join the march because of the gun-control issue, compared with 60 percent of the participants with experience protesting.

      Instead, new protesters reported being motivated by the issues of peace (56 percent) and Trump (42 percent), who has been a galvanizing force for many protests.

      March for Our Lives protesters were also more likely to identify as ideologically moderate. About 16 percent did so, higher than at any other protest event since the inauguration. But unsurprisingly, it was still a very liberal crowd: 79 percent identified as “left-leaning” and 89 percent reported voting for Hillary Clinton.


      The March for Our Lives had the allure of a free concert — in fact, the event’s website maintained a list of performers but never listed the speakers. But it is one thing to turn out to watch Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ariana Grande perform, and quite another to vote in the midterm election in November.

        1. My inclination is to assume most folk start from the proposition that “Le centre, c’est moi.” This seems to particularly afflict the Left who imagine the MSM is centrist or even somewhat right of center.

          1. I’ve seen a number of people, and not only Europeans but Americans, assert that American politicians range from center right (say, Barack Obama) to extreme right (say, Donald Trump), because that’s how it would be defined in European terms. Somehow they don’t seem to understand the idea of cultural relativism very well, because it wouldn’t occur to them to say that it’s just as valid to say that European politicians range from center left (Theresa May) to extreme left (Jeremy Corbyn), even though that’s how they would be defined in American terms. All cultures are equally valid except ours, I guess.

            1. And this sort of thing is why I have given up on using the left-right concept for politics.

              All cultures are equally valid except ours, I guess.
              Well, if you didn’t already know that, then you haven’t been paying attention.

              1. Yeah. A lot of Americans think George Bush was right wing. From where I sit, he’s barely distinguishable from Barack Obama.

                It’s easy being a political extremist; you don’t have to worry what people are going to think when you voice your opinions…

                Conservative interlocutor: “…problem of illegal immigration.”

                TRX: “Soylent Green.”

                Conservative interlocutor: “That joke is in poor taste.”

                TRX: “That wasn’t a joke.”

                1. Had a friend go on a tear about how Trump was likely to push North Korea into nuclear war, and his girlfriend (who came from mainland China) and I started laughing our guts out.

                  Girlfriend: Not happening, ever.
                  Friend: Why do you two think that?
                  Us: Because China is the source of everything for North Korea.

                  (More or less that was the convo.) Several months later…

                  1. Two things I have pondered. One, the Norks are *never* giving up their nukes.

                    Without nukes, they get no attention and no support from places like China, possibly Russia, possibly Iran. They’d be just another third world hellhole used blatantly as a buffer between mainland China and South Korea (and such places that are so very not China).

                    Second, if they ever *use* their nukes, they are *done.* Specifically, personally, the folks with their pudgy fingers on the nuke button. Painfully. Personal experience of threat of death is scary real, despite the insulation of self aggrandizement (his quite literal cult of personality).

                    I would judge it unlikely that his personal instability would survive the decision to push the button, should he wobble over that far. Too many, both individuals and nation-states would stand to lose in an immediate sense to allow him that.

                    Yes, sanity is something not best assumed. But it helps me sleep, and I like my sleep. *chuckle*

                    1. I agree that NK will never give up their nukes. (This was a point I made when I went to HPAIR in South Korea, that the threat of nukes was the only reason why anyone even paid attention to them,why would they give it up at all? The guy supposedly from the US Defense Department made sputtering noises, and hemmed and hawwed.)

                      Second, I think sometimes that rocketman isn’t as crazy as people like to think he is. He’s probably at bigger threat from his generals than he is from Trump, IMO, and sometimes it strikes me that his sabre-rattling and missile tests are more of appeasing his military leaders. And whatever advancements they have, it is to further getting attention for North Korea.

                    2. This makes a lot of sense based on what I’ve learned over the years. The crazy I wonder sometimes is a bit of the sort of translation of culture coupled with playing to the home crowd- the generals, his people (propaganda), and China. Yes, insulated and quite possibly led astray in many ways.

                      But like the old story about the flat tire, crazy doesn’t mean stupid. It would be better to slightly overestimate a potential foe than underestimate.

                    3. The first part is what I suspect is actually in play. Junior went to school outside of NK, and superficially, likes Western culture. I wouldn’t have been surprised if that made him slightly suspicious at LEAST from the eyes of the local orthodoxy, and thus it wouldn’t have surprised me if some of the stuff Junior did early on was to ensure he survived – ‘proving’ at least to the satisfaction of his …elders… for lack of better term… that he is just as ‘Strong Leader To Be Loyal To’ as Daddy was.

                    4. Jr also knows the West well enough to know that if you rattle your sabre and make the right sort of hostile noises, they will give you stuff.

                    5. The Chinese will support North Korea regardless. North Korea is in essence fully dependent on China, and it’s a thorn in the side of South Korea, which otherwise might be able to unify the peninsula. And historically, Korea has territorial claims on lands that China now owns.

                      Plus, according to a Chinese friend of mine, the Chinese people apparently are under the belief that Korea is the optimal land route for a Japanese invasion of China. So they want to keep control of the northern half of the peninsula.

                      China *could* force Pyongyang to give up its nukes if it pushed hard enough. And China wouldn’t abandon the Kim family if that were to happen. But I suspect that Beijing enjoys the problems that Pyongyang is able to cause to the US and its “puppets” in the regions.

                    6. If China tired of the Kim family, the entire lot would be dead as soon as Beijing hung up the phone.

                  2. Daily Wire (Ben Shapiro’s news site) had this last night. I have seen nothing about it in other media. If true it would clearly indicate China has guaranteed Nork security.

                    BREAKING: China Makes Shocking Announcement About North Korean Denuclearization
                    On Wednesday, China said that it secured a commitment from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to denuclearize the Korean peninsula during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

                    In return, Xi reportedly pledged to uphold China’s close relationship with North Korea during Kim’s visit to China which lasted from Sunday to Wednesday, Reuters reported.

                    “It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearization on the peninsula, in accordance with the will of late President Kim Il Sung and late General Secretary Kim Jong Il,” Kim said, according to Xinhua.

                    “The issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace,” Kim continued.


              2. I usually go with the Florence King approach: “I’m slightly to the right of Attila the Hun.”

                1. You kidding? Attila was a raging Lefty. State monopoly on force, government looting of the private sector as an economic principle, “judicially” imposed “justice” rather than rule of law …

        2. Actually, I think it is the opposite…moderates are either as RES suggestions, self assuming they are the reasonable moderate ones OR right of center (or others…I call myself Third Quadrant thanks to the late Dr. Pournelle) who know better than admit being anything but at least a little left.

    2. There is nothing sadder, or more deserving of ridicule, than well off boomers who still dress like hippies, promote communism (with the bumper stickers on their SUV that cost more than both my vehicles combined), and think they are sticking it to the man.

      No, sweetie, you’re sticking it to people poorer than you while claiming moral superiority all the while.

      1. Once upon a time I attended a talk by a fellow who was a singer-songwriter and had been there back when. He explained the acoustic guitar and such thus: “We didn’t do it out of any idea of musical purity or anything like that. We did it because we couldn’t afford amplifiers.”

      2. I noticed that the “Question Authority” stickers went away around January, 2009. (Impish thought; those must be some *very* expensive bumper stickers. Looks like I gave the cold portion of my vaccine/cold situation to my wife. We’re both a little loopy tonight.)

        1. *laughs*

          That they did…and reappeared January 2017 next to “Not my legitimate authority” bumper stickers.

    3. That reminds me of scene from Stargate SG-1, where O’Neill is being promoted: “I’ve spent my whole life sticking it to the man. If I do this, I’ll be the man.”

      1. I quit watching Stargate after O’Neill made his “Shrub in the White House” snark.

        No, I don’t need political commentary from a cheesy-ass Canadian TV show.

        1. If it’s the episode I’m thinking of, the line went:
          O’NEILL: Does anyone know anyone who voted for those two shrubs?

          HAMMOND: I’ve known President Hayes for a long time. He’s a good man. Despite his tastes in running mates, maybe. Robert Kinsey brought in a lot of campaign financing. For all we know, he may have used his knowledge of the Stargate as leverage to get himself a place on the ticket. It doesn’t matter now.

          Kinsey is a recurring villain who managed to get on the ticket as VP, and Hammond defends Hayes immediately.

          1. IIRC, it turned out Hammond and Hayes had served together as young officers in the Air Force, and Hayes (rather sneakily) supported Hammond against Kinsey.

            1. Thanks.

              Link broken. Work around: Go to side bar. Click transcripts. Season seven. You know which to click on.

              That was where they started to split off atlantis, which I liked.

              1. The “smart” quotes break links, I think. Whoever thought they were a good idea on the web has much to answer for. IMHO, if you paste in or type in quotes in a web browser, the browser should turn them into plain quotes.

                1. Ah, WordPress appears to be the culprit, in this case. I typed “dumb” quotes and it converted them to “smart” quotes. WordPress delenda est.

  13. The one place I didn’t find a whole lot of the crab bucket syndrome was in the military enlisted world. When your personal survival depends on your buddies being at least as good as, if not better, than you at everything, you make it your mission to train them on everything you know. In fact, that was one of the primary reasons junior enlisted get promoted, they trained their replacements to the same or better skill level. Wasn’t until I got to the senior NCO ranks that the one-up-manship crap started in earnest; and my observations of the officer corps was that it was a crab bucket on Alaskan King crab scale.

    As a civilian, yeah, we’re all in competition with each other for a fairly well defined, static pie. The only time you really see that pie grow is when something revolutionary (evolutionary?) occurs.

  14. It’s like warning signs: this is because someone did something stupid.

    Want to make the folks who deliver an email responsible for the content? They’re going to make rules that say if someone says “Joe sent me an email that is illegal levels of nasty,” they can actually look at the email.

    1. Sure. Of course making them responsible is stupid. But Fox, how long till “illegal levels of nasty”includes political speech. Guess who volunteers for these decency committees? Twitter got Brianna Wu.

      1. That’s the advantage of Microsoft having to deal with businesses: they don’t take volunteers. and they know that if they let the really obnoxious folks take over, they will be sued.

        And lose.

        1. I’m still not sure how SPLC got so much influence and ‘cred’ in that field. I’ve tried to find out but I can’t get anything really. Someone’s cynically told me “Well, being financed by the Clintons and the Democrats buys lots of credibility” but…

          1. I think the name helps a lot. “Southern Poverty Law Center” evokes images of Atticus Finch bravely defending the downtrodden against the mob. That the SPLC is the mob doesn’t entirely dispel the image.

          2. They started out with access to a large donor list, then hired themselves out as a rent-a-denunciation group.

          3. The very early history was against groups like klan. But last few decades they went hard left.

              1. It’s mission creep. As obvious hate crimes went away they had to keep the money coming. So you make bigger and bigger definition. And the money comes from the left so they get pushed

                  1. Bunch of factors, but boils down to:

                    Identify group that folks hold in respect.
                    Penetrate it from the bottom.
                    Promote only the ideologically pure, ignore the group’s mission statement.
                    Once mostly hollowed out, go left and demand respect.

                    Bit of Pournelle’s Iron Law, bit of mission creep, bunch of lefties being lefty, so on. Road the tails of racism (the real thing, not the made up thing that’s bandied about today) and non-social justice. Became a de-facto hate group a good while ago.

                    Money from the Clintons didn’t hurt, but they were already on the path anyway from what I can tell.

              2. Shadow, as a 30 year resident of Montgomery, AL, I can tell you that the SPLC was started as Morris Dees’ personal piggy bank, and showed the Clinton Foundation how it was done. “Scam” is a feeble description.

              3. Usual sorting process– fight against (thing).

                (Thing) is defeated.

                People who were against (thing) specifically leave. People who were against aspect of (thing), and those who just want to fight, stay.

                Repeat until you have only people who want to fight and/or the aspect mutates beyond recognition.

          4. They discovered there’s lots of money to be raised by giving Left-Wing hatemongers and the MSM (But I Repeat Myself) ammo to use against their opponents.

        2. Well, you know: it takes one to know one.

          Keep in mind that 2ndPersonPluralTube is a subsidiary of Google.

          1. Now that I think on it, how come Google hasn’t been sued for trademark infringement?

            Barney Google, with the goo-goo-googley eyes!

      2. This is only true as long as they behave like common carriers and do not look at or censor e-mails. If they do, then by all means make them responsible for every e-mail that they carry.

  15. I’m very, very lucky that Day Job is a lot more about cooperation than crab-bucket. But the Headmaster’s philosophy is “Are all the cats going the the correct direction? Yes? Then what is the problem?” How the cats are herded is up to the department, all four or five (or fewer) of us.

    1. One way out is to make a hole in the bucket.
      Of course, then you can’t carry beer in it.

  16. The fun thing about missions is you get a lower level of office politics. Nobody gets paid, so the only thing one gets from a promotion to leadership is more responsibility, more stress and more meetings.
    Plus, you have a pretty high turnover, with planned furloughs and unplanned departures. Which means that it’s kind of hard to build a classic office fiefdom.
    And I like it.

  17. Yeah, office politics suck and interfere with doing. S’OK, embrace the suck and drive on.

  18. Co-worker2 discussing co-worker1 with me.
    Background 1&2 worked together previously for years at another place, then 1 left and ended up where we are now. 2 spent time doing other things, and family business, but left for less headaches.
    Me: “1’s problem is it makes him mad when you have to do your job and he has to get out of the seat so you can do it”
    2: “I don’t know what his problem is. He wasn’t like that at the Mill”
    Me: “This place will do it to you.”
    2: “Yeah, I guess it does.”

    I am really wondering if I can make the 5 year time-frame to not have to pay off or lose money in a quit situation. I can probably make it through this year, and not pay back moving bonus. I do wonder how this place has stayed in business for over 100 years.
    Today, I said “If there are 3 ways to do something, what ever is the worst way is what they will certainly chose.”
    New Engineer also “On the 5 Year Plan”: “No, they’d take the worst portion of all three ways, combine it in a totally unworkable mess, and try that.”

    1. “No, they’d take the worst portion of all three ways, combine it in a totally unworkable mess, and try that.”

      New Engineer came from traditional publishing?

      1. The Marines.
        He also “moved back home” from Texas, so like me, he had no real clue to how messed up this place is.
        I think Trad comes to us for ideas.
        Things like something I made in Texas that took us less than 2 shifts in a day to make and package they get 70 hours just to make, and while they are usually under that, it is at best 55-60 hours (3 shifts and at least two working on it each shift), and they can only do that one thing, until they finish 90% of the work. Down there we could work on 4 different things at once, but we were closed in part for being “inefficient”.

    2. I do wonder how this place has stayed in business for over 100 years.
      Well obviously nobody who started the company is still around. Often times descendants of the founders have much different attitudes about how things should be. And if a public company then like as not middle management MBAs will have infiltrated with their pervasive disregard for the value of either their employees or their customers.

      1. been internationally owned for years now
        MidManagement on up has no clue, and very few have ever actually worked in the industry. Also they once had some “Expert Consulatant come in, tell them to make some stupid changes (they once almost did it like we did in Texas, but still took far longer) then a very poor engineer did the design on the recommended changes.
        The kind who specs 1/8 inch air line to power a mixer designed for 3/8-1/2 lines.
        Then leaves out the lube, so the motors seize in a short time.

        1. We once hired a professional contractor to build a gravity feed water system, with tower.
          Carefully, we built the cement foundation, and carefully leveled the mounting bolts. While bolting the tower together, we found that none of the braces were the same size- which led to me trying to explain basic geometry to their “engineer”. So, we wound up welding everything together.
          And the tank they provided had a 1/2″ threaded output for the water line. Which was supposed to be a gravity feed.
          Needless to say, they lost our business afterwards.

          1. sounds like our engineer.
            One ingredient is 10,000cps minimum viscosity (think very cold honey) and others are nearly so. Any manual for air pumping of such will say “Large pumps and lines, shortest routing possible”
            In Texas we used 2″ inlet ARO pumps, and when I did it 2″ lines (the other guys used 1.5″, but it wasn’t a whole lot slower).
            Ours designed 1″ hard lines and they run 100 feet or more from pumping station to tanks. Then after doing Texas branded product, they had to pump a product that is thicker still (just under 100,000cps usually at 70f) and it took them 3days, full shifts to pump it into the tank, and that was the shortest run from the pumping station. One of the guys asked me “How did you guys pump that in Texas?”
            We didn’t. It was dumped into the tank from above.
            They bought special pumps for it and it takes them much longer than making the batch did in Texas (for that one ingredient, vs half the size batch maybe) still but it is faster, and it is done right by the tank through a 1.5″ 300psi line. That solution came from the New Engineer in my department (Chemical Engineer) and is outside his duties, but everyone’s eyes just glazed over when he and I told them they needed a hi-visc worm type pump.

      2. Today the Supervisor was in for some reason (he calls a lot but rarely walks out to our building. I don’t answer the phone often so . . . ) I walk into the office to print labels for an upcoming pair of shipments, and he asks “JP, how’s it going?”
        Me: ” Same as always around here.”
        Supe: “Well that’s good!”
        me: “No, no it’s not”
        Got quiet for a few seconds, and I think my lead snorted, then he got up and walked out of the office.

  19. Yep to the monkey brain. Now if I could just get it off the branch. He’s eating the bananas. NO!!!! Maybe I’d get some writing done. Feeling quite dull lately.

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