Print Story Life Etchings, Number 2
By nightflameblue (Mon Mar 08, 2010 at 10:09:44 PM EST) (all tags)
Back by popular demand! Hey!

Many tales of the Zippy inside, and a couple other things here or there.

Messages are hard


Zippy received a call to come to a user's desk. Being Zippy, he didn't question it, he just went. He came back a few minutes later and I overheard the following over the wall.

Zippy started by saying to BB, "$user has a 'mailbox limit exceeded.' What does that mean?"

I hear BB snort loudly. This is not the first time this question has been asked. I'm sure it's also not the last. "It means they have too much mail kept in their mailbox."

Zippy spouts back, "Oh." Silence reigns for a few seconds as I heard the gears turning in his mind. I sense a big moment coming, a moment we see rarely, at most once a day. Zippy's about to have a thought. Suddenly, I hear a sharp intake of breath, the sound of a thought being born. "Is that where you auto-archive?"

BB lets out a long, slow breath. Finally, angrily, he almost shouts, "Yes!" I can hear the, you idiot, implied in that word. "You archive! You delete all sent items, empty their trash, and ask them if there's anything extra in their inbox or folders they can get rid of." The exasperation is evident in his voice. He's right on the edge again.

"Cool," Zippy pops off without a second's pause. "I'll go try that then." And off he toddles back to the user in question.

The amount of time that boy wastes running around the building when there are phones everywhere, including the wireless one he packs around, is astounding.



Something I may not have mentioned is the way Zippy can mumble on the phone when he's talking to his wife. He'll answer the phone in a normal voice, but immediately switch to a mumble when he realizes it's her. A quiet, quiescent voice that, while almost indiscernible, is still audible enough to grate on the nerves. Half of me wants to scream, "sack up and talk to her like you have a pair." The other half wants to climb the wall, reach over and smack the ever-loving shit out of him.

The Login Dilema


The kids upstairs have this weird concept where, occasionally they'll move to each other's desks to do other jobs for the day. That's all fine and dandy, except, for some reason, they also seem to think they have to log in as whoever's desk they're sitting at in order to do said job. It throws a spanner into the works when they go to a completely different part of the building, log in as whoever usually sits there, and then find themselves completely unable to access the functions they themselves perform on a day-to-day basis.

The latest is an ongoing battle with a third string manager who believes she has to go print labels out at the receiving desk. Never mind that we have a label printer in her department. She can't get it through her head that she needs to log out as the receiving user, and log in as herself in order to access customer service functions.

Great hilarity has ensued multiple times when Zippy spends, sometimes literally, HOURS, trying to figure out why the receiving user can't access her label printing routine. Good times.



Zippy logs a few calls in the faillog where he gets a call from EaglesDude on the floor asking for access to a particular document type that no one on the floor should ever have access to. Essentially, the order as it exists before any editing and order entry have gotten ahold of it at all. EaglesDude works on the last step in the shop before shipping. The chances he would need to see that particular part of the order are less than none.

Zippy has been going in, grabbing those documents for him, creating a regular PDF from them, then emailing them out to him without question.

So, I asked Destro about it last week. He said he thought those orders were supposed to be locked down and that he'd ask Zippy about it and see if he couldn't get to the bottom of it.

Several days later I see two more of them logged in the faillog. I decide to take things into my own hands. I email Zippy, CC Destro, why these orders are OK to send out to the floor when the system specifically locks those users out of them.

Within seconds Zippy heads out to the floor. He comes back a few minutes later and tells me he needs to see me in the office with some relevant information. I'm thinking he's about to pwn my ass. It has the vibe of someone about to call me out on something. We head into the office.

Zippy begins, "I went out and talked to EaglesGuy about why he needs access to these document types instead of the finished orders and he really didn't have an answer. So, I think what happened is, when they want to see these doc types, they typically call upstairs, and they direct them to the right type. He couldn't get ahold of them once when he called, so he called the helpdesk phone, and I got confused and went ahead and gave it to him without thinking. So now when he wants it he just calls me because he knows I'll do it."

This all came out in a rush. After he finished, Destro and I looked at each other, blinked, shook our heads, blinked again, then Destro asked, "so, what're we meeting about here?"

Zippy pops off with a laugh, "I don't know."

Damn, he showed me.

Fail Mail


Part of Destro's attempt to reform Zippy is a list of assignments that must be completed each day. Our favorite of these is the end of day wrap-up email. He's supposed to list all of his major points for the day, including any ongoing issues that we may see after he leaves.

We've come to refer to it as the failmail. Inevitably it is filled with items that Zippy failed to complete, didn't try to complete, or just utterly destroyed in the process and the failmail is his way of passing the buck to the next guy in line.

So, one day he drops a doozy of a failmail. So close to self aware that all that was missing was the signatory line, "I'm sorry." And, as always, no subject line given. It's like he doesn't know what subjects are.

So, BB texts me immediately after the failmail arrives, "his mails remind of the end of Sesame Street. . just need a muppet asking him, 'So Zippy what did you learn today' WHAM FAILMAIL."

Latency Issues


This one starts with a conversation between Destro and SafetyDude. SafetyDude is one of those guys who's been marked as "special" in the boss's eyes, so we never quite know which policies apply to him, and which don't.

According to Destro, SafetyDude is suffering some latency issues on his system and is requesting a reload. And, in Destro's words, "if he's volunteering for it, we just as well do it." That's his way of saying, "top priority bitches! This guy is one of my buds."

So, BB, being the inquisitive type, and thinking, like any rational human being, that latency issues could be a myriad of things, maybe even the network in that far-flung corner of the building, goes to ask Destro what he means by those words before Zippy gets done typing up his hours long email to home and gets right on this system reload thing.

"Oh, you know, latency issues."

"No, I don't know. Enlighten me."

"Well, he says various programs are locking up. It was Outlook today, but it's been several other ones over the past few weeks."

"Oh, so that's latency issues."

"Yeah, latency issues."

"Any reason he didn't tell us about it until now if it's been happening for weeks?"

"Just make sure it gets done. Why do you care? It's Zippy's job anyway?"

So much for troubleshooting.

It wasn't until much later that we find out an IBM consultant taught him the word "latency" in reference to some memory problems on one of our iSeries servers. Latency has since become codeword for problems of all types. Gotta love the management memory system. And we wonder where Zippy gets it from?

Zippywarpdrive busted


We're pretty sure there's something seriously wrong with the Zippywarpdrive. Today he made it to Funhouse2, did the job he was supposed to do, and made it back, all within a reasonable amount of time.

BB and I agreed that this should be noted for future reference.

MacBook Hardcase


I kept checking the tracking on my MacBook's hardcase. It seemed to get stuck in the distribution center in town on Friday. By Tuesday, my mind was beginning to wander to bad possibilities.

Until someone brings it to me and says it's been sitting in my mailbox in the reception area and they can't put anything else in it.

Everybody in the building knows I only check that box once a month, tops. There's simply nothing, ever, put in that box that concerns me. I go, grab the ridiculous magazines, toss them in the recycle bin, and move the one bill that seems to mysteriously hit my mailbox instead of the boss's every month, and that's the end of it.

My guess is someone in receiving got their feelings hurt that I didn't make a special trip out there to pick it up, which I usually do when I see tracking says delivered. Since tracking still, to this day (3-7-2010) says that it's sitting in the distribution center in town, I'm not real sure how I would have gotten the signal to go out there and pick it up. The thing was jammed into my inbox, smashed, and thus the case already has some neat little scratches in it because it popped out of its protective casing.

Since I can't blame the shipper, and I'm not interested in getting into a pissing match with receiving again, I took it as is. A little quality time with a toothbrush seemed to take the scratches right out anyway. It's a textured case, with a nice soft black rubbery feel on the outside. Snapped into place, it looks pretty good on the computer itself, and stops any possible external case scratches. It does its job, and disguises the stark white "I AM AN ESPECIALLY STEAL-ABLE MAC COMPUTER" normal case. The translucence of it means the apple logo on the top still shows up when it's running, but just barely. And it's nice to see the power lamp through it without having to snap it off.

+1 Speck case. Recommended.

System Setups


Over the past two days, Giggles' laptop has suffered twice from spyware attacks. BB, both times, got her a temporary laptop, reloaded her system, told her what she did wrong, and got her back up and running with her own laptop within about two hours.

Remember the latency issues?

In the past two days Zippy has almost gotten a temporary laptop ready to go for SafetyDude.

OK, actually this afternoon he seems to have gotten the temporary laptop ready to go and up to him.

Starting the system load it appears he's back to downloading every driver separately from the internet, rather than using the load disks we have prepared for those systems. The way of the Zippy. It's amazing to behold.



One of the pieces of software that SafetyDude needed on his system is something called CuCuSoft Video Converter. Yes, it's a flaming piece of shit compared to actual video production software, and they originally wanted it to add voiceovers, compress the video so it didn't take up so much space on their internal web site, and add text to videos. Finding the cheapest possible thing they could on the market trumped all their actual needs, and here we are.

Got distracted by my hate of the software. Sorry.

Anyway, Zippy has been searching high and low for his CuCu most of the afternoon. It took him several hours of searching before he came to me, the person who originally put through the order for them. When I told him it's in our software directory, the same as every other piece of company purchased/approved software we load of systems for people, he was totally flabbergasted. His mind blown, he went back to his desk to again search for his CuCu.


The Smut for Smut program actually seems to have a point. Though this interview is a bit confrontational, I suppose it could be argued that it's deserved since the method they're using to spread their particular belief system is a bit confrontational on its own. Still, my first thought was, "hey, I've got a couple old bibles laying around!"

I saw this link brought up on a web site that's primarily inhabited by embittered old metal dudes. Powerful lulz ensued. It's interesting, though I'd be far more curious about their methodology than the results. How do you know any given genre listeners aren't also into some, or all, of the other genres listed?

This is good stuff. You'd almost have to be a metal dude and have seen a Brokencyde or Attack Attack! video to truly understand how horrendous these bands are. Though I will give them an A for effort on the goofy side of things. The running in place, the crabcore stance, the silly, stupid smiles as they switch from electronica, to hardcore, to black metal, to techno to who knows what else is all very visually entertaining. The fact that they spread themselves so thin leads to a lot of butthurt on the web amongst the fans of "twoo metalz" as I like to call it. I don't know about true metal anymore. The genre is splintered and filtered and weirded out in all angles. One thing I do know, these bands freak me out in both good and bad ways.

"There used to be that whole mentality of . . . it had to be 100 percent genuine, or no one would take it seriously. But that whole line has been blurred now . . . You have all these kids coming up on Disney pop who then discover bands like BrokeNCYDE, and they're like, 'Oh my God, they said fuck!,' and they fall in love instantly, because it's their version of '80s punk." - Alex Gasgarth

Hey, I still love the J. Geils Band for "Piss on the Wall." Well, and "Flamethrower." But twelve year old me totally sang "Piss on the Wall" at the top of his lungs at least three times a day.

"This 'Albucrazy'-based band has done for MySpace emo what some think Soulja Boy did for hip-hop: turn their career into a kind of macro-performance art that exists so far beyond the tropes of irony and sincerity that to ask 'are they kidding? ' is like trying to peel an onion to get to a perceived central core that, in the end, does not exist and renders all attempts to reassemble the pieces futile. [. . .] The prerecorded backing tracks and juvenile misogynyof bands such as the New Mexico screamo-crunk act BrokenCYDE are affronts to traditionalist punk values." - August Brown

The very fact that someone is trying to claim there are such things as traditionalist punk values says worlds about why the arguments rage fast and furious all over about these bands. As for me? I watch these videos or listen to these songs and see train wrecks. I don't feel a sense of enjoyment, but I can't find myself truly upset about them either. Just another fascinating branch in the metal as pop culture era.

< Intergalactic Planetary | Life Etchings, Number 3 >
Life Etchings, Number 2 | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
You're supposed to clean up your users mail? by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #1 Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 07:05:55 AM EST
Boy, that's handholding to the extreme.

I have to do it in secret by Phil the Canuck (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 07:25:14 AM EST
I'm not allowed to set a limit.  Well, The Boss gave in and told me to put a warning email on at a ridiculously high number.  People have figured out that they can ignore those and just delete them.  A few save them in a folder.  I have to sneak in every once in a while and kill stuff or the email server would fall over dead.  I've decided to let it crash this time.

[ Parent ]
here at $megacorp by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 08:01:59 AM EST
IT is large and in charge, in all aspects.

In email quotas, it's a non-negotiable universal 5GB.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
Wow, I dream about 5 gigs by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 09:20:41 AM EST
I have 225 megs, with people sending me 4 meg files frequently. I hit my limit every other day.

Right now I have a three meg email I want to delete, but the customer wants to argue about the warnings in the Customer Expectations Document.

[ Parent ]
Sorta. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 07:33:32 AM EST
We have to show them how to clean up their mail. We have people who literally save everything, sent items and all. The worst are the ones who believe their deleted items is an archive. Try explaining to those people that deleted items stand a chance of being auto-pruned when they get close to their limit. Oh boy.

[ Parent ]
I save everything. by garlic (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 07:55:28 AM EST
but I occasionally get asked about problems from 5+ years ago.

[ Parent ]
That's when by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 09:10:42 AM EST
this is wonderfully helpful.
[ Parent ]
I save almost everything by FlightTest (2.00 / 0) #10 Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 03:55:35 PM EST
The fact that I sent it doesn't really factor in to whether I save it or not.

Our mailbox limit (I guess that's what you'd call it - inbox, sent, trash) is 2 gigs, but we can create as many data files on the normal fileserver as we want, so it's just a matter of moving messages into the appropriate project folder.  Yeah, I can't get to them from OWA, but I can VPN in and get to them, so good enough in my book.

[ Parent ]
It's a difficult concept. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #11 Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 05:25:31 PM EST
Getting people that are scared of computers to understand that they need to "archive" their mail in order to keep it around forever. Those archive folders look exactly the same to them, but don't take up exchange space.

[ Parent ]
Smut for smut by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 12:53:13 PM EST are asking people to give them things that can be gotten nearly everywhere for free, and in exchange, giving things that can be gotten nearly everywhere for free?
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
Some people haven't found this internet thing. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 01:05:42 PM EST
In which case, they're actually asking for something that can be gotten nearly anywhere for free, and giving something that's gat damn expensive if you're dumb enough to think you need to pay for it.

Or so I've heard.

[ Parent ]
hard copy porn is expensive? by lm (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 05:25:31 PM EST
Maybe things have changed since I was in high school.

The kid from the Smut for Smut program needs an introductory course in logic. He seems to be at about the Kirk Cameron level of using sound reasoning while proselytizing.

That said, I think it's a clever marketing scheme. The largest problem it faces, I think, is that it doesn't really convert people to atheism. I find it hard to imagine droves of people thinking, ``ooh, I get this porn, I'll be an atheist now.'' And if they are people like that, it'll simply be the mirror image of religious establishments having Superbowl parties and free oil changes.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I think he's in the right market though. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #13 Tue Mar 09, 2010 at 05:28:52 PM EST
College kids, out on their own for the first time, getting ready to rebel. Probably a good place to try converting people using the lure of porn.

Depending on what porn you're talking about, yes, it's expensive. The last time my buddy drug me to the local shop, all the DVDs were over 25 bucks. Most of them were short for that amount of payout too.

That was probably five years ago or so though. I don't exactly go out of my way to hit those places these days.

[ Parent ]
Life Etchings, Number 2 | 13 comments (13 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback