Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2002-01-30 Entry: "Timewasting Morons"

Two items from the past couple of days fit the above title, which I've happily stolen from the Dilbert quote "Don't Organize Meetings With Timewasting Morons." Only one of the events was a meeting, so I could only really use half the quote, but it seemed appropriate.

So, yesterday had an interminable meeting with some guys from the US (who I'll probably be working for in about four months, fingers crossed) who wanted to thrash out details of a feature they needed. Strangely, this feature is a new requirement for them, but someone over there is already doing something almost identical which they knew nothing about. Fortunately we have a new requirements process which boils down to "Don't do any work unless there's an official requirement; Official requirements have to be filtered; The guys at the filter meeting reject based on the title and not the contents; Most requirements get rejected." So the likelyhood of any work getting done on this is almost nil.

So, four hours later, we'd got an agreement on what requirements they'd raise. It's not a particularly exciting feature, and it'll cause no end of headaches here (unless someone competent takes it upon themselves to rewrite large chunks of the code we've inherited, and I can't be bothered).

Strangely, the guys from the US didn't seem to have much idea of the direction they were going in - they didn't have a clue which of a vast array of future requirements were actually going to be needed, or even seen in a product within the next two years; so presumably I'll have to beat them into shape when I go over there...

The second item in todays foray was an observation last night - my DVD player was being much much smoother than usual. I'm guessing it won't last long and that the cause was me reinstalling everything from scratch at the weekend, but it's nice to see I can get performance equal to a standalone player when the defective operating system isn't screwing things up.

So Microsoft get the second vote for timewasting morons today - forcing me to reinstall their defective OS every three months or so just so that I can continue operating at a reasonable level of efficiency and with few crashes. I performed the reinstall because the machine had developed a nasty tendency to crash on every second or third boot cycle. I couldn't nail down which bit of defective software was causing the problem, so settled for the long re-install. I've got it down to a fairly short process now - OS, Drivers for random hardware (scanner, printer, camera, dvd, graphics card), Office, Visual Studio, Other Useful Software (Winamp, Digiguide). It took about four hours to get something that has most of what I need on it. And in three months or so, I'll have to do the same thing all over again...

This is probably the main reason I refuse to upgrade to "The Windows Experience" - their activation scheme is only worth doing if you've got online access and don't have to attempt to phone some stupid helpdesk to explain yourself every time. It may be slightly more stable than the thing I'm using at present (WinMe), but it hasn't given me enough incentive yet. Translation - all my hardware works with the OS I'm using (the reason I went from 95 to ME).

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