over cubicle walls
Thursday, April 5 2001
At work my latest project is a publishing system for a complex archipelago of promotional Flash embeds. My technique for figuring out what to develop has been to interview the people who actually use the existing system, trying to determine what works for them and what can or should be revised. I even went on a fact-finding mission over to the other building to see the existing tool put through its paces. The young woman using it was just a little person but she wore four inch heels, had intense pale blue eyes and had decorated her cubicle with pictures of guns and perforated range targets. As she cut and pasted information in an error-prone process from an Excel spreadsheet to a web form, I kept thinking of ways to improve the process and make it more reliable. As it stands, the existing process is a complete mess. What do you do when the thing for which you've scheduled a promotion hasn't been built yet? How do you test the changes you've made? How do you find out when an image is available? Surely there must be a better way than shouting back and forth over cubicle walls, although that process definitely has its own advantages over cold impersonal database queries.
One thing that's kind of cool about all the people leaving the company is the concentration of "wealth" among those few employees remaining. Today I "inherited" two workstations from a Sr. Developer who left the company a few weeks back. I didn't even ask for his computers; they were allocated to me ostensibly because I've also inherited the application that was built on them. This puts the grand total of machines in my cubicle at five. Indeed, I might well need to expand into another cubicle pretty soon, but that won't be difficult considering that two adjacent cubicles are vacant and have been this way for months.
In the evening the project manager people who have been driving a recent "bet the company" project threw a little party to celebrate the release of version 1.0. I'd built the XML-manipulating publication tools for it, so of course I was there in full glory (if only for the free beer).
I chatted for a long time with the two project managers about little things such as the Winchester House and the fact that New York City is only fun if you're rich. And then I gradually/suddenly realized these two young women have become readers of this site, having tracked it down by looking at the URL of one of my test images (Dan & Gwen) on Spies. It's no big deal; they seem to like it well enough and one of them even said she wouldn't tell anyone about it.
Among the dozen or so people present was Julian. He has just given his two weeks notice and no one in the company seems to be doing the smart thing, offering to double his salary on bended knee. There is, you see, no way he (and his three years of experience) could ever be replaced, not even at twice his salary. Julian and I ended up being the last ones in the building after everyone else had gone, so we went out in the parking lot and smoked some pot in his car.
I was stoned and drunk and marvelously happy by the time I returned home. John, his sister Maria, and some other girl were hanging out watching really stupid teevee comedy. I could tell it was bad because the only time I laughed at the dialogue occurred during one of the few times when the laugh track was silent. At that point John turned to me and said, "That was funny, I wonder why nobody laughed?"
John had just gotten long distance working today, so I gave Gretchen a call and chatted with her for a long time.
Meanwhile: how about the
poor fuckers humiliated by St. Paul's policy of posting the pictures of those charged with prostitution?
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