Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How to Dispose of an Intern

My company's software development process adheres strictly to the agile development method which includes test first development. So, of course, I had finished my production code and needed to write some simple corner case tests before I checked in all of my code. Now I really love to write tests, but for some reason other more important things kept popping up. I had just finished clearing the papers from my desk, windexing my monitor, vacuuming the office, detailing my keyboard and finding escapee peanuts and M&Ms hiding under my desk when I realized I badly needed to organize my desk drawers. My hardware drawer was particularly disheveled with random cables and old computer hardware in various states of not working.

I started taking inventory of all the hardware in the drawer. One 5 year old NVIDIA card, a joystick, two 104 key keyboards one with 94 working keys, the other with 97, one parallel port zip drive, oh and here is Roy's cell phone (I should give that back to him), and about 500 USB cables. At the bottom of the drawer, I found two power supplies and a loose sticker with the words, "Not working". You never know when you need an extra power supply, especially one that doesn't work, but as you know, it's very important to mark the broken one. That way, you know which power supply to give to Nick when he asks (remember to remove the sticker before giving it to him).

So there I was, in the awkward position of having two power supplies and not knowing which was working. Being an experienced engineer, I knew the one person who could help me in this situation, was Jimmy the intern. The conversation went something like this:

"Hi Jimmy, I have two power supplies here, but only one of them is dead. Could you help me out?"
"I don't know.. I'm not sure of the best way to.."
"Don't worry about that, I have it covered.. Put this end to your tongue, and I'll plug it in. Let me know if you feel anything."


Jimmy flew back six feet and hit the floor rather like a shovelful of wet cement.

"Great form! I'll give that a 9.5... Jimmy? Jimmy you can get up now.. Jimmy?"

I found a long wooden dowel rod in the back closet and poked him a couple times, but no movement. I placed my hand about an inch above his mouth and nose, being careful not to actually touch him, just in case his newbie stupidity were to rub off on me. Feeling no air movement, I realized,

I killed the intern.

Now many of you may think the proper procedure at this point would be to dial 911. I can assure you, this is far too much effort for an intern. Besides, that would just increase your health insurance premiums. As a service to my readers, I will go over the proper intern disposal procedure.

  1. Go through the pockets of your expired intern for any loose change, and mobile tech. You can never have enough iPhones.
  2. Find a very large trash bag. Make sure the plastic is very strong, since management likes to skimp on such things without realizing the necessity of sanitary intern disposal. If your management will only provide you with the cheap stuff, you will need to double bag.
  3. Stuff the expired intern into your trash bag(s) and drop him in the dumpster. Be careful moving him. The last thing the company needs is an engineer with a bad back. Remember to lift with the knees.
  4. Finally, don't forget to inform HR, that the intern has been moved to a top secret off site location, and though it is out of the way, you will be picking up his pay checks and taking them to him from now on. Don't forget to find a sample of the intern's signature before trashing his stuff and turning his office into your private game room.
In this case, management at my company did go with the cheap bags, and while I was slipping the second bag over Jimmy, I noticed some movement.

I quickly leapt into action, and created an air-tight seal on the bag. Unfortunately, Jimmy was able to break through the plastic.

"Damn cheap plastic"


"What happened?! My face is all tingly.. Why am I in this bag."
"We found the working power supply"
"Oh yeah.. I thought I was going to die. My whole life flashed before my eyes. I realize now.. I played way too much Zelda"

Back in my office once again with now properly labeled power supplies, I put everything back into my hardware drawer, and I'm ready to work on those tests.

Damn! That software drawer needs organizing.

Friday, January 18, 2008

My Predictions for 2008

For my first post ever, I planned to write about my favorite cute kitten video on YouTube, but I ran across a little known rule of blogging which forced me to change my topic. Chapter 256, section 8, rule π of the Blogging Union ByLaws states, “In the month of January, all blogs must include at least one post containing predictions for the rest of the year.” Continuing, it states all predictions must be wildly speculative, possibly delusional, with the blogger claiming special knowledge given to him by an insider during a secret meeting in an underground garage near the Key Bridge in Rosslyn, VA. Extra blog points can be attained if the predictions are controversial and/or incomprehensible.

Not wanting to lose my newly attained blogger union card, and thus the respect of my fellow loud mouthed angry nerds, I have decided to share with you my predictions for 2008.

Prediction 1: The IEcstacy

In a stunning move, Apple will release the IEcstacy in the first quarter of 2008. The IEcstacy will be a small cube like device with no known ports or means of connection. Users will be instructed to place the IEcstacy next to their Mac (You have one right?), and all will be made clear.

The following day, the Internet will be flooded with millions of positive reviews, as every Apple fanboy simultaneously achieve orgasm. Most reviews will include some mixture of professions of undying love for Steve Jobs, comments on how cool it looks, and Microsoft bashing. Though all will agree, the IEcstacy will be even better once they figure out what it does.

Apple stock quadruples.

Not to be out done, Microsoft will release it's own cube called “Hey I'm a cube, aren't I swell”. They will then spend billions on advertising to launch the new cube, claiming how great Microsoft is at innovating.

Expecting lines around the block on release day for Microsoft's cube, Best Buy opens at midnight. However, only one is sold the first day. The second day two are sold when a grandma confuses Microsoft's cube for the IEcstacy. Based on those numbers, Microsoft claims “Hey I'm a cube, aren't I swell” has a 100% increase in sales, and is proportionally, the fastest growing cube on the market.

Prediction 2: Google Life Beta

In 2008, Larry Page and Sergey Brin will become bored with ruling the Internet and Google will expand into meatspace with Google Life Beta. Its features will include, finding the nearest restaurant, keeping track of your friends, completing your homework, writing home to mom, setting you up with a high paying job, a new house, and a really hot girlfriend (or boyfriend, depending on gender and sexual orientation).

The service will be 100% free, but you will be required to wear a Google ad button on your shirt at all times, which will constantly rotate between advertisements selected by geographical, demographical, and situational relevance. For example, while visiting a new city, an ad for a city tour company will appear. If you are a big gamer, ads for the latest Xbox or PS3 games will appear. If you're about to get in bed with that hot new girlfriend (or boyfriend), an ad for Trojan condoms would appear... Unless you are also a gamer, in which case the button will shut off for the night.

Microsoft will cry monopoly, while working on their own version which they will call “Microsoft Human”. It will have half the features of Google Life Beta. The features that it does have will crash constantly, forcing you to get out of bed and start over every few minutes. When questioned about this bug, Bill Gates is quoted as saying, “Six minutes and forty seconds should be enough for anybody.”

Instead of a small button, Microsoft Human looks surprisingly like a ball and chain. Athletes will complain it will slow them down, but Microsoft will dismiss the complaint with, “Most users don't need to move that quickly anyways.” Later, they will claim it is a feature, because who wants to always be rushing through life.

Prediction 3: The Facebook Riots

After repeatedly ignoring privacy concerns, all Facebook users revolt. The revolt initially remains confined to Facebook, but will suddenly explode through the Internet, then out into the streets of every major city.

After seeing the college students and young professionals rioting, and thinking it's the cool thing to do, all MySpace users join in. Hundreds of millions of 14 year old girls, 30 something virgin men, and FBI agents flood into the streets.

Social rioting becomes the next hot technology, and 1000's of entrepreneurs collectively raise billions of dollars to entice more people to riot. When asked how they plan to make money of the rioting, the entrepreneurs will shuffle their feet and mumble something about advertising.

Slashdot (and this blog) will claim the rioting is all a conspiracy orchestrated by Microsoft. Fox News will blame it on liberal Media. Yahoo Answers will claim it has something to do with marshmallows left out in the sun.

Billions die, and civilization collapses.

In the distant future, the human race begins the long hard task of rebuilding civilization. One smart man will come forward armed with ancient wisdom of these things called computers and a world wide network of them called the Internet, and propose rebuilding this technology.

He will be stoned to death.

Prediction 4: 2008 is the year of Linux on the desktop.

Of all the predictions in the post, this one is the least likely to occur.