Archive for the ‘work’ Category

The dishonesty of Flex-Time

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

It always sounds like a nice plan, on paper, “unlimited time off”, who wouldn’t want that? You if you are smart.

Problems with flex-time:

You have to know exactly to the second how much time you’ve “Accrued off-books”, because while they won’t pay you at termination for “unused but earned” time, they always expect you to pay back any time off taken that would exceed the same ‘limit’. Usually a contract is supposed to show benefit to both parties, to be considered valid. Unless you’ve bought a legislator or two, and gotten the law to except your underhanded scheme. Or operate in a state where someone else already did the hard work of getting the laws changed, and all you have to do is screw over your employees when the time is ‘right’.

There is no recourse from a bad manager. If you end up with a project that is poorly managed, when it comes down to it, no business is ever going to let you take the time off you’re owed, at the expense of day-to-day operations, so even if you manage to eventually get the bad manager out/reformed, it’s already too late, and the worker gets screwed.

Nothing in the prior time-off plan prevented a manager from granting exceptions to exceptional circumstances, so again, the whole point of this change is to give the employer more options, and the employee fewer.

But you get to sound all generous and say things like “unlimited time off” without technically engaging in fraud.


Update: Thought of another one….under normal time off, you just have to ask for it, and verify that your request won’t conflict with the business schedule. Now, you’ll have to explicitly justify every time you want to be out of the office. It’s none of your frackin business what I want to do when I’m not at work, and I sure as hell am not coming begging to you for what was once a contractual part of compensation.

Audio feedback

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

If you don’t want horrible audio feedback, don’t frackin put your mic in front of your speakers. Is this really that hard to understand?

I was warned

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

I was warned about getting back into PHP, but I didn’t listen, and now I have to solve silly problems created by the language trying to be ‘helpful’.


PHP doesn’t cast a string into an integer, unless it thinks it needs to, and vice versa.  If you are just working in PHP, that probably won’t bite you on the butt too often.  But if you need to integrate with another language, like say Java, because you are using PHP and selenium together in a BEHAT environment, you might get an error like,  Can’t convert java.lang.String to int

Which you have to solve by doing

function ITakeAnInt($mynumericstring)   // called with a paramter of  500;


  $mynumericint = $mynumericstring + 0;



Seriously, if you can think of a less silly way to solve the lack of an explicit cast function in PHP, I’m all ears.

New job first days

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

I’ve been at the new job for 3 days now, and am getting a feel for how things might end up going.

As birdie warned, and I am quickly remembering, PHP is a “a fractal of bad design”, quirky and cumbersome, but Behat really seems awesome in it’s potential.  I can’t help but keep thinking of how it could massively simplify my former co-workers’ job on the web application they are focusing on these days.  It seems plausible that I might actually manage to be writing new tests by the end of the week, at the new job.

The place is noisy, and the company small.  HR is still working their way through figuring out their hiring process, which leaves me uneasy about the potential for gaps in my medical coverage, but I’ve got till the end of the month.  People seem friendly enough, but very busy.

I remain ambivalent, but am at least feeling pretty sure I can accomplish what will be asked of me.

Yes, you can see me dancing, so what?

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

I bounce around when I’m listening to music.  OK, I’m bounce around a lot, in silence too.  It’s just more rhythmic when there’s a beat to go along with.

Now that we are in an open office, anyone walking past can see.  I don’t have a problem with people seeing me dancing like a freak; I’ve been to my share of club-nights.  What is getting under my skin is the ‘look’ from my manager, as if I should be embarrassed by being seeing.  If you feel weird about seeing me move, that’s all on you.



Micro-managing idiocy

Friday, May 17th, 2013

The new manager reprimanded me today for taking on new work, instead of grabbing unfinished tasks from my co-workers.  That or she wants me to sit around for the first 2 hours of a day until other people come in, to ask them what they need help with, instead of grabbing a task that is ready to be done, and not yet worked on.  I get that the process is important to you, but it isn’t more important than actually getting work done.   Can she seriously not think thru the consequences of her demands?

Gotomeeting is pound crazy

Friday, May 10th, 2013

I wouldn’t care, except I seem to be the only person who can read the on-screen prompts, and enter all the required #’s.  Today, someone else wants to do the dial-in part of setting up the goto meeting, but for some reason, they can’t read their own screen, and keep asking me for guidance, yet then ignore what I tell them.

me, “OK, now hit #xx#”

Guy hits “xx#”, then wonders why it isn’t working.

me, again, “You need to hit “#xx#”.

him, “huh?”

me, “oh for god’s sake”, walk to the other side of the table and hit “#xx#”.


Sometimes it’s just easier to do, than to try and explain, to someone who doesn’t bother to listen.

Save 1 email, waste 30 man-minutes

Monday, May 6th, 2013

If you leave 1 person in the group off an email, but then have to spend 5 minutes of everyone’s time in a meeting, explaining why to the 1 person, you ended up wasting a half-hour of man-time (5 mins * 6 people), instead of saving 3 seconds.  It’s annoying, makes you look incredibly foolish, and shows you don’t really respect other people’s time or intelligence.


Feeding the hungry, while they bury the Iron Lady

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

In an appropriate twist of fate, I’m off to spend a day volunteering at Northwest Harvest, while half a world away, the rich mourn the death of someone who arguably left a lot of hungry people in her wake.

A Windows Update with restore window functionality?

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

OK, that was strange.

When I came into work this morning, my desktop machine was funked up.  No power to USB devices, but flickering network lights, without response to ping or RDP.  Hard-reboot, and see the familiar, windows is configuring updates message, and eventually login.  As the post login process is doing it’s thing, in addition to the expected start-on-login messaging applications, I get a non-maximized about:blank IE window, and Outlook opens.