Friday at the Gulag

Friday started out fairly well, then everything starting going to hell in the afternoon. I forgot about a major feature I had to add, I ran into a major limitation in VB6 that was a pain to work around, I kept finding annoying bugs while I was trying to use my software, and Julio kept me on the phone for an hour adding more things for me to do and change at the last minute. It was a bit frustrating as I had to leave with a bunch of stuff left unfinished. Oh well.

Thursday at the Gulag

Normally Thursdays are a happy day for me, since I don’t have to work on Friday. But of course Julio asked me to work on Friday because we were in such a crunch for time and it all had to be done by um May 4. (Yes, today is April 22 and most of my work is done.) I told him that I currently wouldn’t have much of anything to do if I came in Friday. He seemed rather shocked. He then proceeded to make up many things for me to do. Unfortunately, I was only able to complete about 90% of them before I left today, so I really will have something to do tomorrow. For a couple of hours, at least. The remainder of the time I plan to just twiddle my thumbs and rack up extra hours at Julio’s expense.

Not much interesting to report today, except that Julio sat down and looked at the work I’ve been doing for the last month for what appeared to be the first time. He had several comments about things to change, naturally. Neither of these two things were a surprise to me.

New Meat

I didn’t mention this, but one of the salespeople was fired about a month ago. It was a very clandestine operation. He was there when I left on Thursday, he was there when everyone else left on Friday, he was gone on Monday–his desk was clean and his business cards were missing.

Today, a new salesperson was hired. He begins Monday. I can only assume he’s a salesperson by his radio-style voice and generally verbose quality that all salespeople seem to have in common. I feel like what the Easy Company veterans must have felt like when a fresh young replacement arrived. The eager but inexperienced kid comes into the war, only to have his hopes dashed and his dreams obliterated in the first couple weeks, if he even survives that long.

Yes, Cerebral Locomotion does have a sort of Bastogne-like feeling to it sometimes. We’re in our foxholes, surrounded by the enemy, enduring constant shelling, trying to survive as best we can without proper food, clothing, or medical supplies. Someday maybe we’ll rise up from our foxholes and storm the enemy. Or perhaps we’ll be carried away from the front on a stretcher with one leg blown off, scarred for life.

Anyway, today went pretty much like I expected. Julio had been thinking more on the current project and finally shared his thoughts with me at about 3:00, rendering some of my earlier work obsolete. His new ideas are hopelessly convoluted and stupid, but whatever. His name’s on it, not mine.

The madness keeps going, and going, and going…

The weeks leading up to a workshop are some of the most chaotic and panicked times in the life of Gulag 727, and this time is proving to be no exception. In this case, the workshop begins on May 6 in Texas, near The Alamo (how’s that for ironic). All the usual elements for extremely elevated blood pressure levels are in place, only they seem even more magnified than usual: Too many projects to finish at once, inability to decide on final project goals, lowered nicotine levels, excess shipping leftover from the recent major upgrade, disgruntled employees, disgruntled customers, clueless supervisors. It’s all there. Foremost on the list is Julio trying to perform a half dozen completely different project tasks at once, all of which require his undivided attention, while still trying to maintain his private practice. Yeah, this is going to work. Sure.

This morning I continued working on what I thought Julio wanted me to work on, based on interpretations of his chaotic ramblings from yesterday, and came to a point where I was about finished. Julio then comes by after lunch and informs me that several things need to be changed because of new ideas he’s had, and reminds me about the “organic” development process. (That’s Julio-speak for “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing, so bear with me.”) I spend the rest of the afternoon making the changes, and resubmitted a document (the infamous “logic pattern”) describing the new way the program will work based on his changes. Tomorrow I expect to find out (in the afternoon, probably, rendering my morning work useless) that Julio has had more ideas and they will have to be shoehorned into the project somehow.

Believe it or not, I actually tried to get Juilo to think about how he wanted this project done early on, and to some extent it worked. The problem is (a phrase Julio himself uses quite often, and is a dead giveaway that he is thinking out loud and stumbling blindly around the problem solving arena), Julio does not remember anything he wants from day to day, certainly not from week to week, and he seems to forget that someone (namely me) is working to implement his wishes. So we end up in situations, usually on a daily basis, where Julio has forgotten how he was going to solve a particular problem, and he then ends up re-solving the problem again in a different way. (Meanwhile, I’ve already implemented his first solution, and when I show it to him, he typically doesn’t like it anymore, usually with an implication that I’m somehow to blame for the bad implementation.) Anyway, it leads a person to think to himself “why the hell should I bother trying to do a good job?” Hence, I just do what Julio tells me; good, bad, or indifferent. I don’t get paid enough to be his software design consultant anyway.

Okay, well that turned into more whining than I intended. Must now go to bed and prepare for another day of juicy Cerebral Locomotion goodness!

Premonition

I hereby predict that the next two weeks at Cerebral Locomotion will be as bad or worse than the previous record-holding worst week at Cerebral Locomotion. Julio is trying “manage” no less than FOUR separate projects that need to be finished before the conference on May 6.

Summary of The President’s Speech

I don’t normally get into politics, but in case anyone missed it, here is a summary of President Bush’s news conference tonight:

Bush: “This is an unprecedented historic opportunity to make the world safe for democracy and protect the interests of the United States and its citizens from attack. That general in charge over in the desert place can have whatever he wants. June 30 is a pretty important date. Our troops rock.”

Press Goon #1: “Given how badly you handled your administration before 9/11, are you prepared to apologize to the American people yet?”

Bush: “I want to make the world a better place.”

Press Goon #2: “Is it not true that you personally could have prevented 9/11?”

Bush: “This is a historic occasion.”

Press Goon #3: “I’d like to follow up on some other questions. In the last 3 minutes, have you realized yet that you are solely responsible for every death in and around American since the Nixon administration?”

Bush: “Freedom is pretty cool.”

Press Goon #4: “Why can’t you just admit you suck? We all know it.”

Bush: “Freedom and democracy are historic.”

Press Goon #5: “Can you comment on allegations that you may have flown one of those planes on 9/11?”

Bush: “I look forward to historic debates.”

Press Goon #6: “Are you going to freaking admit you were wrong or what? Who do you think you are? We are the media. We own you. If you don’t say what we want you to say, we’ll just edit your speech down to a 3 word sound bite and fill in the rest with our propaganda so you might as well just admit it already.”

Bush: “The Iraqi people love historic freedom.”

Press Goon #7: “For the love of God, we’ve been sitting here for 45 minutes listening to you blathering on and repeating the exact same phrases about freedom, democracy, and the Iraqi people, when are you going to admit that you are responsible for 9/11?”

Bush: “History will look back on this and be unprecedented.”

Press Goon #8: “Pleeeeeeeeeeease admit you were responsible!! Pretty please? We can’t think of anything else to ask you!!”

Bush: “The nation will be historic after the transfer of authority on June 30.”

Press Goon #9: “I have a different question for you. Since our troops are being slaughtered at an unprecedented rate since last Thursday, is it accurate to state that the war is spinning out of control and that you are the worst president America has ever had?”

Bush: “The free people of America will historically make that decision.”

Press Goon #10: “Just today, three people that we randomly picked off the street and paid sizable sums of cash to say exactly what we told them to admitted that you made horrible decisions in the first 20 minutes of your presidency. What do you say to THAT, eh?”

Bush: “A free Iraq is a historic opportunity for world peace.”

Press Goon #11: “Ooohh.. Mr. Big Shot President Man. Thinks he’s above us little journalists and sheeit. Well my deep-voiced, gray-haired talking head is about to put some smack down on yo’ punk ass. Check this out: What was your biggest mistake prior to 9/11, beeyatch? Take that suckah! Booyah baby!”

Bush: “Radical and ruthless extreme factions do not like freedom.”

Press Goon #12: “Um, hrm, what is the exact distance between first base and third base?”

Bush: “The historic free people of Iraq will assume responsibility for that on June 30.”

Press Goon #13: “In what fundamental way does a chipmunk differ from a squirrel?”

Bush: “Freedom and democracy is the responsibility of all peace loving rodents.”

Press Goon #14: “I’ve listened to everything you’ve said and the American people still think you are to blame for everything. I have a direct link to them through a brain implant, you know. Can you comment on that?”

Bush: “The American people have a God-given right to be historic.”

Press Goon #15: “Since you breathe oxygen from the same atmosphere as the foreign terrorists, doesn’t that legitimize our treating you like a convicted criminal on national television so we look more like hard-hitting journalists?”

Bush: “So in conclusion I’d like to say that this is a historic opportunity to change the world, duuuuuh people sometimes die when cowardly psycho militant extremists are shooting at you from hospital windows and crowds of innocent civilian women, and it must suck to be you journalists that have to make up news all the time.”

After the news conference, the major news media anchors unanimously agreed that Bush’s speech was really an admission that he was solely responsible for the deaths of over two hundred squirrels in Iraq.

Defector Launch

Saturday, April 10, 2004 saw the official release of Defector 1.0. The fanfare and majesty of the event was unprecedented in the history of UVTEK Software. Throngs of people turned out for the parade. World leaders dropped by to congratulate me. The Air Force flew jets over the house in classic formations. News media from across the globe filmed documentaries and interviews.

Okay, I made some of that up.

Anyway, I’ve submitted it to Tucows for review and inclusion in their Shareware library. I’ll probably be submitting it in other places as well.

Now to get to work on Defector 2.0, the sequel. (Or should I say, the SQL Server, ha-ha-ha wow am I funny today.)

Oh yeah, Happy Easter.

Updated UVTEK Site

The new look for the UVTEK Software site is now online, which is one of the last steps in this madcap software adventure. Defector 1.0 should be released “real soon now.”

UVTEK Software

Google Ranking

Ye Gods. I just did a Google search for “Krehbiel” and my home page didn’t show up until the 23rd page! So then I search for “Tom Krehbiel” and I don’t show up until the 60th page! Even searching for “Thomas Krehbiel” only gets me to page 6. Even when I put quotes around it I’m still on page 2 behind a bunch of ancient Amiga crap I wrote over ten years ago. What is up with that?? I remember when I used to be ranked #1! Damn search engines. Damn you, Google!

Discography Online

Those who have only known me since 2001 may be surprised to find out that composing and recording music has been (one) hobby of mine since high school. (Even if you did know me before then, you still might be surprised since I don’t really advertise this too much.) This week I was inspired to put together a definitive “discography” of all the music I’ve recorded over the years, which you can find at the link below, along with a handful of MP3s.

Tom’s Discography