What geeks do – when they wanna have some fun !

The company that I work at bundles advertising and promotional material around media – we have some pretty big names in the media industry as clients. So imagine my surprise and glee when I saw this particular version of one of the user experience windows :-

My brief stint as an artiste

This is geek humor in the media industry for you folks !!
PS: If you are still confused – my nickname here is 5 cents (Nikhil -> Nickel -> 5 Cents)

Update: October 2007 – The company and the website are now but fond memories so I have put up an image of what it looked like.

A tribute to the corporate software developer…

You guys know who you are – hint – if any of this makes sense then you are or were one…
Code Monkey
The song is the creation of Jonathan Coulton who has blogged about it here.

PS: If you want a visual image to enjoy with the song (Courtesy of Jawboneradio)-
Code Monkey

Update: I wanted to add this awesome Music Video of the song

PPS: If you are interested in the lyrics of the song –
Code Monkey get up get coffee
Code Monkey go to job
Code monkey have boring meeting, boring manager Rob
Rob say Code Monkey very diligent
But his output stink
His code not functional or elegant
What do Code Monkey think
Code Monkey think maybe manager wanna write goddamn login page himself
Code Monkey not say it out loud
Code Monkey not crazy just proud
Code Monkey like Fritos
Code Monkey like Tab and Mountain Dew
Code Monkey very simple man
Big warm fuzzy secret heart
Code Monkey like you
Code Monkey like you
Code Monkey hang around at front desk
Tell you sweater look nice
Code Monkey offer buy you soda
Bring you cup bring you ice
You say no thank you for the soda ’cause
Soda make you fat
Anyway you busy with the telephone
No time for chat
Code Monkey have long walk back to cubicle
He sit down pretend to work
Code Monkey not thinking so straight
Code Monkey not feeling so great
Code Monkey like Fritos
Code Monkey like Tab and Mountain Dew
Code Monkey very simple man
Big warm fuzzy secret heart
Code Monkey like you
Code Monkey like you lots
Code Monkey have every reason
To get out this place
Code Monkey just keep on working
See your soft pretty face
Much rather wake up eat a coffee cake
Take bath, take nap
This job fulfilling in creative way
Such a load of crap
Code Monkey think someday he have everything even pretty girl like you
Code Monkey just waiting for now
Code Monkey say someday, somehow
Code Monkey like Fritos
Code Monkey like Tab and Mountain Dew
Code Monkey very simple man
with big warm fuzzy secret heart
Code Monkey like you
Code Monkey like you

PPPS: If you liked this you might also like –

  1. Office Space
  2. The Office (UK)
  3. The Office (US)
  4. User Friendly
  5. Dilbert

PPPPS: If you made it till here you are definitely a one of us (geeks) so…. 42 – peace


Well, it’s been quite awhile since my last post – and a lot of stuff has happened since I last opened up the WordPress interface to write up a post. For starters WordPress has really done a great job – I like the new user interface – its great!
The last time I posted – I was an IT consultant in a large software consulting firm working at the office of one of its largest clients in Atlanta. Well, I left that project – the work I was doing was uninspiring drivel dreamed up by pointy haired bosses – and I left the software consulting firm I was working for – it was too large and busy to listen to the despairing pleas of one of its drones to be assigned to another project (preferably one that had something that required staying awake) and I was tired – tired of large companies – tired of being in projects where everything I said was received with a shrug and tired of managers that promised – the next project will be much better.
Well, today I am working for a small company – it’s not a consulting firm – it’s a product company and it’s a private one. Admittedly, there is a lot more risk – but its a new year and I am fed up of playing it safe – life is certainly a lot more interesting now than it was a few months back – that’s for sure :)
And the best part is – I am learning, reading and trying out stuff – new languages, new operating systems, new technologies, new platforms :-) I don’t think I have read this much since I left college. As far as my colleagues go – I have the good fortune of working with a bunch of really intelligent people and I probably enjoy our interactions and conversations more than anything else about this job :-)

Error messages in Haiku…

OK it’s not strictly Haiku but you know what I mean :-) –

The Web site you seek
Cannot be located, but
Countless more exist.

Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.

Program aborting:
Close all that you have worked on.
You ask far too much.

Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.

Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.

Your file was so big.
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.

Stay the patient course.
Of little worth is your ire.
The network is down.

A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.

Three things are certain:
Death, taxes and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.

You step in the stream,
But the water has moved on.
This page is not here.

Out of memory.
We wish to hold the whole sky,
But we never will.

Having been erased,
The document you’re seeking
Must now be retyped.

Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.

Grace under pressure

This is something my friend sent me, but I thought it was simply too good to read, laugh and delete without posting –

An award should go to the Virgin Airlines gate attendant in Sydney some months ago for being smart and funny, while making her point, when confronted with a passenger who probably deserved to fly as cargo.

A crowded Virgin flight was cancelled after Virgin’s 767s had been withdrawn from service. A single attendant was re-booking a long line of inconvenienced travellers. Suddenly an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk. He slapped his ticket down on the counter and said,

“I HAVE to be on this flight and it HAS to be FIRST CLASS”.

The attendant replied, “I’m sorry, sir. I’ll be happy to try to help you, but I’ve got to help these people first, and I’m sure we’ll be able to work something out.”

The passenger was unimpressed. He asked loudly, so that the passengers behind him could hear, “DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO I AM?”

Without hesitating, the attendant smiled and grabbed her public address microphone:
“May I have your attention please, may I have your attention please,” she began – her voice heard clearly throughout the
terminal. “We have a passenger here at Gate 14 WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS. If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to Gate 14.”

With the folks behind him in line laughing hysterically, the man glared at the Virgin attendant, gritted his teeth and said, “F… You!”

Without flinching, she smiled and said, ( I love this bit )……………..

I’m sorry, sir, but you’ll have to get in line for that too.”

Office Banter

One of the nice things about working here is the lunch. I go out to lunch everyday, with some of my colleagues in office to different places around the Atlanta midtown area. More than the food I think what attracts us is the rants and raves and the passionate discourse. For I started a thread on my blog about a topic and here is how it went :-

Me (starting a topic):
Everyone has heard of the GNU Public License which is used to keep software free of the greedy corporates and their patents.
I read in an article in Slash-dot – a couple of guys have created a license that makes their software free for use except for military use. Do you think this violates the spirit of “free” software?

Riz (the contrary one in the bunch):
Uhhm, OK let me be the first to say that I am not comfortable about discussing my brass tacks. Don’t get me wrong, my brass tacks have/are served me extremely well, but I don’t want to discuss this with you guys.

Riz: I don’t know what you own that you refer to as brass tacks, or why you are uncomfortable talking about them. But it seems like you should be more embarrassed at the fact that you have this awkward nickname for such an unsaid set of objects.

Rishi (bringing the discussion back into focus):
What happened to the discussion about GNU public license and the software talk?
Riz always has to bring up something that is totally out of context and like Bilal would say “gayish”.

As for the article, I like it. I believe in open source / free… it’s almost like volunteer or “Community work” for geeks. You want to advance technology etc. in a public interest… but you don’t want to volunteer for a destructive purpose. Kind of like running a Non-Profit for the Mob, or something to that degree. I understand the concept and the thought behind it, the problem is the precedent. If you want to generalize it and say, “I want this to be free to everyone except for those whose cause or belief I don’t stand behind” then everything would be too complicated and eventually go back to licensing for specific interests… usually profit. I think a better approach is to say that even if the military / government or anyone else without exception makes a modification to the code they need to post the modifications to it and without doing so they violate the license. This would either force the military not to use it for legal purposes (if their government cares) or the military will contribute to the project as well. We can’t forget that there have been a lot of practical inventions born from the military.

What I find particularly interesting is the way they have phrased their modification to the license “the program and its derivative work will neither be modified or executed to harm any human being nor through inaction permit any human being to be harmed.”. They have said they picked it up from Isaac Asimov’s – Three Laws of Robotics – “A robot may not harm a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.”

Even that is flawed, and easily tainted by today’s standards. “I wasn’t harming, I was defending” or “There would have been more deaths due to inaction so action was necessary” all of this is easily spun into politics, we need to try and abstract the technologies from politics… the open source licenses were designed in the spirit of advancing technology as a community, it should stay that way… it’s inevitable that some of it will be used maliciously, sometimes to an extreme, but if the intent is there, they would have accomplished the goal regardless of a license.
Can you imagine this? “The US Government is being sued today for breaking the licensing model of an open source application they installed into their upgrade to the cruise missile navigational system. The case has been put on hold indefinitely for reasons of national security.” Good luck with that… I call this philosophy “Geeks without borders” :)

THE 3 LAWS, by The Riz (all bow your heads)
Law 1: The law of paper bag: Just bag it!
Law 2: The law of light: Beauty is a light switch away!
Law 3: The law of boos: When in doubt drink more, she’ll get prettier.

Wikipedia – what the internet was supposed to be

One of the ways that the world wide web (www) is described to anyone is : “It is a vast reference tool for any kind of information”. This is an inaccuracy, in that, while it is a medium through which people can easily share information, it is by no means a reference. The very simplicity and power of the world wide web is also the reason why it cannot be thought of as a reference tool. It is simply too easy to publish information on the Internet and as a result looking for a particular piece of information has become like looking for a needle in the haystack.

That’s why the wikipedia is so remarkable! It has used the very ease of publishing information and the easy access to the vast array of content creators that the Internet provides, as the means to create an on-line editable encyclopedia. The best definition of the wikipedia is given in the wikipedia itself

Wikipedia (IPA: /ˌwɪkiːˈpiːdi.ə/, /ˌwiki-/ or /ˌwɪkə-/) is an international Web-based free-content encyclopedia. It exists as a wiki, a website that allows visitors to edit its content; the word Wikipedia itself is a portmanteau of wiki and encyclopedia. Wikipedia is written collaboratively by volunteers, allowing articles to be changed by anyone with access to the website.

What sets apart the wikipedia from the other encyclopedias is the vast array of information that is contained on topics that are not necessarily contained in the others. You can find information on literally anything and if you find something for which there is no information, you have the freedom to add the information if you want… It is this spirit of drawing in the user to become an active participant, that allows wikipedia to be such a vast repository of information. It is also how the accuracy of the information is maintained, as the users can edit and correct inaccuracies in articles created by the others. A record is made of every change, so any change can be rolled back. Articles that have contentious or controversial information are marked as such and references are provided as well.

I love to simply browse the wikipedia… One picks up nuggets of information, quaint articles (like this one on the letter Z). There is a featured article section on the main page that I often peruse…