It wasn’t so much that Richard, a software engineer, sat in his cubical making animal noises all day — as it was that he was getting very little done. And what he had been doing needed a sort of Rosetta Stone to explain. If you never considered how one variable might be a “ghost” and another might be a “warrior,” and how each might be referred to using a cryptic dialect you made up, then you must not be Richard.
There are many such tales of absurdity in the world of professional software development. Richard’s boss, Taka, had to sort through that mess after Richard was let go. In an industry that wavers between extreme stress and extreme boredom, it’s cathartic to here about someone who’s in a worse position than you. And Taka is definitely one such engineer who knew about stress.
This aforementioned story, titled “A Peculilar System,” is one of many excellent tales collected by a programmer humor website called The Daily WTF. I read their site religiously and find it educational, hilarious, and, well, calming — all at the same time. If you’re a computer programmer with a sense of humor you’ll definitely enjoy The Daily WTF.
Here’s a few of my favorites from their site:
Bitten by the Enterprise Bug. Why develop a simple in-house tool when a third party “consultant” can write the same application with substantially more complexity?
The Virtudyne Saga. Sure, there’s Microsoft Office. But you’ve got a lot of money and could do better, right? Warning: several pages long, and completely insane.
Just a Wiring Problem. You’re familiar with the term “ad-hoc network”? Well if this network isn’t ad-hoc, I don’t know what is. If you’ve ever done any type of IT or repair for a living, and dealt with crazy clients, you can relate to this story.