Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Random Hump Day Shenanigans

Several quick items today.  First of all, posting may be sparse for the rest of the week (and has been already) due to a confluence of day job busy-nesses and night job finishing-ings.  Or something.  My "real job" has me in training for three days this week, which makes it hard to squeeze in any writing.  Then, I'm writing the very end of my next novel, which requires my attention outside of work moreso than just your average chapter.  Good news is, both should ease up after this week... just in time for the holidays!


In other news, Fuu and I are definitely picking up Skyrim this Thursday.  Followed by AC: Revelations next Tuesday.  Don't be surprised if I write a bit about them.  WoW's sort of in the whole breath-holding-between-patches thing right now anyway.

I have one fun non-WoW related story to tell before I leave you today, but first I wanted to mention something kind of cool.  You can now subscribe to this blog through Amazon and have it directly delivered to your Kindle device!  That's pretty neat, right?  Amazon apparently opened the service up for all and sundry, and we decided to take advantage.  Now, you should know that THEY set the price.  We have no control of it.  $0.99/mo is the basement (we can't offer it free), and I think we see only like 30% of that.  So it's not going to make us rich even if all of you subscribe.  It's better than a kick in the teeth, though, if you'd like to support what we do here.  On the other hand, you can keep getting everything here and through my RSS feed completely for free.  That's completely cool too (and probably what I would do, were I you).  I just wanted to let you guys know that it's offered. 

(A side note is that we'd still like to publish a collection of my IC stuff as a free ebook, we just need to get some time to do it.  I plan to have a bit of time when I finish the current novel I'm working on and ship it off to the editors).

Now, story time.  I'll make it quick.  Promise.

The aforementioned day job happens to be at a global corporation.  Like all seven continents global.  Ok, maybe more like four, but still... a myriad of languages can be heard at any given staff meeting.

I walked in this morning, and a note was taped to the employee entrance.  Apparently, we were being instructed by someone important (important enough to have written the not ordering us to do things in hastily scrawled sharpie, anyway) NOT to answer "the email."  I gave a snort and continued on my way, not really knowing what it was referring too.  I am, after all, not nearly important enough to be included in "the" email. 

Fatal last thoughts, am I right?  I log into my workstation to be immediately confronted with no fewer than 68 unread emails.  (Side note: I keep a pretty clean inbox.  When I left for a full week, I think my record was like 20... maybe).  "Holy fel," I says to myself.  "What gives?"

The email, conveniently titled "IT Learning Newsletter" is repeated on every one of my unread messages.  Being a good engineering detective, I went back to the first to see how this chain of doom started.  As anyone involved with corporate emails may know, there exist a construct known as "contact groups."  HR types use these extensively to create lists of folks to send appropriate emails to.  Generally, it works well, as a boss might say "make sure the group gets this," and Sheila (or whomever) clicks on the "our group" list and off goes the memo.

Sure you occasionally run into what might be called the "Peter Gibbons" syndrome, whereby one receives a memo in octuplet due to having eight bosses.  Eight, Peter?  Yes, Eight, Bob.  And let me tell you about TPS reports...

Anyway, there apparently is also a group for "Everyone."  Several everyones, in fact.  Everyone in each continent and location.  For whatever reason, some mental midget decided to include EVERYONE EVERYWHERE on an email.  I'm assuming it was an accident by an overtired, overworked user.  But let's go with idiot, because it makes for more provocative reporting.

This idiot hits the send button, and it goes out to everyone.  Now, even in a good company, you could probably say that 1 in every 10 employees are technologically impaired.  This is simply fact.  1 in 10 people still think email is magic.  They understand that someone, somewhere is sending them something.   They've also been inundated with things called "mailing lists" and "spam."  Obviously, all one must do to rectify this is ask the machine to nicely "to take me off the distribution list."  Or, more succinctly: "PLEASE STOP THE SPAM FOR ALL THAT IS SACRED TO YOUR GODS."  One or the other.

Problem is, they can't really figure out where the email originated from.  There is no convenient link at the bottom that says "to remove from list, click here."  This is not the thing you accidentally signed up for when you installed that piece of free software and didn't read any of the checked boxes and "oh, my, where this Yahoo search bar come from?"  No, this isn't you granddaddy's spam.  This is accidental corporate memo spam.

So you take the only rational recourse.   You "reply to all" with your polite request.  Can you see what happened here?  That's right, now everyone gets a second email in this huge change that says "please stop sending me this stuff."  Since 1 in 10 people are also secretly sheep, they say "Oh, that's how it's done," and copy-cat their way to freedom.  What we have here, is a failure to communicate.  That, and an avalanche of corporate spam.

For perhaps the first 4 hours of my day, I received around two emails every ten minutes, in probably one of six different languages (including Chinese characters which I have no hope at all of deciphering) pleading for an end to the spam.  What 1 in 10 people fail to realize, obviously, is that in responding, they're simply scratching and spreading the rash of stupidity.

Then, of course, the server crashes, and I'm sure bursts into flame somewhere in IT-land, and for the rest of the day our network shows all the speed of a dying whale, marooned on the beach.  I think I breached triple digits by the time someone had figured out how to shut down the chain, but I could have more... my inbox was full to capacity  (helped along by the people attaching screenshots of their own full inboxes as if we didn't believe that they, too, were getting the emails).

So what did we learn in this "IT Learning Newsletter?"  10% can screw it up for the 90% of people that are sitting there laughing/crying/screaming behind the screen, not replying, but hoping to God/Allah (or the Nether if you prefer) that someone sitting next to the sheep, sheers it.  Or at least instructs it in the finer points of email etiquette.

That is all.  Yaaay Hump Day.


  1. BWA ha ha ha. Microsoft had a very early, very educational instance of this. To this day, you can still say "bedlam" to long-time Microsofties and they will often reply "Me, too!".

  2. LOL. Yep. Exactly that.

    For the rest of the day, everyone I bumped into in the hall, I asked if they could take me off the distribution list.

  3. hahaha XD

    And yes :D AC:Revelations!! XD I hope you will enjoy the game :D did some work on it during my internship as well XD so can't wait to see the game out XD

  4. Wow! Awesome. Yeah, I'm super-psyched about it. Big fan of the franchise.

  5. /BillLumbergh
    Ummm, yeah, we can remove you from the company distribution list but that only comes with a note from HR about you not working here anymore.

    But seriously, if you work in IT long enough you begin to wonder how some people get out of bed in the morning. We've got some seriously smart people, multiple PhDs, at my workplace, that have absolutely no clue how their computer works.

    The worst is when they call up crying.

  6. Yeah, I know what you mean. It's hard for me to remember too that I grew up with computers. It's probably a bit easier for me. Not that that is a complete excuse, but there is something to it.

  7. Skyrim baby! When I look back I'm guessing around 600+hours of my life will have vanished.

    Everything I've seen or read about this game says it just might be the best sinlge player RPG of all time.

  8. Yeah. I'm excited. Took a long time to download... but I'll probably take a half day today to give it some proper playtime.