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“cloud computing” December 1, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Definition, Pictures, Seen Elsewhere, Technology Trouble.
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Dilbert.com

cloud computing
KLOWD kom-PYU-ting

If you want to get technical, cloud computing is a very cool way to keep all your stuff in internet-land, where you can access it from anywhere because you don’t own the media or servers upon which it’s stored. But if you want to get corporate, all you need to know is that corporations are likely to be very, very leery about implementing it despite how into it their tech folks are.

The problem with cloud computing, from a corporate perspective, is all about control. Most people have Google accounts, and already live somewhat in the cloud — if you have webmail, you’re doing cloud computing. Google is by far the king of the cloud, though Microsoft’s Office 10 is going to attempt to make some inroads into that market share. But whether it’s via Google, Microsoft, or even Yahoo (anyone remember Yahoo Briefcase?), the company doesn’t own the data. The data is held by the third party, who has their own set of terms and conditions as to the warranty of the data (T-Mobile Sidekick Fail, for example), the accessibility of the data (you can’t call Google and complain that Docs is down), and their right to read the data or be subpoenaed and hand the data over. And what happens if the third party suffers a hacking attack that ends with the data being taken by hostile parties? What’s the company’s recourse?

That’s why so many companies use VPNs instead of cloud computing — they let employees log into their work PCs using secure connections that they control. It’s way slower than the cloud, but it lets the corporations exercise their own security measures. And, I have to admit, as much as I love cloud computing (I do most of my first drafts on Docs), there’s a big difference between running a blog and running a multi-million-dollar corporation.

Of course, all companies have to do their due diligence and pretend to be interested in cloud computing, as illustrated by the above Dilbert strip. The tech guys always get excited about it, hoping they can link their tricked-out Google accounts to their work life. Just remember — if the company does go with the cloud, you’re going to have to make all your Google stuff available to them upon request. You know it’ll show up in the IT policy. I’d certainly put it there.

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can I hear those choices again? November 20, 2009

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It’s always interesting to me how the choices are always bad.

i gave up November 20, 2009

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It’s surprising how many times I’ve had to talk to new people about stuff that I’ve already figured out because the staff has changed or the vendor’s been bought.

no one will know November 18, 2009

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This totally exemplifies my life before the reorg. No one could make any decisions except for the Two-Year-Old. Literally everything had to be run by her, and pinning her down was insane. Sometimes she’d refer me to another manager, who’d just refer me back to her because he was afraid of making any decisions.

Nowadays I’m at a level where a lot of us are on the same authority plane. Technically I have a little more because when I say something can’t be done, it really can’t be done and my co-workers have to go back to the client and say “you’re doing it wrong”. But even now when I say “please do this so I can complete the project for you”, there’s an e-mail chain the length of a golf course as I ask for something, that person asks the person who can talk to the client, the client asks their boss, their boss asks the salesperson, the salesperson asks someone in my department, that person asks me, and then we go back in the other direction. It’s rather amusing, when you think about it.

ways to avoid work November 11, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Economic Downturn, Pictures, Seen Elsewhere, Wasting Time.
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Sometimes I wonder what kind of office Scott Adams used to work in; the people there must have been really forward-thinking in their cubicle insanity, given how accurate nearly every one of his strips is.

Let’s examine the points made by Dilbert here:

Ten Minutes of Explanation. This one is my personal favorite when it comes to doing things I don’t want to do. I’ll often find ways to foist a task back onto the person requesting it by saying I need more information or I don’t have time or my computer is updating. Anything to avoid actually doing a distasteful task, even if it’s a quick one. Yesterday, for example, I had to build a test page on one of our websites. It’s drudgery, it’s annoying to do, and if even one step is missed the entire thing has to be started over. If I do it right, it takes 20 minutes.

I put it off for almost four hours. The person I was doing it for totally accepted my BS explanation.

Incompetence. I’ve always been good at this one. When I worked for an office supply store, one of my tasks was cleaning the floor. I have never, ever been any good at floor-related cleaning tasks (except mopping; I’m good at mopping). Vacuuming the carpet in my area was a nightmare, and I was often asked to vacuum the carpeting in the furniture area as well. My coworkers eventually figured out that I was no good at it, but when I worked in the copy center, I was the only one who could do the job. I actually almost got written up because my vacuuming was so bad.

Company Policy. Whenever I didn’t want to do something before the reorg, I would simply say it was company policy for me not to do it. Most notably when artists and photographers were supposed to write their own copy. I could do it faster, and I could do it better, but it was technically their job to do it. (Still is, I suppose.) The whole point of it was to get them to be better at their jobs by getting more practice, but they just did it half-assed and it became my job to fix it so my work didn’t look crappy. Company policy always comes back to bite you in the ass.

Forgetfulness. I keep a list of everything I have to do. I actually write it on paper. I tried putting it in Outlook, but that was a failure; I never felt like I accomplished anything. Nowadays, with e-mail being the primary form of requesting people to do things, it’s easy to simply say “your e-mail got lost” or “I deleted it by accident” or “it’s in my inbox but I missed it between these other tasks”. You can still forget things; it just takes more work.

Falsehood. This is the one that always made me feel bad when I used it. I only ever used it sparingly, and really only when I was pissed off at a co-worker or customer. The perk of doing the kinds of jobs I do is that, for the most part, people don’t actually know what I’m capable of. I can lie about my time, my skills, software I use, my workload, whatever. I usually get the job done, but a carefully applied lie is a great way to buy some time.

Which of these is the one you use the most?

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it sends the wrong message November 4, 2009

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I’m that guy. The one with the tons of toys in the cubicle. Well, not so much anymore after the reorg, but I still have about ten in plain sight including an old-school Transformer that one guy was totally enamored with.

When I first started putting toys at my cubicle, it was to single myself out as the weird guy, the one who has a personality — to, you know, combat the perception that I was just another web geek who did stuff no one understood. It worked brilliantly, let me tell you. At the new cube, since I’m not technically a web guy (the people on the next floor up do most of the actual customer-facing web design), I’m trying to cut back a bit but it’s not really working. Mostly because the people who sit in this area with me are actually weirder than I am.

Who knew?

because it made sense November 4, 2009

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Having been a contractor, I can totally identify with this. Contractors are generally brought on to complete projects that “regular” employees don’t have the time for because they have to attend scads of pointless meetings. In fact, my old boss got around this by attending all of the meetings for me — thereby getting me out of the twice-daily, hour-long “here’s what we’re doing” meetings and the two weekly sales meetings. I attended the marketing meetings, but beyond that, I just sat at my desk and did my job.

Which, you know, is what contractors do, because they don’t have to attend stupid meetings.

which part was humor? October 5, 2009

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I don’t know which is worse — that there are people who talk like this, or that there are people who think talking like this is a good idea.

best employees first September 22, 2009

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Y’know, I’ve never heard anyone actually come out and admit that, but now that Scott Adams has, things are starting to make a lot more sense to me when I see e-mails that read “we’re pleased and lucky to have John Smith join our team from HugeCompany, where he was marketing director for 23 years.” Now I really know what that means.

best practices September 9, 2009

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Presented without comment.