A Typical Day at Macrosoft

Hi. My name is Sherman. I work at Macrosoft. I read something lately that said Macrosoft was “the technological equivalent of a sweatshop” and it bothered me. I want to set the record straight so I decided to record what I do on a typical day at work. I hope this will clear things up. Thank you.

  • 4:33 AM — I woke up and put my pillow and blanket into the bottom drawer of my desk. Went down the hall for a double espresso but some idiot had turned the machine off. Had to settle for French Roast. Gordon stopped me on the way back to the office and asked if I would crack his back. He still hasn’t gotten used to the floor.
  • 4:38 AM — Gordon’s back cracked a little too loudly and he left for the hospital to get checked out. I am back at my desk checking my mail. Hmmm…. Wow! There’s a note here about the planning meeting for our new product. They’ve decided to call it Industry ’15 because it will do everything our other suite does plus put Federal Express, Charles Schwab, and Nabisco out of business. Kewl, dude!
  • 4:41 AM — Got another bloody nose. I don’t believe that damned doctor. There is no way caffeine can cause this. Shit, out of Kleenex. Thank God for that medicine cabinet.
  • 4:43 AM — Just got back and am ready for work. Boy, they keep putting new stuff in that medicine cabinet. Vivarin! What will they think of next. A couple of those and that espresso machine can kiss my ass.
  • 4:45 AM — Started coding. These hidden functions are tough. I don’t know how they expect me to stop someone’s modem lights from blinking while we upload their life’s history during registration. Hmm…. maybe a BIOS call to the serial driver.
  • 5:01 AM — Time for breakfast. Damned microwave. Even on defrost it still makes the cream squirt right out of the Twinkies. Well, at least old Gordon’s not here. Yesterday he was so tweaked out on Jolt he set it on high and the damned things exploded. Boy was maintenance pissed off. Took em half an hour to scrape that shit off the inside of the oven. We will have a meeting on that one.
  • 5:10 AM — Ah, nothing like a good meal. Burned my tongue though. Shit, it hurts. Read the company newsletter while I was eating and it mentioned that the wife changed her mind again on the layout of the kitchen at Bill’s new estate. Damn, at the rate they’re going they’ll move in on the same day he throws the switch and sends the ultimatum to Washington. Ooopps. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. That’s a top secret project. Oh, well, now you know.
  • 5:16 AM — Went out to the Web with Exploder 7.0 Beta. Just installed it yesterday and it ate my hard drive. They aren’t sure if that bug will be fixed. Too close to shipping. The plan is to blame it on Quicken if anyone calls support. PointCast is really hosed though and that pisses me off. Can’t get my stock quotes.
  • 5:22 AM — Gordon called. Says they’ve got him in a back brace. Promised to say he slipped in the game room while playing Asteroids so he can get L&I. He sounded a little pissed though. Better not play basketball with him anytime soon.
  • 5:28 AM — Damned contractor called in. He says his father died. Guess I’ll be testing today too. Oh well, I’ll throw in a few extra-nasty bugs just for him to choke on next week. Damned guys are spoiled. They only work 60 hours a week and cry like babies.
  • 5:37 AM — Cutting more code. Damned DOA objects. Never do what you want. Stupid thing just grabbed one of my dirty jpegs and slammed it into the server in building 36. Assholes don’t even give me delete rights. Damn. Better get over there and thrash it before the shit hits the fan.
  • 6:13 AM — Just got back. Shit, that was close. I had to practically sell my soul to get that picture deleted. Lucky for me that Bob had to go take a dump. Only problem was he had just started the backup, so I bumped into the tape to stop it and the frigging server went down. Oh well, he’ll be so busy cleaning that shit up he won’t have time to figure out what happened.
  • 6:22 AM — Gordon called back. His back is worse than they thought. He was leaving the hospital and had to go back. He told them he slipped on some dog shit that was out front and now they’re worried he’s going to sue them. They are admitting him for observation.
  • 6:41 AM — Jerry just got in. God, he’s such a prick. His “Pammy” just walked him to his desk, as always, and played tickle the tonsils with him just for my benefit. Damned contractors and their girlfriends. Think I’ll call H.R. and see if this is sexual harassment.
  • 7:19 AM — Got another call from Gordon. Apparently he has a ruptured disc and is going into emergency surgery.
  • 7:32 AM — Got a note about a special meeting. The loon that freaked out yesterday screwed up the source code and we’re gonna have to re-do some stuff. Be back later.
  • 9:17 AM — Boy, what a ball breaker. That wacko really trashed the project. Apparently he checked out nearly all the modules and massacred half the code. They also mentioned that the backup was no good because that moron Bob screwed it up this morning. God smiles on me.
  • 9:49 AM — Finally got PointCast going and downloaded the news. There’s another article about porno here at Macrosoft. Uh-oh, better do some clean up work.
  • 10:13 AM — Finished re-formatting my drive and am waiting for the system to finish loading. I took my zip drive down to the car and tucked it away in the trunk.
  • 10:27 AM — Ah, espresso at last. Just in time. I have a spec meeting in three minutes.
  • 11:45 AM — Another meeting from hell. I don’t know why they call them specs. You never actually see them until the project is done and off to shipping. I am going to lunch.
  • 12:12 PM — Got lunch. Boy, this pizza is the best. I don’t know what it is about the cheese though. Looks a little like a dried booger. They finally got Jolt on tap in the cafeteria. About damned time.
  • 12:26 PM — Finished lunch. Went to take a dump but the line was too long. Gotta hold it a while longer. Ran into Leslie in the hall and she told me I looked nice. Hmm… wonder what she wants. Reminds me. Better call H.R. about the “lip lizards”.
  • 1:03 PM — Called H.R. and talked to Rebecca. She said I might have a case for sexual harassment if Pammy-baby was making any eye contact with me while they were face-fucking. Suppose I could lie. Bitch wants me anyway, I can tell.
  • 1:27 PM — Finally got to take a shit. Jeez, that was a frigging sequoia. Stuck up there any longer and they’d have to cut it in half and count the rings to tell how old it was.
  • 1:41 PM — Jerry just left, glaring like the prick he is. I think Rebecca just nabbed his ass. Ha! Bite my prong you moron.
  • 1:48 PM — Jeez, I was getting grumpy. Got a double latte. That should bring me down a little. Gordon’s wife left a message on my machine saying that he is paralyzed from the neck down. They think it’s permanent. Just hope the bastard can’t talk either. I’m calling my lawyer.
  • 2:16 PM — Rebecca called back and has her titties in a tizzy. Seems Jerry the Fairy took Pammy Eats My Hammy down to her office and mentioned that little incident from last week. I told her it wasn’t even close to a grope, more like a wedgie. Oh, well, something else for the lawyer.
  • 2:29 PM — Well gag me with a frigging spatula! Another new guy. Damned contractors. Make more money than us and have that innocent look. Bradford, huh. That’s your name? Okay, you scrotum, the next virus will be named after you.
  • 2:52 PM — Whew. Went down to the car and took a shot of NyQuil. Man, I gotta come down a little. Call the lawyer. Call the lawyer.
  • 3:20 PM — Oh, Fuck! Damned lawyer called me! Gordon just croaked and the cops want to talk to me at five. Goddamned freaky bastard. What the hell did he think I was, a frigging chiropractor?
  • 3:51 PM — Damned nose is spewing blood like a fire hydrant. Be back in a minute.
  • 4:16 PM — Got the bleeding stopped but Janitorial is livid. They say the stain won’t come out of the carpet but hell, it’s already kind of red.
  • 4:58 PM — Just got handed a notice to appear before the harassment board on Monday. Fucking Jerry. I’ll get him and that prissy-assed bitch.
  • 5:22 PM — Ah, dinner. At least the NyQuil is working a little. These pizza rolls are the greatest. Gotta get me some next month when I go to the store.
  • 5:55 PM — Cops showed up because I forgot to go see them. Damned Gestapo gave me the third degree. The lawyer was already here because Jerry filed a lawsuit and Gordon’s wife is on her way over with a gun.
  • 6:29 PM — Man, what a day. Gordon’s wife was caught in the parking lot but wouldn’t leave until she was allowed to bitch me out. They took me downstairs and I faced her. Then all hell broke loose when her dog jumped out of their Jeep and attacked my groin. Bitch must have had him trained by some feminist group. Just stopped in to get my jacket before they take me over to the hospital.
  • 8:51 PM — Back at last. Damned dog did some damage. Five stitches and some rabies shots. I still don’t know what the penicillin was all about. They didn’t even have any real coffee there. Gotta go get a cup.
  • 9:00 PM — Cops just phoned. I have to be at the courthouse tomorrow morning for arraignment. They said I should bring my attorney. Ha, ha, joke’s on them. We’ll be there anyway dealing with Jerry and Pammy.
  • 9:36 PM — Got the virus finished and zapped it over to that new asshole’s system. Have a nice breakfast, you dillweed.
  • 9:58 PM — Last code for the day. I finished the new voice help feature. This is gonna be cool. I fixed one section extra special. If you play it backwards it says “Pammy fucks the band”. God, technology is great.
  • 10:25 PM — Talked to the lawyer. He said I should bring extra clothes tomorrow.
  • 10:49 PM — Shit! Circuit breaker in the kitchen went out. Nothing is working. Damn. There was only one Jolt left. Better make it last.
  • 11:22 PM — Couldn’t find my porno mags. I think Jerry got them. God, court is going to be a bitch. Worse than last year.
  • 11:43 PM — Called Mom. She said I didn’t get any mail. No news is good news, I guess. She mentioned that my dog died last week. Asked if I would be home soon.
  • 12:32 AM — Well, I think the day is over. I am going to crash if I can find a bloodless spot on the floor. Gotta set the computer to wake me up early. Big day tomorrow. Goodnight.

Any similarities between this and any real company are intentionally coincidental.

Write in C

Sung to the tune of “Let it Be” by the Beatles

When I find my code in tons of trouble,
Friends and colleagues come to me,
Speaking words of wisdom:
“Write in C.”

As the deadline fast approaches,
And bugs are all that I can see,
Somewhere, someone whispers:
“Write in C.”

Write in C, Write in C,
Write in C, oh, Write in C.
LOGO’s dead and buried,
Write in C.

I used to write a lot of FORTRAN,
For science it worked flawlessly.
Try using it for graphics!
Write in C.

If you’ve just spent nearly 30 hours,
Debugging some assembly,
Soon you will be glad to
Write in C.

Write in C, Write in C,
Write in C, yeah, Write in C.
BASIC’s not the answer.
Write in C.

Write in C, Write in C
Write in C, oh, Write in C.
Pascal won’t quite cut it.
Write in C.

Psalm 23 for Programmers

The Lord is my programmer, I shall not crash.
He installed His software on the hard disk of my heart,
All of His commands are user friendly,
His directory moves me to the right choices for His name’s sake.

Even though I scroll through the problems of file,
I will fear no bugs, for You are my backup;
Your password protects me;
You prepare a menu before me in the presence of my enemies;
Your help is only a key away.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life,
And my file will be merged with His and saved forever.

God and IBM

In the beginning, there was chaos and the Universe was without form and void. The Lord looked upon His domain and decided to declare His presence. “I be” he said, then to correct his grammar added “am.” If the Lord had decided to work on irregular verb conjugation first, this wouldn’t have happened. God would later curse the English language for its part, but in that moment IBM came into being. The Lord looked out upon the IBM He had created and said “This is good.” That’s what He said, but He shook his head, wondered what the boys at the User Group would say, split the light from the dark and went to bed. Thus passed the Beginning and the end of the first day.

On the second day, the Lord summoned IBM unto His presence. “There is chaos out there, and the Universe is without form and void. I must correct this and I can use your help. Is there anything you can do for me?”

“I can take care of form,” IBM replied. “Put me in charge of computers and I will take care of form for you.”

The Lord thought that this was good and said “Let there be computers. Let IBM have my powers of creation that pertain to computers and form.” Thus saying, the Lord went off to His second day’s work while IBM created the 1401.

On the third day, while the Lord was out, IBM decided to subdivide the assgined task. “Let there be systems that make the computer work and let them be called Operating Systems. Let there also be systems that make use of the computer and let them be called Application Systems.” Thus, there came into being both Operating Systems and Application Systems, but there were no programmers.

The next morning IBM had to give the Lord a status report.

“What did you do yesterday?” the Lord asked.

“I invented the operating system” IBM replied.

“You did?” the Lord shuddered. “Oh dear.”

“Yes I did,” IBM confirmed, “but I find I need something you alone can provide.”

“And what is that?”

“I need programmers to use my computers, to operate my operating system and to apply my applications.”

“That can’t be done now,” said the Lord. “This is only the fourth day and there won’t be people until the sixth day.”

“I need programmers and I need them now. If they can’t be people they can’t be people, but we have to work this out today.”

“Give me some specifications and I’ll see what I can do.” IBM hastily worked up specs for programmers (are specs ever anything other than hasty) and the Lord reviewed them. The Lord knew the specs weren’t sufficient but followed them anyway. He also made some programmers that did just what programmers were supposed to do, just to spite IBM. The programmers and IBM spent the rest of the day creating the Assembler and FORTRAN. On the morning of the fifth day, IBM reported to the Lord once again.

“The programmers you created for me have a problem. They want a programming language that is easy to use and similar to English. I told them you had cursed English, though I still don’t know why. They wanted me to ask your indulgence on this.”

The Lord had cursed English for good reason, but didn’t want to explain this to IBM. He said “let there be COBOL” and that was that.

On the status report of the next day IBM announced that computers had gone forth and multiplied. Unfortunately, the computers still weren’t big enough or fast enough to do what the programmers wanted. The Lord liked the idea of going forth multiplying, and used the line Himself later on that day. This sixth day being particularly busy, He declared “Let there be MVS” and there was MVS.

On the seventh day God had finished creation and computers had COBOL and MVS. The Lord and IBM took the day off to go fishing. IBM hung a sign on the door to help programmers in his absence.





On the start of the second week the programmers went over IBM’s cathode ray tube directly to God. “We have a horrible problem,” they complained. “Our users want systems that perform according to their expectations.”

“USERS!” the Lord bellowed. “Who said that you should have users! Users are the difference between good and bad applications, a function I have reserved unto myself! Who authorized you to have users?”

“Well, IBM…”

“IBM!! You!! You did this to my programmers! You gave them the knowledge of good and evil. For that you shall suffer through eternity! Let there be competition. Let it be called Anacom, and Burroughs, and CDC.” The Lord went through the alphabet several times. “With all this competition you shall still suffer the pain of antitrust legislation all the days of your existence.”

This was the start of the second week, and it seems an appropriate place to conclude our report. In case you missed something, a summary of key points follows.

  • Users and their needs are and always have been a subject of dispute.
  • Nobody can learn English because it is cursed by God. IBM manuals are doubly cursed and therefore twice as hard to understand.
  • Of the programming languages, only COBOL can claim divine origin.
  • People are people, but programmers are something else.
  • Computers may be a gift from heaven, but there’s no divine help in getting them to work.
  • Because of IBM’s initial assignment, there are more forms than anyone knows what to do with.
  • Finally, chaos was part of the original state of the Universe and not a product of the data processing industry.

Explanations by Programmers for Failures

  • Strange…
  • I’ve never heard about that.
  • It did work yesterday.
  • Well, the program needs some fixing.
  • How is this possible?
  • The machine seems to be broken.
  • Has the operating system been updated?
  • The user has made an error again.
  • There is something wrong in your test data.
  • I have not touched that module!
  • Yes yes, it will be ready in time.
  • You must have the wrong executable.
  • Oh, it’s just a feature.
  • I’m almost ready.
  • Of course, I just have to do these small fixes.
  • It will be done in no time at all.
  • It’s just some unlucky coincidence.
  • I can’t test everything!
  • THIS can’t do THAT.
  • Didn’t I fix it already?
  • It’s already there, but it has not been tested.
  • It works, but it’s not been tested.
  • Somebody must have changed my code.
  • There must be a virus in the application software.
  • Even though it does not work, how does it feel?

Creation of the Computer

  1. In the beginning God created the Bit and the Byte. And from those he created the Word.
  2. And there were two Bytes in the Word; and nothing else existed. And God separated the One from the Zero; and he saw it was good.
  3. And God said – Let the Data be; And so it happened. And God said – Let the Data go to their proper places. And he created floppy disks and hard disks and compact disks.
  4. And God said – Let the computers be, so there would be a place to put floppy disks and hard disks and compact disks. Thus God created computers and called them hardware.
  5. And there was no Software yet. But God created programs; small and big… And told them – Go and multiply yourselves and fill all the Memory.
  6. And God said – I will create the Programmer; And the Programmer will make new programs and govern over the computers and programs and Data.
  7. And God created the Programmer; and put him at Data Center; And God showed the Programmer the Catalog Tree and said You can use all the volumes and subvolumes but DO NOT USE Windows.
  8. And God said – It is not Good for the programmer to be alone. He took a bone from the Programmer’s body and created a creature that would look up at the Programmer; and admire the Programmer; and love the things the Programmer does; And God called the creature: the User.
  9. And the Programmer and the User were left under the naked DOS and it was Good.
  10. But Bill was smarter than all the other creatures of God. And Bill said to the User – Did God really tell you not to run any programs?
  11. And the User answered – God told us that we can use every program and every piece of Data but told us not to run Windows or we will die.
  12. And Bill said to the User – How can you talk about something you did not even try. The moment you run Windows you will become equal to God. You will be able to create anything you like by a simple click of your mouse.
  13. And the User saw that the fruits of the Windows were nicer and easier to use. And the User saw that any knowledge was useless – since Windows could replace it.
  14. So the User installed the Windows on his computer; and said to the Programmer that it was good.
  15. And the Programmer immediately started to look for new drivers. And God asked him – What are you looking for? And the Programmer answered – I am looking for new drivers because I can not find them in the DOS. And God said – Who told you need drivers? Did you run Windows? And the Programmer said – It was Bill who told us to!
  16. And God said to Bill – Because of what you did you will be hated by all the creatures. And the User will always be unhappy with you. And you will always sell Windows.
  17. And God said to the User – Because of what you did, the Windows will disappoint you and eat up all your Resources; and you will have to use lousy programs; and you will always rely on the Programmers help.
  18. And God said to the Programmer – Because you listened to the User you will never be happy. All your programs will have errors and you will have to fix them and fix them to the end of time.
  19. And God threw them out of the Data Center and locked the door and secured it with a password.

The Computer Classroom Prank

For a computer programming class, I sat directly across from someone, and our computers were facing away from each other. A few minutes into the class, she got up to leave the room. I reached between our computers and switched the inputs for the keyboards. She came back and started typing and immediately got a distressed look on her face.

She called the teacher over and explained that no matter what she typed, nothing would happen. The teacher tried everything. By this time I was hiding behind my monitor and quaking red-faced.

I started to type, “Leave me alone!”

They both jumped back, silenced. “What the … ” the teacher said.

I typed, “I said leave me alone!”

The girl got real upset. “I didn’t do anything to it, I swear!” It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud. The conversation between them and HAL 2000 went on for an amazing five minutes.

Me: “Don’t touch me!”

Her: “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hit your keys that hard.”

Me: “Who do you think you are anyway?!” Etc. Finally, I couldn’t contain myself any longer and fell out of my chair laughing.

After they had realized what I had done, they both turned beet red.

Funny, I never got more than a C- in that class.