Eric's meaty face


Some Days in the Life - April 19, 1999

 April 19, 1999




I've just had a majorly boring day turn into a moderately exciting one, which is always peachy keen. The boredom came (as boredom often does) from meetings. I had a doozy today -- A Video Tech Company was in here droning on about videoconferencing technology. The scary thing is, we already own the thing. And they didn't have any of the new products we actually want them to show us. So, it was an hour and a half of a corporate vice president and a sales manager talking to us, telling us things we already knew, and telling us things we couldn't possibly care less about. However, we did learn the following, by their own admission and unsolicited by us:

  1. The corporate vice president did very poorly in math in school.
  2. The corporate vice president did very poorly in English in school.
  3. The corporate vice president "couldn't really 'get' Madam Bovery in school, because he doesn't learn things from reading, but man, if you let him watch a movie he'd remember it forever."
  4. The company's technology is very unlikely to be adopted as the standard, and they're having trouble adapting it to standards.
  5. The company has a cash flow problem.
  6. The company 'made all the classic mistakes of new tech companies, including rushing to market when they weren't ready, spending too much money, thinking it would be simple when it wasn't, thinking they'd be done faster than they were, and declaring an IPO before they were ready or able to show performance.'
  7. The majority of the company's clients are Macintosh users, but they decided that since there were more Windows PC users than Mac users, they abandoned development of the Mac client in lieu of the Windows client, and have their Mac users use Virtual PC instead of the Mac (a process that means it takes ten minutes to boot up their product.)
  8. The corporate vice president said he could put "able to do it all right, because we've done it all wrong up until now" on his resume.
  9. The corporate vice president has been circulating his resume.

The one positive I can come across from the whole affair is that this machine buying decision predates me at the Academy. Which reminds me of a joke. A new systems administrator is settling in at a new job, and his predecessor is going through things. "What if I run into problems I can't solve," he asks.

"Well," his predecessor said, "I've prepared three envelopes in your desk for when unsolvable problems come up. Read them in order and they'll take care of the problem."

Six weeks go by, and the network crashes. Hard. The systems administrator is completely stuck, so he opens envelope #1. Inside is a note that reads 'blame everything on your predecessor.' So the admin blames everything on the guy who left, and his superiors agree and authorize huge amounts of money for consultants to repair it.

Two months pass, and the network seizes up and dies again. The admin, more confident now, reads the second letter. 'Blame the equipment.' So, he goes to his superiors, tells them that the network is based on old, rotten equipment and they'll have to replace the lot. The superiors agree and spend an ungodly number replacing the whole thing.

This goes for six months. The entire network fails again. In desperation, the admin opens the third envelope. Inside, it reads 'prepare three envelopes....'

As stated at the top, the day turned out to be moderately interesting. This is because my playtest copy of the Liber Servitorum came in. That's an In Nomine thing -- for those who don't know, I've become obsessed with a role playing game called In Nomine. This is weird to me, because I've been out of the whole Role Playing Game thing since, oh, 1991 or so. But this game just sucked my little brain out and kept it. In part it's because I got involved with their mailing list, and in turn got involved with some of the Steve Jackson Games folks.

Anyway, I subscribed to Pyramid Magazine, which is an online version of a role playing magazine. In addition to having all the crunchy game article goodness, it has playtesting areas, where you can go, download games in progress and pick nits and poke holes in them. I do this with In Nomine supplements.

Today, I get a copy of the Liber Servitorum. Free. With my name in it.

That's a $19.95 supplement I would happily have bought that I got sent to me for free because they value my input. The subscription to Pyramid cost me $15.00. I have therefore made $4.95 net on the year.

There are good companies in this world, and this is one of them.

Ex housemate Dominic and his girlfriend Annie are coming by tomorrow, and we're going out to drink beer at the Wolfeboro Inn -- specifically, the 1812 Tavern which is in the front, and has actually been there since 1812. Good food and beer, a large stuffed moose and old floors. New Hampshire can be pretty nice. Actually, today New Hampshire is very nice. It's a beautiful spring day. I hope tomorrow is like it so that we can walk to the Tavern from the Academy when we get there. Alan, my boss, is Australian, so I expect I'll tell him "Alan, I'm going out to drink beer," when they get here, and he'll agree cheerfully. I'll let folks know how it went.



Journal Home