austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

But till you came along, we counted on our fingers and toes

Dramatis Personae. Programmer, IT Person, Second Programmer, Client Relations.

Location. A conference room. Programmer is standing, presenting; the others are seated.

Programmer: The most petty thing about the transition to version 10 is they've stopped capitalizing it. Instead of ECRW now it's E-small-crw. They still don't want it pronounced ``ecru''.

Relations: Why did they do that?

Programmer: My friend there says they don't like ecru's hexadecimal color code. [ A pause, spent unsmiling. ] My friend there is quite the card.

Second: Heh. Oh, I like that.

Relations: I mean, why did they drop the capitals?

IT: They don't want it being an acronym anymore.

Programmer: That's the best I can figure.

IT: They forgot what it was an acronym for.

Programmer: They think the 'C' was 'Computer', or maybe 'Computational'.

Second: I don't know how they run things over there, but I would've written that down. At least in the copyright notice, that's what the Library of Congress uses.

Programmer: Yes, the Library of Congress is very concerned about these credits.

Relations: You suppose the ``E'' was for ``Electronic''?

Programmer: The only person who knew, forgot. Now, the bigger issue: to migrate your data into 10, under no circumstances click on the ``Import'' button under the menu bar here.

IT: It doesn't work.

Programmer: Right. Also, don't use the ``Upgrade Old Data'' button, and don't click the ``Migrate'' button either.

Second: They all don't work?

Programmer: They'll bring in data all right, but they wipe out all your metadata.

Relations: Why do we have metadata? Shouldn't it all be data?

IT: That's, like, who wrote what and when.

Relations: Ah, like that Buller Litter?

Second: Like that what?

Relations: He wrote the book Snoopy's always writing.

Second: What's the boss say about all this?

IT: After nagging every day the past two weeks I got this at 4:18 this morning: ``Change isn't an easy thing we have to migrate before the changed versions complicate our planned change, or do you think I didn't understand what was changing all about this.''

Relations: I'm bringing that to our next poetry slam.

Programmer: When our clients start importing and losing their metadata they're going to call you because I changed my extension and I'm not telling anyone to what.

Relations: How do we tell if they imported it wrong?

Programmer: If they import their old data, and it comes back with a bright green rectangle with a cheery check mark and the message ``Conversion OK'', then it went wrong.

IT: That's your first warning sign. If it comes up with a red stop sign and a big X and ``Illegal process halted'', they're good.

Relations: Why do they even have these buttons that don't work?

Programmer: It's a legacy of the version 4 migration.

Second: Migration from or migration to 4?

Programmer: It doesn't matter. Version 4 is the one never released, right before we sold it off to them.

Second: This isn't the way I would have written it.

Programmer: Yes it is. You wrote it. You were the only one who ever knew what ECRW stood for.

Second: Oh! Oh yeah. ... Hey, didn't we have this conversation before?

IT: During the version 8 migration.

Second: I bet the 'C' was for 'Computer'. I used to like putting an extra 'C' in names.

IT: That's why your computer's labelled 'LL418 Computer Computer'.

Second: That was the label maker being difficult.

Relations: You know what you need? Metadata about your metadata.

Programmer: We have, that's how I tracked down the problem. It imports the meta-metadata perfectly, it just loses the metadata.

Relations: How's the meta-meta-metadata?

Programmer: Shut up. Anyway, we worked up a tool for doing conversions right. You run this and then it breaks your files.

Relations: Our clients aren't going to like that.

IT: Turns out it's easier to break everything the same way instead of figuring what to make of the conversion done right.

Second: I know why we didn't want it pronounced ``ecru''. We thought it was a kind of gazelle.

Relations: Why did we sell it off to them, anyway?

Programmer: You didn't want to deal with migration issues anymore.

Trivia: The bottom of the scoresheet for an early game of the New York Knickerbockers, one of the pioneer organized baseball teams, notes that one player was fined six cents for saying ``s—t''. Source: But Didn't We Have Fun? And Informal History Of Baseball's Pioneer Era, 1843 - 1870, Peter Morris. Morris points out there's a certain mischievousness in identifying the specific word rather than just saying he broke the rule against cussing.

Currently Reading: Tales From The Drones Club, P G Wodehouse. There's a lot of Bingo Little stories in this. I wonder if any anthologist has tried assembling all the stories of the non-name-brand characters in the Jeevesiverse. Wodehouse wrote, like, a third of an Asimov's worth of stories; there must be enough for at least a slender volume on some of the supporting cast.

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