Sunday, 16 December 2012

Standby, here it comes .... again

Newtown, Connecticut, USA - remember it.

A whack-job gets a gun, and kills 20+ children that he didn't even KNOW, his mother, and himself.

It seems even the terminally crazy can get one thing right.

Now for the back-lash.

Every gun owner that DIDN'T DO IT is going to get shafted - in the name of DOING SOMETHING.

Just one more law will solve this problem. After all, the whack-job only:
1) Acquired two handguns - illegally
2) Stole a rifle (an AR-15) - illegally
3) Killed his mother - illegally
4) Stole her car - illegally
5) Transported guns in the car - illegally
6) Entered a school with guns - illegally
7) Brandished a firearm - illegally
8) Discharged a firearm in a school - illegally
9) Shot more people - illegally
10) Killed himself - who cares

If only the teachers could have done something more than just be heroic.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Unemployment SUCKS

Monday morning - first day of unemployment.

I can't be bothered looking for more work until after Christmas, so I don't even set the alarm.

Phone rings at oh-dark-thirty.

"Help, ABC isn't working."

"Sorry, I don't do support for Company A any more."

"..*splutter*, but somebody has to fix this!"

"True, but that somebody is NOT me. I was escorted from the building on Friday, and warned never to return. I suggest you call your boss about finding someone to fix it. I have his mobile number in case you don't."

"Can't you call him?"

"I could, but I won't. Have fun. Bye."

Phone rings again 10 minutes later - it's Boss Man 1.

"ABC isn't working." 

"I know, Minion 1 called already."

"So what are you doing about it?"

"Nothing. I recall something about ... and don't come back..., so I won't. Bye."

Phone rings again 10 minutes later. I am sitting outside, drinking a coffee, and re-reading the Sunday paper - it's HO Boss Man.

"What's this I hear about you refusing to fix an urgent problem at Company A? What do you think you get paid to do?"

"One, I haven't been paid for work at that place since July. 
Two, I refused to do something unethical to fix your fuck-up over paying Company B, which leads to:
Three, I was escorted from the building on Friday, threatened, abused, and warned to never come back. 
You were saying?"

"We need you to fix this issue, NOW!"

"You are not listening. I do not do support at that place any more at the direct orders of Boss Man 1.  He works for you; I do not. Talk to him about it. Bye."

Phone rings 30 minutes later - it's HO boss man again.

"I have spoken to Boss Man 1. He will be calling to apologise, and then I want you to fix this problem."

OK, time to play hardball.

"Sorry, I can't. The existing support contract for my services ended when Company A, through a duly authorised representative, chose to terminate it. 

According to Company A's OH&S policy, I can't work at that site unless I am an employee or accredited contractor. I am neither. 

The accreditation process requires that Company A ensures I carry appropriate insurance, sights my training certifications and business details, then has me complete an induction course. 

This typically takes a week as you know, but my insurance broker is on holidays, so I am not sure how long it will take me to get a certificate of currency regarding insurance."

This all comes out a bit rushed, and I find myself actually trembling.

"Can't we just pretend that Friday never happened?"

"We could, but LOTS of people saw everything. A personal apology would be nice, but a public one sounds better. Also, since we are talking a new contract, I think the rates are past due for review, and all amounts outstanding need to be paid."

"I'll call you back in half an hour."

He does better than promised - the phone rings in 18 minutes.

No preamble.

"How about an email apology CC'ed to all staff, a 10% higher daily rate, and will a cheque do?"

"Sounds good."

I choose not to push things by telling him that I'll be in once the cheque clears.

"So when can you fix it?"

"Once I get on-site, about 15 minutes."


It takes me 10 minutes of the drive in to stop trembling.  Thankfully the traffic is light so early in the morning.

It turns out that the problem was a PEBKAC error (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair) due to a procedural mistake by the operator.  It is fixed in two minutes.

I am still not sure whether the operator knew what was wrong all along or not - I guess Friday drinks will be when I find out for certain.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Unemployment - Reward for Principles

I have just spent an inordinate amount of my precious time doing something that is questionably illegal.

Company A has a new piece of machinery installed in their factory.

This machinery was ordered from Company B, an overseas supplier (almost all suppliers of this type of equipment are overseas from Oz).

It was designed, built, flown half-way around the world, assembled, installed, and commissioned by Company B - on nothing more than the promise of payment from Company A once commissioned and accepted.

Company A is using the machine - arguably a good indicator that the "accepted" bit has been met - but has NOT paid for it.

Company B has a time-bomb built into the operating software for just this circumstance, and since the bill was not paid, allowed it to detonate - expensive machine, he no worky.

Negotiations take place, more promises to pay are made, and the time-bomb is "removed" - as in the machine software is reconfigured to allow an additional week of operation.

Additional week passes, and the bill remains un-paid. Machine stops.

I am approached with a request to make it work again.

I spend days groping around in the software (written in Delphi, no less, but only the compiled code is available - no source) trying to fathom how the bomb is built.

It is not a simple "If today is after 7th December, don't work anymore", but turns out to be more complex. Regardless, I work it out, and come up with a way to bypass the bomb.

I refuse to implement it.

As I see it, this is immoral even if it can be spun that it is not illegal. The DMCA doesn't apply - neither party is US-based, but I DID work out a way to defeat IP protection. 

Management of Company A insists that I implement it, or be escorted off the premises, never to return.

As of now, I'm unemployed. I guess I'll apply for a job with Company B.