Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I've been 'X'-marks-the-spot'ed! Oh, noes!

So, 'X' is for 'X' marks the Spot. It could have been for X-multiplication for division by fractions ...

1/2 ÷ 1/3 = (cross-multiplying gives you 1 * 3  ÷ 2 * 1 as Mr. Milardo, my math teacher in high school would chant: "Criss-cross; Applesause!" as we did fractional division)  3/2 or 1 1/2

But that would be that post and there it is and there you have it.

Where's the adventure and drama in that? Math is exciting and original, so why would I retreat boring, rote stuff like that, which everybody knows math isn't!

(Uh, wait, geophf: most people think math is boring and rote)

(Oh.)

But that's not what this post is about. This post is about what happened at 5 pm at work in a meeting yesterday ...

... and why do these things always have to happen at 5 pm at the meeting at work, that you could've  just skipped out on, saying you had to catch your bus, but did you do that, no, and see what it gets you? Trouble, and more Trouble, that's why!

Trouble with a capital-'T'

('T' is for big Trouble)

('Hey, big Trouble.' 'Hey, little trouble.' Ah, the story of Siegfried and Brünnhilde, as retold by Quentin Tarantino)

So, yesterday at work, at 5 pm, we were having an innocuous little meeting about the layout of a chooser-window, allowing our users to select which columns to include, which not to, and which order they want to see them in.

With 600 columns, this isn't a trivial concern. Or it is trivial, but it's also a major time-sink for our users, having to deal with stuff that isn't a business concern.

Anyway, innocuous little meeting. I was bored out of my mind.

But THEN!

Our manager asked: "But what are we doing for learning our users' preferences in the application?"

Me: "Nothing."

Everybody else, all excited: "Well, we could do this and that and this and that!"

The Boss: "But what are we doing now for this?"

Me: "Nothing."

Then the boss goes on this five-minute tirade about how everywhere on the internet, it just knows what you want and how you want it, and how? And we're building applications straight out of 1993 and our users have to deal with this (euphemistic word for excrement), and what are we going to do about this? Who is going to add intelligence to our application?

And he glared right at me.

Somebody read my resume. Nobody reads resumes. Nobody reads emails. Nobody reviews code. I was totally and completely safe here being a 'senior Java developer,' slinging code and recommending 'best practices.'

Somebody read my resume.

I sighed. "I'll take this on."

Boss: "Good."

He got up and left. Meeting adjourned.

I've been played. My strengths have been played to.

My company is 'utilizing my full potential,' as it were.

I checked my shirt and my back. I didn't see a big-ole 'X' targeting me.

But it was there.

Okay, new day, but now I get to think about Markov chains and Google Analytics and neural classifiers ... at work ... and they're paying me to do this research.

Yeah. New day.

Tomorrow we'll look at the letter Y, the combinator and the company.