back to article BOFH: Putting the commitment into committee

I never cease to be amazed by the seemingly endless possibilities for forming a committee to not do something. It's as though whenever there's a critical mass of deadwood in one room they'll end up creating a committee to legitimise themselves, make some decisions to address the ills of whatever they've talked about, issue …

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Reminds me of the conversations I have with my wife sometimes..

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She stands in a cupboard and you go to the pub?

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"Reminds me of the conversations I have with my wife sometimes.."

Wait, you didn't tell her about the TIGASA list did you? And more importantly, that the pattern on the curtains not quite matching the living room wallpaper is most definitely not on the list?

That way lies darkness, despair & eternal damnation...

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My sister-in-law once asked me if the kettle and toaster set would match the accent colours in my kitchen/dining room.

All the words are english, it's just what she'd done with them that I objected to. I didn't bother telling her that the kettle and toaster didn't even match each other, let alone the non-existent cushions. I bloody hate cushions! Buy chairs that are comfortable, so you don't need them.

Still, most of us have certain things that we obsess about the details of, and others we couldn't give a stuff about. Some people get really upset about Microsoft Comic Sans, or even have preferences for different flavours of arial fonts.

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Pint

Must have Serif fonts. Must! Desktop must have tear-off menus. Must!

You rang? Do enjoy pub'o'clock for me.

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At one point my work had a 80 page intranet style guideline but no templates. Aligning a three pixel vertical white line with the vertical bit of the N in my company's name is a bit of my life that I won't get back...

I'm very pleased that I don't do any web development any more.

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I worked for a US multi-national. Our logo useage policy document was 19 pages long. I believe the logo had to be at an exact 23° angle. Heaven knows why.

I needed a copy of a logo to sling on top of an invoice. Marketing still gave me a stiff talking to, and made me read the document, before I was allowed a copy of the file though.

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MJI
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TIGASA

My TIGASA list if different to my wifes. No problem, she worries about colours, I worry about the quality and usabilty.

But then at work we all have different TIGASA lists over cars. No 2 owns a kit car I struggle to get in.

Person 1 : is it economical

Person 2 : is it different

Person 3 : is it fast

Person 4 : is it big engined, automatic, and comfy

Person 5 : can they fit all their kids and their friends

Person 6 : is it insurable

So Person 1 gets a cold sweat at the thought of Person 4 getting < 30mpg. Yet Person 4 cannot understand buying a car with a 1 at the front of capacity and only 4 cylinders.

I do tend to upset him a bit by quoting poor consumption and buying fuel because the garage is near rather than cheap.

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A Question of style

Many years ago I got fed up with the lack of desktop organisation tools so I cobbled something together so that all the grouped icons on my desktop were contained within sectioned areas with relevant headings etc. and it was all nice and clear and no matter how many icons I had I could find what I needed.

Someone from the web team came along and wanted a copy, which I refused at the time (for reasons which will become apparent). I then got into bother for apparently re-programming the desktop and IT stuck their noses in - then they wanted a copy.

In the end I had to admit that I'd created a picture in mspaint and set it as my background, then just dropped icons into the relevant sections :D For some reason everyone lost interest after that.

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First rule of TIGASA list...

"Wait, you didn't tell her about the TIGASA list did you? And more importantly, that the pattern on the curtains not quite matching the living room wallpaper is most definitely not on the list?"

Agreed. At the very top of my TIGASA list is "Making sure other people don't know which things that they care about are not on this list." It's part of the overall "peacekeeping/cowardice" theme that makes up the bulk of the first dozen or so items.

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Re: A Question of style

@Sir Runcible - what you want is called "Fences" from Stardock. Lovely little piece of software.

http://www.stardock.com/products/fences/

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Pint

Re: A Question of style

" had to admit that I'd created a picture in mspaint and set it as my background, then just dropped icons into the relevant sections"

That solution is quite elegant in its simplicity. Have an upvote and one of these ------->

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I believe the logo had to be at an exact 23° angle. Heaven knows why.

Probably to compensate for the axial tilt of the Earth.

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Wives, cars, colours

"My TIGASA list if different to my wifes. No problem, she worries about colours, I worry about the quality and usabilty."

I’d just taken delivery of my first proper long distance limo, which I'd bought to be able to do large distances around Europe and not be knackered by the time I got to where I was going.

I picked up the girlfriend and we set off for the weekend.

The car behaved immaculately, nice sound system, air con, heated leather seats, enough oomph to deal with the Autobahn etc etc.

When we got out of the car at our destination, gf pointed at a red Mondeo and said:

"Look, what a beautiful car!"

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Re: A Question of style

"what you want is called "Fences" from Stardock. Lovely little piece of software."

Looks nice, not sure why it took 20 years to turn up though :) I think I missed an opportunity there.

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"Marketing still gave me a stiff talking to, and made me read the document, before I was allowed a copy of the file though."

Didn't you ask them to check your stock of paper in the store room? The store room with no door handle on the inside.

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Re: A Question of style

"For some reason everyone lost interest after that."

Simple, easy and functional; anathema for a modern 'Usability Designer'! ☺

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Coat

Wifey dearest

I take it you A-Door her... :)

You'll be needing that coat, methinks...

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@ Sir Runcible Spoon

Have you tried "Fences"? If you can find an older version, that's free. Install and persuade it not to update, you're home and dry.

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Re: A Question of style

Ah - Stardock. I first became acquainted with them when - IIRC - Galactic Civilizations was their few products and the only decent game that ran in OS/2. They also came up with a few really nice utilities for OS/2 that took excellent advantage of things OS/2 did that no other OS did at the time. Sadly, they drifted toward Windows while I was settling into Linux.

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Re: A Question of style

Until the day some bit of unrestrained software resized your desktop, autoplacing them all into inconvenient new positions.

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Re: A Question of style

You should have taken a screen capture with the icons in place, inverted it, and offered to "install" it. Then flip the screen upside down (well, it WAS back in the days of CRTs). When they complain, tell them it's not your fault their computer isn't compatible. Then watch them try to click on an icon as the mouse goes in the opposite direction.

My first victim was the IT tyrant - you know, the guy who knows nothing, got the job because he knows the boss, and tries to dictate how everyone needs the same standard setup. Because that's all he knows.

15 minutes of saying that I infected his machine with a virus - with a crowd around him by then - when all he had to do was turn the monitor right side up and change the background.

I thought it was funny. So did everyone else who had experience with how he was a real PITA. What he thought was not on my list of TIGASA. And he couldn't complain because it would have shown just how incompetent he was.

For bonus points, my next victim I only rotated the image 90 degrees, then turned the monitor on its side.

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Re: TIGASA

""Person 4 : is it big engined, automatic, and comfy"

"Yet Person 4 cannot understand buying a car with a 1 at the front of capacity and only 4 cylinders."

But surely a 2 in front of the capacity is only "big" if it talks about hundreds of cubic inches? And even then it should be at least a 3... (309 ci = about 5.1 litres).

Or have I been spoiled by too many years of the 80s spent in the US?

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Re: TIGASA

"Then watch them try to click on an icon as the mouse goes in the opposite direction."

A mate once asked me to help him sort out a virus on his PC. There was a little information box on the screen, but you couldn't shut it off or even move it. It was also not showing up in the process queue.

It was my experience with the desktop trick that made me check the background image - someone had managed to snap his desktop and overlay the dialogue, then save it back :)

Needless to say I never got any credit for sorting that one out, a more accurate description in the first paragraph should have been 'ex-mate' :)

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Anonymous Coward

That reminds me of a comedy sketch about cushions on beds, you only have to take them off the bed to use it.

Completely pointless.

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Re: TIGASA

It was my experience with the desktop trick that made me check the background image - someone had managed to snap his desktop and overlay the dialogue, then save it back :)

Seen that one done..

I saw one better when the animated desktop stuff was available in Windows (XP?) Someone did the nasty dialogue box, with an animated counter.. Text along the lines of "Virus will wipe computer in X:XX, do not restart your computer. Close window to abort", with the X:XX of course being a decreasing time.

Poor guy was just about in tears as he just could not get that thing to close! (Did give me a chance to try to teach him a bit more about backups and if he did them regularly then he wouldn't risk losing a few months work!)

(May not have been "Virus", maybe "format" or something like that)

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Anonymous Coward

Wait a minute

I'm convinced I had a meeting almost exactly the same as this just the other week. Although I can't get away with locking my manager in a cupboard.

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Trollface

Re: Wait a minute

I dont think you've tried!

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Re: Wait a minute

You can easily get away with locking your manager in a cupboard. So long as you don't get caught. Admittedly this may mean the experience needs to be terminal for the manager in question, but you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.

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Re: Wait a minute

Just remember; you can, as long as it is an AIRTIGHT cupboard...

And there are no witnesses, (outside the cupboard).

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Re: Wait a minute

I think there are a few points that need to be clarified:

- the cupboard should be FIREPROOF (to protect important things) not AIRTIGHT to prevent any issues with H&S...

- if the manager locks himself in the airtight cupboard and is unable to locate the light switch or the emergency door release or they both turn out to be faulty, then it would be a terrible accident...

- the paper trail showing the manager declining the recommended safety tests in said cupboard may also help in any subsequent inquiries by the local constabulary

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Reminds me of several people I have worked with over the course of my career.

These people just don't seem to understand that other people don't feel as strongly as they do when it comes to certain things.

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"These people just don't seem to understand that other people don't feel as strongly as they do when it comes to certain things."

Ah, you've met our marketing team then?

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"Ah, you've met our marketing team then?"

It's reciprocal with marketing teams. They don't seem to understand you strongly I feel about being pestered.

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I'm borrowing "TIGASA list" for future use. It'll nicely supplement my labeling things as SEPs (Somebody Else's Problems, for those of you that don't recall upended Italian restaurants from Douglas Adams books).

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Devil

NMC,NMM... Not my circus, Not my monkey. Feel free to add this one too. And PEIDO - Problem exists in Director's Office ;-}

Share and share alike and all that!

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Ditto!

First thing I thought when I read it, that's going in my vocabulary!

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acronyms

my personal favorite: FEBCAK - Fatal Error Between Chair And Keyboard.

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Don't translate that last acronym (Problem Exists...) into Portuguese.

I've warned you.

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I have used NMFP in the past. Not My {choose appropriate word} Problem".

Also LASH (Lazy Ass Shit Here) for those things that are somebody else's responsibility but they're trying to push it on to me...

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Nie Moj Cyrk,

Nie Moje Malpy!

http://www.schlockmercenary.com/blog/nmc-nmm-coin-intro/

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Re: acronyms

'Problem exists between eyeballs and fingertips...'

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SNMP

There's also SNMP - Sorry, Not My Problem

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Re: acronyms

PICNIC

Problem in chair not in computer!

The office knows it now but do have the ability to laugh when they realise they have messed up.

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Not my circus, Not my monkey

Like that one but also like, Not my bull, not my bullshit!

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Re: acronyms

I usually tell people who have done something really stupid on the PC that they have an "I. D. TEN T" fault / error.

most people just sagely nod their head and carry on, but there was the General Managers PA last year (who for a better idea of what I was messing with, is a 50+ Belfast Irish Potty mouthed fog horn), kept putting stuff on her desk and having it hold down the control key on her keyboard and rant that the system was rubbish etc....

I repeated to her that is was the above error code, so she started telling everyone about it...... until she wrote it down...... " I.D.I.O.T" error......

Still makes me laugh and especially since eventually she found the funny side to it..... and she never rested stuff on her keyboard again.

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Mushroom

Exactly

"...they want a "good" design and "intuitive" navigation - yardsticks which become weapons in the hands of idiots."

And meaningless bollocks in the hands of sales wonks who commission website designers. Which is exactly why I moved carefully away from "web design", and now concentrate on finding customers who want to have complex data delivered in plain-looking pages from a well-built backend database, with no unnecessary bells, whistles, or JQuery - and especially no JS predictive typing which spends so long searching for predictions that it stops users from actually typing what they want to type.

Company motto: "We'll make it work, but don't ask us what colour it should be."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Exactly

"Company motto: "We'll make it work, but don't ask us what colour it should be.""

I say to my customers "I'll make it work, get someone else to make it look pretty"

previous experiences include being berated for not being able to match the colour of chrome (the metal), it turned out that no colour would ever match because the customer wanted to be able see their reflection as if it were highly polished metal

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Windows

Committees

“Ah,” said the marketing girl, “Well, we’re having a little difficulty there.”

“Difficulty?” exclaimed Ford, “Difficulty? What do you mean, difficulty? It’s the single simplest machine in the entire Universe!”

The marketing girl soured him with a look.

“Alright, Mr Wiseguy,” she said, “you’re so clever, you tell us what colour it should have.”

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