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View Funnies Tuesday, April 20, 2021

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UNASSIGNED: This funny is in the 'unassigned' queue which means it has been picked to be mailed out to the mailing list, but has not been assigned a date yet. It may or may not have been checked by the editors, so don't be surprised if you find a grammar error or two. Of course, it could be removed or shuffled to another queue at any time. Your votes help us decide if a funny should be mailed out (or not). Please give your opinion by voting.

Stupidity Bonus
Date: No date scheduled
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Rating: 3.41/5 (74 votes)
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012345

It's the 1990's, and at this electronics manufacturer, all the factory IT systems run on a cluster of VAX minicomputers, says a technician working there.

"Each software engineer's log-in ID was his last name," tech says. "Thus, the jobs they ran on the computers would show in the process list with their names on them."

That list is displayed when a particular system command is run. But the monitor command is very resource-intensive, and there's only one person who uses it except when absolutely necessary. That's the director of manufacturing IT, who runs it constantly.

"Why?" the systems administrator asks the director in a meeting. And the tech overhears the director whispering to his right-hand manager that he uses it to keep an eye on who's being productive.

Tech is outraged. "This was not a fair measurement of productivity," he says. "An analyst running a data-crunching job would show up prominently on the director's screen, but an engineer developing real-time code on a piece of manufacturing equipment would never show up. Also, somebody who wrote shoddy code that took forever to run would be viewed in a more favorable light than somebody who wrote fast, tight code.

"As soon as the meeting was over, I went back to my desk and wrote a simple program that was nothing but an infinite loop. I then set myself up to be able to launch the command at lowest priority on any computer to run for a random amount of time."

As a result, the tech's program only uses up idle CPU time -- but it always shows up at the top of the CPU-monitor list.

"Then I randomly launched the program on different computers in the cluster at different times," says the tech. "Especially evenings and weekends when I was working overtime and the director happened to be in as well. I made sure my idle loop was prominently appearing on his screen from several directions at once.

"For the entire time I worked for that division, I received stellar annual performance reviews. I also received higher-than-average merit pay increases each year.

"I always wonder how much of that was due to the busy little program."

Received from Thomas Ellsworth.


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