If programming was like the movies


(Int. Swordfish Inc. – a young programming start up company.  It is Bob’s first day of work.   He is sitting at his desk.  He doesn’t know what to do)

(His manager Stanley Jobson walks up behind him.  Stanley bears a striking resemblance to Hugh Jackman)

Stanley:  How’s it going, sport?

Bob: .. um.  Good?  I guess?

Stanley: Well listen, we like to get right down to it here, so if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask.

Bob: Yeah, good.  Actually, I do have a couple questions about this setup and my role here.

Stanley: Hit me Bob.  I want to help.

Bob: Okay, well for starters, my desk is… ah… a little cluttered.

Stanley:  That’s top-of-the-goddamn-line technology staring you in the face Bob.

Bob: Right, I get that, but I was hired as a mainframe programmer?  Specifically COBOL?

Stanley: … and?

Bob: Okay, so I don’t want to rock the boat here, but I don’t actually need nine monitors.

bob's workstation
Technology staring Bob in the face. Not pictured – three more monitors

Stanley: (confused) This is how we roll here Bob.   It’s nine goddamn monitors, or it’s nothing.

Bob: Right, but what do half of them even do?  Like this one (points) – it’s just displaying random binary code, which even assuming I could read binary, it’s scrolling at a near unreadable-speed.  AND, I can’t read binary.

Stanley: I-

Bob: And this one.  It’s just displaying the file structure of my C: drive.  Which I can pretty easily get on my main screen.  Using like command prompt or explorer.  Nor is that information I need constantly displayed.

Stanley: Look Bob, here at Swordfish Inc., we give you the tools you require to succeed.

Bob: I don’t need three keyboards.  I can only type on one at a time.  I can’t simultaneously type on three keyboards.

two idiots one keyboard
The idiots at Navy NCIS have also tried this

Stanley: Listen Bob, I’m trying to promote an agile technology environment here and part of that is four keyboards and six to nine monitors.

Bob: What the fuck is that spinning cube on monitor six?

bob's nightmare
Bob’s worst nightmare

Stanley: You like that?  It’s a graphical model that shows how close your program is to completion.  Every time you compile your code, the graphical model interprets the number of errors and attempts to redraw itself based on that.  The closer you get, the more cubes show up over top of the cubes.

Bob:  Are you being serious?

Stanley:  (proudly) I programmed that myself.

Bob:  How fucking long did that take you?

Stanley: Dunno.  19 months I guess.  Give or take.

Bob:  Does it even work with standard programming languages?

Stanley:… no.  No, probably not.  In fact, it only works with the one program I was writing at the time.  I’m not sure it works with anything else.  But Bob, that’s your first step here at Swordfish Inc.

Bob:  What?

Stanley:  Before we start any programming exercise here, we first write another program that graphically interprets how close our second program is to completion.

Bob: ….

Stanley: Straight up.


Bob:  (deep sigh) Jesus Christ.  How are you even in business?

Stanley:  You’re in the big leagues now kid.  So get down to work – writing that payroll system.  But first things first.  Don’t forget to write that graphical compiler interpreter.

Bob: Uh huh.

Stanley:  And Jesus, have some wine.  And program standing up.  And listen to easy beat techno.  This is how we do it in the pro’s kid.

Bob:  O…kay.  Hey, do you ever write design specs before you start cod-

Stanley: Great to have you on the team Bob!  You need anything, I’ll be finding out a way to cram more monitors onto your workstation.


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