The Way It Is
THE WAY IT IS
Recently someone called me from one of the "Out on the Floor Offices", an
ethereal place rumoured to exist only in hyperspace, populated by mysterious
beings called Users.
She was quite frantic. She was having trouble running a program through the
computer, and her message was clear enough, although rather ill-conceived:
"MY FILES ARE FULL!"
I furrowed my brow, lit a smoke, and explained to her, "Really now, Miss
Butterman, I don't have time for this." I slowly exhaled the menthol vapours
as I stopped her process, crushing any hope she may have had of ever again
seeing that document she had spent three hours slaving over.
"I was a typing this REALLY important letter, and it HAS to be ready in an
hour...there's all this stuff on my screen that I didn't type... it says
something about an error, should I read it to you?"
"No point. Just press return."
"Oh my, it wants my username. Can I restart that where I left off?"
"Not a chance." I drew another puff and tossed the phone aside.
It occurred to me that if I had to hear one more of those whining complaint
sessions, heads were gonna roll. Where do you people GET this stuff? I'm
going to tell you what's really going on here. Now LISTEN UP. I'm not going
over it a second time:
The black box that does your work for you. That's all you need to know.
Usually measured in nanoseconds; sometimes measured in calendar months.
The general rule is: Shut up your complaining about response time.
See "Computer." Again, not your concern.
If we want you to know we'll tell you about it, otherwise, leave us
Don't worry about it, we'll take care of it. Use it to send mail among
your half-wit selves, and don't think we won't read it all. What do
you think we do all day? By the way, Butterman... shame about your
The General rule is: Don't use any data files and if you find any,
delete them before before I find out about them. In fact, just stay off
the computer (see "Response Time").
- 2 -
Don't ever call the system manager to tell him you think the computer
is down. Don't call him to ask him when it will be up again. The more
you bother him, the longer it takes.
Like I said, don't ask.
Don't be ridiculous.
A time during which I don't have to put up with your sniveling. Don't
try calling. There's no point.
Keep out, you're not invited. Don't knock on the door- don't even think
about it. I broke the phone last time one of you jerks called me, and
I'm not about to replace it. And keep your greasy fingers off the win-
The name says it all... it's mine; stay out.
not my concern.
The general rule is: Deadlines are not acknowledged by me; they're not
my responsibility. Go tell somebody who cares.
a) A Valid reason for shutting down the system at any time.
b) Much more important than anything any of you bozos do.
c) Anything I choose to call maintenance.
Far too complex for you to comprehend. If I tell you I'm upgrading the
system, just be quietly thankful. It's for your own good, even if it
does mean extensive downtime during peak hours.
I delete it before reading it, so don't bother sending any to me.
We like them just like they are; we chose them for a reason. Don't mess
with them; consider them mandatory.
I'm not interested. I'm going to kill your process anyway, so keep them
Killing your Process
a) Don't ever ask why.
b) It's beyond your control.
c) No warnings are given.
d) The highlight of my day.
e) If you call, it's going to happen. No exceptions.
- 3 -
I reserve the right to change them without notice at any time. I
choose them, and the more you bother me, the more degrading yours will
be. (Example: BUTTERMAN:SNOTFACE)
a) They slow down the computer.
b) They waste my time.
c) A general nuisance.
d) Worse than that, actually.
You don't know what you want - we'll tell you what you want. It stays
like it is. Period.
I've got them, you don't need them. Enough said.
Mine is higher than yours, accept it. That's the reason my games run
faster than your lousy accounting package.
Before calling me with your terminal problems, consider this:
a) Are you prepared to do without one for weeks?
b) Do you REALLY want your process killed?
c) Did you just trip over the cord again?
d) Of course you did
I set the quotas, you live with them. If you need more space, check
I hired him and I trained him. He does what I tell him to. Usually
armed; always dangerous.
a) A good idea
b) If I gave a sh*t
c) Which of course I don't
The only time calling my office won't result in the killing of your
That's your problem. I'm certainly not going to lose any sleep over it.
My files are locked up tight. I feel secure.
Length of time it takes me to resolve your problem by killing your pro-
Length of time it takes me to give a sh*t about any problems that can't
be resolved by killing your process.
- 4 -
a) It can't be done (as far as you know).
b) I can't be bothered.
c) You're starting to annoy me.
a) Couldn't have been avoided.
b) Not my fault (as far as you know).
c) The result of annoying me.
If it's not on the menu, don't ask for it. It's not available. If it is
on the menu, it's probably of no use or it doesn't work. We're working
on it (See "eternity").
I find them quite useful, you'll find them quite inaccessible.
Besides, they're not on the menu, are they. What did I tell you about
Of course, I reserve the right to add, change, or remove anything from the
above list. I'm not asking you to accept these matters without question, I'm
Now that we all know where we stand, I'm sure there'll be no future prob-
lems. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to keep them to
yourself. If you feel the need for more information, I highly recommend that
you ask someone else.
P.S. The new disk quota of 30 blocks per user became effective yesterday.
Anyone caught exceeding the quota will lose their accounts (this means