Talkin' Turkey

Not much in the mood to be grateful this year, Auntie sounds off about things for which she’s not so thankful.

Auntie was originally going to do one of those oh-so-clever “We give thanks for...” November columns, but realized that, in doing so, she’d be less original than Strom Thurmond’s hair. So Auntie’s gonna be “Anti,” and go over some “Things We Do Not Give Thanks For.”


Things We Do Not Give Thanks For

  • We do not give thanks for yet another security hole in any product with a Microsoft logo on it. There are more holes in IE, IIS and Outlook than in a hunk of Swiss cheese the size of Neptune.
  • We do not give thanks for the Windows 2000 File Replication Service. Apparently, if you bring up a new Domain Controller, FRS leaps out of your server, ruins your credit rating, and turns your household pets into Man’s Best Friend Tartar.
  • We do not give thanks for stock options as a compensation and bonus tool. In this marketplace, do you really have to ask why?
  • We do not give thanks for our friends who suggested that we go independent just before IT budgets got the Lizzie Borden treatment. Likewise, we do not give thanks for the same friends who told us to stick with staff work when consultants with fewer brains than a fruit fly were getting more than $100 per hour.
  • We do not ever give thanks for Fabio’s Gorgonzola and parsnip soufflé—an unfortunate, but inevitable, part of our Thanksgiving festivities.
  • We do not give thanks for the Microsoft antitrust case. This began sometime before Al Gore invented the Internet and will continue on appeal to every ruling judicial body of every inhabited planet throughout the the Milky Way.
  • We do not give thanks for spin and doubletalk. “Downsizing” and “rightsizing” mean the same as when Tony Soprano has someone whacked. A bug isn’t a “feature,” it’s something your code does wrong. Functionality missing from your software isn’t a “third-party opportunity,” it’s something your code should do, but doesn’t. We could eliminate global warming if we could cut the amount of verbal methane in half.
  • We would be happy to not give thanks for .NET, but we’re still not certain exactly what the #^%&*$ it is.
  • We are certain, however, that we do not give thanks for Visual Basic .NET, which provides increased functionality at the cost of a few measly changes in syntax. Put another way, VB.NET is to VB 6.0 as Shakespeare is to Teletubbies. The learning curve is somewhat steep. Harrrrumph.
  • We do not give thanks for having to reverse engineer applications because no one throughout a multinational enterprise ever thought to get source code or documentation from the developers.
  • We do not give thanks for obscure code names for future releases of Microsoft operating systems. We’d rather not have to study geography in order to get the joke. Just call ’em “The Next One” and “The One After That.”
  • We do not give thanks for conferences with attendance topping 10,000. The joy of learning is somewhat diminished by the need for shuttle buses between conference rooms, the necessity of sturdy hiking boots and keynote speeches in spaces the size of pro hockey arenas.
  • We do not give thanks for people who charge less than we do for the same work—ever.
  • We do not give thanks for the sheer amount of information we’re required to absorb in order to keep our skills current and remain competitive. This goes far beyond certification exams—which are, children, as you well know, sublime concoctions of critical skills, rote memorization and marketing spin posing as technical data. No, if we’re actually worth a damn as engineers and developers, we have to stuff “stuff” into our brains and then integrate it so that we can actually make it serve some useful purpose.


We do give thanks that we can, for the most part, retain enough non-technical skills to tie our own shoelaces, pass a driving test, form sentences out of words with more than two syllables, and tell Fabio that the soufflé is fabulous as always.

About the Author

Em C. Pea, MCP, is a technology consultant, writer and now budding nanotechnologist who you can expect to turn up somewhere writing about technology once again.


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