Wednesday, August 22, 2007

RSnake vs. TQBF: As we used to say at Cisco, "Two Man Enter: One Man Leave"

Apart from the 4-packs of sparkling fruit drinks they had in San Jose, probably the best thing about working at Cisco was the online directory. Working at a large company that has a Notes based online directory, I really, really, really, really miss (I think that's what it was, but hey is it resolves, so it must exist as does my old workstation, woo-ho!).

Not only could you watch as ordinary "Software Engineers" became "Technical Leaders" (and you knew they were either a grade 11 or 12 by then and could then guess at their bonus percentile) there were pictures! So you could tell who was shooting for the stars when they replaced their first day digital camera picture (yes I was so happy to have left Southwestern Bell/SBC and at $54 the stock could only go up!) with an executive portrait in a suit and tie and the blueish Sears portrait studio style backdrop. And any blog entry would be incomplete without stories of the SPA engineer[s] that used curl-cron jobs (or whatever) during the "Hundred Year Flood" (the term Chambers gave to the big round of layoffs in the Spring of '01) to track which organizations and individuals we "impacted."

But back to the pictures! So much you could do with these pictures. During a "management transition" my cube-mate created javascript popups of our new boss all over his screen to let him know that our new boss was always watching him (and improving his productivity!). Other folks replaced their photo's with arbitrary URLs of their favorite movie characters. I sent out one of a crazy looking crypto program manager spoofed from Who was this Mr. X? What did he want? Those were the days. And that is what happens when you are in a overhead group with no revenue responsibilities or infrastructure to operate and maintain.

But the best were the cage matches. You picked (and printed out) a crusty old distinguished engineer that had the vagrant/professor look down and imaged him battling the VP/GM of some switching BU that looked like the bully that kicked your ass in 7th grade. And you watch them fighting, brawling, swinging, until one was left standing. And you would shout, "Two Man Enter: One Man Leave!"

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Oh yeah if you are taking the day off (I haven't logged into the VPN once!) and are looking for a fun read, check out Robert Hansen Loses His Sh*t Over Google Gadgets. A classic cage match, Cisco Austin Building 3 style.

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