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Discussing software, the web, politics, sexuality and the unending supply of human stupidity.


How many software developers would it take to change a lightbulb?

One person to go to the shop to buy a lightbulb.

Another person who goes and tries to buy a lightbulb but fails because the shop doesn’t accept Bitcoin. He pops on to Reddit to complain and in the process compares his situation to that of the Jews in Nazi Germany.

Another person to go on to JIRA and spend twenty minutes deciding whether it is a bug, a support question, a request or one of fifteen other categories that someone dreamt up as being necessary for “process reasons”.

An ops person to spend half a day setting up a virtual private light fitting environment so you can securely test your lightbulb fittings without having to be exposed to the evils of the Internet. Having set this up, he’ll forget to give you a password.

Another ops person who sets up a CI server to tell you whether your lightbulb is actually on. And some zany co-workers who decide to give you a lethal electric shock if you cause the CI to go red, because they’ve got a company culture to uphold. And you wouldn’t want to not be a culture fit.

A few managers standing around and looking at the Herculean efforts of their lightbulb fitting team and wishing they could go ten times faster even though that would require adding more hours to the day and extra limbs to their employees. They pass the time by producing Gantt charts and burndown charts that have almost no relation to reality.

137 to prepare reports for management on comparing the different types of lightbulbs and light fixtures and light switches. None of which will be read; management will instead just choose the lightbulb manufacturer that buys them lots of drinks and hookers.

1 person to poke around on Github for a lightbulb library.

1 person to package an old, broken version of the lightbulb library for Debian and Ubuntu and then complain that the fixed one isn’t “stable” enough.

20 person to put a slightly less broken version of the lightbulb library up on an Ubuntu PPA and then neglect to maintain it.

1 fucking rockstar to tell the guy looking on Github that they all suck and he’ll write a better one this evening when he’s dosed up on Red Bull.

Someone wearing Google Glass looking like a complete cock.

Someone in a far away land who looks at the lightbulb specification, doesn’t quite understand it and hops on to LightbulbOverflow and asks in all caps “CAN YOU SEND ME THE BLUBS BY EMAIL TO confusedlightblubman@hotmail.com ?”. Management in San Francisco and London still think outsourcing to this company is a good thing because they are cheap.

Some consultants in suits saying that the lightbulb isn’t enterprise ready and needs to be made more modular and hook up to their Enterprise Service Bridge and Messaging Architecture and to communicate using 17 different SOAP and WS-* standards dreamed up by people with important job titles at BEA, Microsoft, Oracle and IBM, but which nobody has actually ever sat down and implemented without wanting to stab someone in the face so many times they don’t have a face left. Usually themselves.

A few more to argue which type of XML Schema vocabulary (XSD, RELAX NG, DTD, Schematron etc.) should be used, with one fucking genius deciding to blow up all the lightbulbs on the planet by launching a billion lightbulb DTD attack on the XML architecting team.

A few young hipsters who point at the XML Schema and SOAP people and tell them they are ludicrously outdated and need to get with building a RESTful HTTP API using JSON, but look blankly at you when you ask them what content negotiation is or the difference between safe and unsafe methods, and then produce you an API that is completely undocumented, changes every week and doesn’t actually conform to anything sensible about web architecture.

Some idealistic open data person to suggest that maybe they should try RDF. Fifty people to tell him he’s an idiot.

300 or so tossers on Hacker News bitching about how the lightbulb “doesn’t scale” because the bulb they’ve put in their bedside lamp isn’t able to double as a floodlight for a fucking soccer stadium.

A whole bevy of other tossers who decide they don’t like lightbulbs done in the traditional way so write a fucking library called lightbulb.js because “everything that can be written in JavaScript will be”. The lightbulbs depend on seventeen JavaScript libraries and silently fail if you fit them in an old house.

Some arsehole on Lambda the Ultimate who points to an unreadable PDF filled with mathematical equations proving that unless you know Haskell you aren’t a good person and should just go die in a fire rather than bother fitting lightbulbs.

Some other arsehole in the comments on Lambda the Ultimate asking whether it’s normal that to turn the light switch on, he needs to do a Ph.D first.

Twenty odd bloggers writing naff articles about how the LightbulbStateMutator monad isn’t that complicated and analogising it to pizzas, roadkill, leprosy, Cher’s new album and some even more complicated abstract concepts.

An important looking person in a dark black suit who turns up, insists that you install a box next to the lightbulb and tells you that you aren’t allowed to tell anyone about this because of national security but that if anyone asks, it’s only metadata.

One meek university professor suggesting that maybe if you are going to change a lightbulb, you should get some kind of qualification first, agree to some kind of lightbulb fitters’ code of conduct and ethics, and take out some professional indemnity insurance so that if your incompetence leads to people dying, people don’t point to lightbulb fitters and say they are all cowboys and charlatans and morons.

A few thousand people telling meek university professor to go fuck himself.

A young lady asking very politely if she can have a turn fitting lightbulbs once in a while without being cat-called, jeered at or threatened with rape.

A couple dozen nice guys telling her to get back in the kitchen, make them a sandwich and stop being a radical feminist misandrist or they’ll rape the fucking crap out of her while then explaining that they don’t understand why anyone would think that women face any issue in the lightbulb business.

A couple of venture capitalists who are wearing suit jackets but not ties so they can look modern saying things like “these lightbulbs seem like a neat hack but how exactly do you plan to monetize this?” and “what’s your exit strategy?”

A couple of professional lightbulb journalists arguing about who got the scoop on the fitting of the new lightbulb and sending catty tweets back and forth about how they suck. And another professional lightbulb metajournalist to document said catty Twitter fight for his lightbulb industry gossip blog.

Finally, one person to fit the lightbulb.

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