Ben Langhinrichs

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January, 2005
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Civility in critiquing the ideas of others is no vice. Rudeness in defending your own ideas is no virtue.


Tue 25 Jan 2005, 07:08 AM
Crystal CoexSize Matters
by Crystal Coex, Analyst Femme Fatale

The shadows lay deep and still under the trees, blocking the faint moonlight which vainly tried to illuminate their secrets.  Even an observant passerby might have failed to notice the thin column of smoke which emerged silently from one of the deeper shadows and dissipated quickly in the higher branches, or even the occasional telltale flash of satiny white flesh from behind the dark leather skirt.  Crystal had no specific need for secrecy tonight, but caution was in her nature.
 
Scanning the street one final time to ensure she was alone, Crystal flicked the stub from her unfiltered cigarette to the sidewalk and ground it out with the toe of her long, leather boot.  Walking swiftly, she crossed and headed back to the silent office.  Crystal hadn't always chosen to spend her nights in such... productive ways, but her colleague Mike always left early, and that was enough incentive.  
 
"Weak", Crystal thought, grimacing at the thought of her hapless fellow developer, but instantly revising her thinking to accommodate a much broader category.  "All men are weak.  Weak, pathetic worms.", she thought, unconsciously grinding her toe into the carpet as if to visit on the entire male gender the fate of her discarded cigarette butt.  Crystal lit another cigarette and took a deep drag, and her mind couldn't help but return to her ex-husband, Duffbert, though the very memory filled her with disgust. 
 
"How could I have been such a fool?", she thought.  "What a terrible mistake that was.  I should have known when he had the name of an unwanted children's sock puppet.  He was so short, so small, so diminutive, but Carla kept on and on about the size of his hands, insisting they could only mean one thing... I wonder if she is wrong about a puppy's paws as well."
 
Her mind wandered, thinking of Duffbert's long sensitive fingers... and the anticipation... and the crushing disappointment.  Crystal leaned back in the chair and placed her long, booted feet upon the desk.  It was her boss's desk, but what he didn't know wouldn't hurt him, not that hurting him would cost Crystal any sleep.  She thought of the e-mails she had passed on to Duffbert, hoping he would read them and how her hopes were dashed by a simple spam filter.  She thought of the inevitable confrontation when she caught him nursing more than a drink with a young coed who hadn't the experience to know what she was missing.
 
Disgusted, Crystal went to Mike's office, picked the lock on his private refrigerator and grabbed a tall, icy cold beer.  She sat down at her own desk and opened the latest case folder, and as she read she stroked away the moisture from the bottle with her index finger, slowly, gently scraping the glass with a long, polished, ruby red nail.  "We have a huge problem", she read as the letter started, and the motion of her finger on the cool, tall glass quickened almost imperceptibly.  "Simply enormous." and the motion quickened again, while the pressure from her nail increased so that she was scratching a path in the label as her nail crossed back and forth.  If there was one thing Crystal couldn't resist, it was size, and this potential customer was large... very, very large.  Taking a moment to catch her breath, Crystal read on.  "Our company, Über Phallic und Zensual GmbH, has recently take possession of a large competitor."  Crystal's grip on the tall, thin bottle tightened, and a small bead of thread broke out on her brow.  Suddenly, she couldn't stand it and took a long, deep gulp, held it in her mouth for a long moment, then swallowed and slammed the bottle back on the desk.  She walked across the room, gripping the letter in her hand and opened the window, breathing in deeply from the cool night that flowed in.  She continued to read.
 
"We have agreed to standardize on Exchange for our messaging, but we have many large, hard Notes applications,and we do not want to, how is it the Americans say it, screw them up.  We have many doclinks used, and they are making us crazy.  When they come from our Domino 5 servers, the doclinks are gone before they get to the Outlook.  When they come from our Domino 6 servers, the doclinks are converted into links, but these links lead nowhere for many of our users.  When our employees who are still on Notes send doclinks to those who are on Outlook, some come right away, and some never come at all."
 
Crystal undid the top button of her sheer black blouse, and read on.
 
"We must have our links, and they must come every time, without fail.  Do you understand me?"  On the whole, Crystal really thought she did.  She unbuttoned another button, and her chest heaved as she continued.
 
"Whatever we do, it must scale, and it must be ready right away.  We have hired an American expert named Duffbert who says we must convert all of our applications to Java, and that he will show us how, but we are hoping your company will have a product that will help us, as we think rewriting everything in Java would be very time consuming and expensive, and we have no idea how it would solve the problem anyway."
 
The mood was shattered.  Crystal buttoned her blouse, closed the window with a slam, and whipped off a short note saying that, yes, CoexLinks would solve the problem easily, convert the doclinks as needed without any of their "American expert's" coding necessary, and certainly without Java, and that the solution was scalable, simple to install, and efficient.  She threw the half full bottle into Mike's wastebasket and watched the contents spill out unwanted, then walked wordlessly to the door.  Her job was done, the client would be happy, and she wondered why she felt so... unfulfilled.

Copyright 2005 Genii Software Ltd.