Deep Underground with Raul Groom

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Geek Humor

Well, of course I'm slacking mightily on my debate post, but you see, the town water tower exploded and flooded my entire city, so I'm currently clinging to a floating box and... No, wait, that isn't funny with a bunch of people still missing after Hurricane Charley. Suffice it to say my entry is mostly written, but I have yet to finish it and post it.

One of the reasons is that I'm in the middle of a big project at work to basically clean up and reorganize the areas of the office that are used by the support department so that we can be more efficient. This is generally pretty boring work, but anyone who's ever done this knows that there's a lot of geek humor to be found in the hilariously useless stuff that is lying around most server rooms. I decided today that I was going to have a little competition among all the stuff I found and elect a Most Useless Server Room Item.

I thought I had found a winner around 4 p.m. when I uncovered the Bag of Little Bits of Plastic and Keys that Don't Open Anything. Every server room has a Bag of Keys That Don't Open Anything but I felt the addition of the little bits of plastic (whose original intended use, if any, is lost to history) gave the Bag something of a poetic touch.

However, around 5:15 today I found the item that is, in my view, the undisputed Most Useless Server Room Item - a copy of Windows NT Workstation 3.5. For those of you who have been in the business long enough to remember Workstation 3.5, which came out in 1994, you may recall that the key feature of Workstation 3.5 was that it didn't work. Thus Microsoft quickly released Workstation 3.51, which kind of worked, and eventually Workstation 4.0, which worked very well and was the base client operating system that spawned most of the client-server networks in operation today.

Exempted from the competition are things that, while somewhat useful in normal quantities, are useless in the enormous quantities in which we possess them. For example, every office should keep a few dozen floppy disks around. But our office keeps a few thousand floppy disks around. We literally have a stash of thousands of high density 3 1/2' floppy disks.

I also have about three hundred stickers with the various days of the week written on them in both English and French. Another item which has some limited use, but which we for some reason have a limitless quantity of.

Perhaps no one but me finds this funny. Oh, well. Hope to see you tomorrow with that rebuttal.


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