Ideas for Anti-Tech Startups

1.) Candy Crusher – A NFC-enabled mobile app which, when used near a person playing Candy Crush, takes remote control of the target’s phone and annoyingly broadcasts to all in the target’s contacts list:
“I would read right now if I weren’t an illiterate, stupid fuck that hasn’t figured out how to use headphones. Please knuckle my loins when you next see me.”

2.) AutoStalker – An Internet bot that can be set to different modes, surreptitiously dissuading your friends from posting to social networks. Frustrated with friends who inundate Facebook with pictures of their children? Simply set AutoStalker to “PedoBear” mode, and after compromising your target’s account and those of its friends, it will generate random creepy comments about kids’ buttocks and post them to your target’s wall. Sayonara, kid pics!

3.) DroneZapper – A thirty foot Tesla Coil that will extinguish the life of any snooping drone or quadrocopter. With every purchase comes:
a.) Metallic mail suits for all family and pets (since death is guaranteed by not wearing one)
b.) A lifetime supply of hair gel in order to combat the neverending battle between static charges and style

4.) RingDumbs – A mobile phone app which will listen for certain ringtones and immediately respond to them. For example, in the case of the whistling ringtone of Samsung, the phone will supply a small charge to an embedded portion of the phone, which in turn will ignite a small packet of C4 and kill everyone within a few meters, including the offender. (You might die in the process, but you’ll have the honor of blowing the bridge.)

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Snowden’s Last Performance Review

Employee Name: Edward Snowden
Department: NSA Operations Center
Immediate Supervisor: Yuri Nater
Date of Review: April 1st, 2013

O – Outstanding
L – Like a gangsta mofo
S – Surpasses expectations
E – Exceeds expectations
M – Meets expectations
N – Needs improvement
T – Tends toward crapola
U – Unsatisfactory
Y – Yeasty

Technical Support for Monitoring Operations = S
———-
Attendance and Punctuality = T
———-
Expertise in IT Security Practices = O
———-
Eager to Help Fellow Employees with Password Issues = L
———-
Communicates with Peers Regularly = E
———-
Refrains from Having Journalist Friends = N
———-

General Comments: Ed performs his role with enthusiasm. As a standup employee, he volunteers his time with staff by offering to backup their personal drives on a regular basis, without incurring overtime or other costs to the agency. He is well known and loved by others for his quirky sense of humor and his generosity. For example, his candy jar of free keychain flash drives keeps everyone productive and in good spirits. He even provided some homebrew “palware” (how creative!) on each flash drive, in order to help us with our daily tasks! Ed is an asset, and we should consider getting some people under him as quickly as possible.

Room for Improvement: Ed does need to spend less time talking on the phone, especially with his domestic partner Glenn about planning vacations. (Hong Kong might be a fun town, but if you’re planning a party for weeks, there better be some real dragons dancing around.)

Employee Comments: I will divulge your Orwellian monitoring to the world at large, and any confidence held by people regarding your principled position will be shaken to its core. You will pay for your treachery through the loss of wealth and international trust, and even though you will likely not learn your lesson (and I am likely just blowing the bridge), I will have the satisfaction of knowing that it was due to me and that you were unable to stop me.

Supervisor Comments: That Ed! Such a kidder! Man, his stuff is totally priceless.

The Pros and Cons of Agile Methods

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1.) Pair Programming

Pros – It encourages better practices of development, decreases bug occurrence, and ensures redundancy in working knowledge of software.
Cons – It either gets in the way of your personal downtime activities, like searching for nude pics of Alexandra Daddario…or it leads to an oddly intimate relationship between you and your PP partner.

2.) Use Cases

Pros – It propels developers and stakeholders to predict and plan for various scenarios of your software’s usage.
Cons – It empowers morons to participate in the process. “So, what if a feminist Eskimo were insulted by the phallic nature of the igloo in your button’s image? And if a luddite or Amish person wanted to use the software, could we make the computer run on the churning of butter?”

3.) Scrum Meetings

Pros – Developers and their boss avoid any surprising obstacles or misses of expectations by having regular daily discussions about their current progress.
Cons – Since some people don’t relate the word “scrum” with “brief”, an expected fifteen-minute conversation becomes an hour-long dissertation from Bob about how the Illuminati are running the company and about how he blew the bridge last year. Every. Single. Day.

4.) Cross-Functional Teams

Pros – Developers with different areas of expertise work alongside in order to better understand the issues faced by different departments and in order to create more innovative solutions.
Cons – Sometimes, the “powers-that-be” don’t seem to understand how to properly form a cross-functional team. “Why am I in the same room as the maintenance guy and the building’s bomb-sniffing dog?”

5.) Planning Poker

Pros– During a Scrum session, the usage of cards (instead of vocal answers) will create a more accurate estimation of time required for tasks, since the vocal answers of one could influence others’ estimates.
Cons – Its implementation increases the chance of a violent gambling ring among your software developers, which then naturally leads to the formation of mob families in your department. Productivity will naturally decrease when your developers start missing fingers.

6.) Timeboxing

Pros – By creating a physical visual chart that tracks your project’s progress instead of a hard timeline, you can get a more accurate picture of the current status and impending direction of your work.
Cons – Sometimes timeboxes can become a bit ‘crowded’. “Can we knock out this wall here? I’m going to need a bit more room…I also need somewhere to put this pallet of sticky notes…”

7.) Story-Driven Modeling

Pros – Developers and users get together in order to create detailed usage scenarios for the software, which then reveals new requirements and possible issues when further developing and/or enhancing the software.
Cons – Sometimes pairing certain developers and users can be counter-productive, especially if they develop and chronicle a relationship outside of work. “So, Peter orders a box of condoms by clicking on the ‘Purchase’ button, and then Mary hits the ‘Agree’ button in order to book the hotel room, and then [Insert Explicit Actions Here], followed by [Insert Explicit Image Here].”

8.) Test-Driven Development

Pros – By requiring developers to create tests for their functions before they implement them fully, it helps to ensure that the results are kept in the forefront of the developers’ minds.
Cons – For your more ‘special’ developers, this development style could then be mistakenly combined with their recursive practices, resulting in an infinite spiral where a testing harness is created for unit tests that gauge results from another testing harness…until they piss off the system, are absorbed into the circuitry, and must fight alongside an even older Jeff Bridges against the Uber APU in order to save humanity.

Peter Bolton is the author of Blowing the Bridge: A Software Story and has also been known to be a grumpy bastard on occasion.