The other day I came across the classic “The Bastard Operator From Hell“. I don’t think that anybody knows how many of the BOFH stories were ever written, but this site has a good collection of them.
For those of you, who haven’t heard about BOFH, Wikipedia provides a good summary:
The Bastard Operator From Hell (BOFH) is a fictional rogue computer operator who takes out his anger on users and others who pester him with their computer problems, uses his expertise against his enemies and manipulates his employer. Several other people have written stories about BOFHs, but those by Simon Travaglia are considered canonical. The BOFH stories were originally posted in 1992 to Usenet by Travaglia, with some being reprinted in Datamation. They were published weekly from 1995 to 1999 in Network Week. Since 2000 they have been published regularly in The Register (UK). Several collections of the stories have been published as books. By extension, the term is also used to refer to any system administrator who displays the qualities of the original. The early accounts of the BOFH took place in a university; later the scenes were set in an office workplace. In 2000 (BOFH 2k), the BOFH and his pimply-faced youth (PFY) assistant moved to a new company.
If tech humor in the office is your thing, have a look at Dilbert comic strips as well.
I’ve seen plenty of company handbooks. Some of those were in the companies that I worked for. Others – shared documents from companies I’ve only heard about. Mos of these handbooks were rather boring HR documents, explaining boring HR rules and polices to mostly new employees – working hours, company structure, dress code, and the like.
Today I came across a different kind of the company handbook. It comes from the Mobile Jazz, which is a mobile and web development company.
Before I even finished reading through it, I wanted to work for or with the company. It’s cool. It’s fun. It’s awesome!
And it doesn’t matter from which perspective you are looking at it. The design of the document is great. The content is great. The purpose is great. And it radiates the company culture, and what a culture it is!
I just can’t get enough of it. It’s exactly the kind of place most techies want to work for. It’s open. It’s transparent. It has great values. It’s immediately trustworthy.
This is an excellent example for so many companies to follow! Raising the bar, one company handbook at a time…
I have recently blogged about the Faces of Open Source project. That’s a great initiative. But here’s another one, with a lot more practical approach – Programmer Playing Cards. It is a deck of playing cards, featuring people who influenced the world of computer programming in a variety of ways. Each card has a photo of a person, his or her name, what was the influence, and, as a nice touch, a quote from that person.
Here’s an example with Larry Wall.
More examples as well as instructions on how to get these cards are here.
Faces of Open Source is an on-going photographic documentation of the people behind the development and advancement of the open source revolution that has transformed the technology industry.
Given the immense contribution of these people to the world around us, I find it surprising that they are so far from the celebrity status and most people in the world won’t know any of these faces. Even people in technology sector itself, won’t probably name even half of these people by the picture alone. For some, even the name won’t mean anything.
Kudos to this project for trying to make these faces slightly more familiar and for giving credit where credit is due.
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The author has absolutely no clue what the code in this project does.
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