Just when I thought they couldn’t possibly be any dumber…

…..they go and do something like this… and totally redeem themselves!!

I am a true believer of the phrase “Customers are Idiots“, but sometimes they seem to go out of their way to prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that this phrase is true.

Recently one of our customers RedBack* ceased trading, and a load of their customers were emailed suggesting they move their hosting & emails over to the Insane Asylum. I was given the pleasure of helping a load across to us. Now some came across with little or no problems, where as others caused a variety of problems. And then there was Zoolander*.

So I copy their website and database from the RedBack server that’s shutting down over to one of ours, I change connection strings and paths accordingly and get it up and running. I recreate email accounts on our system and send them all the details with the instructions to change the nameservers over to ours and they will be up and running.

So a couple of weeks go past and I get a phone call from Zoolander that goes a bit like this.

Z:We’ve changed the nameserver things like you said and now our email has stopped working!

CN:Yes, it will since you moved over to us. you need to use the new email details I previosly sent you.

Z:I don’t understand, its all technically, can’t you just do it for me?

CN: Well you need to change the setting in whatever email client you use on your computers, but if you need our guys can connect to your machine and do it for you.

Z:I dont do email on my computer, just my phone. I just go to the webpage and do mail.

CN: You only use webmail? Then you just need to use the webmail address I sent you and you’ll be fine

Z:what? so my webpages address will change? it wont be on www.zoolander.com* any more?

CN:NO. just the address of the webmail you used has changed.

The following morning I get into the Asylum to find an email from one of the Zoolander’s Directors home gmail account, all urgent and shouty like. I could tell this as it was all written in CAPS! The basic gist of the email was that they had tried logging into the new webmail address i gave them, and their old username/passwords were not working. So I politely resend them the details I sent before the move with the NEW usernames/passwords and point out the NEW system required NEW details.

Two hours later the phone rings. And its Zoolander.

Z:Hello, We’ve tried using the new details, only we can’t work out what goes where, so could ou talk us through it?

CN:no problems, what problem are you having?

Z:Well we need to know what to put in the box that says username, and what goes in the one called password?

CN: What did you have in the email I sent you?

Z: email address followed by my email address, then username followed by a username, then password followed by password. I just don’t know which ones I’m supposed to use.

CN:OK. where it asks for your username, type in your username. and put your password in the one asking for password.”

Z:That seems to have worked. thanks

CN: *Unplugs phone for rest of the day*

I know there is a stereotype belief that people in the fashion modelling industry are not known for playing with a full set of cards. But at least try people…..

* As normal Names changed to protect me from lawsuits… err I mean to protect the innocent.

The Universe Hates me

I am on holiday this week.  A full week away from the Insane Asylum, work, customers or as I like to call them “The Bane of My Life“.  So far I’m still full of the festive cheer, festive beer, and festive treats.  I have been working my way through the DVD’s I got for Xmas, There is a nice layer of snow over everything making the world look a peaceful place.  There is only one thorn in my festive happiness…… CUSTOMERS!

Monday the Governor of the Asylum threw a support ticket at my email marked urgent. It was from a customers developer. They had asked for a new hosting area with Joomla installed on it, and it was done on the last working day of the year (last job before we finished for the day)


HI. You set up a Joomla hosting for us, and you set it up wrong. I can not get it to upload modules, I’ve checked the permissions via FTP and they are wrong. I need this installed correctly, fix the permissions and test it!

Hello? We installed it wrong? Have you ever installed Joomla? You ftp the files to your hosting, go to a webpage, answer a few basic questions and its installed! Idiot!. Ok, so he has a permission problem, so he’s decided to use the web server to upload the files instead of putting his FTP details into Joomla’s config to let Joomla handle it. OK. Now. the guy knows enough to check permissions with FTP.  So why does he not change them with FTP to fix his problem? Its a rush job, we’re on holiday, be quicker to do it himself.  Anyway, permissions changed, idiot informed it quicker to change them himself.


Hi. Our developer is being a hero and working over his holiday to get our new website developed, He has a problem with you installing Joomla wrong, can you fix this urgently!

OK. Now I am mad. Firstly: -Your developer may be working over his holidays, That does not mean everyone else should be working over theirs. Secondly:- The Install was not done incorrectly, Your developer does not seem to have a clue. Thirdly:- I spoke to your developer yesterday, If he’s not informed you thats his problem not mine!

Do you get the feeling I’m not a people person?


Hi. I changed the permissions on the folder and it still will not let me upload files. Can we restart and install Joomla correctly!

OK, maybe he has a point. Lets look. ok, he lists the directory he having trouble uploading into, he says he set permissions to 777. Oh, thats odd, permissions have not been changed. oh look, theres a directory of the same name one branch down, and that has 777 permissions, The idiots only changed the wrong directory.  I would not mind but he sent me the path to the correct one, why couldn’t he have followed his own instructions.

If I get another set of emails from him, I may just stop being polite.


Off the Rails

When learning a new programming language, The Internet convention is to make a “Hello World” program.  For those of you none-coders out there, that is as simple as it sounds. A simple program to output the words “Hello World” onto your screen, or a page on a web browser. The idea is to use something very simple, so you can speedily see the output of your code before you start on anything more complex.  In theory there is nothing simpler in code than the Hello world program.

For example:

  • PHP: <?php echo “Hello, world!”; ?>
  • ASP: <% Response.Write(“Hello, world!”) %>
  • ASP.NET: <asp:Label ID=“Label1” runat=“server” Text=“Hello World”></asp:Label>
  • BASH: echo ‘Hello, world!’

You noticing a trend here? Very simple, and not much code involved. Hell if we look at assembly language itself, which is considered a complex and long language.

bdos    equ    0005H
start:  mvi    c,9
        lxi    d,msg$
        call   bdos

msg$:   db    'Hello, world!$'
end     start

Now. this week I have had to look at the insanity that is called “Ruby on Rails“. One of our customers is demanding we host/support it as he now has a new “Developer” (And I use that title in the loosest way) And the new guy only does Ruby On Rails (Or RoR from now on).  Now we have the facility to host it pre-setup on our servers.  So all we had to do was throw up a quick test page to double check it was all running OK. What was needed was a RoR “Hello World” test.

So following the examples in a book I set about writing a simple application to display “Hello World” onto the web-page. It took several hours of work, required over 200 different files, and a virtual-Host setup different to normal hosting before the words “Hello World” were there on the screen.

How shit a language (If i can call it a language) is RoR? Instead of the normal ONE line of code it took 207 individual files to do the same thing. Has there ever been a shittier application language invented?  If there is then I have never heard of it.

And to top it all off. the Developer in question seems clueless about the language. For example he did not have a public folder (required by Apache). he removed the default index page (which is correct) only he never re mapped root in the config/routes file. And has been bombarding our support ticketing system with very basic questions.

On a side note. While learning RoR, I got bored so played on the Interwebz. I found this developers, Twitter, Blog, Facebook, Company website. Yes it turns out he is a freelance web applications developer.  And yet his website is the worst I have seen in a long time.

Takes all sorts I suppose.


MPD – Its not just me!

Its good to know that its not just my non user-friendly tendencies that makes me want to correct MPD’s irritating faults and dispose of his body down the well in the gardens of the Insane Asylum.

One of  the fellow inmates here “Stylee” has been dealing with the guy all day so far, and it looks like the other inmates should start a book on which one of us flips out and kills him first.

It should be interesting the next time he makes it into the Asylum for a meeting.


Why do they never learn?

I am considering hiring a HitMan.

MPD has Just phone me up, disturbing my afternoon nap to ask “That functionality you said in your email that the site had. err How do I get it to work?”

So I start explaining it to him for the 6Th time, while just looking at his code to see if there’s a problem preventing the functionality working, and I spot a small problem, THE TOTAL LACK OF MY CODE.

He’s only gone and overwritten all my work with old copies of the files again!

Vent over, but seriously, If you know any good assassins? Let me Know


Beware Ninja Developers

All is on edge in the Techno Insane Asylum today, I think its just a coincidence that I also happen to have brought a shinai into the office today.

You took a weapon to work?” I hear you ask!

Which tells me two things :-

  1. You don’t know me,
  2. You don’t know developers.

I should also point out that MPD was due into the office for a meeting today, This is the MPD who has on several instances deleted my work. And needs to be taught a lesson.  And let me tell you its very satisfying to walk into a meeting with a customer who has annoyed you carrying a shinai, and answering his quizzical look “This is for a health & safety lecture, on the dangers of deleting a developers work!