By John Merrells

Overload, 7(33):, August 1999

Many thanks to Einar for editing the previous couple of issues. I needed a gap to catch up with a couple of real life things. For some reason I imagined that I'd use the extra spare time to complete all those projects I start, but never finish. Alas, as ever, work expands to consume all my time.

We've moved from our 70's condo of the past 18-months, to a more spacious 60's bungalow.

For those of you tuning in late, my wife and I relocated some time ago from southern England to that part of the world, just south of San Francisco, known as Silicon Valley. There isn't a definitive place that bears this name. It's just a broad area covering the suburban towns that connect the cities of San Jose, at the bottom of the bay, to San Francisco, at the tip of the peninsula. The name seems rather fickle to me. It's more Network Valley or Internet Valley than anything these days. For you Brits in the readership who'd like to image the vista, think perhaps of accidentally glancing from a Gatwick bound train upon the glory of Croydon.

Anyway, I digress. The orange carpet really had become a little too vibrant to live with. Now we've regressed to the world of 'all modern materials'. A turquoise garage door, walls of glass, a flat roof, an indoor rockery, under floor radiant heating, globe lighting and brown plywood covered walls. Somewhat reminiscent of Woody Allen's farcical film 'The Sleeper'. Strange indeed, but consistent and authentic throughout.

We had been planning to move for some time, so I'd been holding back on upgrading the network feed into our home. Actually a phone line and modem. But, real networking is available for the home consumer in wondrous Internet Valley. They have this exciting new technology called DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line. It's actually ISDN version two, but that just doesn't sound sexy enough any more. It's a permanent connection to the net with a maximum throughput of 1.5 salivating megabits. All this for a paltry $40 a month. Throw another $10 to the ISP and you get a static IP address. So, for $50 a month you can host your very own vanity domain in the privacy of your own 60's, oddly Japanese style, spare bedroom!

But, of course, in the retro area I moved to, right in the heart of Network Valley, the phone company does not as yet provide DSL service. It seems that we have moved a couple of hundred feet too far from the local switching office. I was a tad upset. And so, I segue incomprehensibly from my rage, to…

'The Box of Rage'

A long time ago, in a country far far away, I was working for a games startup. There were six of us programmers and artists in a roof space office. It was clear from the start that our manager, the entrepreneurial founder, was a genius. Unfortunately, we were mistaken, for he was actually insane. Work place tension was high. Shouting and wall punching became common place. There was only one solution. 'The Box of Rage' was deployed.

When mounting rage was detected in a colleague they were compelled to balance upon an upturned bin, and wear a cardboard box over their head. The 'Face of Rage' had been drawn on the side in black marker pen. The face had a contorted expression of extreme anger and a hole had been poked through the right eye for the victim to peer through. Ranting was then allowed to proceed, but only in the style of a Newcastle nightclub comedian. You see, it is just not possible to be truly angry in this configuration. Thus, work place tensions were dispersed.

I wouldn't have mentioned this but for the fact that I read something similar in another magazine. It was called 'The Little Girl's Pink Handbag of Anger' and was used to much the same effect.

So, I've found a development process pattern, and I claim my prize!

Perhaps you know of one, and would like to write and tell us about it ;-)

PS: A staff buyout has saved Printer's Ink, and the value of my Amazon stock has halved. Perhaps there is some justice in world.

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