Stories from the daily life of a technologist

Every once in a while I have a silly store I would like to share, but it is not long or funny enough to warrant a full post. So I have been sort of mentally collecting these, until I had enough for a longer post. I think this a good time to post some of that backlog. Note that I’m changing names, genders, species and other characteristics of all the guilty parties to protect their innocence… Or something like that.

Desktop Background

Coworker pops by to get some documents from my desk and makes a quiet throat clearing noise to get my attention. I rummage through the stack of papers on my desk to retrieve whatever he needs from me, and hand it to him.

“Dude, you were totally zoning out.”
“You were staring at your desktop image for like two minutes straight. I usually try to have some code on my screen when I do that”
“I’m not staring. I’m waiting for Eclipse to load…”

As if to confirm my statement, the Eclipse splash pops up on my screen.

“Fair, enough…” he smiles knowingly “You might as well go get some coffee from downstairs… This is not gonna be ready any time soon”.

Advanced Internet User

Dramatis personae: me, two other developers and one marketroid.
Scene: Marketroid tries to download pictures from the interwebs

Marketroid: How do I download this?
Me: Use the download link… I mean…
Developer 1: ALT+F4
Developer 2: Yes, what he said.
Me: Yeah, Alt+F4 will work too.
Marketroid: Agh! WTF! You guys are assholes.

[Assholes share a heartfelt laugh]

Marketroid: Why is this thing so slow?
Developer 2: Because you are using Internet Explorer.
Me: Also, I think your computer has been with the company longer than any of us.
Marketroid: What is wrong with Internet Explorer?
Developper 1: ಠ_ಠ
Me: Sigh…
Developer 2: This guy is worse than my girlfriend…
Developer 1: Stop being a girl, and use a normal browser
Marketroid: Ok, how do I…
Me: Ctrl+W
Marketroid: Is it going to close the window again?
Developer 1: No, this is legit.
Developer 2: Yes, we just found out your are a girl, and we don’t pick on girls.
Marketroid: Ok… WTF! Shit!

[Coffe cup toast of triumph and one awkward high five]

Marketroid: Ok, now this is telling me I need to log in with LIVE account. What is LIVE?
Me: It’s Microsoft’s attempt to re-brand Hotmail.
Developer 1: Yeah, it’s like – it’s still Hotmail, but people won’t laugh at you when you email them.
Marketroid: What’s wrong with Hotmail now? I use it for my personal email!
Me: Oh god!
Developer 1: [facepalm.jpg]
Developer 2: Dude my grandmother uses Hotmail. You don’t use Hotmail! You just don’t.
Developer 1: Sop being an old lady!


My cubicle is near filing cabinets so the filing brigade members sometime stop by for a chat, and to steal some Altoids from my desk. I usually have some mints or other snacks on my desk, and it does attract all kinds of strange creatures from time to time. One day our CFO pops by. And by CFO I mean one of the interns who we dubbed the “Cheif Filing Officer” mostly because he seems to have invented his own version of the alphabet.

I’m currently in the process of re-building some machine. I’m elbow deep in computer guts, there are little screws and ribbon tapes, and expansion cards everywhere. My Matrix screensaver is rolling idly in the background. CFO catches a glimpse of it, and goes:


I laugh because I think he is doing Keanu impersonation. He is not.

“What is that?” he points at my screen.

I turn around just to confirm my screen did not suddenly do anything unusual and succinctly explain that it is my Matrix screen saver.

“Oooh! Cool.. I thought you were like programming or something”.

The Sequel

I’m on the phone with a client.

“So do you guys have a database of any sort over there? You know, like MySQL, Postress, Microsoft SQL Server, etc..”
“Hold on, let me ask my boss… No, we don’t seem to have any of these.”
“Ok, no problem. So I’m going to put down no database. We will set one up for you from scratch.”
“Wait… My boss says we have something called My Sequel. Will that work?”

On that note, which way do you pronounce it? MySQL or my sequel? I actually spell out SQL because I honestly don’t see how you get the word “sequel” from that. But to each his own. Let me know your favorite pronunciation in the comments.

Also, share your own stories.

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18 Responses to Stories from the daily life of a technologist

  1. IceBrain PORTUGAL Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    As a Portuguese living in Portugal, I (and most of my colleagues) use a mix:
    ‘my’ in English and then S-Q-L spelled with Portuguese pronunciation. Odd, I know.

    But in English, while it’s not the official version, I prefer ‘my sequel’, it rolls better off the tongue. Also, it seems most people on the podcasts I listen to use that version.


    I wonder why your Eclipse copy takes so long to load? Even in my 1.6GHz single-core AMD Neo it loads pretty quickly, and the splash screen appears almost instantly. Are your PCs /that/ old? Or is it just Eclipse on Windows?

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  2. kmac AUSTRALIA Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I always used to say it My S-Q-L but after a few db classes, and getting into the working world, I’ve heard it pronounced sequel much more than S-Q-L. So I’ve converted and call it my sequel now.

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  3. Kim Johnsson SWEDEN Google Chrome Windows Terminalist says:

    I’ve called it MySequel ever since I heard Jeremy Cioara pronounce it that way in a Cisco training video. I’d never thought about it that way, but it totally makes sense to me now. Like IceBrain said, it rolls better off the tongue.

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  4. Mart SINGAPORE Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    The “sequel” thing bugs the heck out of me for some reason..

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  5. reacocard UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux says:

    The ‘sequel’ pronunciation is used because the language originally was called SEQUEL, but was changed after a trademark conflict.[1] Personally, I always either spell it out or pronounce SQL directly resulting in something like skwull (my-skwull), sequel just sounds wrong to me.

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  6. jambarama UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I’ve always called it sequel: ms-sequel, my-sequel, etc. Except in the case of postgresql, which is “post-gres-q-l.” Whenever I hear S-Q-L, I think of people who spell out “w-w-w-dot-google-dot-com,” it is just unnecessarily slow.

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  7. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    @ IceBrain:

    It’s mostly a joke. As in: everyone knows Eclipse takes forever to load (with the splash screen, progress bar and whatnot) as opposed to say Vim or Emacs. The coffee thing was a joke. It takes a few seconds – but it is considerably slower to load than most other software on my machine. :)

    @ reacocard:

    I did not know that. I wish I had an upvote button for comments like these. Thank you for a very informative post sir. :)

    @ jambarama:

    Yeah, but it is more common to omit punctuation and common elements like www, than it is to add in extra letters into an acronym to make it pronounceable. I don’t know – maybe it’s just me.

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  8. Jenn UNITED STATES Netscape Navigator Mac OS says:

    I say ‘sequel’ if it’s part of a packaged phrase (like “my sequel” or “sequel server”). The language, on it’s own, I say each letter. If you really want to confuse/annoy someone, call it “squirrel.”

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  9. Zeke Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    dont mean to be a turd. But you spelled story wrong. :D
    hahaha. love this blog.

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  10. Chrissy UNITED STATES Google Chrome Mac OS says:

    @ Jenn: are you really using Netscape Navigator or is the browser detection script confused?

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  11. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    @ Jenn and
    @ Chrissy:

    Yeah, I want to know too! Are you posting with Netscape just to show off, or is this my plugin just being wonky?

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  12. Jenn UNITED STATES Netscape Navigator Mac OS says:

    Hahahah that is amazing! I’m using the public beta of the Mac Reeder app, but it uses Webkit to view entires in-app.

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  13. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    LOL! That’s funny…. I wonder what is the useragent on that thing.

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  14. Jenn UNITED STATES Google Chrome Mac OS says:

    @ Luke Maciak: It’s definitely Webkit!

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  15. Jenn UNITED STATES Google Chrome Mac OS says:

    Now I’m on Chrome, by the way.

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  16. Rob UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows Terminalist says:

    I flip flop between SQL and sequel.

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  17. nitro2k01 SWEDEN Mozilla Firefox Mac OS Terminalist says:

    Just looked it up on Wikipedia just in case there would be some useful info. Aaaand…!

    SQL was developed at IBM by Donald D. Chamberlin and Raymond F. Boyce in the early 1970s. This version, initially called SEQUEL (Structured English Query Language), was designed to manipulate and retrieve data stored in IBM’s original relational database management system, System R, which a group at IBM San Jose Research Laboratory had developed during the 1970s.[5] The acronym SEQUEL was later changed to SQL because “SEQUEL” was a trademark of the UK-based Hawker Siddeley aircraft company.[6]

    I’m still for S-Q-L all the way, however.

    Also, these stories remind me a bit about “The Website is Down“. (I like episode 1 the best. They probably realized that other people do to, so they won’t let you link to individual episodes.)

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  18. There is this classic incident where your typical co-worker asks you this question.

    No-brain Boss: “My PC doesn’t turn on. What’s the problem with that?”

    Me: “It isn’t even plugged in [idiot]”

    And you aren’t even tech-support.

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