February 04, 2004

The "Support" part of my programming job mostly entails waiting for e-mails from the people testing my programs. Since I am still committed to the project, I dont get any other work until this phase is complete. I understand it's necessity, but the time spent at work, unable to do anything useful is very frustrating. The only company-approved down-time activity is taking CBT's, or Computer-Based Training modules.

Just say the word "CBT" to anyone in the I.T. field and watch a shiver of disgust go through their body. It's the bane of our existence. They are slightly more informative than a PowerPoint presentation, and slightly less painful to go through than a Brazilian Wax, but since the Tech bubble burst, they are the only training that we're likely to get. They are somewhat useful for presenting high-level concepts and information, but they are famously ineffective for teaching programming languages, since users are only tested on multiple-choice code fragments.

Today I found out that CBT's, like the spam subject lines I mentioned yesterday, can be unintentionally funny. This is what one of the screens from a Java Database CBT said:

"Consider an example. The management of a multinational corporation decides to increase the salaries of all it's employees. The headquarters of the corporation uses a Java application to calculate the increment in it's salaries and stores the changed salaries in databases maintained at the regional offices of the corporation."

So multi-national corporation decides, in a fit of benevolance and goodwill, to give all of their employees an across-the-board raise. RIGHT. This CBT was either made at the height of the internet boom, or the guy putting it together was having a little fun with his audience.

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