Since my life isn't complicated enough, and since I don't have enough crap I need to cram into my head yesterday, I've decided to start using emacs. Or at least start to learn. Emacs is really friggin' hard. Especially if you are used to Notepad. I mean, how much muscle do you really need in a raw text editor? What am I thinking?
Probably the reason is that I am reading In the Beginning Was the Command Line by Neal Stephenson. He touts the many virtues of emacs, and who am I to argue with the smartest guy in the world?
I'm in the midst of a pissing contest at work. It's IT versus Physical Assets in a no-holds-barred cage match. See, where I work, PA is in charge of the phone system, including our customer service call center's. IT is in charge of information systems. Our call center's phones are tied into several information systems. There is a system that records every call and stores the recording in a database. There is an information system that stores call data (time, duration, etc.) All of these things, from the phones to the information systems, are controlled by PA. The janitors.
In my book, a telephone is an information system and falls under the domain of IT. This is especially true given all the infrastructure connected to the call center's phones. I am Don Quixote in the interdepartmental pissing contest. You see, PA doesn't want to give up control. IT is expected to deliver robust, appropriate information systems and manage the infrastructure supporting them. The call center (referred to hereafter as CS, customer service) just wants a better call accounting and workforce mangement solution.
Do you have time for a story? It all started when the old call center manager, a loyal fan of mine, asked my boss to have me look into a replacement for their antiquated, clunky call management system (Avaya's BCMS). I did this, having been warned that PA is very territorial about this stuff. I found a new CMS (call management system, also from our current vendor, Avaya) and a workforce management solution called IEX TotalView SC. I also found some competitors so that CS would have a choice. The other call management solution was much cheaper but required a call telephony interface (CTI), an $80,000 piece of gear that would double the cost of this project. The WFM tools don't need it -- just this other CMS, called Taske.
I do my research, document my findings, and submit it to the group (consisting of our CIO, the CS manager, some CS worker bees, the PA people, my boss, and myself.) Time passes. The ball is in CS's court to evaluate the options and come back with a decision so we can put together a project plan. Finally, we get a meeting notice that this is all going to go down.
Everything is going fine in the meeting until the PA manager starts talking about some other stuff called call accounting, which I later learn ties a call to your ERP or accounting system for costing purposes. This is a whole new thing that nobody's heard of, and nobody knows what to make of it. He also drops the bomb that, no matter what, we will need to add CTI to our switch. At this point, I don't have all my ducks in a row, so I can't say with total confidence, "Bullshit!" Nothing is settled in this meeting, and we agree to meet later. In the meantime, I go around PA's back and I talk to one of Avaya's system engineers, one that came and demonstrated our upgrade options in November, and learned that their CMS product does not require CTI at all. We've been waiting for a quote from them, and I ask about it. Turns out they've been waiting for our PA manager to call and tell them what's up, and that the PA manager is not returning phone calls. I also confirmed with IEX that TotalView doesn't require CTI.
So PA is totally stonewalling and intentionally muddying the waters wherever possible. And now I have proof. So, being the passive aggressive geek that I am, I have told everyone except PA what I've found. I will be going into tomorrow's meeting armed with two proposals, and I will have not only debunked PA's recent roadblocks, I will have exposed them as not being team players. I hope this meeting will result in a decision.
Today is one of those days I want to move to Canada. For one thing, I have gotten turned on to CBC Radio 3's podcast, and it is simply excellent. From hardcore punk to ambient, the podcast covers the range of indie music north of the DMZ. Second, my government continues to make an ass of itself in front of the whole world. Take Cheney. Please. The man shoots a guy in the chest, and yet he did nothing wrong. Excuse me? I have taken my share of gun safety classes, and a common thread running through all of them is that you are entirely responsible for your weapon while it's in your hand. It can't be more black and white than this. If a gun is in your hand, and it goes off, either you meant to fire it or you were negligent. A device of such power and lethality has no grey area, and if you are so careless as to not appreciate that, then you don't need to be handling one.
But fine. It was an accident. Take ownership. Say "I fucked up." Instead, the Cheney cabal waited nearly a whole day to say anything to anybody. When his spin doctors finally speak, it is to say that he is entirely blameless. And this is the embarassing thing. This administration is totally incapable of admiting guilt. I mean, I bet if Cheney dropped a pencil, they would say that gravity somehow malfunctioned or that the pencil was conspiring with the liberal media or the terrorists.
Here's the thing. If you fuck up, and you own up to it, you are on the front page for a day, and then everything blows over. There's no story. If you obfuscate, hide facts, act guilty, lie, and then deny any culpability, then you can expect the issue to never die.
To a foreigner, all this must be incomprehensible. How we got to this state -- the state where mistakes, flubs, fuckups, or indiscretions are cardinal sins to be denied or spun out of existence -- is beyond me. People fuck up. Own it, apologize, move on. It's not the end of your career, it's not the end of the party.
See, if you lie, then you have to live with it forever. When facts start to emerge that threaten to expose the lie, you have to pile lies on top of lies. Jesus. I am so sick of these knuckleheads I just .... Fuck.