(Circa 1996....)

"So," asks the Big Guy, "any outstanding problems with the project? Are we ready to ship?"

"Well sir," answers the Win95 program manager, "just a few things, but nothing we consider critical." He trembles slightly.

"What things? What problems?" demands Big Guy.

"Well, we are still seeing hangs, you know. Spurious hangs, it's in the project memo" says the PM. A glimmer of sweat appears on his lip.

"O/S hangs? Application hangs? Network hangs. What?" drills Big Guy.

"All, sir. You see, it's a thunking problem we, uh, believe, and due to legacy restrictions we..."

Big Guy waves his hand impatiently and says, "Okay, okay, we can worry about the hangs later. Have marketing head it off and announce the fixes to be product improvements in the next release. What I really want to know," continues Big Guy, "is whether there are real problems with the release. Has anyone been killed using it? Recently, that is?"

"Well," the head of marketing joins in, "there were those beta testers back. . ."

"I said recently!" snaps Big Guy, "You do know what 'recently' means I assume?"

"Uh, yes sir, I do" gulps the marketeer. "No, no actual deaths that can be attributed to this version, except, um. . . "

"Except what?" shouts Big Guy.

"Well, there was an incident we think was related to an update from OS/2, but I don't think we're entirely certain as to. . ."

"OS/2? OS/2! Beautiful! Have our press folks spin it so IBM takes the fall! Perfect. . . Was it ours? Was it our code?"

"I'm afraid so, sir," chimes in the R&D project manager, "But we found the problem and fixed it three or four snaps back. It was a little hard finding people to test the fix, but. . ."

"You fixed it?! Dammit, put it back in!" screams Big Guy. The R&D manager hastily scribbles notes. "This is it! Perfect!" Big Guy coos, and leans back in his chair as a grin and a dreamy gaze cross his face. . . .

Silence around the table, and everybody waits, breathing quietly but deeply and rapidly. The clock ticks toward seven. Suddenly, Big Guy bolts forward in his chair and announces "Ship it. And outline the fixes we'll sell in the next release. Good work."

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