I'm digging into the "Sales Order Form," the NetPoodles shopping cart system I wrote about previously. My absent Russian coworker wrote most of the code and my impression of him as a hack artist is being reinforced. Not that he's a bad coder--his stuff is just very blatantly from the "get it working quick" school. No thoughts to application design, generalization of functions, defining constants instead of hardcoding values. Code reuse doesn't mean modularizing a function for use by other routines, it means cutting and pasting the function between files--generally without changing variable names and comments that aren't meaningful in their new context.
Meanwhile, management has asked for a complete versioning system, so that you can go back in an order and see it before or after any change. What I think management really wants is simply a revision tracking system, so you can see who made a change and when. Neither is trivial, but being able to "undo" changes isn't as important as an accountability record.
NetPoodles' stock increased from about $1.20 at the start of Tuesday to $2 at the close of Thursday, most of it propelled by one big transaction Tuesday morning (one presumes a purchase). Either someone knows something big is up, or someone thinks they know something big is up. We have "important visitors" poking around the office today (and had them yesterday), and have other important visitors next week. The current set of VIPs is, according to rumor, representatives of a network security R&D group a major (like, really, really major) technology company is looking to sell--and, incredibly, NetPoodles is interested in buying them.
"With what?" you may ask. "The magic blue smoke coming out of your executives' asses?" Hey, I just work here.
Speaking of work, on the drive in today I was thinking about the various places I've worked at. Despite my philosophical bias against large corporations, the jobs I've liked the most were for Intermedia and TSI, a division of GTE. The most screwed-up and backstabbing places I've been at have all been small businesses. For all I know this is a fluke--in my immediate post-college period, I enjoyed working temp jobs at the Pelican Press and Rightsoft, both in Sarasota and both quite small places, and I have friends at huge multinationals who hardly speak of them with love. But it's still an interesting data point.
It's also occurred to me in the past that the higher-paying my jobs have been, the more independent they've usually been. I'm not sure there's more than a casual correlation there, though--it has more to do with the type of work than the pay rate. The more menial and mindless the task, the more supervision people seem to think you need. Of course, given that I'll do my damnedest to finish the mindless task quickly and go off and do something else, the more likely I've always been to get into trouble with that. Years ago, I was told by one employer--as they were canning me--that I wouldn't have gotten in trouble if I'd been as slow at my work as expected. Doing 40 hours of work in 30 hours is only a good thing if you're on salary.