Brian Overhead surveyed the assembled developers at the UK offices of Networth, the fallen industry networking giant. Since its heady days in the 1980s and early 1990s when it dominated the office systems market, Networth had fallen on hard times. Recently, in order to effectively mimic the efforts of rival software developers that had proved more agile and quicker to market with new products, it had established a secret hothouse development team on the second floor of an office block in Maidenhead. The proximity of Maidenhead?s best facilities, especially the Epic Tandoori restaurant, had immediately attracted a generation of ? well, four ? young programmers, who were given the resources they needed to begin work.
A year later, the young team had consumed 231 Chicken Tikka Masalas, drunk 2,014 litres of Pepsi Max and used 14 tins of snowboard wax, but hadn?t produced any software. At this point, Overhead had been despatched from headquarters to see what was happening to Networth?s bright young things.
Young was indeed the word. The developers had unpleasant acne and smelt vaguely of curry. Having checked the files, he had established that none of the four were over the age of 20. All had recently been given fat bonuses, money which seemed to have been mostly invested in hallucinogenics and beanie hats. There was an unpleasant smell of sweat in the office. Overhead had the suspicion that his developers weren?t taking things seriously.
?Now I know you guys are cool and that?s down with me,? said Overhead, trying to remember the words his son used, ?but at the last count, er, dudes, we had 42 ongoing projects. I don?t even know what they are, because you, ah, crazy guys gave them all codenames. Now I want you to tell me all about them.?
The four developers looked at each other. One, who wore a No Fear T-shirt, spoke up. ?They?re in beta. That?s why we gave them codenames. It took a long time to think them up,? he said.
?If we can actually get some of these projects out of beta, this office will be the next Netscape,? Overhead said, cheerfully.
?If you keep them all in beta we?ll be the current Netscape,? No Fear said. The other developers snorted. One, who wore an X-Large beanie hat covering his eyes, started to explain.
?First there?s the internet project. We thought we?d codename it Zoo. So the software is named after the animals in the Zoo. I?m doing the coding for Pig, Mouse, Parrot, Dodo and Elephant.?
?And how are you getting on with it, guy?? asked Overhead, trying to be kind.
?Well, Pig had problems,? said No Fear. ?We wanted to rename it Dog. Then we thought, ?On The Internet, No one Knows It?s Dog?, so we left it.? The other three giggled.
?But will it work??
?Oh yes sir, yes sirree. In fact,? No Fear added with exaggerated seriousness, ?at Networth, as I?m sure you know, we sincerely believe that Pig can fly.? The giggles became chuckles.
?So what about the code problems with Pig?? asked Overhead, ignoring them.
?Oh it?s sick all right,? said X-Large. ?But not as sick as Parrot.?
?What about Mouse??
?Quiet,? said X-Large.
?Forget about it.?
?Dodo? No, don?t answer that,? said Overhead. ?Perhaps we could turn to our object repository. Explain why we?ve got so many versions.?
?Well, it?s all pretty logical when you think about it,? said No Fear as if he were talking to a child, ?The repository is codenamed House, because it?s your living space. There?s a cut-down version called Flat, a single-user version ? that?s Studio ? and then a Java version called Bedsit.?
?How far have you got with any of these?? asked Overhead.
?We?ve finished Shoebox,? said X-Large, ?but it won?t scale. It?s not robust enough.?
?Forget the objects, forget the internet, forget everything,? Overhead shouted. ?Just tell me that the intranet groupware project has worked.?
?There we can help you,? said X-Large. ?We?re shipping gold code on that one. You can take it away with you.?
?Thank god,? said Overhead. ?But tell me, what?s the codename for this one, eh? Apartment perhaps? Or Wombat??
?It?s called Kayak,? said No Fear.
?After all, dude,? added X-Large. ?You need it because you?re completely up the creek.?
Infrastructure provider says international sales now make up 51 per cent of its revenue
Suzanne Chappell of TMS plans sailing venture after selling Oxfordshire-based TMS to acquisitive Chess
Withdrawal of credit insurance by some providers a 'reflection' of current challenge facing IT sector, according to MD Steve Soper
SMART's UK managing director joins Lenovo to boost SMB business