Thursday, April 28, 2011


I've been in a bit of a funk for the last few days.  The weather has been horrible and I've done very little work on the airplane. I did just enough to finish up the right flaperon, which was the last official piece of the airframe. This will officially kick off the transmogrification from airframe to airplane.  Unfortunately, I can't proceed with that until next week. Not only does the hangar need a complete rearrangement of parts and work surfaces, a job that will require at least one helper, but I have also been busy at the paying job. Hard, frustrating work and late nights combined with the lack of recreational effort in the hangar had dropped my mood considerably. I'll also be gone this weekend as I fly up to Oshkosh with Mr. Rush and The Jackson Two, where we will attend the 16 hours training course that will allow us to do our own annual condition inspections on our airplane.

My mood has vastly improved over the last couple of days, mostly because of the spectacular success of another practical joke I played on a co-worker. The background is this: I've been pretty frazzled at work because I'm developing two new applications concurrently. One of them will provide an application to manage large (100 - 300) store chains, while the other is a data analysis and research tool used by a single user. I was developing a workflow system in the team application and decided that I'd like to have it play a little sound and pop up a little notification window whenever a user received a new issue assignment. To play the sound, I would either have to go computer to computer installing the sound file, or find a way to embed it directly into the application. I eventually figured out how to embed the sound, but since the people that will ultimately use the application have yet to be hired, I had no good way to test it on a "clean" machine. I had to be sure that the sound would travel with the application.

A devious idea soon came to mind. I'd find a subtle yet irritating sound and embed it in the other guy's application, and set a timer to play it every few minutes. It only took a few minutes to Google up the sound of a mosquito buzzing and build it into the program. Just a few minutes later I was walking down to his workspace in order to see the ensuing hilarity first hand.  The joke was on me, though; he has no speakers on his computer. Oh well, I figured. Nothing lost.

I forgot all about it.

A few weeks later on a Tuesday afternoon, he received a new laptop computer that his manager had upgraded him to.  It was late in the day, so I only got as far as getting it out of the box and set up on the desk area behind him. I got a couple of his applications installed, told him to just let it sit until I was back in the office on Thursday, and headed home.

Wednesday I had an off-site strategy meeting that I had to attend. Around 7:30 I started getting emails from John, the guy that sits in the cubicle next to Rudy, the proud owner of a new speaker-enabled laptop that he simply couldn't resist messing around with, despite my directions to just leave it alone:

Email from John: "The sound just started.  He's looking around trying to figure out where it's coming from."

Email from John: "He wants to know how to record it and let you hear it so you know he isn't crazy. Now he's searching to see if something is running in the background."

Email from John: "This is getting great! Now he's sitting there saying "WHAT THE HELL!!"
Email from John: "This is hilarious!  Now he's swatting at the air around his head!"
(At this point I was laughing nearly uncontrollably)

Email from me, to John: "Don't let him call the corporate help desk!"

At nearly the same time that I sent the above, Rudy CC'd me on an email he had just sent to the help desk: "This is bizarre, but this morning as I am working on my new laptop, every two minutes or so it makes a sound like a bee flying by your ear. I can mute the computer and it stops the sound, but I am at a loss for what could possibly be causing this. I don't see any odd apps running, and the noise began without me doing anything out of the ordinary."

(And now there was no 'nearly' involved - I couldn't stop laughing!)

Email from John: "He muted the computer so you can hear it tomorrow."
I still chuckle every time I visualize Rudy sitting there looking frustrated and befuddled, muttering "What the HELL??"

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