We now have most of the letterheads, posters and booklets printed up for re-launching the IT department as IDS (Information Dissemination Services, pronounced 'ideas'). There has been a delay in the launch event as the head of IT has been summoned to an urgent meeting with the board, but this gives us a chance to put the final plans in place for the extravaganza, complete with dry ice, lasers, and free post it notes with "IDS for a better BritBreak" at the bottom for every attendee.
While there's something of a lull, I've taken on the dress code problem.
There is a profound clash of ideas on how programmers should dress between the programmers themselves and the DP manager Arnold Potter. He feels that to achieve discipline and present an air of professionalism, the programmers should wear suits. The staff think that it's only possible to be a real programmer if you come to work in jeans and T-shirt, eat pizza straight from the box, always have a can of high-caffeine cola on the go, and type in your code with your trainers up on the desk while your CD-ROM drive blasts out rock music through the sound system.
As always, I emphasised the importance of compromise in achieving good working practice. Programmers have agreed to wear suits and sit quietly at their workstations. In exchange, Potter has agreed that the canteen will supply pizza at least once a month, and that the vending machines should provide cola as well as the hot chocolate or possibly coffee (no-one is quite certain which) that they currently dispense.
Fiona Rhees, the desktop manager, has finally implemented my suggestion to hand over all PC maintenance to an external firm, saving BritBreak 23 jobs and much unnecessary expense. I was impressed that the new contract holders, MicroKludge, immediately instigated a program of preventative maintenance. A team of engineers is visiting every PC, opening it up and vacuuming out the dust and fluff that accumulates inside. The MicroKludge managing director assures me that the subsequent quadrupling of PC failure rates was quite unconnected with this exercise.
The members of the security group have mostly recovered from the injuries sustained in the simulated terrorist attack on the datacentre, so I had great hopes of a meeting over the difficulties with the BritBreak Web page.
Unfortunately the group was on a week's training course on the security implications of Java. The course was held somewhere in the Cotswolds and, such is the group's attention to security, they had omitted to tell anyone the location.
For the moment the Web page remains encrypted. At least the security staff should return with a better grasp of world affairs, as I gather from an amused secretary that it was only after the group left for their secret location that a brochure came through explaining that the subject was not Java the language, but Java the country.
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