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[P]
Your Guide to Looking Busy at Work

By transient0 in Technology
Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 08:19:07 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

The computer has irreversibly changed the workplace. E-mail has replaced memos, Winamp has replaced the portable FM radio and stupid Far Side desktop wallpapers have replaced stupid Far Side wall calendars.

With all these changes, we often overlook the single greatest boon that computers have brough to the employed masses: the ability to look busy.


If you're slacking off on the factory floor, everyone knows it. Someone says, "Hey! why are all these widgets missing their gromets?" Someone else says, "Gromets are Bill's job." Then the boss comes over and finds you doing crosswords next to the assembly line. You're fired. In today's office things are different. The computer is a powerful tool for work but, as a universal Turing machine, it can't help but also be a powerful tool for play.

The problem lies in that employers have long ago realized that given the choice between doing work, looking at on-line pr0n or playing Quake, few employees will choose work. We now live in a world of hyper-strict firewalls, regular scanning of employee files and thrice hourly PHB walk-bys. What is a dedicated time-waster to do?

Admittedly, I may be preaching to the choir. Many K5ers already have a well-maintained schedule of surfing this site(self-referential link omitted), that other site and maybe that other other one. Still, web surfing gets old and there is always room for a few new tricks, right?

Multi-Tasking

Before we even begin delving into the myriad ways to fritter away your work time, a moment must be taken to address the proper mindset of the slacker. The first thing to do is to ensure that you are always working on at least two projects. This allows you to, whenever someone mentions that you don't seem to have made much progress on project A, explain just how complicated and time-consuming project B is. Also, remember that, ever since the early nineties, multi-tasking has been a much sought after talent. Don't be afraid of being seen with a few dozen windows open on your desktop, no buzzword-knowledgable manager will think 'easily distracted' when they could just as easily think 'multi-tasker'. Also be prepared to retaliate with other appropriate jargon if necessary. If you are ever caught playing Tetris in the middle of the afternoon, don't try to pretend you were doing something else. Instead, simply say that you were taking a micro-break to increase your efficiency. If the situation looks particularly bleak, consider also mentioning synergy.

Tricking the Ol' Firewall

We all know that the simplest way to make time fly by is cruising through the triple-W. But what to do when your boss (or more specifically, the bitter and sadistic IT worker that reports to your boss) constantly monitors your network traffic for signs of slacking? One option is to use an anonymizing web proxy. However, clever net-traffic cops have memorized lengthy lists of proxy names and IPs and will quickly recognize the usage pattern of new ones. One way to use a proxy of sorts without getting spotted is to make use of a site that the people watching your traffic know is a legit place to browse. Yes, I mean Google.

Few workplaces would suggest that employees should not be allowed to use a search engine. Fortunately, Google is more than a search engine, it is also an archive of practically the entire web. Run a Google search for whatever you are looking for but then, rather than clicking on the link itself, click on the grey 'cached' link after the URL. Now you can read whatever you want and all of your traffic will register as originating at Google (be sure to disable images and flash objects, as these items will still be requested from the appropriate server). Another simple trick for getting your fill of the web without tipping off the people paid to spy on you is to log on for ten minutes when you first get to work, visit all the sites that you like to read and save copies of all the articles locally. To the traffic cop it will look like you just did a quick browse through of a few sites while drinking your morning coffee, but in reality you have netted yourself hours worth of perfect time-wasting material to read at your leisure. Repeat at lunch hour if necessary and remember to clean up after yourself so that the IT people don't notice the files and catch on (alternately you can save them as things like project-report-A.html).

Multiple Desktops

In certain circles, this is the oldest trick in the book. You sit at your desk playing Freecell, ready at a moment's notice to hit ALT+TAB or ALT+F4 if you see your boss coming. If you use ALT+TAB, however, you risk the possibility that the new window to get switched up won't completely cover your game and even if it does, savvy office patrollers know to scan the taskbar for rogue programs. If you up the arms race with ALT+F4 you irrevocably lose your game every time someone walks by. Unacceptable.

Using GNOME or KDE, you can easily set up multiple desktops. With this tool, your slacking power has received an intantaneous exponential upgrade. You are sitting at your desk, you have a window open to an on-line go game, a browser sitting at the K5 modsub page and Xine silently playing subtitled Cowboy Bebop episodes in the corner. Out of the corner of your eye you catch the briefest flash of cornflower blue... ALT+F1. Half a second later, when the boss leans into your cubicle, you have a word processor occupying half your screen, your corporate e-mail client occupying the other half and no tell-tales on the task-bar to rat you out. The moment he wanders off, ALT+F2, and you're back to your game before Spike has even finished pumping the wrong guy full of bullets. For those of you who have no choice but to run MS-Windows at work there exists at least one relatively invisible and completely free utility to bring multiple desktops to your world.

The Mighty Text Browser

Perhaps you think that you are far too smart to accidentally click a goatse link or something else obnoxious and immediate-dismissal worthy, but we've all been caught off guard by a relatively benign looking URL at least once. Not only that, but astute managers have learned to recognize the tell-tale green glow of a browser at Slashdot from at least half a cube farm away. Enter the text browser. With this tool at your disposal, you can follow links with reckless abandon. Porn pop-ups (all pop-ups in fact) will also become a distant memory. Also, it is a proven fact that when managers see text they assume you are working; when they see images they assume you are slacking. Which brings us to our next tip...

Text-Based Diversions

What says hard-at-work better than a screen full of text and a rapidly click-clacking keyboard? There are more ways than you could possibly imagine to waste time in windows that are practically indistinguishable from the windows you would have open if you were actually working. Try your hand at simulated drug pushing with Dope Wars, pick up a healthy MUD/MOO habit, try out a text-based IRC or ICQ client or even read a book.

Of course, the only thing better than wasting time in programs that look like office apps is wasting time right in the office apps themselves. Why not try playing Tetris in Microsoft Excel or better yet, write some cool software, a few haiku or an article for some on-line community site.

Legal Concerns

If you do allow yourself to be productive while slacking, be careful. The dangers of time-repurposing can actually be much graver than those of outright time-wasting. Under no circumstances should you contribute to an Open Source project on company time without permission. If you ever get caught, you could find that you have dragged the other contributors into an unpleasant IP battle they don't deserve. If you write poems or compose classical music between TPS reports, things aren't quite so bad so long as you acknowledge the danger of your opus becoming the new company jingle. Perhaps the single biggest danger of time-repurposing arises if you make money. Be aware that if you get paid by an outside source for anything you do on company time (whether writing a novel or designing a web-site) you not only risk losing the rights to your creation and any profit that stems from it, but you may also find yourself facing criminal charges. Still, these more productive types of pursuits can be by far the most rewarding form of slacking, simply proceed with care. After all, where would the world be if Einstein had spent all those hours actually reading patent applications rather than dreaming about the basic structure of the universe?

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Poll
Favorite Time Waster
o slashdot/k5/fark 46%
o freecell/tetris/solitaire 1%
o e-mail 5%
o quake/unreal/warcraft 1%
o irc/icg/msn/aim 11%
o looking at porn 5%
o time-repurposing 9%
o i actually do my job, you slackers 16%

Votes: 167
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Slashdot
o Google
o Winamp
o Far Side
o pr0n
o Quake
o that other site
o that other other one
o anonymizin g web proxy
o Google [2]
o relatively invisible and completely free utility
o goatse
o relatively benign looking URL
o text browser
o Dope Wars
o MUD/MOO
o IRC
o ICQ
o read a book
o playing Tetris in Microsoft Excel
o Also by transient0


Display: Sort:
Your Guide to Looking Busy at Work | 89 comments (76 topical, 13 editorial, 0 hidden)
I want to vote this up transient! (3.00 / 5) (#1)
by debacle on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 01:28:21 PM EST

But it's not funny! It's an honest guide, and kind of short.

Resection to "tech" maybe, or something else, and expand on it.

Nice try though, you humorless fuck.

(Kidding)

It tastes sweet.

This Seems Unfinished... (4.00 / 6) (#3)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 02:02:30 PM EST

...Did somebody come by and hassle you about working before you got a chance to finish?

(Steals a furitive look around, decides to resume simulating productivity.)


___
I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski. Personally, I pref
[no header] (3.33 / 6) (#5)
by damballah on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 02:23:39 PM EST

This is unix-driven propaganda! Casually sugesting people to use text-based solutions to goof off. But franckly, I can't say that I expected better from you, sir.

*******************************************
" I apologize for this long comment. I didn't have the time to make it any shorter. " - Blaise Pascal

" zombie accounts promote an unhealthy interest in the occult among our younger readers. " -

Lynx for Windows... (none / 0) (#85)
by don carnage on Thu Aug 14, 2003 at 01:02:32 PM EST

Err...you can get Lynx for Windows.

[ Parent ]
This why communism doesn't work. (3.11 / 27) (#8)
by Dinner Is Served on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 03:19:15 PM EST

People are so damn busy dicking off and playing Minesweeper that they forget how grateful they should be to even have a job. Companies pay you to sit on your ass and type for 8 hours a day. God forbid you actually do your job.

Slacking isn't very funny. It's very irresponsible, and in today's world, it's not very patriotic. The work that slackers avoid at all costs tends to fall on the desk of people like ME--a hard, diligent worker. And today's modern America, where everything revolves around productivity, will continue to suffer greatly from slackers.

I wonder how many airport security guards were horsing around when Islamic terrorists boarded three planes on 9/11?
--
While I appreciate being able to defend against would-be rapists who might suddenly drop in from the sky, I don't appreciate not being able to see the Northern Lights. -- mfk
Actually (4.00 / 8) (#12)
by awgsilyari on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 04:35:52 PM EST

And today's modern America, where everything revolves around productivity, will continue to suffer greatly from slackers.

Actually, it will suffer the most from eventually having 100% of our technical jobs outsourced to foreign countries, and then all of a sudden everyone will wake up and realize that the rest of the world has us by the balls, cackling at how they've finally got us where they want us. And then the United States will crumble to the ground. And I'll be laughing my ass off as I become one of the many fascist overlords enslaving the remaining fractions of the American citizenry.

I'm only partly kidding.

--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

We've already got you where we want you (none / 0) (#88)
by n0mj121 on Tue Aug 26, 2003 at 06:48:40 AM EST

...that's why the Atlantic is handy :) When I was doing web work for a research team, I found that the best way to slack off was to break something. Deliberately fuck up some i-frames, or something, and then spend 3 days fixing it (by fixing it I mean browsing your favourite forum or playing 3D Pong). Nobody else knows what it is you're working on, so.. meh.

[ Parent ]
Damn straight! (4.38 / 13) (#15)
by kaemaril on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 04:50:36 PM EST

Slacking isn't very funny. It's very irresponsible, and in today's world, it's not very patriotic

You are so right. Why, it's your patriotic duty to be an unquestioning drone-like wage slave. Yes, indeed. That way, you learn to not ask too many questions about your leaders.

I wonder how many airport security guards were horsing around when Islamic terrorists boarded three planes on 9/11?

Hey, why blame the security guards? Why not ask how many CIA analysts were horsing around? Oops, wait, forget I said anything: that's asking questions. Good little drones don't do that.


Why, yes, I am being sarcastic. Why do you ask?


[ Parent ]
Try something in between. (3.00 / 1) (#57)
by Vesperto on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 08:54:59 AM EST

For instance, not slacking off, but not being a drone either. It just might work, ya know?

Eĥoŝanĝo ĉiuĵaŭde...
[ Parent ]
nice troll nt (3.33 / 6) (#31)
by DrSbaitso on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 08:56:35 PM EST



Aeroflot Airlines: You Have Made the Right Choice!
---Advertising slogan for the only airline in the USSR
[ Parent ]
Now you're posting to K5 and I'm doing your work! (3.66 / 6) (#32)
by randyk on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 09:05:41 PM EST

Damnit! Now I'm posting to K5 and someone else has to do it.

And the fall of civilization commences...



[ Parent ]
Islamic terrorist and slacker security guards (2.50 / 2) (#55)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 08:04:17 AM EST

I wonder how many airport security guards were horsing around when Islamic terrorists boarded three planes on 9/11?

All of them it appears.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Eheh (4.00 / 1) (#58)
by Vesperto on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 09:09:12 AM EST

Agreeing with this i must still ask you: are you a Family Ties fan? 'Cos that really reminds me of Alex Keaton.

Eĥoŝanĝo ĉiuĵaŭde...
[ Parent ]
There's a selfless employee born every minute (4.80 / 5) (#63)
by seraph93 on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 07:57:47 PM EST

The work that slackers avoid at all costs tends to fall on the desk of people like ME--a hard, diligent worker.

Just because you're the poor chump who's proven to management that he'll break his back doing anything that falls on his desk doesn't make it our fault. Why the hell should I do my job when I know someone like you will do it for me? Almost everyone who works has the same job--lining the CEO's pockets with cash. Why should I bend over backwards to keep 99% of the wealth flowing towards 1% of the population? Because hard work is its own reward? Because Arbeit macht Frei?

Well, to hell with that. I'll just keep looking busy as long as I'm a wage-slave, thanks. While there are plenty of tasks that are worthy of hard work and 100% effort, helping my corporate masters fatten their wallets is not one of them.
--
Ph-nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn.
[ Parent ]
wonderful troll (none / 0) (#68)
by wrinkledshirt on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 10:40:58 PM EST

The "three planes" comment was the coo de grass. Great work.

[ Parent ]
RE: This why communism doesn't work. (none / 0) (#76)
by cht on Sun Aug 10, 2003 at 12:52:25 PM EST

Dude, for the love of God, DO NOT rent "Office Space"!

Your dedicated little head will explode after watching it.

Chris Tucker
cht@gis.net
http://www.gis.net/~cht

"Damn, it feels good to be a gangster!"

[ Parent ]

How can this be a Tech story? (3.66 / 3) (#11)
by bigbtommy on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 04:09:33 PM EST

Surely the simplest thing is to set up a *nix box at home with a DSL connection and just SSH in to it? Or come up with a funky web based system so you can request porn via a secure connection...
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
Tunnel through ssh (none / 0) (#67)
by pnadeau on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 09:24:44 PM EST

Proxy your HTTP requests by setting up a HTTP proxy on your home Unix box and then tunneling a connection to them over ssh. Just be sure to either clear your cahes regularly or turn off caching entirely.

Also can be applied to nntp and smtp/imap for reading sending 'private' mail. Beware of mail clients that cache headers or even whole msgs though


"Can't buy what I want because it's free, can't be what they want because I'm..."  Eddie Vedder


[ Parent ]
SSH is great (none / 0) (#79)
by sleepyhel on Thu Aug 14, 2003 at 10:23:11 AM EST

if you don't work behind a proxy server that blocks it. :)

--
"have you ever been in the middle of really good sex, and realized a duck was staring at you?" -- vleth
[ Parent ]
OS X (4.25 / 4) (#18)
by Haelo on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 05:23:17 PM EST

As one who uses X all day at work, there are a number of handy task-reassignment solutions that can be used. The simplest is of course, hiding the dock. But an even trickier method is to strictly use DragThing or some other replacer which will simulate the look of the Dock, except -- and this is the stroke of genius on the developer's part -- this faux Dock can be customized to exclude nefarious applications from it. The second ingredient in the mix is X's built in hiding feature, which is a bit like Minimize on Windows, but only one quick keystroke away instead of two awkward ones. You can then position all your work applications just so, and stack the browser/et cetera on top, and when you Hide it, you instantly look very busy, with no evidence in the "Dock" to speak of.

X also has the ability to throw a lot of text in the face of the boss with the option of using good old *NIX classics through X11, or Apple's own Terminal application. I prefer the former, as you can more easily selectively hide potentially job risking text windows. The added bonus of text in an OS X environment, is that if you use it in a work environment, you are probably surrounded by Mac Heads, the majority of which will feel strange, cold sweats and symptoms of anxiety attacks at the sight of so much text on your screen. This is a good way to artificially boost your "we don't know what that person's job is, aren't they such a good employee" rating. There is another text trick that will further increase the "this person is working" feeling of your desktop, and that is the second rule of text: If the text is wildly scrolling by in one or more windows, it will cause the PHB to not only believe you are very busy, but that whatever you are doing is vital. If they ask what these windows are doing, you can simply reply, 'compiling,' and they will never ask again. You could be running a cat on /dev/input/mouse and they won't bat an eye.
A.

Hey! (none / 0) (#61)
by scruffyMark on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 07:29:53 PM EST

There is no /dev/input/mouse on OS X! Well, you tricked me, I guess - I'm the one that looked...

[ Parent ]
Heh. (none / 0) (#65)
by Haelo on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 08:40:46 PM EST

I knew I should have looked that one up. That trick actually goes back to when I was using Linux at work on an x86. Actually, looking through X's device tree, I don't see where the mouse is at all. Oh well, there are better ways to generate endless supplies of gibberish.
A.
[ Parent ]
Since KDE isn't always an option... (3.75 / 4) (#19)
by SocratesGhost on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 05:43:06 PM EST

I love having multiple desktops on my Windows PC. What's that you say? Windows doesn't allow that? Au contraire.

LiteStep is a wonderful shell that replaces the Windows Explorer. Tweak it to your little linux loving loin's content. And then you can play Freecell on one screen and switch over to the "work" screen when your boss approaches. LiteStep.com, litestep.org, litestep.net all work.

-Soc
I drank what?


The world of Windows shell replacement... (4.66 / 3) (#48)
by insin on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 04:01:43 AM EST

...is a gift when it comes to slacking, thanks to the wonder that is multiple desktops - my preference is Blackbox for Windows, which, as a bonus, is easy to style - this is vital for going incognito (created after a few negative managerial contents about the more wacky styles I was using), as you can make it look a bit like Exploder to the casual observer.

And if you are stuck with Explorer as your shell, you can still get multiple desktops thanks to wonderful applications such as VirtuaWin , which will just add an innocent looking little icon to youe taskbar, but grant you the power of multiple desktops with hotkey switching and a selective taskbar! ;-)

Another good surfing tip for those places where they aren't too worried about the URLs you visit - use a user stylesheet to make all web pages look like boring text documents or technical manuals (with link colours set to your preference):

* {
background-color: #fff !important;
color: #000 !important;
background-image: none !important;
border-color: #000 !important;
}
img {
visibility: hidden !important;
border: 1px solid #efefef !important;
}
a {
color: #009 !important;
}
a:hover {
color: #090 !important;
}
a:visited {
color: #606 !important;
}


[ Parent ]
You missed SO many things.... tisk. (5.00 / 9) (#20)
by wiremind on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 05:43:48 PM EST

I work in an office, and I am known as a slacker, even my boss acknowledges this.

I get all my projects done on time, and I never miss a deadline, so, they let my slacking go.

Now you may wonder, how can you slack off at work, and stil get everything done on time. well, that is a personal secret, ( that i wont post on company time ) but for many many moons i slacked without ANYONE ever knowing. And that is what i will talk about:

#1) If you want to web surf, simply web surf stuff related to your work, i'm a programmer, so i web surf toms hardware, and local computer stores, and  programming howtos, and thinkgeek.

#2) Whenever chatting on aim, or irc, or posting messages/diaries here, say your on a support board, or talking to a support person who is helping you work out a problem you are having.

#3) Argue with cube-partners about science or politics, there are 3 of us in an enclosed area, and we argue for about an hour every day about politics, science, religion, its great fun. boss walks by, hears us arguing away, thinks were hard at work, cuz were not laughing.
I should note, this method works in many enviroments, the coffee room, going into someones office and hangin' out there for a while.

#4) Smoke breaks, Every office has at least one smoker, if you yourself do not smoke, make friends with the smoker, and whenever he goes outside for a break, join him, he will go at least 4 times.
During these smoke breaks you can go for a walk outside, get some fresh air, chat about anything non-work related.

#5) coffee room, walking around the office.
Grab your empty coffee cup, walk the long way around the office to the coffee room, chat with anyone who says hi to you, but make sure you say goodbye before they do, that way you will appear to be working hard, finally arrive at the coffee room, and if the coffee pot is more than 1/2 empty, then spend the time reading the news paper and make a fresh pot, and anyone who comes, just tell them you 'love' fresh coffee, you can read the news paper and chat with people for about 10 minutes, then, get your cup of coffee, and walk the long way back to your desk, once again, chat with people, but always say goodbye first. finally arrive at your desk, and there you can spend an easy 5 minutes just enjoying the smell of your drink and cooling it off , or warming your hands on it, and stiring it.

#6) cleaning your office, if your human, you probably have a messy desk, one way to kill alot of time, and feel good, is to clean up your desk. This should only be done at the beginning or the end of the day, but can usually last as much as 20-30 minutes.

#7) work related relaxing, i dont know what other desk jockies do, but i'm a programmer, so writing comments into my code is a good thing to do when your current task is too daunting..

#8) Do your work, now now, read this..
I Love programming, so, on occation , i do my work, (usually alot of it in one stretch). So doing your job, you achieve goals, you have a purpose, it IS an option.

This is a short list of things that can be done to make your time at work more enjoyable.

I would add more, but its time to go for some coffee. and i probably wont be back for at least 30-45 minutes, so please be patient with me replying. to your comments.
Kyle

Note: I work with Kyle (4.00 / 2) (#36)
by enderwiggin99 on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 11:44:24 PM EST

And he just got fired. :)

__Ender__
Reverse-engineering the Universe from life until Zen.
[ Parent ]
crap. (none / 0) (#60)
by wiremind on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 12:33:22 PM EST

i knew i shouldnt have posted my real name, and office phone number on K5.
Kyle
[ Parent ]
Saying goodbye first (5.00 / 4) (#39)
by joecool12321 on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 12:38:43 AM EST

"make sure you say goodbye before they do"

This is very important for two reasons. First, not only does it make you look like a hard worker, it also means people like you.

A note: make sure you get inside the cubicle or office. To people outside, standing in the doorway says "chatting". Taking a seat says "discussing". To the person inside, standing in the doorway says "too busy to really talk" while sitting says, "I care". (Don't force your way in, that just says "I'm weird".)

Two exceptions to the above rule: subordinates and bosses. If you go into a subordinates room, you're micro-managing or 'checking up' on them, or you don't have any real work to do. If you chat at the door, you're taking time out of your busy schedule. If you go into a bosses room, you're being presumptious.

Never, ever, EVER gossip. Nothing says "don't trust me" like gossiping.

I've gotten two pay raises by taking about an hour, hour and a half just chatting with people. At review time, when they ask that, "Besides yourself, who do you think is the hardest worker" question, I'm the one that gets named. It's because I'm friendly, but I always leave before they say goodbye. (It also means you don't wear out your welcome.)

[ Parent ]

Clipboard (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by MicroBerto on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 09:33:05 AM EST

Don't just walk around the office. Walk around with a clipboard or something!

I also walk around with gloves on because I work at a plant, so every now and then it makes me look like i've been getting real dirty on the floor.

I save the tricks everyone here's used for off-days. When i'm feeling good, I get the work done. Or else you can get in trouble.

Berto
- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]

Um ... your factory scenario (5.00 / 14) (#21)
by pyramid termite on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 05:57:47 PM EST

If you're slacking off on the factory floor, everyone knows it. Someone says, "Hey! why are all these widgets missing their gromets?" Someone else says, "Gromets are Bill's job." Then the boss comes over and finds you doing crosswords next to the assembly line. You're fired.

No. What happens is that they tell Bill to get back to work and get Bob to put in the missing gromets. Meanwhile Bill finds a way to make the machine fuck up so he can finish his crossword puzzle. Or he gets Jenny to put them in for him and walks off the floor. Or he puts them in every other time. Or he has an instant spastic fit and management ends up giving him a stress break or an FLMA leave until he's "unstressed". Or he calls quality control over a "problem" and the line stops while it's checked out. Or the manager, once having told Bill to quit goofing off, goes back to the office for a production, safety, shipping, training or quality meeting (or to process various reports on his workstation, or just hang around and shoot the shit with the other managers). Bill goes back to his crossword puzzle. After awhile, either someone notices there's no grommets and the manager goes out there, but Tyrone gives Bill the high sign before he gets there and Bill's hidden the crossword puzzle book and is putting grommets in and when asked why there's no grommets, he says, "I think I saw a couple falling off" and then they stop the line for the rest of the shift so maintenance can fix the problem and the line workers can all do crosswor^H^H^H^H^clean-up. Or the guy that noticed it before decides to hell with it and a week later customer service gets an irate phone call from a grommet-less customer at which point a quality control investigation is made that reveals little else but that grommets are awfully scarce in that particular order. Paperwork ensues. A notice is put up prohibiting reading material on the floor. The workers choose not to obey it and the managers choose not to enforce it or just tell people to hide it in their toolboxes and everyone's happy. Well, employed anyway.

For union shops, add long discussions with a verbally abusive steward to all confrontations with Bill and long drawn out grievance and arbitration proceedings for any disciplinary action.

I wish I was kidding. At an engine manufacturing facility where I was a security guard I would often run across this elderly gentleman who was in an empty corner of the floor fixing up ham and eggs on a hot plate for all his buddies. I asked him once, in a joking manner, "Don't you have work to do?", as that's ALL I ever saw him do at that place.

"They don't want me out on that floor," he answered. "They lose money every time they put me out there."

Honest to God, I know what I'm talking about.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
made me laugh (4.00 / 1) (#22)
by transient0 on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 06:03:18 PM EST

I can believe it. When I worked on an assembly line it was in a no-nonsense non-union shop where people got fired real fast for fucking up.

I can only imagine that as factories get bigger and bureaucracies more complicated there will be just as many and varied ways to slack off as there are in a computerized office. I'm just writing what I know.
---------
lysergically yours
[ Parent ]

Or... (2.00 / 1) (#23)
by Yanks Rule on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 06:06:38 PM EST

Work from home!

"I do think we live in dangerous times, and anybody who looks at the world and says this is the time to be a wuss--I can't buy that anymore. " -- Dennis Miller

Correct VirtualWin link (4.33 / 3) (#24)
by Pac on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 06:16:02 PM EST

I don't know why you linked to an old (version 2.5) Tucows download. Anyone interested should go the official VirtualWin site and grab version 2.8. The site also offers many (all also free, but some in binary form only) third-party VW modules.

(I notice this should be Editorial, but the article is already being voted so I thought it would be more useful as Topical)

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


Not necessary in XP (and possibly 2K) (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by Mister Pmosh on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 12:17:32 AM EST

Windows XP can do virtual desktops just like CDE has been able to do for years and years. The only cool "extra" to it is that you can use a desktop browser and open up four (for example) into four sections of the screen and then click on the one you want, which will then zoom in on it until it takes up your whole screen.
"I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!" -- Carl
[ Parent ]
It does not work on 2K (none / 0) (#69)
by Pac on Thu Aug 07, 2003 at 01:45:25 AM EST

If you are talking about the MS Power Toys for XP one, I tried to install it and it said it would only run on XP. Too bad, I was willing to give it a try.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


[ Parent ]
+1 FP (3.25 / 4) (#26)
by mge on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 06:19:58 PM EST

Just because of this:

The computer is a powerful tool for work but, as a universal Turing machine, it can't help but also be a powerful tool for play.

Very well done!

I love your ending. (4.00 / 8) (#27)
by skyknight on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 06:45:25 PM EST

After all, where would the world be if Einstein had spent all those hours actually reading patent applications rather than dreaming about the basic structure of the universe?

I shall have to remember that for all future bosses. :-)



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
lynx? use links instead! (4.75 / 4) (#29)
by jeduthun on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 08:26:10 PM EST

why did you link to lynx? lynx is a passable text-based browser, but it absolutely pales in comparison to (e)links for most tasks. links is cooler than lynx because:

  • it supports frames and tables
  • if you run it in an xterm, you can actually click on links, like in a real browser (this draws audible oohs and ahhs from your linux friends, try it!)
  • it lays things out as the web designer intended (usually), making web sites easier to browse
  • its form interaction is very smooth and polished
  • it has a nice text-based user interface
there are some reasons to use lynx instead of links, but links is usually worlds more comfortable than lynx for interactive web surfing. I recommend it.

hmm, better link... (3.00 / 1) (#43)
by blisspix on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 01:33:56 AM EST

The browser emulator <a href="http://www.dejavu.org/emulator.htm">http://www.dejavu.org/emulator.htm</a> fabulous when you can't install software. That is, at the majority of the world's workplaces.

[ Parent ]
Hee hee, funny (4.88 / 9) (#30)
by quartz on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 08:27:07 PM EST

Your boss has probably just found out about the hundreds of millions of Indians and Chinese who would cheerfully browse the web and play solitaire for about a tenth of what he pays you. Guess whose job is about to get outsourced?

--
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
As an Indian, I resent that remark. (4.84 / 13) (#45)
by Akshay on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 01:48:25 AM EST

Out here, we are dedicated to our job and don't slack off by playing Solitaire or surfing the web like you Americans do.

We only play Minesweeper and read K5.

[ Parent ]

LOL! (nt) (2.00 / 1) (#56)
by bgarcia on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 08:21:37 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Amature avoidance! (5.00 / 8) (#33)
by QuantumG on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 10:01:30 PM EST

You forgot to mention the skillful art of "printing shit out". Nothing says workin' like printin' dude. When you're boss comes to your cube you should have the print manager up and going.. before he can start talking, just excuse yourself to head to the printer. It's even acceptable to lock your workstation at this point, for "security reasons".

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
Better yet (3.00 / 1) (#35)
by tchuladdiass on Tue Aug 05, 2003 at 11:38:20 PM EST

Print out web pages. Scatter them around your desk and keep a bunch of work stuff on your screen.

[ Parent ]
Even better, Visio (4.50 / 2) (#37)
by Mister Pmosh on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 12:15:09 AM EST

There's a ton of things that you can print out in Visio that make it look like you're actually planning something. Flowcharts impress managers.
"I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!" -- Carl
[ Parent ]
Visio rocks (none / 0) (#74)
by ericc on Fri Aug 08, 2003 at 01:50:20 PM EST

I couldn't agree more. I've been working on a network map for a month and a half now.

[ Parent ]
Funny (4.33 / 3) (#51)
by HermanMcGuigan on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 06:07:35 AM EST

Excellent comment, QuantumG. Had to go through to the bathroom to avoid bursting out laughing at my desk.

[ Parent ]
No Ghostzilla? (5.00 / 8) (#40)
by fluxrad on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 12:45:01 AM EST

I haven't seen one mention of Ghostzilla yet!

I'd tell you what it does, but whitnessing it for yourself is ten times as awesome. This is the work browser. Of course, the only problem is that if you do get caught using it, it looks twice as bad.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
whitnessing? wtf? (3.00 / 1) (#41)
by fluxrad on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 12:46:10 AM EST

I must be high.

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
Wow (3.00 / 1) (#44)
by dn on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 01:44:28 AM EST

That is so utterly slack.

    I ♥
TOXIC
WASTE

[ Parent ]

Strange, (5.00 / 3) (#42)
by Cruel Elevator on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 01:20:59 AM EST

40+ posts and no Dilbert reference yet? Do yourself a favor and get The Dilbert Principle, The Dilbert Future and and The Joy of Work. In The Dilbert Principle, chapter 8 is titled "Pretending to Work". Contains advice on stuff like messy desk and strategic vacation planning.

The Joy of Work also has lots of tips on pretending to work, "multishirking", cubicle yoga and sleeping tips. Really, have a look at Scott Adam's works... he's an expert in this field.

OT: Anybody would like to comment on the Way of The Weasel?

(posting this from work, so um, yeah, whatever)

The Way of the Weasel--10 second review (none / 0) (#66)
by rho on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 09:04:25 PM EST

Did you like Scott Adams's other books? This one is exactly like all the others. Only with a weasel theme.

Buy it from the discount rack.
"The thought of two thousand people munching celery at the same time [horrifies] me." --G.B. Shaw
[ Parent ]

Forgot a few. (3.50 / 2) (#46)
by dasunt on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 03:03:48 AM EST

First, I recommend w3m over lynx. Table support is nice. (I'm posting this via lynx right now.)

Second, GNU screen is wonderful. ctrl-a ctrl-a and you're back to the configuration file you spent all morning 'editing'.

Also, check out the roguelikes - nethack, rogue, adom, etc. Good text based games.

Finally, other then the destination, ssh is anonymous. :)



Sleeping on the job (4.81 / 11) (#47)
by sypher on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 03:57:10 AM EST

I can't recall where I saw this, but this is a good one. You need your own office, and what you do is close the door, and lie down on the floor with one foot a few inches from the door (in case someone opens it). Next, scatter a load of paper clips on the floor and lie down, with one hand on the paper clips. Go to sleep. If someone comes into the room, the door will bang against your foot and rouse you, then you can make like you are picking up the paper clips.

I dreamt of it once, now I fear it dreams of me
that's classic (4.00 / 2) (#49)
by the77x42 on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 04:52:20 AM EST

that's the funniest thing i've ever read on here :)


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
The Joy of Work. (none / 0) (#62)
by it certainly is on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 07:31:56 PM EST

It's probably not the original source, but it was one of the tips mailed to Scott Adams and printed in his book, The Joy of Work.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Seinfeld (none / 0) (#71)
by RecursiveWasabi on Fri Aug 08, 2003 at 01:10:20 AM EST

I recall seeing this exact scene in an episode of Seinfeld. George Costanza was trying to look busy at his job with the New York Yankees.

[ Parent ]
You son of a bitch! (3.00 / 5) (#50)
by Russell Dovey on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 05:24:26 AM EST

I will never sleep again after looking at that tubgirl link. That sort of link should be preceded by a warning involving the Geneva Convention.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan

Well (1.83 / 6) (#52)
by GRiNGO on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 06:09:27 AM EST

You are a homosexual lexologically-correct inbred poncey stuck-up self-righteous jew.

--
"I send you to Baghdad a long time. Nobody find you. Do they care, buddy?" - Three Kings


[ Parent ]
Textual Diversions (4.50 / 4) (#53)
by bloat on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 06:43:51 AM EST

Don't forget text adventures ('Interactive Fiction'). Lots of fun - and very subtle.

Baf's Guide has links to all the games.

You'll need to download an interpreter (preferably a text only one like Frotz) to run the game data files. Check here or here for info.

CheersAndrewC.
--
There are no PanAsian supermarkets down in Hell, so you can't buy Golden Boy peanuts there.
The Joys of the ebook (4.33 / 3) (#54)
by monkeymind on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 07:13:48 AM EST

After dropping into a shit boring job after having a contract end soon after the tech crash i found the joy of the ebook.

Had only one hour of work, at most, per day to do. Well after I had written a few things that did the work for me. The rest of the time I was reading. Money was crap but in the few months I was there I was averaging 3-5 novels per week.

Fun while it lasted but glad to be using the grey matter again rather than avioding work while looking busy.

If you have been slacking for more than three months in your current position. I suggest putting more effort into finding a role you enjoy. As it will be more rewarding in the end.

I believe in Karma. That means I can do bad things to people and assume the deserve it.

Stooooopid firewall rules... (4.00 / 2) (#64)
by scruffyMark on Wed Aug 06, 2003 at 08:15:06 PM EST

I worked for a few months as a phone-answering drone at a phone-answering-drone-outsourcing-sweatshop type operation that shall remain nameless.

The lengths they were willing to go to to prevent people slacking off at work was amazing - the firewall rules were restrictive to the point of interfering with our work. For example, if I couldn't find the answer to someone's question right away, and it was busy, I couldn't email them the info later when I had some time to look into it, the firewall would block nearly all connections to outside the organization.

As could be expected in an organization with that level of paranoia, all work was via terminal server, so no adding software from disk. And forget using anonymizing web proxies - the IE preferences panel was even disabled.

Now, the best part - the firewall rules. The blocking seemed to be deny-unless-allowed at first blush: aside from the corporate intranet, only a very small number of obviously work-related sites worked. Also, if you found that www.competitor.com worked, but the actual info on the competitor that you wanted was on usefulinfo.competitor.com, it would often be blocked.

However, a quick investigation revealed that the firewall must actually have been allow-unless-denied. Turns out they were blocking by TLD and must have just had a great long list of TLDs that were disallowed: .com, .net, all the country codes we could think of. But they left out .gov, .edu and .org.

Funny thing was, it seemed to work mostly - 99.9% of people there had probably tried hotmail.com, been turned back, and figured the whole thing was blocked. That, or they didn't realize there was an immense amount of timewasting material available under those three TLDs.

Much to my chagrin at the time, google.org just redirects you to google.com (which redirects you to google.ca if you're in Canada), so you couldn't use their cache.

Stoooopid firewall rules (4.00 / 1) (#70)
by baruch on Thu Aug 07, 2003 at 06:34:30 AM EST

Stoooopid firewall rules like these probably would have failed if you tried inputting: http://www.google.com.

(There's a dot of the dot com).

[ Parent ]

Cool (none / 0) (#86)
by scruffyMark on Thu Aug 14, 2003 at 07:00:51 PM EST

but not cool enough to make me wish that I still worked there...

[ Parent ]
Some words from practice (3.50 / 2) (#72)
by proch on Fri Aug 08, 2003 at 03:53:48 AM EST

I just have a few to say:

I enjoyed reading your articel because it has elements of what i am already doing. I do have an Nvidea-Card whitch allows me to use plenty desctops.
And did u ever heared of those little nice sticks up to 1 GB of volume can be transportet...
So i can browse websites like kuro5hin bye using a tool to grab this sites on my stick and browes them localy....
Well, just wanted to tell u that your emagination is  not only 'in your head', but it´s no big deal to use  common technik.

PS: Can help u if u wanna look at sites your girlfriend don´t want u to.

Greetings and have fun!

yes i can help (1.00 / 1) (#73)
by transient0 on Fri Aug 08, 2003 at 09:34:41 AM EST

get a new girlfriend
---------
lysergically yours
[ Parent ]
Some refinements (none / 0) (#75)
by acceleriter on Fri Aug 08, 2003 at 06:47:24 PM EST

If you use ALT+TAB, however, you risk the possibility that the new window to get switched up won't completely cover your game

Run two windows--one that you're using, and the other (a "work" window, Excel works well) that covers at least the area of your illicit activity.

and even if it does, savvy office patrollers know to scan the taskbar for rogue programs.

The taskbar has this nice checkbox in its properties: "Auto hide." Learn it, love it, live it. If hiding the taskbar looks incriminating, have enough windows open that "kuro5hin.org" on MSIE could be "k-widgets.com" for all the office patrol knows, because all s/he can see is the "k." Note that this approach requires ensuring your "work" window will be next in the Alt-Tab sequence. Fortunately, this is easy to test.

Happy slacking!

screenshot (none / 0) (#77)
by Cackmobile on Wed Aug 13, 2003 at 07:05:15 AM EST

I took a screenshot of a program i am working on then made it my wallpaper. took all the icons off my desktop and autohid the task bar. made sure teh task bar in the screenshot was full of work related things. now if the boss comes i minimise (through the middle mouse button ). and he sees the database i work with and a task bar chock full of work type programs

Another multi-desktop choice for Win users (none / 0) (#78)
by dcgrigsby on Wed Aug 13, 2003 at 10:51:02 PM EST

Besides the Tucows link, you could use Microsoft's Power Toys for multi-desktops if you're on Windows:

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/pro/downloads/powertoys.asp

SSH and X11... (3.00 / 2) (#80)
by rulethirty on Thu Aug 14, 2003 at 11:43:29 AM EST

They shut down all the ports here and even packet filter to look for people using chat clients (AIM, ICQ, MSN, etc.). Additionally they have shut down pretty much all access of any services except port 80 (web) outbound.

So having a *nix box at home I setup the firewall/router at my house to forward all inbound traffic on port 80 to SSH on my box. I also enabled XDMCP. Now at work I have Exceed to my disposal and run it and then SSH in to port 80 of my box at home with PuTTY using X11 port forwarding.

Now not only do I have a shell on my box at home but now I can run anything on the SSH session (with an & ampersand to place the job in the background) and get the program to display locally. I run Gaim with all the client plugins and now my friends don't need trillian with AIM encryption supported (that stopped working anyway with the port blocking that was going on), now all my conversations are encrypted because SSH is encrypted it puts me a little more at ease.

The only problem I hope that is never discovered is the amount of data that I am sending back and forth to my home machine. And the fact it is not a qualified website but actually an SSH server. After that discover this I will have to reinvent the wheel yet again... and maybe post this as well.

SSH + X11 = Good partnership for slacking (1.40 / 5) (#81)
by rulethirty on Thu Aug 14, 2003 at 11:50:55 AM EST

They shut down all the ports here and even packet filter to look for people using chat clients (AIM, ICQ, MSN, etc.). Additionally they have shut down pretty much all access of any services except port 80 (web) outbound. So having a *nix box at home I setup the firewall/router at my house to forward all inbound traffic on port 80 to SSH on my box. I also enabled XDMCP. Now at work I have Exceed to my disposal and run it and then SSH in to port 80 of my box at home with PuTTY using X11 port forwarding. Now not only do I have a shell on my box at home but now I can run anything on the SSH session (with an & ampersand to place the job in the background) and get the program to display locally. I run Gaim with all the client plugins and now my friends don't need trillian with AIM encryption supported (that stopped working anyway with the port blocking that was going on), now all my conversations are encrypted because SSH is encrypted it puts me a little more at ease. The only problem I hope that is never discovered is the amount of data that I am sending back and forth to my home machine. And the fact it is not a qualified website but actually an SSH server. After that discover this I will have to reinvent the wheel yet again... and maybe post this as well.

SSH + X11 = Good partnership for slacking (1.40 / 5) (#82)
by rulethirty on Thu Aug 14, 2003 at 11:51:29 AM EST

They shut down all the ports here and even packet filter to look for people using chat clients (AIM, ICQ, MSN, etc.). Additionally they have shut down pretty much all access of any services except port 80 (web) outbound. So having a *nix box at home I setup the firewall/router at my house to forward all inbound traffic on port 80 to SSH on my box. I also enabled XDMCP. Now at work I have Exceed to my disposal and run it and then SSH in to port 80 of my box at home with PuTTY using X11 port forwarding. Now not only do I have a shell on my box at home but now I can run anything on the SSH session (with an & ampersand to place the job in the background) and get the program to display locally. I run Gaim with all the client plugins and now my friends don't need trillian with AIM encryption supported (that stopped working anyway with the port blocking that was going on), now all my conversations are encrypted because SSH is encrypted it puts me a little more at ease. The only problem I hope that is never discovered is the amount of data that I am sending back and forth to my home machine. And the fact it is not a qualified website but actually an SSH server. After that discover this I will have to reinvent the wheel yet again... and maybe post this as well.

SSH + X11 = Good partnership for slacking (1.40 / 5) (#83)
by rulethirty on Thu Aug 14, 2003 at 11:51:46 AM EST

They shut down all the ports here and even packet filter to look for people using chat clients (AIM, ICQ, MSN, etc.). Additionally they have shut down pretty much all access of any services except port 80 (web) outbound. So having a *nix box at home I setup the firewall/router at my house to forward all inbound traffic on port 80 to SSH on my box. I also enabled XDMCP. Now at work I have Exceed to my disposal and run it and then SSH in to port 80 of my box at home with PuTTY using X11 port forwarding. Now not only do I have a shell on my box at home but now I can run anything on the SSH session (with an & ampersand to place the job in the background) and get the program to display locally. I run Gaim with all the client plugins and now my friends don't need trillian with AIM encryption supported (that stopped working anyway with the port blocking that was going on), now all my conversations are encrypted because SSH is encrypted it puts me a little more at ease. The only problem I hope that is never discovered is the amount of data that I am sending back and forth to my home machine. And the fact it is not a qualified website but actually an SSH server. After that discover this I will have to reinvent the wheel yet again... and maybe post this as well.

SSH + X11 = Good partnership for slacking (1.83 / 6) (#84)
by rulethirty on Thu Aug 14, 2003 at 11:51:51 AM EST

They shut down all the ports here and even packet filter to look for people using chat clients (AIM, ICQ, MSN, etc.). Additionally they have shut down pretty much all access of any services except port 80 (web) outbound. So having a *nix box at home I setup the firewall/router at my house to forward all inbound traffic on port 80 to SSH on my box. I also enabled XDMCP. Now at work I have Exceed to my disposal and run it and then SSH in to port 80 of my box at home with PuTTY using X11 port forwarding. Now not only do I have a shell on my box at home but now I can run anything on the SSH session (with an & ampersand to place the job in the background) and get the program to display locally. I run Gaim with all the client plugins and now my friends don't need trillian with AIM encryption supported (that stopped working anyway with the port blocking that was going on), now all my conversations are encrypted because SSH is encrypted it puts me a little more at ease. The only problem I hope that is never discovered is the amount of data that I am sending back and forth to my home machine. And the fact it is not a qualified website but actually an SSH server. After that discover this I will have to reinvent the wheel yet again... and maybe post this as well.

Not a good idea (none / 0) (#87)
by rpresser on Sun Aug 24, 2003 at 01:11:50 AM EST

All they have to do is get wise and put a proper proxy on port 80 instead of leaving it open to every TCP packet on that port.  Then you're screwed.
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]
"If you are ever caught playing Tetris" (none / 0) (#89)
by onemorechip on Thu Aug 28, 2003 at 01:18:12 AM EST

I had to smile at that line -- it brought to mind the scene from Office Space where Peter is playing Tetris (after having dismantled his cubicle to get a better view) and Lumbergh walks by. Peter doesn't flinch, he just keeps right on playing as he talks to his boss. Of course, in that case it was because he had already ceased to care whether he got fired or not (thereby setting himself up for promotion).
--------------------------------------------------

I did my essay on mushrooms. It's about cats.

Your Guide to Looking Busy at Work | 89 comments (76 topical, 13 editorial, 0 hidden)
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