07 July, 2009

Evolution: not for everyone.

The Stress Fiend updated our group email signature yesterday, replacing our aging plain text monstrosity that consumed half a page with a leaner, more legible, html version. This combined two of Ted E.'s great, pathological fears: change, and html files. We don't really know why he hates them so much, but he does. It has nothing to do with compatibility, standards, or readability. He just hates them with the kind of visceral loathing normal people reserves for someone hitting a bag of kittens with a hammer.

Ted wrote an email. The new signature came up. He ran straight to The Invertebrate to complain.

"Look what Someone's done!* This is something we should have discussed as a group, instead of just going ahead with it and not telling anyone!"

The Invertebrate: "Actually, I reckon that looks pretty good."

"No, they shouldn't be doing this at all! There's a standard format we're supposed to use, with block capitals and stuff."

"I've been here eleven years, and if there's a standard format, I've never seen anyone use it. And I can tell you no-one is using it now."

Ted changes tack: "It's making our email run slower."**

"Well, I'll tell you what. You open and close a few emails with the old signature and the new one, time how long it takes for them to open, and then we'll see if it's a problem."

So Ted goes off to dutifully open and close emails.

"See? Look how fast this one opens with the old signature! I told you!"

"Dude, you already had it open in the preview pane. That doesn't count."

Crestfallen, Ted returns to opening and closing emails (which sounds wasteful, but actually lifts the net productivity of the team by keeping him engaged in something useless and pointless). Finally he's forced to concede that new signature isn't grinding our email system to a halt, and we get to keep the new signature until he can come up with something else that's wrong with it.

* When it's a capital "s" Someone, he always means me. I think it's his idea of being subtle, but now everyone tends to snigger or roll their eyes when he says it. I don't think he's worked out why yet.
** We use Lotus Notes. It doesn't do "slower", only "paralysed with fear and indecision" and, if we're lucky "sudden death".

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