a little coding
This is a brief discussion of the unfairness of a little coding.
A business person offers me a free meal if I will do some simple programming for him. He assures me that it will take less than five minutes of my time.
He voices a complaint that the lowest bid he could get from professional web development companies is a thousand dollars, which he considers an absurd amount of money to pay for the work he wants done.
The job he described to me sounds trivially easy and I was very hungry (not having eaten anything that day).
add a link to the bottom of the page
The business man (who will remain unnamed to prevent lawsuits) wanted me to add a link to a static page on WordPress to the bottom of every web page on his site.
I asked him what he wanted it to look like, and he pointed out a simple rounded edge button from another website.
I put all of the material for the web page into a PHP string variable and then inserted that string into every web page via a simple WordPress function call.
This very simple piece of work, including the time for the business person to find and pint to an example of what he wanted, took just under 30 minutes.
Thats a lot longer than the work should have taken.
The business person had me do this work on his tablet. While business persons think nothing of using hunt and peck for typing, it is a horrible impediment to productivity for an actual worker. Business persons rarely do typing longer than a text message, so it doesnt matter what method they use.
For a programmer, non-standard sized keys, multiple screens to reach all of the needed characters (not all of which can be reached with a single click), and no tactile feedback for the locations of the home keys or the edges of any of the keys, means a major nightmare. The wrong tool means no touch typing. One must actually look at the keys and hunt and peck manually, with absurd screen changes between characters.
A tablet is a fine tool for stupid people, but it is not at all designed for high speed typing or for any kind fo serious work.
Business persons have no concept of the right tool for the right job.
one little change
At this point I have performed the requested task to the business mans exact specifications. He agrees that I have accomplished exactly what he originally requested and that it works exactly as requested. I am ready to eat.
But the business man then says that what he requested was not what he wanted.
This is completely unfair of business people. Business persons make specific requests, the worker delivers the exact work requested, and the business person (they never seem to ever actually plan anything in advance) decides that he wants sometyhing different. And there is no offer of additional pay.
The first job was completed. This is a new job. This is not an extension of the first job. This is flat out deceit, fraud, and worker abuse.
The business person requests that the button be moved to the top of every page and that I also add his logo and make the logo a link to the home page.
I am hungry, so I agree to the extra work.
I ask him to provide a link to the logo picture.
As he is finding the logo picture, a pretty girl sits at the next table at the coffee house and suddenly the business person is distracted and starts trying to chat her up. The business person asks if she is Catholic and when she responds that she is, he pulls out his Bible and starts to try to convince her that she needs to convert to his version of Christianity.
I interrupt and ask for the logo picture link. The business person gets angry and tells me to just wait.
Dude, when you have me sit around doing nothing waiting for you to finish insulting some pretty girls religious choice, thats not free time. That is my time that you are wasting.
By good fortune, the pretty girl loses interest in her religon being trashed and the business person returns to the work he requested.
He uploads a jpeg picture and provides me a link.
I point out that the logo picture is very big (500-something by 500-something, square) and ask what size he wants. He says he doesnt care.
I use HTML to resize the logo picture to the same height as the button, add a link to the home page for the logo, and move everything to the top of every web page.
Work successfully completed.
The business man complains about the size of the logo (remember, I just asked him what size he wanted). I change the size to his satisfaction.
The business person likes the results, but wants the logo to be transparent.
It takes a while to convince him that if he wants a transparent image, that he cant use a jpeg. He kept argueing that the original picture done by his artist had transparency.
I finally get across to him that he needs to upload the logo picture in a format that includes transparency, such as png.
a few more changes
At this point the business person announces that he wants it to look like someone elses website. He wants a banded background and several different links, in a different style than the work Id already done, and he wants the choices to change depending on which page the visitor is on.
I try to explain to him that this request requires a lot more time than a few minutes. I dont think he believes me.
At this point he decides that he wants to change the structure of his website.
I wait while he attempts to make his changes. He is horrified by how he messes up his website badly and demands that I return his website to its original state.
I get his website back to the original version, with the new buttons and logo removed.
just a little parallax scrolling
The business person returns to the competitors website and points out the parallax scrolling.
He asks for me to add parallax scrolling to his home page.
I try to explain to him that it is a lot of work, days worth of work.
Yes, if someone has already done this work, they can modify a previous example fairly quickly, but I would be building this from scratch on his tablet.
Again, he doesnt believe me and thinks I am shirking on our agreement.
At this point we have used up almost two hours. Yes, some of the time was spent on his trashing a pretty girls religion. And some of the time was spent on actual coding. Most of the time ws spent on his random wanderings of the internet to show examples of what he wanted.
To me, the time he wasted counts as work time because I have no interest in his random internet wandering, his religious speeches, or his failed experiments in changing the structure of his website.
He bought me $2.13 worth of food. For one hour and 50 minutes of time.
That works out to less than one tenth of minimum wage in California.
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