Earlier today while at work, I was contacted by one of the engineers who wanted to talk to me about an error he was getting. Apparently this software he was testing (which shall remain nameless) was causing an error because it couldn’t reach the NTP server at time.windows.com, which is the default timeserver used by Windows XP. We generally don’t give our workstations at the office direct internet access, so I wrote back saying that it shouldn’t need to talk to time.windows.com, as we run our own internal timeserver. The engineer relayed that to the software tech support.
A bit later, the engineer relayed the response from tech support: it contacts time.windows.com for licensing purposes. I gritted my teeth and sent the following response: “In the interests of being politically correct and diplomatic, I will forego my normal response and recommend you put in a ticket for direct internet access.” The sysadmin finally came up with a more efficient workaround that I frankly wish I had thought of (aka, pointing time.windows.com to our timeserver’s IP address in the local hosts file), and we got him squared away.
What would be my normal response? The engineer did ask that, thinking it’d be something like, “WTF?” Nothing so mundane, I replied. My normal response would have been, “Tell their tech support to take their developers out back and have them shot.”
Either I’ve become a misanthrope or I’m becoming less and less patient with programming silliness. Companies need to realize that a lot of enterprises do not A) grant the workstations direct internet access, and B) do not allow the users to have local admin privileges. I can’t tell you how tired I am of fighting with applications by developers that don’t follow those two rules of thumb… gah. Ah, well. At least we’ve gotten workarounds so far, but it still annoys me.