Foresight

I stayed extra late at work yesterday. Swing shift was under way so I decided to wander over into Dave’s area. Figured I could bug him for a little while, kill some time bullshitting about whatever with him before leaving to go home. Arriving in Dave’s area I found him busy as hell troubleshooting at least a half dozen instruments scattered across his department’s test racks. The instrument he was hovering over must have pissed him off something fierce because Dave had a look of frustration on his brow. Standing next to him I gave his test setup a cursory glance and then I asked him what was up.

“See that button on the screen there that says ‘F8’?” He said.

I stepped closer and looked where he was pointing at on the computer monitor. In the upper right hand side of the active window there was a graphic box that said “F8 AUTO ABORT.”

I replied, “Yeah I see it. What’s the deal?”

“I’m gonna punch the guy that made that button.”

“How come?”

“Because it doesn’t work. If I got a box here that I can see from the test data is more than likely going to fail, I want to abort out right away. The test time takes too long. When I hit F8 nothing happens. The test will continue on like it’s all good even though the box died. Might take another hour and a half for the testing to complete after a real failure occurs.”

“So why don’t you just disconnect the unit during the test procedure?”

“If I do that it jacks up the whole test software program. As soon as you pull the plug, the code thinks that unit is still under test somewhere, maybe at another station. And it causes the box to lock up. This software is a piece of shit.”

I’d heard a lot of complaints over the last couple of years concerning the test software Dave’s department got stuck with. It’s called Foresight. From what I can discern talking to unfortunate employees who have had that junk foisted upon them, it truly is a steaming pile of poo.

Foresight is one of those stories that really makes your head spin when you learn the backstory about it. Under development for an insane stretch like twelve years, Foresight has never met expectations or performed as-advertised. It was written by a section of software engineering dudes who have basically been pulling a giant swindle over on elements of our management. Originally, Foresight was supposed to be a super-powerful test software suite with a streamlined and user friendly GUI. The team working on it’s development spent a great deal of time talking about how awesome Foresight would be, but they never really delivered on those promises.

Insulating themselves in their own little world, the Foresight team dragged the development cycle on indefinitely. Instant job security. Meanwhile they gave themselves a variety of awards and praise without ever producing anything viable. If they learned of another software engineering project that might in some way jeopardize or threaten Foresight, this group of knuckleheads would throw themselves full-force at management to have the rival software project cancelled post haste. In one case that I am aware of, the Foresight team even tried to threaten other software engineers with being fired if they did not drop development of their project.

Fortunately in my part of the company our department’s software engineers were far more shrewd and intelligent than those Foresight clowns. Our guys based their test executive software off of Unix and they produced a simple, yet effective program called GOS (General Operating System). Development of GOS took just a few months and cost very little, however it is being constantly updated. We have been using GOS rather than Foresight for as long as I can remember. In my opinion the rest of our test instrument divisions should drop Foresight like a hot brick and switch to GOS as soon as possible.

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~ by factorypeasant on June 16, 2007.

4 Responses to “Foresight”

  1. haha, that damn button still fucks me up!

  2. i bet you forgot about that conversation. heh.

    i’ll add in some more details about the units getting into a locked loop if disconnected.

  3. Ahhh, crappy software memories!!!
    PS I am glad you are posting again. I missed you!

  4. hey there o crazy one with hairs of red. yeah, sorry about the infrequent posting. been ferociously busy lately. anyhoo i’m trying to make more time to continue getting stuff off my chest in here. yup. hope you’ve been doing well. now that it’s BBQ weather again we should probably bug TC about hosting another event at his place. whaddya think about that idea hmmmmm?

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