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September 25, 2004

Whack A Developer

Two days ago, my four year old son CJ brought me over the tv and pointed at the screen excitedly. "Daddy, I want this!...Buy me this!". He was pointing at the Whac-A-Mole game by Hasbro. Despite obvious warnings that it would be an extremely loud and obnoxious game, I agreed to get it for him the next time we were in the vicinity of Toys R Us.

For dinner tonight, we ate at Chevy's (a Mexican grill, if you don't have one in your area), which just happens to be right next door to Toys R Us. Coincidence? Hardly...So, while we were waiting for a seat, I popped into the store and bought the game. CJ fell asleep on the way home from the restaurant, so I haven't had the pleasure of playing the game yet, but I'll be sure to let you all know how that goes.

As I looked at the game box, I was reminded of the project that I worked on back when I was at Arthur Andersen (ahh...the good old days). I was on the WinTime team, which built probably the most complex and feature-rich time reporting application that the world has ever known. It was a rich-client Visual Basic application that allowed the submission of time reports via a hacked pseudo web services infrastructure (mind you, this was back in 1997). But I digress.

By far, the coolest feature of the application was the easter egg. If you went to the About box and typed "eggme", it would launch a popup window with a whack-a-mole type game that we called "Whack-A-Developer". Instead of moles popping up on the screen, we used digital pictures of the members of the development team (taken by one of the guys on the team that was crazy enough to dish out the huge cash that it took to own a digital camera back then). That in itself was neat, but not extraordinary. The best part was that behind the scenes, we were using our web services architecture to maintain a global top 100 high scorers list, making it the only easter egg that I have ever heard of that was so networked. I built the lion's share of the easter egg. Sadly, it was some of my best work in the early stages of my career. It was a big hit too, but we did get into a bit of trouble when we tried to organize a department-wide Whack-A-Developer tournament. Apparently, only Nerf games were acceptable. Our mistake.

12:10 AM | Permalink


I err... um... "liked" WinTime. Hated the email based transport, but at the time I'm sure that was all that was available and the app need to support being used by like 1 billion people...

Well until my group got bought by KPMG. And started to use their time app (TIMEnX). Then I realized that I missed WinTime.

At least WinTime used a normal local data store (out local office did all sort of things with the TBA's...).

Sigh... the old days. :|

Posted by: Greg | Sep 25, 2004 10:01:28 AM

I have to stop smoking dope on the weekends...

*.TB2's were the file names.

And I can't remember for sure if they were actually emailed to the Operations Center for processing ....

That's what I get for trying to use my brain early Saturday morning.

Posted by: Greg | Sep 25, 2004 10:12:54 AM

hehe ... I almost put an easter egg into a project I worked on *cough*foryou*cough*. I had a pong game that I wrote in C#. I didn't want to get in trouble so I decided to leave that "feature" out ;-)

Posted by: Joel Martinez | Sep 25, 2004 11:35:07 PM

Ahh - Wintime. As ex-Andersen myself, I have fond memories of that semi-monthly ritual of finding all those damn receipts, bugging partners for charge codes for projects you worked on, but they did not want to give you credit for, etc.

But now - knowing I worked there for 4 years without knowing about the easter egg? Now I feel out of the loop ::grin::

BTW - that was a nice app.

Posted by: Aaron Erickson | Sep 29, 2004 11:41:42 AM

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