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Trenches comic: Tuesday March 6, 2012 - Highlights!

BrogeyBrogey High MaintenanceSanta Monica, CASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
edited March 2012 in The Penny Arcade Hub
i-PKw3D6w.jpg
The Atkins Torture

I was in charge of localization testing for a 2003 PC game. I had 12 different computers (this was pre-virtualization) and my two testing companions each had 2 computers (one game, one bug). So we had a total of 16 computers crammed into a 15’ x 8’ room that was originally designed as a storage closet. That means no windows, one vent.

That number of computers running in those conditions constantly produces quite a lot of heat. We averaged a mean temperature in the room of 86 degrees, and we weren’t allowed to close the door because of the game’s sensitivity. We called our little high-temp hovel the ‘Sweat Lodge.’

Despite the 80 hour work weeks, I was enjoying the gig… I mean, it was a good game. Yes the heat sucked, but I got to show up for work during a Seattle winter wearing shorts and a t-shirt, so it was kind of novel.

Things took a turn for the worse when one of the guys in the room went on the Atkins diet. If you don’t know, the Atkins diet can make people smell REALLY bad, because… well all you’re doing is eating meat, and you just sort of sweat it out.

We all noticed it, but at first it was subtle and we just let it be. We figured he wouldn’t stick to the diet. The first sign of ‘The Stench’ was when my wife demanded I come home via the garage, put my clothes into the washer and go immediately into the shower. I realized later she was trying to ‘limit the contamination.’ The next sign was when I noticed I was adding tons of hot sauce, garlic and you name it to my food. My sense of smell was shutting down at
this point, apparently.

The final sign was when people down the hall would surreptitiously shut the door when we weren’t there, which of course just bottled up the heat causing us to lose a couple of our computers. By the time we shipped we had completely stopped getting visitors and were surrounded by empty offices.

After my standard 3 month post-contract ‘down time’ I came back and discovered that the area had been ‘remodeled.’ Our former closet was completely gone. Never to be spoken of again.

My compatriot tester had lost almost 60 pounds in about 4 months.

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Posts

  • RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    Good for the compatriot tester!

  • DextolenDextolen Registered User
    I went on Atkins years ago (lost 30 lb then fell off the wagon and couldn't get back on it. I don't recall BO, but your breath is funky because of ketosis. What killed the diet for me was the time spent on the crapper. Zero fiber, nuff said.

  • SticksSticks Registered User regular
    I'm doing a similar, but in my mind much improved form of low carb.

    6 days a week - no sugars/grains/dairy/fruit. Every meal should have a protein, vegetable, and a legume (beans/lentils/etc).
    1 day a week - whatever the fuck you want. Large deep dish pizza and a pint of ice cream for breakfast? Go for it.

    This is my second time around on the diet. The first time I dropped 20 pounds over 6 weeks. This time I have been less rigid and seen reduced results. However, it keeps me eating healthy most of the time, and is pretty cheap at the grocery store to boot (lentils are like $1 a package dried and is a major source of calories during the week).

    Still get the funky ketosis breath going on though.

  • fortyforty Registered User regular
    That number of computers running in those conditions constantly produces quite a lot of heat. We averaged a mean temperature in the room of 86 degrees, and we weren’t allowed to close the door because of the game’s sensitivity.
    Isn't that a good thing? If they had to close the door, the room would just be hotter and even more uncomfortable.

    I also don't understand why all dozen computers needed to be kept online all the time. Was he really testing the software on all of them simultaneously all the time?

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  • SticksSticks Registered User regular
    I don't think he was complaining about not being able to close the door. I think it was more a statement of how bad that room was.

    When the current status of the door is a factor in the stability of your equipment, that's saying something.

  • marsiliesmarsilies Registered User regular
    forty wrote:
    I also don't understand why all dozen computers needed to be kept online all the time. Was he really testing the software on all of them simultaneously all the time?
    There were 16 computers (12 for him, 2 each for the other two guys). Even shutting off ones he wasn't using at that moment, it sounds like each needed 2 on constantly, making 6 computers that would have to be on at any one time.

    However, for the other 10, it may have been a situation where he used them regularly, and turning them off an on repeatedly would've been too much of a time suck. I imagine every time he found a bug, he would then have to test it across all the other PCs to see if it was system-wide, or just local to one platform.
    Sticks wrote:
    I don't think he was complaining about not being able to close the door. I think it was more a statement of how bad that room was.

    When the current status of the door is a factor in the stability of your equipment, that's saying something.

    There's a bit of ambiguity in the line "we weren’t allowed to close the door because of the game’s sensitivity." Is he saying the game is sensitive in that it was unstable, or that it's sensitive in that it was highly valuable unreleased IP? Could they not close they door because the game would crash, or were they not allowed to close the door because they couldn't be left unsupervised with the code?

  • IvarIvar Registered User regular
    Every time you turn off a computer, God kills a kitten

  • marcovalmarcoval Registered User
    Umm I think this might have been me.... if it was I apologize :) Really did work well though!

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