Whatever happened to all those dot-coms, anyway?

It's the late 1990s, and this cash-machine network has just been spun off from its parent bank -- which means it needs a new billing system, says an IT pilot fish working there.

"Losing all the 'big bank' structures -- along with the related policies and procedures -- made the ATM organization seem like a dot-com," fish says.

"So rather than taking the time to push detailed contracts for the billing system through their legal department and that of the software house that was going to develop it, a purchase order was cut. The PO was for time and materials -- including travel and living expenses for consultants to fly into town. They didn't eat at McDonalds while they were here, that was for sure.

"Once the software house announced that the application was complete, it was far from ready to run. We spent many cycles fixing it, getting it to run to completion without crashing.

"Meanwhile, the software house played a neat little trick. They had retained copyright, and they started marketing a version on their website before we even got our copy to work correctly!

"We later spent a lot of time optimizing their code's internal searches -- their linear searches of lists that were usually sorted was sucking up tremendous amounts of time.

"The ultimate in chutzpah was when they called asking to get an updated copy of the code, with all our fixes and optimizations. For some reason, we never shipped them the files..."

It doesn't take chutzpah to send Sharky your story -- just a true tale of IT life. So email it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. I'll file off the identifying marks, and you'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

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