If you have a geek on your list (and who doesn’t these days?), you might want to consider the collection from the “Not Invented Here” comic by Bill Barnes and Paul Southworth. The setting for this very funny comic is inside a software development firm where terms like “kernals” and “code” and”interface” form the backbone vocabulary of a funny group of programmers, marketing folks and others. I’m no programmer yet even I had plenty of chuckling moments, particularly as technology goes astray.
Check out the back page description:
Behind every great piece of software is a talented, conscientious team of hardworking individuals dedicated to producing the highest quality product using internationally accepted best practices and industry standards.
And then, there are these guys.
One particularly storyline around a social networking site called “MySpice” that seeks to add a fragance element to connecting with friends had me laughing so loud that my sons needed to see over my shoulder what I was reading. That the storyline ends with a tragic accident involving a user and a perfume spray in the eye, not to mention the mangling of some programming code, made it delightful to read as a parody of the direction of sites like MySpace and Facebook (although I think the Spice Girls should had a cameo).
The characters in Not Invented Here are nicely fleshed out — from Desmond, the overweight programmer whose need to improve every line of code he comes across is a fixation of comedy of errors (so to speak); to Owen, a sofware design guy who has no clue what he is doing most of the time and whose stumbling around in the world is a fine comedic relief; Marketroid, the robotic head of marketing whose fingers are all over every product, and not in a good way; and more.
I’m tempted to send my copy of Runtime Error to my programming friend but that would mean getting rid of the book. Nope. I might have to buy a second copy to send him for the holidays.
Peace (on the funny pages),