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Why Brian Lazara Is An Ignorant Mother Fucker: A Synopsis

Surely Jesus screwed up, to have left a perfectly good carpentry job to teach us all what Love really means, then to give His own Life to save our very souls?

In balsamic's diary, I related how I compared Brian Lazara's wrongful termination of me in retaliation for protesting his workplace abuse, to firing a woman for refusing to give him a blowjob. How is it any different?

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Technology and Culture, from the Trenches

And yes, I used the precise word "blowjob" in my discussion with the good counsel. Their head HR manager was on the line as well.

To which Holly replied:

Not coming to work after an internal dispute about allegedly uncompleted work is not comparable to sexual harassment. The latter is completely illegal.

I don't see how we can make you understand that all the comparisons you're drawing don't fit. It's like saying, "You can train a dog to sit. Therefore you can train a potato to dance." (Credit to Scott Adams, who knows a thing or two about stupid offices.)

I'm telling you: I wasn't fearing for my job when Brian Lazara flipped out at me. I feared for my safety. The man was going completely bananas. To explain:

The Drobo Pro is a storage appliance, basically a box full of hard disk drives that makes them appear as if they were a single volume. If you're familiar with RAID, the Drobo is like a RAID, but with some extra features that make it better than typical RAID setups.

There are three ways one can attach a Drobo Pro to a computer: iSCSI, FireWire and USB.


iSCSI is SCSI over Internet Protocol; for our purposes, it means you can attach a Drobo Pro to a Macintosh with an ethernet cable.

Most storage these days uses some kind of SCSI - FireWire transports SCSI via the Serial Bus Protocol 2. USB does it via the Mass Storage Protocol or some such. SCSI stands for "Small Computer System Interface"; it can be used for other things than storage, but that's its most common application.

When I started at Data Robotics, I was urgently and repeatedly requested to get our iSCSI initiator to work under the 64-bit Mac OS X Snow Leopard kernel. It worked really well under 32-bit, but 64-bit was broken completely beyond recognition.

The driver wouldn't load automatically. When I loaded it manually, the drive wouldn't mount on the desktop. When I could get it to mount, it wouldn't be ten seconds before it would panic the kernel - you know that message you get sometimes, that says you need to restart your Macintosh. You have to turn the power off and on, and you lose all your work.

When I fixed that first kernel panic, there was a second, that took a lot longer to reproduce, and was far more subtle.

There were a lot more bugs than that, that I won't go into just now. But I fixed dozens and dozens of bugs.

By last Sunday night, it had been over a week since I had been able to get a kernel panic. The driver always mounted reliably, and the volume always popped right up on the Desktop. I could hammer on the unit in a multithreaded way, with hundreds of gigabytes of data transferred via iSCSI, without losing even one byte of payload data.

When I checked the last of these fixes in Sunday night, I asked Brian to sit with me so I could proudly demonstrate how well I'd gotten the iSCSI to work. But he didn't take much interest in it at all, and without asking me, he disconnected the ethernet - disconnected the iSCSI - then plugged in the FireWire cable.

He found some significant problems. He didn't say much at first.

Then he tried USB. He found many of the same problems.

You have to understand, I wasn't the only engineer working on this same code base. And my particular component, the iSCSI initiator, was a separate component from that used for FireWire and USB. So whatever had gone wrong with USB and FireWire was quite likely someone else' fault and not mine.

That's went he went completely batshit at me for not having gotten FireWire and USB working. I was quite shocked at this. All I could do was meekly stammer that the iSCSI worked so well - why wasn't he happy with my iSCSI work?

And he kept shouting at me that I'd been specifically ordered to get USB and FireWire working. No one ever "ordered", let alone even hinted that I should ever have had anything to do with USB or FireWire.

As calmly as I could, I reminded Brian that I was specifically requested to get iSCSI working under the 64-bit Mac OS X Snow Leopard kernel, that I had done so, and further I had done a completely first-rate job.

Then I quite bluntly told him that no one had ever said anything to me about working on USB or FireWire. That's when I stormed out of there, quite angry myself. I think there was something about the abrupt way I shut of my computers and rushed out the door that must have made it apparent that I was very upset.

When I got home, there was his message that I quote in my reply to him - the reply that he retaliated for by firing me - that said our "disconnect" could be explained by some comment I made in one of the bug reports in our Bugzilla database.

I don't know what that comment said because I was never allowed back into the office - instead I was wrongfully terminated. But I'm quite certain that I never would have said that I was working on USB or FireWire, because I wasn't done with iSCSI yet.

But surely it is apparent from his mail that he understand that it was he that was in the wrong, and not at all that I was to blame. Even so, he did not in any way apologize for what he had done to me.

I've had more than a week now to read and reread my email to Brian, and I am completely unable to find any way that it could be considered at all inappropriate:

Subject: Re: command line options

Brian,

I expect I can figure out the correct build command line, but I'll have to research it as I haven't ever used xcodebuild much at all.

And regarding our misunderstanding, I'm not sure what happened, but I think it is related to a comment you made in bug 7150. Let's discuss that tomorrow, but after looking at that bug I think I understand the disconnect.

Thank you. I appreciate very much that you wrote to tell me that. I really mean that.

When I left tonight I was very, very angry. Right up until reading your mail just now, I was getting ready to quit. My plan for tomorrow was to come fetch my coffee cup from my desk and just leave - for good.

I have been working like a slave for you people. I have fixed a bunch of problems that no one else at Data Robotics would have ever had the first clue how to even approach, as well as a bunch of other problems that I discovered and fixed without ever logging in Bugzilla.

I realize that in your position of responsibility you are under a great deal of stress. But that is not a good reason to take your frustrations out on your coworkers. You need to find some other way to manage your anger.

I have worked too hard to perfect my craft, and for too long, to be treated the way you treated me this evening. I am an experienced professional and expect to be treated like one.

See you tomorrow,

Mike

I want to reiterate, because most of you wouldn't seen what I posted in balsamic's diary: I was only required to work three days a week for a total of thirty hours. We had all agreed to that, because I wanted extra time to work on my own projects.

Brian Lazara himself said that was completely cool provided my outside work not involve any kind of storage. I explained that I was working on an Open Source audio player - perhaps you've heard of it.

In the seven days before Brian Lazara wrongfully terminated me, I had worked five days, and considerably more than thirty hours.

No one ever told me that I had to call in on the days I wouldn't be coming to work. It was quite clear that I wasn't expected to do so.

Brian Lazara's guilt is further evidenced by the fact that he changed his story. After I reminded Brian's boss, our VP of Engineering Mark Herbert, of my part-time arrangement, I am told that Brian has started to claim that I was just a contract programmer, and that I had simply completed my assignment.

That's Bullshit. My last night at the company, that product was still quite riddled with bugs - my iSCSI work was mostly done, but there is a lot more to their product than just iSCSI, and more hardware models than just the Drobo Pro. There is no fucking way they would have allowed their best debugger to "complete" his "assignment" until all those bugs were fixed.

Brian Lazara is lying through his teeth. I can prove that Brian Lazara broke the law, and I am eager to do so.

No doubt someone from Oxford or Data Robotics will someday stumble across this diary. For them, I have the following message. Either:

There is no question whatsoever of any monetary settlement. My purpose in taking the case to trial is that my hearing would be open to the public - or, more specifically, to the computer industry press - and the court transcript as well as the judge's opinion would be public record.

My reason for wanting all that is to clear my good name. I was wrongfully terminated for something Brian Lazara himself did wrong.

And as I said in The Ethical Engineer:

Should we go to trial, and should the judge find against me, that no crime was committed, then I shall happily cut my stomach open with a rusty entrenching tool and serve you my own spleen on a silver platter.

You Have My Word.

PS: I HAVE A SECRET!