State of the Nation
There was a time when any company claiming to be a "dot.com" had to follow a set of rules. The company's business plan had to be unrealistic; showing up to work in a suit and tie was a distinct no-no; and there absolutely, positively had to be a game room on the premises. Because of our big brother, Pearson, Inc., InformIT can't claim the first rule. Our business plan has to toe the corporate line. We nail number two pretty squarely, though. I don't recall ever seeing myself or anyone else I work with in a suit. I'd probably assume that he or she was going to a funeral.
If two out of three is enough to swing the vote, then InformIT gets into the dot.com club on a technicality. We have games, just not a game room. We used to have a game room, then we moved. Now the games are in the cafeteria. I suppose one could argue that doesn't fit the rule strictly, but I'm more interested in talking about the games than arguing.
A Good Foosball Game Takes Us to State
We have an electric hockey game. I've heard it called either bubble hockey or rod hockey. It has a big plastic dome and handles on each side to control the players. It was all the rage when I first started at the company. That was a strange experience for me, coming from a background based in more traditional surroundings. Once I got used to going into the room three or four times a day and not looking over my shoulder for the boss every second, it turned into a great way to blow off steam. The intense concentration sometimes required in programming will fry your neurons if you don't look up from the monitor now and then.
We also have a foosball table. That wasn't very popular when I started working here. In fact, it was nearly impossible to get together four people who wanted to play. I certainly didn't like the game. You see, I wasn't very good. Then a strange thing happened. We were re-launching the site, working crazy hours. After 8:00 p.m., when you know you have at least four more hours of work for the evening, you're willing to try anything to avoid insanity. My fellow code monkeys and I started playing foos.
Eventually, we started developing some skills, both offensive and defensive. Then traditional rivalries developed. Today, the hockey game sits unplugged, and the foosball table is the nexus of a lot of cursing. There is nothing more satisfying than going back to your computer having soundly crushed your opponents. Of course, the flip side of that if you lose is the teeth-grinding shame of having let that unworthy shot slide by you for the winning goal. You can't get any solid work done until you've had a chance for revenge. After all, good coding is all a state of mind.
That's right, state! I promised in my last article that I would explore the abiding mysteries of state, and how the state of a page determines just about everything that you see on InformIT.