Ben Langhinrichs

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Genii Weblog

Luck be a Lady Tonight (case file)

Tue 30 Nov 2004, 11:44 PM



by Ben Langhinrichs
Mike MidasLuck be a Lady Tonight
by Mike Midas, Ace Developer

The low sexy voice came over the phone with the kind of invitation that grabbed you by the scruff of the neck and dragged you three thousand miles through the ether, no matter the consequences.  I'd never met the dame, but you could tell by her first words that I'd never walk by her in a crowd.

"Mr. Midas? This is Annika from Uppsala, Sweden, and I have a problem", she purred, and right then she could have asked for a light and the phone would have burst into flame faster than a cheap firecracker on a hot 4th of July.

"What can I do for you?", I asked, measuring the possibilities the way a jockey measures his steed.

"I work for Uppsala Exports, and we recently, uh, merged with a bigger firm."

The sudden chill in her voice made me want to pull on a sweater.  There was no mistaking the venom, and I realized there might be more to this tiger than pretty stripes.  I said nothing, and let her choose her words carefully.

"We used to use Lotus Notes for e-mail and applications", she started, and I knew by the catch in her throat that the parting wasn't her choice.  "Now, we have Outlook and Exchange", and again the tone gave away her secrets as easily as a diary left out on a high school desk.

I was ready to brush her off, since there is nothing worse than a whiny dame, but she went on and I listened.  My little black book wasn't so full that I was going to hang up on a voice like that without some hesitation.

"We have hundreds of applications written for Notes that use doclinks", she said, warming to the subject like butter on a hot stack of flapjacks.  "We thought we could just let Domino convert the links for us, but then we would still have to have Notes clients", and I hardly needed to hear the rest.  "We can keep a Domino server or two for applications, but the Notes clients have to go, and fast."  And there it was.  The naked pleading in her voice would have gotten you arrested in some Middle Eastern countries.  "So, we thought maybe we could use your Midas products to modify the applications and make them send out web URL's instead.  The applications are mostly ready for web access, so we just have to modify the code, and there are way too many to modify by hand."  Her voice drifted on, but I didn't hear most of it.

They say that life takes some crazy turns, sometimes leaving you to meander down a quiet lane with white picket fences and two fresh faced kids in every yard, then just when you get comfortable, shifting gears and sending you spinning down a steep mountain road where you have to hug the side like a distant aunt at Easter.  But seldom had I a hit a hairpin turn like this, with two wheels off the ground and my entire life set up on double reels for a twilight showing if I made a wrong turn.

"You want Midas for that?", I gasped, reeling at the thought and grabbing a shot glass and a bottle from my bottom drawer. "Midas is good for a lot of things, but look, lady, you can't go around modifying whole applications like some teenage stunt driver rearranging his face with the road."

"But I thought Midas would let me modify design elements?" she stammered, and I could feel her withdrawing like the last few bucks from my bank account on the Thursday after payday.

"Yeah, you can add some fields to a form or create an image resource or even build a page element, but this?  This?...", and I couldn't even go on.  I waited for the click as she hung up the phone on my dreams, but the sound I heard wasn't what I expected.

"I'll handle this." came the voice, hard and smooth as a fist of iron in a velvet glove.  My colleague, Crystal, took the phone from my trembling fingers, and took charge like Bobby Knight in a Hoosier play-off. "You don't need Midas, miss, but we do have a solution." she spat out, and the edge in her voice belied any chance of argument.  "You need our CoexLinks product.  It can convert doclinks to web URLs or Notes URLs, or even different types of URLs for different databases."

As Crystal walked out of the room, leaving me shattered and bruised with my ego deflated like a tire on broken glass, I could hear her going on about CoexLinks allowing a company to migrate applications to the web slowly, and the dynamic nature of the URL links.  I shut it all out.  The train may have left the station, but I didn't have to weep and wave.

Copyright © 2004 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:


238.1. Duffbert
(12/01/2004 04:42 AM)

You are on an incredible roll, my friend. If I were to vote on best blog post of the year, this one would just have become the front runner.

"I laughed! I cried! Runaway hit! Two thumbs up..."

Duffbert's Random Musings


238.2. Christopher Byrne
(12/01/2004 07:07 AM)

I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat with every word, waiting for the part where Mike Midas grabs his overnight bag and runs for the airport to help this lady in distress...

"The writing is superb, the story taut and takes one back to the bygone days of radio drama, with tales of the Naked City, Sam Spade and the Shadow":-)

This one is a keeper Ben!


238.3. Stan Rogers
(12/01/2004 07:08 AM)

I don't know -- I found the premise kind of derivative of Raymond Chandler, but the plot moved along quite nicely after the first scene, and the taste of Bogey as Phillip Marlowe sort of faded away....


238.4. Ben Langhinrichs
(12/01/2004 07:33 AM)

I've never really read Raymond Chandler, but from some of the quotes I find on the Internet from his stories, I see the resemblance.

So, do you think I should ask Mike back as a guest blogger again? I hear there are a thousand stories in the naked city, and he might be willing to share some more.


238.5. Duffbert
(12/01/2004 07:50 AM)

Yes... "Mike" can blog any time he likes! :-)


238.6. jonvon
(12/01/2004 04:08 PM)

lol, this is great!

mike's use of simile is astounding. ;-)

actually he reminds me a lot more of tigger than chandler. but then, i'm raising a three year old...

great stuff ben, love the Mike Midas image too.


238.7. Richard Shergold
(02/12/2004 00:07)

Ben. Great post - very entertaining! I'd say you could even afford to give up your day job...


238.8. Devin Olson
(12/02/2004 09:05 AM)

SUPERB! Bring Mike back often. BTW Ben, have you seen "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid"? I ask because I imagine Mr. Midas looking similar to Rigby Reardon.


238.9. R.Langhinrichs
(12/02/2004 02:40 PM)

Nah, not Rigby Reardon, but a Humprey Bogart look-alike! This story kept me pinned to the next paragraph. Style, humor and suspense--exactly what I demand in my "literature." Notify me of anything this guy writes!


238.10. Ben Langhinrichs
(12/02/2004 07:44 PM)

In reverse order -

Oh, I am honored. For those who don't know, R. Langhinrichs is my mother in law, and a former editor of the Ladies Home Journal, as well as a long time playwright. I'll take her praise any day... I'll take it to Mike, that is.

Devin - I haven't seen the movie, but I've heard it was good.

Richard - Three kids to get through college and then we'll see.

jonvon - Mike's a pretty astounding fellow all around. I don't have any kids that young anymore, but I guess I can see the Tigger attitude at least.

Chris - Thanks! We'll see if Mike does any travelling... maybe to Lotusphere, as I'm sure Annika will be there.

Tom - Thanks!