21st Century Cosmodemonic

A jandal from the inside

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Art of Alt-Tab

The Alt-Tab. It is an important skill, and one of the first learnt in the corporate environment.

It is deceptively easy to grasp the essentials of the Alt-Tab, but it can take decades to master the intricacies and finer points of the art. Indeed, it is said by many a master that like any great art, the Alt-Tab is impossible to perfect. I am but a lowly practitioner of this discipline, and here I record what little I have gleaned from those so much wiser than me.

Like the wind whistling through tree-tops, the flicker of monitors being Alt-Tabbed follows an important man on his every journey through an open-plan office. It is beautiful, like a half-found memory of a long-lost love. And it is a guide to one's standing. A wise man does not acknowledge the Alt-Tab tide that accompanies him, but will smile secretly on the inside and chuckle like the dalai lama discovering viagra when he is sure he will not be heard.

The wise man of low standing knows better than to Alt-Tab if he is unsure his monitor has already been seen. Better to ackownledge the inappropriate website or game, smile sheepishly and offer to email it on, than to desperately flick too late to a work-related program. Especially if it obviously hasn't been touched since you opened it.

This is why it is vital to regularly flick to your some work-related screen or other, whether being spied upon or not. One must maintain the pretence that this is indeed how one works, and update the page slightly, so all skiving is less traceable. Wise advise indeed, kemo sabe.

Once one has mastered the impulse to flick, and can steadily and bravely hold off from the Alt-Tab when it is too late, one has reached as high a level of mastery as your Lackey has managed in all his years of practise. I have since investigated possible roads toward my improvement, but there is an impediment to Alt-Tabbing nirvana which I have thus far found it impossible to overcome. The problem is: once you have mastered the impulse to flick, and remained at this level for some time, there is the issue of finding oneself stuck shamelessly surfing the internet all day. Because after a while, everyone has seen you're on the web, and no one has made comment, so you grow a little bolder, a little bolder. Baby steps to corporate decrepitude.

The only solution I have been offered thus far is to actually and deliberately do work, and it seems to me there must be another path, perhaps the infamous "Road Less Travelled." I aim to soon travel a section of this road, and seek out an answer to my impossible quandary. I shall consult great oracles and dirty strangers, I shall climb highest mountains and run through the fields, only to share with you the greatest mysteries of the Alt-Tab. You're welcome.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally, someone who shares my pain! One question to be answered, if you will Lackey. How far does one stretch that nonchalant attitude at that very moment when you know that your manager has been too quick for you to apply the alt-tab rule, and they know that you know that they know. I ask this because everytime my supervisor walks past my cubicle-with-a-view, there seems to be some random, non work related site open on my screen. I need a balance man......one of those early warning system thingys or something........aaaaarrrrgggghhh, busted - again!

8:01 am  
Anonymous chillylounge said...

I can see your skills are growing stronger Lackey. One must perfect the art of the alt-tab in order to find a balance between work and play

12:02 pm  
Blogger Lackey said...

Well, Mr/Ms Anonymous, assuming you lost your job on that last bust, I have a brilliant plan for your next step: Build a fun and entertaining web site which looks exactly like garden variety office software. You'll make a million dollars, and you can use it to buy me a billion beers. That's how economy of scale works, see.

I appreciate your vote of respect, chillylounge, however I prefer to find the balance between play and really slacking off.

1:58 pm  
Blogger Davidb said...

Hi lackie, a man like myself killing time at work trying to stop work killing my spirit.
I have installed a rear view mirror near my screen to catch the sneeker peeps who want to know how I earn my paycheck. It's disguised as a big shiney chrome stapler which lives on a small shelf I installed near the top left hand side of my screen. On the other side is a framed picture of my wife and with the position right, I can't see her behind the glass but the glass acts as a reflective surface. Not perfect but a useful aid for people who need to keep their work and play separate but somehow in the same place.

2:56 pm  
Blogger Davidb said...

Hi lackie, a man like myself killing time at work trying to stop work killing my spirit.
I have installed a rear view mirror near my screen to catch the sneeker peeps who want to know how I earn my paycheck. It's disguised as a big shiney chrome stapler which lives on a small shelf I installed near the top left hand side of my screen. On the other side is a framed picture of my wife and with the position right, I can't see her behind the glass but the glass acts as a reflective surface. Not perfect but a useful aid for people who need to keep their work and play separate but somehow in the same place.

2:57 pm  
Blogger Lackey said...

Ah yes, davidb, I see you are clearly a man of great and mighty talent. For minesweeper!

Thank you for your wise words, I have already set to polishing my stapler.

1:00 pm  
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11:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice brief and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you as your information.

3:37 am  

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