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This is a question Failed Projects

You start off with the best of intentions, but through raging incompetence, ineptitude or the plain fact that you're working in IT, things go terribly wrong and there's hell to pay. Tell us about the epic failures that have brought big ideas to their knees. Or just blame someone else.

(, Thu 3 Dec 2009, 14:19)
Pages: Popular, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

My Nephew...
Never finishes anything, he's a complete lazy oik. I really need him to help out but all he wants to do is hangout at the shops with his mates and do his bloody chav-wagon up.

The thing is, I own a farm and getting staff to work for me is a right pain as it is- this litlle bugger wants to leave me in the lurch this year and join the bloody air force, but I've already told him that I need him for only one more year and then he can go and do what he likes (I can't see him getting through the application process though, so that'll be another fail).

Anyway, to top all this off, he's only gone and buggered off this morning with two bits of machinery I bought the other day. He was supposed to have fixed them and I need them on the fields by this afternoon or there'll be hell to pay. This really is the final straw for me- he never finishes what he starts. His Auntie tells me he didn't even drink his blue milk this morning!

Oh well, gotta go, it looks like the local constabulary are at the door. I wonder what they want.

Uncle Owen.
(, Thu 10 Dec 2009, 9:03, 5 replies)
Okay so some years ago me and a couple of friends
Had a massive project on the go. There was a massive risk of industrial sabotage, we were told, so we couldn't discuss the scheme with anyone. In fact the project was so secret that the plans were kept under lock and key most of the time and only available in parts and only to those who needed to see the relevant section.

My friends and I were close to completing our part of the project and couldn't satisfactorily work out how to fix a cooling problem. Basically the system would overheat horrendously when in heavy use and there was no way of venting out the excess heat so we came up with a compromise and added a small venting port to the plans which was subsequently approved by the planning team and went in as part of the design.

When the project finally went live it was a roaring success and during a trial run it performed better than anyone expected. We all celebrated in the local and toasted our collective success. The head of the project was more than happy and treated us all to a slap up meal at his own expense and told us what a great job we had all done.

Sadly it all went downhill after this point. Apparently someone in the marketing department got a bit loose with his tongue when slightly inebriated and told someone he shouldn't have about this fantastic new project. Our office systems were compromised in, what was described as a 'sustained hacking attack' and the blueprints were stolen.

It turns out that our venting solution was just big enough to fire a torpedo down which took out the main reactor core and the whole station went belly up. We weren't involved in any more projects after that.
(, Thu 10 Dec 2009, 8:08, 2 replies)
Well
apart from the four novels that I've started and never got beyond 30,000 words for each (unfortunately they're very different so I can't just combine the 120,000 or so words I've wasted my life on), the mountain of failed projects in terms of essays etc, my own personal failed project was learning to play the violin.
At age eight or so I was sent to a very expensive school (which I left after two years because it was shit). It entailed massive sacrifices on my parents part, so there was a sense of obligation, that I had to do my very very best at everything. Since I'm relatively smart, the work was no problem. What was a problem was the music.

The school was musical. Every child had to play two instruments, with an optional third, as well as sing. I wangled recorder, and for my second I got violin. I love the violin as an instrument. It is beautiful and amazing. In the hands of a eight year old with bad eyesight, and a notable lack of hand-eye co-ordination it was a disaster.

Three or four lessons a week, my parents buying me a 3/4 length violin, and I was still staring flustered at the music, fumbling Hot Cross Buns while my contemporaries progressed to actual music. My hair which was light blond and flyaway escaped and entangled itself with the bow strings, I got hot and flustered, and started hiding behind the violin teacher's sofa in order to gulp some lunch because I had to take extra practice at lunchtime and we weren't allowed food near the violins.

I still remember the sickening shame after a year of straining utterly to play this goddamn instrument that hated me, of my violin teacher- the woman who was being paid to teach me, laying her hand gently on my shoulder and told me there really wasn't much point continuing with lessons. I also got asked not to come to choir practice anymore as my voice was throwing off the other singers.
I kept the violin for years, pondering whether to try again and realising the time was past. I'm 21 now and chucked it a couple of years ago. So that was my failed project- an attempt to join in the musical world that everyone else seems to just get the hang of
(, Thu 10 Dec 2009, 3:07, 1 reply)
"That Twit Thing"
Some marketing genius at our company decided to set up a Twitter account specifically to Tweet about a new product release at a major trade show.

They managed less than 10 Tweets on 1 day, then nothing more. Probably doesn't help that Twitter is blocked on the company's Blackberry server.
(, Wed 9 Dec 2009, 23:44, Reply)
Incremental
Many moons ago i and 3 other students were working on an incremental natural language parser based on ideas from our supervisor. Basically, you feed it a sentence: "Hans walks home" and the thing outputs the 'meaning' in some formal language. It was actually pretty cool as most parser are not incremental, that is you dont have 'meaning' until you have parsed the entire sentence.
The problem is that we have one actual programmer on our team. The rest of us have no clue how to put the ideas for the parser into actual code. However, the project is not a fail as this guy really gets into it and writes the whole thing. So by way of thank you and to celebrate the succesful completion of th eproject i and another student decide to bake a cake.
With luck, and help from neighbours and flatmates and stuff bought at the nearby petrol station, we manage to bake a really cool themed cake. You see, you cannot just go around parsing every sentence a person could utter. You start with a context and code the translation for this context. Our context was Hansel and Gretel so our cake was in the shape of a house and decorated with smarties and cookies and all sorts of stuff.
We carefully bring this cake to uni. We only then realise it would be cool to have a picture of our cake. This is around 2000, noone has a camera in their phone.
I bought one of those use-once cameras that you turn in as a whole rather then getting the film out yourself. There is no flash on the cardboard/cheap plastic camera thingy.

I still have the dark, blurred pictures somewhere.

Length? Technically it doesnt matter how long a sentence gets as long as its grammatical. However, you do run out of things to say, in the Hans and Gretel universe.
(, Wed 9 Dec 2009, 23:31, 1 reply)
Shelves
Fuck shelves. Sincerely. They're great and all, quite handy for putting stuff on, I'll admit. But putting the bastards up? WARNING : FAIL PROXIMITY.

You're probably reading this and thinking "you soft tit, it's not that hard" and you'd be absolutely right - it isn't. If you live in a house that was built in the last 50 years that is.

Victorian / Edwardian tenement flats (much like you'll find throughout the central belt in Scotland) really don't take kindly to having holes drilled in their walls. Horse-hair, lathe, asbestos, dung, newspaper and christ alone knows what else came pouring out of every hole I tried to put in. Even with reee-diculous rawlplugs (M8 bolt fixings ftr) the fuckers would just tear up more wall and fall out like I'd tried to knob the top of a welly boot.

90 quid on shelves & a day spent drilling holes and cursing like a docker ("you c*nting f*cktard" is now in my profanisaurus), and all I have to show for it are three piss-poor bathroom shelves which can barely hold a tin of deodorant without acting like a prop from a B-grade disaster film and a cupboard full of Nordic timber and failed dreams.

Fuck Shelves, and Fuck IKEA.
(, Wed 9 Dec 2009, 22:57, 7 replies)
I was doodling
on a napkin when i discovered this.

The formula
Xn + Yn = Zn

has no non zero integer solution when n is greater than 2.

I have a truly remarkable proof of this but alas this post is too short to contain it.
I'll be sure to write it down somewhere though...
(, Wed 9 Dec 2009, 18:14, 3 replies)
Resuming relations with the Mrs.
It took longer than I'd like to resume sexy relations with my good wife after she'd given birth to our first child.

I put my best moves on, got on top, and started giving it some.

The doctor and nurses in the delivery room wern't best pleased. They were still waiting to deliver the afterbirth.
(, Wed 9 Dec 2009, 15:53, 4 replies)
Allotment of doom
Whenever Mrs Grimsdale sees me baulk at some expense that we need to shell out for, like curtains, for example, you can bet your booties that she'll come back with: "You can hardly complain - what about that allotment?"

OK, fair cop. It must have been autumn 2004 that we decided to get an allotment. We had a tiny back yard which got hardly any sun and I bought 'How to grow your own vegetables' from the bookshop. What more did we need? We visited the local site, which had a lovely position overlooking York Racecourse, nestled close to the College of Law. At the far end of the site was a whole row of plots that seemed not to have been used for decades. The only crops that grew in abundance were blackberries and nettles. We made enquiries and agreed to take on a double plot near a tap with great open views and no neighbours. As you may know, we're both hermits.

The main problem with the whole site is the infestation of rabbits. All the successful plots had metal shuttering fences and chicken wire to keep the pesky brutes out. Undaunted, I contacted an old mate from my BTCV days (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers). I found out all I needed to about rabbit-proofing and we agreed to get BTCV in to erect the fence. At the time I had a big old Volvo estate and, after measuring up, I took it to a fencing supplier for a load of round wooden posts, fencing wire, chicken wire, fixings and all the other stuff that would be needed. The back seats were down and we just managed to get it all in, though the longest posts (for the corners) stuck out the back. This little lot set us back a couple of hundred and the BTCV also charged for the work - a couple of days it took, but by the end we had a rabbit-proof enclosure to rival any.

Mrs G drew up the plan for the plot. Two round beds with a figure-of-eight path etc. etc. The plot sloped down towards the racecourse, but I levelled off an area at the top and laid some concrete slabs on a bed of sharp sand/cement, and grouted between them with mortar. On this, we erected a shed. We'd already put in a door with a padlock and a chicken wire 'draught-excluder' to stop the rabbits sneaking under, and there was another padlock on the shed door.

During that winter we had a huge fire of all burnable material. We cut turf for the paths, laid breathable, weed-suppressing membrane and laid bark chippings over that. We bought hedging plants and planted a small hedge against the bottom fence. We had two fisherman's chairs and we'd spend happy hours sitting in them sipping coffee from a flask. We began prepping the beds for growing real things, but meanwhile, there were birds, flowers, and apple tree in the next plot, lupins everywhere, bluebells. There was no real urgency...

2005 was the year that Royal Ascot came to York. Before it, a migrant worker turned up with a tent and pitched it just next to our plot. He liked the tap and the location, which was quiet and pretty well hidden from everyone else. He was nice enough as migrants go; he had a sad story of divorce, drink, ruin. The main problem was...we didn't want to talk to him. We wanted to go to our plot for peace and quiet, to get away from everyone else. To chill. Mrs G wouldn't go there on her own anymore as she felt very exposed and isolated with this possibly unstable, though outwardly just sad and lonely bloke camping on the doorstep.

Then, with the races, more migrants came with tents. Cider tins and campfires. Toilet paper.

We went there less and less. The nettles benefitted from our absence and re-established themselves.

One Sunday morning, we went along there and someone had pulled over our shed. Our seven foot by five foot shed. On its front, on the ground.

We just about managed to get it upright again, but the magic had already gone. That autumn, we decided not to renew our tenancy and we abandoned the project.

The next year we moved from York to a house with a garden and we chalked it down to experience.



I looked in on the site last year. All of the plots are taken now. All are rabbit-proofed and producing tons of veg and fruit. We were ahead of the curve - just too far ahead of it to gain any benefit whatsoever.

Oh well, that's life.
(, Wed 9 Dec 2009, 15:07, 15 replies)
I've
still not nobbed that french exchange girl I met when I was 12.
(, Wed 9 Dec 2009, 14:35, 4 replies)
Christ
7 pages on a Wednesday? This is a failed project.
(, Wed 9 Dec 2009, 13:39, 2 replies)
Christmas fail
Was round a mates house last night. Wandered into his kitchen and noticed he had an unopend tin of Quality Street balanced on the electric hob on a low heat.

"What's all this about then?" I asked.

My mate followed me, "Got our office Christmas party tomorrow night."

"So...." I said, reaching out a hand to feel the heat radiating off the rumbling tin of chocolate and caramel sludge, awash with manky sweet wrappers.

"The cheapskates are holding the party at work this year. We were all ordered to bring something along to eat. I don't really like the people I work with and I fucking hate being told what to do."

Weird.
(, Wed 9 Dec 2009, 13:13, 5 replies)
I've got a failed project that wasn't my fault
For Christmas a couple of years ago I got one of those big double sided jigsaw's (impossipuzzle if I'm correct). I spent the best part of 2 weeks on the fucking jigsaw to find it was missing a corner.
I probably lost it but I still blame the makers of impossipuzzle for ruining my Christmas
(, Wed 9 Dec 2009, 12:51, Reply)
How to fuck your life up in a failure of staggeringly epic proportion
A guy I went to college with met a girl and eventually got married. After a while he thought it would be a good idea to introduce his brother-in-law to porn.

Edit: The punchline is that his brother-in-law wasn't quite 15 and the guy got 4 years for it combined with the fact that he skipped bail. I thought it best to remove all the details because I heard that there was a gagging order and I aren't getting done for contempt of court for posting about it on here.
(, Wed 9 Dec 2009, 12:21, 8 replies)
School Cookery
In year 7 (first year) Food class, we were instructed to design and, the following week, cook a pizza.

Most people picked pedestrian blandness. Plain margarita, some with chorizo, some with pepperoni. I would not be wasting my time with such boring pish.

I would create the super-meal. Encompassing every kind of dinner you could have. As such I layered it with roast beef, ham, sausage meat, pork, chicken, bacon and lamb. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

I also wanted it to be a dessert so all of these fine meats were laid on a base of jam and golden syrup. The syrup went all runny and rose and covered the beef, making it look like bad fish.

I got an E and nobody wanted to taste it.

I took it home and my sister was sick in the bin after one bite.
(, Wed 9 Dec 2009, 12:05, 1 reply)
it could finish, you never know
i just got kicked out of my room so the builders could fix the window. im not dressed and my room is in a complete state now so im trapped in the living room for a while.

id hate to say im not optimistic but the last time they came it got worse. not that i dont like having my own indoor water feature when ever it rains...
(, Wed 9 Dec 2009, 11:25, Reply)
Piano
Well electric keyboard (piano sounds classier).

My mum wanted to learn the keyboard so she got a big brand new shiny keyboard and a couple of books to help her learn. She naturally got bored of this and gave up. I couldn't let it go to waste so I decided to take over and turn myself into the next straight Elton John.

As you can guess I too got bored with it. Oh did I mention the books she got were big hardbacks. They are currently being used sporadically for whenever I have any drugs to crumble up and roll. So atleast it's not a complete waste of money
(, Wed 9 Dec 2009, 10:26, 4 replies)
Patch cabinet 2B
I used to work as an AS400 SYSOPER for a major time share company based in the USA (think of a boring motor sport on an elliptical track for a location hint)

Anyhoo, I was in the aforementioned patch cabinet when I stand on a cable and out it pops. I've got NO idea what it is or where it was from. (I managed to get through the interview by saying "I enjoy programming in my spare time" "Really? What in? COBOL? C++?" I was thinking more BASIC on a speccy 48k but "Yep - those") Thinking that whoever’s terminal is now not working will complain and then I'll be easily able to work out where to put it, I leave it on the floor.

Turns out it was the link from us to Indy (damn! said it!) and in the many many hours it takes to work out the problem we lose a LARGE sum of money.

Cue me. "Steve? Weren't you in patch 2B earlier?" "Yep" and exit Steve stage left without a job or future career.

If you are around Steve - Sorry, dude... but you always were a cnut towards me anyhow...

EDIT: Just reread the QotW and realised that this doesn't really fit! Just saw working in IT, fail, and blame someone else and felt I should get this off my chest. Does this now count as a double whammy? I meant to post a relevant comment and failed miserably?
(, Wed 9 Dec 2009, 5:49, 3 replies)
It's my B3TA birthday
I am one!

I planned on only logging onto B3TA for a quick look once, and now it is a year later and I am still looking at it several times a week.

Quick look project FAIL.
(, Wed 9 Dec 2009, 5:22, 4 replies)
Cardigan saga
As a teen, I washed my favorite tee shirt and hung it on the back of a kitchen chair in front of the gas fire to dry. What I failed to do was take my mom's favorite hand-knitted white cardigan OFF the back of the chair first. When I went to check some time later, to my horror, the exposed parts of the cardigan had turned a toasty brown colour.

Panicking, and clearly lacking the power of rational thought, I decided household bleach was the very thing to restore the cardigan to its original colour. Dismayed by the lack of success of this solution, but refusing to be beaten, I went and fetched some white emulsion paint from the shed and started painting over the brown bits.

When viewing the results of my endeavours, a sodden acrid garment which weighed about a stone, I decided that admitting defeat might be the best option after all and I hid the cardigan under a pile of coats under the stairs.

Later that day, I had to admit to my mom that, yes, I had seen her cardie. She pulled it, still dripping, from under the coats and I had to explain what had happened. Luckily, she was too bemused to be angry.
(, Tue 8 Dec 2009, 23:55, 2 replies)
Project: Gok Wan
Ever since I set eyes on Gok Wan on my television screen a couple of years ago, I wanted to meet her. I became sort of obsessed with Gok; I would often wake in a sticky mess during the night after having vivid dreams about her lovely smile and beautiful cheekbones. Her friendly, flirtatious voice drove me crazy with desire. She became an inspiration to me as well after I had read about her drastic weight loss, and as a little porker myself, I felt owed it to her to let her know how she had made me look at my own life. I realised that being an overweight, sweaty and generally unhealthy male was not good for anyone, especially me, and vowed to do something about it. I started out on a vigorous training regime and began eating healthily, and I shifted 2 stone in just a single month.

As the pounds came off me, my urge to meet the lady of my dreams increased somewhat. I just wanted to let her know how grateful I was and how much I loved what she did for bulbous bastards like myself. In the back of my mind, I realised I was becoming a tad obsessed, but the more I saw the new me in the mirror, the more I blanked out these thoughts. It was in Birmingham, one Saturday afternoon in March, that I took the first steps towards meeting Gok - and meeting Gok had become my own little project.

A huge crowd had gathered around a temporary catwalk, and Gok was due on stage to present 'How to look good naked', a show which had become one of my firm favourites. I could feel myself getting hot and flustered at the thought of getting up close and personal with Gok, and I dabbed my brow with a handkerchief numerous times whilst I waited in the restless crowd. I managed to push my way to the front, and I reached the end of the catwalk, almost touching the stage. Gok came out from behind the curtains and everyone cheered.

"GOK! GOK! I LOVE GOK!", I shouted at the top of my lungs, trying to get her to look over to me. It was hard to be heard over all the other screaming people, so I increased the power in my voice to an almost Brian Blessed size volume. This time I did attract some attention, but it was from a steward that was stood just in front of me.

"Anymore of that an I'll have to escort you, sonny", he said to me, placing one hand on my shoulder as he did so. I explained how much I loved Gok and that I just wanted to tell her how she'd helped me, but he was having none of it. I inhaled once more, and this time bellowed out at the top of my voice,

"GOOOOOOOOOKKKKKKK!!!

True to his word, the steward kicked me out of the shopping centre, with the help of two security guards and my attempt at meeting Gok had failed.

Not to be outdone, I wrote numerous letters to Gok at Channel 4, each time enclosing a picture showing how much weight I'd lost. Although I had no replies, I still had the determination to carry on. I would not fail this project - I would meet her one day, I was sure of it. Two months after the Birmingham incident, and now another 12 pounds lighter, I found out that Gok was doing a book signing at my local Waterstones. It was an opportunity I couldn't miss out on, and once again, I found myself squashed amongst hundreds of other people, all eagerly waiting to see Gok on a Saturday afternoon.

Eventually a queue was formed, and one by one, Gok greeted everyone who had come to see her. Then, after two and a quarter hours of waiting, it was my turn. I was clammy and nervous as approached her. She sat, smiling, and I was instantly reassured as I walked up to her.

"Please...please Gok, please can you sign this?", I mumbled, embarrassingly,as I slid my copy of her book over the table.

"No problem Girlfriend!", said Gok, and winked flirtatiously at me. I had the horn instantly.

"Gok", I started, "You have been an inspiration to me. I used to be 3 stone heavier than I am now, and because of you, I decided to change my unhealthy lifestyle and start doing something with my life. Thank you so much for being a smashing human being. I love you. I love what you do, I love everything about you. You are my ideal woman."

"Honey, are you gay?", came Gok's reply. She sounded shocked.

"No ma'am, I'm not. I'm 100% heterosexual and I think I love you".

Gok looked me up and down. "Security. Get this clown out of my sight", she shouted, clicking her bony fingers twice, and with that, I was kicked out. Pondering my efforts on the journey home, I realised that my actions had been wrong. I had just announced my love to a woman that I barely knew, no wonder she acted like she did. However, my project was complete - I had lost weight, and met Gok Wan, so it wasn't all that bad. I've carried on since and am now down to a healthy 14 stone, so, if you ever read this Gok: Thank You xx
(, Tue 8 Dec 2009, 22:19, 11 replies)

This question is now closed.

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