How To Approach a Developer who may well be Working and Ask Him a Question
One does not simply stumble into a developer's work space with arms and gums flapping. A programmer at any given time is likely in the middle of some vastly complicated job, his mind holding numerous convoluted concepts in short-term memory. It would all come crashing down if someone was so thoughtless as to disturb the master at work. If the disrupter was lucky, a UNIX manual would then come crashing down on his head. If he was unlucky, he might never get the answers he was looking for, ever.
The proper way to approach a programmer at work is to quietly stand in the very fringes of the person's peripheral vision. You can waver a bit. Some movement is acceptable and even necessary. As the programmer begins to get his critical thoughts into the editor and he slowly becomes aware of his surroundings and possible needs to save his work in progress, go to the washroom, or check Slashdot, he'll naturally become aware that there is a presence in his cubicle. He'll direct his attention to the individual.
Sometimes a mirror stuck on his monitor helps.
-- Karl Mamer