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September 2014


A Repetitive Task

Everyone has had the displeasure of having to perform some mind-numbing repetitive task. Those of us who know how to program computers will use our expertise to figure out a way to get the machine to serve us by performing the menial task on our behalf. After all, computers were designed to serve us. The more mundane the task, the greater the urgency to automate it so we don't need to deal with the details any more.

Best. Soup. Ever.

"Mmmm...Nothing hits the spot quite like a big bowl of Cream of SQL Soup," writes Andrew J.
If you talk to employers about what it's like trying to attract and retain IT talent the answer is usually the same - IT'S NEAR FRICKIN' IMPOSSIBLE!! Even if you treat employees right, offer a bucket of cash, unlimited vacation, and a hammock in every cubicle, then only maybe will you attract the talent you want. So, based on this logic, you'd think that employers should treat their employees as best as possible, right? Well, by the looks of things, forum favorite Blakeyrat, found an employer that is lacking in common sense.

Failure to Leap

When you're a developer like Joe, and your clients all have dedicated servers, and they all call at the same time to complain that their servers have gone down, you can't help but start hoping there was an earthquake. Unless the data center housing all that dedicated hardware was wiped off the face of the earth, the bug was going to be in your software. And sure enough, in the midst of the legacy C++ module responsible for processing the day's transactions, Joe found this:

Dropping a Load

Bryan is a highly paid consultant in a position as a senior architect at a really big company. In the first part of his assignment, he concentrated heavily upon gathering requirements and designing a high-level architecture. In the latter part of his assignment, development tasks were thrown at the inexpensive offshore team.

The Erlking

Visual Basic’s error handling is its own special WTF in itself. For those that haven’t had to suffer through it, you can set the error-handling mode with a special On Error statement. For example, On Error Resume Next, is a delightful statement that tells Visual Basic to simply ignore errors, and continue execution. A good programmer will know to check errors with conditional statements.
Robert H. writes, "I'm not sure if I'm interested in a new product called 'Internal Server Error'."


At his day job, Peter writes code for the manufacturing industry and, in doing so, works a lot with PLCs from GE. As of late, he's been working on an application that processes XML configuration files exported from GE's main programming IDE "Machine Edition" to generate extremely complex diagnostic information that the IDE doesn't provide. You know, things like, "Has that variable that you are using in a calculation ever been initialized?"
John worked for an MSP with a broad range of clients. An hour after arriving home from work one day, he received a call from a local doctor’s office. Kelly, the office manager, barely let him finish his “Hello.”
Clevelanders*! Mark and Remy will be visiting my hometown this Friday (Sept 12), and we thought it'd be a opportune time to hold a Cleveland TDWTF get-together.

Ancient Daze

Although we're professionals now, we all started out as humble students - wide-eyed and innocent of the ways of proper coding practices in the corporate world. Back then, everything was new, and we had no real way of knowing whether what we were looking at was wizardry or WTF.
Rebecca's first day at Mega Thrift Stores (or MTS) didn't start well. She was hired as an assistant to Maggie, the aging head of Quality Assurance, to handle issues and complaints from regional managers about their resource tracking software. Rebecca asked if they used Bugzilla.
"If you insist on using Imperial weight measurements, you had better have pretty accurate scales," wrote Tom M..

Feeling Validated

Ugh...Address validation. Take some address strings, add to that a city, state, postal code, and country... make sure they are are all look syntatically 'valid' based on some business logic - it's not as easy as we'd hope to be able to handle EVERY possibility. But, no matter WHAT you come up with, I can guarantee that it's guaranteed to be much easier to digest than the block of validation code discovered by Mickey.
Anyone with any significant amount of experience has had to estimate a project of some complexity. The only real way to do it is by breaking down the project into major parts. Then breaking each part into smaller parts and so on, until you have a list of units-of-work that you can reasonably estimate the amount of time that will be required to do that work. Then you figure in dependencies, see what can be done in parallel, factor in available staffing, add it all up, pad by as much as you think you can get away with to account for unscheduled changes, miscalculations, emergencies and management stupidity. Finally, you put it into a project management tool and make your presentation to the Powers That Be.
Matteo recently interviewed a candidate that was employed elsewhere as an “architect”. His responses to the standard soft-skills questions sounded a bit rehearsed, which made Matteo suspicious, so he started asking some more technical questions, like: “What’s the difference between an interface and an abstract class?”
Gary works in a huge conglomerate. There are about 500 developers and assorted low level managers on his floor alone, and everyone is constantly on live audio-chat with their remote peers. As such, you can pretty much hear all of the conversations going on at any given time - if you listen... (see if you can guess whether the engineers or managers are in italics)
« Aug 14

September 2014