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December 2012

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Let's say you were given the requirement "ensure that all five lines of a shipping address contains valid characters." How do you suppose you would go about implementing such a requirement? Let's hope your solution would be far, far away from Buri's coworker's implementation which not only has a separate function for each address but manages to have an astonishingly unique method of testing for bad characters ...
"While saving a new password, I sometimes get this message. It takes a lot of faith in assuming all is well and to just click 'OK'," writes Justin Stolle.
Christian’s first day at his new job started out just like many others in the professional IT world.
Nearly six years ago, Brian J gave up being a software developer to start a career in law enforcement. He specifically avoided the world of high-tech cyber crime, and wanted to start life anew as your everyday suburban cop. Of course, with a computer engineering degree and several years of IT experience, technology challenges tend to follow him wherever he goes.
It's Christmas Eve here and, oh my, everywhere so we're taking the day off. Our hearts at TDWTF go out to you poor schmoes (all 5 of you) who are stuck having to work today.

Unused Plural Form

2012-12-21
Stefan Sundin got this dialog while using Google Music.

Circuitous Support

2012-12-20
After about six months of learning the ropes, and then actually getting good at the ropes, SJ decided that his job was pretty decent as far as tech support went.
C is a double edged sword. On one hand, it's simple and powerful enough that, given enough effort, you can accomplish just about anything you want. However, this power is limited insomuch that you don't have many of the friendly helper-functions that exist in higher level languages, such as string manipulation for example, unless you go ahead and create them yourself.

Power Supply

2012-12-18
MRI scans, while neat, do leave something to be desired in the “fun” and “comfort” departments. After surrendering every sliver of metal and some percentage of clothing, the patient must sit or lie stock-still in a cold room for long stretches of time. As the giant magnets do their work, ear-splitting tones and rhythmic pulses fill the room. For those who lie down to enter the giant magnet-coffin, it’s easy to feel like the Frankenstein monster in some mad scientist’s German techno experiment.

Ancestors

2012-12-17
It’s important to have an understanding of genealogy; it can give you a connection to history. Even in code, we find a need to connect with our parents and their ancestors.

Elevator Failure

2012-12-14
Hey you - do you live in or around Pittsburgh? Wanna meet TDWTF staffers? If you answered yes and yes (or maybe) then forget about what you were going to do tonight and head on down to the Diamond Market Grill in Market Square tonight for TDWTF Pittsburgh Meetup - Part 2. Things kick off at 6pm...stop by and say "hi"!
You Wore a T-Shirt?! (from John)

Time Flies

2012-12-12
Alan's supervisor forwarded him a curious ticket - a recently hired employee was training on how to use the customer profile web page and the new user felt that that the countdown timer on the page wasn't behaving quite right.
A few months back, Alex and the rest of the Daily WTF staff hosted a meetup in Pittsburgh. Alex is going to swing through Pittsburgh again this week, so we'd love to have another chance to meet the readers who can make it out.

Checkmate

2012-12-11
In the 90s, if a continent-spanning national government wanted to communicate via a bulletin board system, they needed to code it themselves. And if they were going to invent the wheel, what language was better suited to the task than Visual Basic 2.0? Slap a pithy name on it- Chessboard and voila- instant success.

One Version

2012-12-10
Brian browsed the most recent check-in by the lead architect, and noticed that it referenced a file called TagFile.java, which didn’t actually exist. A quick search of source control showed that pretty much every project had its own version of this file. They were all basically identical, aside from the values in the static initializers:
Alli writes, "I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I'm glad to see that it got cleared up before it got too specific for SMS alerts."

Multiplying Strings

2012-12-06
It was supposed to be simple. The plan was that Alex would temporarily inherit support an old VB e-commerce website for a week while a colleague was out on vacation. With the web being out there for years and years, Alex assumed that most of the old bugs had been squashed leaving him with a nice and quiet week on his hands. As it turned out, Alex had assumed incorrectly.

Trauma Center

2012-12-05
Paul's first day at Redacted Commodities and Trading, LLC. started with a coffee and a muffin, and ended with trauma leave.

A Bit Misguided

2012-12-04
It’s hard to get too far as a programmer without dealing with bit-masks at some point in your career. Barry’s co-worker made sure to build a nice, easily re-usable block of code to help with that. This simple block can simply be copy-pasted anywhere bit-masks are used. And it is.
Bridget worked in a large R&D department for a software company. The main offices had long ago filled up, and R&D moved to a distant office building well away from the main campus. The building was less than ideal, especially if you listened to the network guys talk about pulling cable. It was old, it was dreary and the roof leaked, the furnace was wonky, and the kitchen had never actually gotten a hot-water line. Still, it was a place to work.
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