When Justin submitted this C# code, he knew what line to include in the subject line of the email to get our attention:

if (String.Empty == null) GC.KeepAlive(string.Empty);

Gridlock

2014-09-29

In every global organization, there comes a point where someone figures out that all of those servers scattered throughout the planet aren't running at 100% capacity, and that they are sitting there going:

    Got anything for me to do?
    Got anything for me to do?
    Got anything for me to do?
	...

C.F. wrote, "I came really close to redeeming my 'free' cheese sticks coupon on Pizza Hut's site."

Tom works as a pentester and, as such, gets paid big bucks for finding flaws in his clients' websites usually because he has to find less than obvious 'gotcha'-level flaws.

While testing a critical web application for a very large corporate client, he noticed some odd behavior surrounding a page that validates user logins.

Forever Alone

2014-09-24

Dan’s team had a large re-engineering project. They wanted to remove some Java dependencies and replace the UI layer with their new, in-house developed standard library. Like most large maintenance projects, it was big, had a few hidden traps, but was mostly time consuming tedium. For the tedious bits, they decided to bring on a new developer.

William was that developer. He radiated confidence like an LED bulb- cold, harsh, and efficient. He said all the right things in the interview. When Dan showed him their Git repository, William nodded sagely, “I know my way around Git quite well. I appreciate the distributed part of it. It gives me the freedom to work alone. I work best alone.”

Dan’s team wanted somebody who could work with minimal guidance, so William’s lone gunman motto seemed like a good idea. They brought him on, and Dan spent the first few days getting him set up, introducing him to the code base, and helping him with any questions he had. William didn’t have many, as he reminded Dan, “I don’t need you hovering over my shoulder. I work best alone.”

Going Out of Style

2014-09-23

The process of optimizing the CSS used in a web site can be quite complicated. The subtle interplay between selectors, attributes, specificity, inheritance and the DOM elements can significantly impact the outcome. Style guides can be a thing of elegant beauty, to be admired by many and revered by those steeped in the dark arts of styling.

There there's the code that George found when he took on the task of migrating a 1990's-era web site. Nobody expects code from a 15 year-old web site to be up to current standards. But there are limits. George's spidey sense started tingling when he found a file named 'css.php'. A look inside didn't do anything to turn the alarm bells off.

A Repetitive Task

2014-09-22

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.

Devan was hired to support several legacy systems that were fraught with manual processes. A large part of his job was to find the numerous manual tasks that could be automated, and figure out ways to automate them. One of the systems he inherited allows a support person to query a set of special records for the prior production date, and update a subset of them by changing a certain date field, so that they'd be considered special in the production run for today.

Best. Soup. Ever.

2014-09-19

"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

2014-09-17

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:

bool done = false;
while(!done)
{
    try
    {
        //I'm not sure if having a log entry for the irregular
        //Febuary[sic] 29th will destroy everything else.
        //To be on the safe side, we'll just wait 'til tomorrow instead
        Date *currentDate = new Date();
        int DOY = currentDate->dayOfYear();
        if( DOY == 60 && //day 60 is feb 29
            ( lastDigit(currentDate->year()) == 0 ||
              lastDigit(currentDate->year()) == 4 ||
              lastDigit(currentDate->year()) == 8))
        {
            while(currentDate->dayOfYear() == 60) { currentDate = new Date(); }
        }
        else
        {
            //SNIP: code that actually runs part of the maintenance
            done = true;
        }
    }
    catch(...) {} //If we failed we need to try again until we succeed
}

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