We Burned the Poop

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  • ObiWayneKenobi 2008-08-28 11:05
    The Real WTF™ is that nobody found this bug before releasing it... although that happens all the time, so maybe it's not a WTF after all.
  • Sanity 2008-08-28 11:05
    I'd think it's an object lesson in best practices -- like actual testing, version control, issue tracking, etc -- rather than a lesson in not using "poop".

    After all, if the button had said "This is a test", would it have been any better to waste thousands of CDs on?
  • dkf 2008-08-28 11:08
    And there I was thinking it was something to do with piracy, and the burning of poop decks
  • Vechni 2008-08-28 11:09
    poop!! lawlz! i didn't even need to read this article.
  • Kermos 2008-08-28 11:12
  • Code Dependent 2008-08-28 11:18
    ...and that's the poop on that situation.

    At least he had the good taste to choose a palindrome, instead of some unbalanced junker like "shit".
  • sir_flexalot 2008-08-28 11:21
    We had a debug boolean variable called boolsh** (without the censorship) show up printed on a production website at the top of the screen... and it was equal to true.
  • Keving 2008-08-28 11:22
    You sure they didn't write "shit"?
  • akatherder 2008-08-28 11:22
    Sanity:
    I'd think it's an object lesson in best practices -- like actual testing, version control, issue tracking, etc -- rather than a lesson in not using "poop".

    After all, if the button had said "This is a test", would it have been any better to waste thousands of CDs on?


    It depends what the button was used for. I would sacrifice the "About Us" button to say "This is a test" if the alternative was paying $30,000. Most users wouldn't click it, and they'd just get a little chuckle about the stupid developer who goofed up. It's a bit harder to just ignore "poop" though.
  • Lincoln 2008-08-28 11:23
    what does his boss expect him to do with a box of used cd's?
  • DDF 2008-08-28 11:24
    I don't think that is quite as bad as the "You should never see this message" type errors which are proof of either the programmers arrogance, lack of skill or both - not just his poor memory.
  • ClutchDude 2008-08-28 11:26
    I was a layout editor for the college paper. The writers and section editor would never get their headlines done in time for me to finalize the layout, so I'd always throw some crazy gibberish like "President dismisses entire college staff." I figured there is no way they'd forget to change it.
    Then, one week, a headline "Giant Lizard Flattens Campus" made it into the paper.

    Somehow, it gotten through the section editor, the editor-in-chief, the writer and even the President and Dean of students who happened to meeting with the editor-in-chief as she sent the proofs off to printing. Needless to say, I got a minor scolding and told to just read the article and make something up for future papers.

    A retraction was printed the next week stating that "XXXXX College was not flattened, contrary to other claims."
  • phleabo 2008-08-28 11:32
    I once worked at a place that cranked out desktop DB apps. One of them was a client management app for a local AIDS non-profit, which got delivered with the test data still in the db. Which wouldn' t have been a problem if it hadn't had client names like "Barney Buttfucker," in it. Believe it or not, the client was less than pleased.

    And if you're reading this, hey Jamie. Still writing VFP apps?
  • Some guy 2008-08-28 11:48
    Hah! I was fired for almost the exact same thing. Except it was on a website and a worse word than "poop".
  • mister 2008-08-28 11:49
    Poop happens
  • D0R 2008-08-28 11:51
    This is quite a WTF. I'd rather have used some headline like "TODO TODO TODO" or "YYYYYYYYYYY" which is easy to spot at first sight as a temp headline.
  • Chris 2008-08-28 11:57
    The best debug message that I have seen that made it into production was "shoot the puppy". I think that this was a indication that the app was in a bad way and should be closed...

    This was by the same developer that added the self documenting function HavingItHardcore.
  • Rocketboy 2008-08-28 11:59
    Same type of thing happened when I worked shipping and recieving. One guy's job was to match the box with the paperwork. One guys' job was to log in the box/paperwork as fast as possible (that one was my job). Then someone would place the paperwork back in the box, marking the box. Next someone would have to pull the box (double checking the paperwork vs the box), and stage it to be shipped. Then the driver was to match his paperwork (which was a copy of the first set of paperwork) with the staged boxes, then head off to Canada.

    I was given the wrong paperwork for the wrong box.

    Nobody caught the mistake. I was specifically just to write things up.

    I got in trouble for it.

    Long story short, no matter how many times something is to be checked, even if it's your job not to check, don't fuck up. 'Shit' in a dialog box is a fuckup.

    Everyone else who didn't catch it is a fuckup.

    But poop rolls downhill.

    Even valetudo branded poop.
  • Rocketboy 2008-08-28 12:00
    Lincoln:
    what does his boss expect him to do with a box of used cd's?


    Remind him to stay regular, what else?

    I don't think you understand the gravis of the situation, or the gravis of the Captcha.
  • Victor 2008-08-28 12:00
    Yup, I learned that lesson too:

    I was tracking down a bug in this web app so I put an exception code to see what was going on in our dev server

    Throw New Exception("Shit Happens: " + debugvars)

    Later that day somebody decided to deploy a new version of the app to production...

    After that incident I became a strong advocate of build processes where a branch of the code is what is deployed to test/production.
  • Similar, but less serious story 2008-08-28 12:07
    One day I was developing software that had to do with "assignments" so I had an "ass" variable that held the current assignment.

    Everything was great.

    Until the day some unepexpected error popped up with a stack trace referencing "ass" popped up on a screen. It sais something like "Null pointer in ass." or some other slightly-offensive phrase. I got a good talking to about that. Luckily, we hadn't shipped the product yet so there was time to both fix the bug and change the variable name.

    But I learned an important lesson to even make sure my variable names didn't have potentially offensive language.
  • JDeepBeep 2008-08-28 12:08
  • Erzengel 2008-08-28 12:09
    DDF:
    I don't think that is quite as bad as the "You should never see this message" type errors which are proof of either the programmers arrogance, lack of skill or both - not just his poor memory.

    It's not arrogance, it's a statement. "You should never see this message" is shorthand for "You should never see this message, if you do, then someone made a mistake. Unless this someone was you (using some windows functions to view incomplete windows, for example) please let us know how this happened. Thank you."

    Arrogance would be using, and processing, the string "CrashComputer()". You should never see it, so your computer should never crash, right? Right?
  • TopCod3r 2008-08-28 12:11
    At my company, one of the many things that our IT department does right, is we have guided the business to continue to use CD-ROMs instead of a website for advertising our products. When I was asked to make the business case for this decision, it was simple:

    1. If you have a web site, there are too many browsers and incompatibilities with javascript, etc. So distributing a CD-ROM solves this problem because it will work on any Windows PC that has a CD-ROM drive, which is all of them.

    2. If you have a web site, anyone can view it, so even your competitors can gather intelligence about your products. Now, we are able to see our competitors website, but since we don't send CD-ROMs to them, they are in the dark!

    3. If you have a web site, you have to worry more about security and being hacked. How many news stories are there out there about companies who have exposed customer data. I have guaranteed that will not happen to us.

    4. If you have a web site, you have to hire web developers. With a CD-ROM application, you can use VB developers, who can create a more graphically rich experience for the customer.

    It really is quite simple to execute. On the last Wednesday of the month, everyone who has a CD-R drive (which includes all IT employees) has to burn their share of the CDs that have to go out the following Monday. So we assign a quota so to speak, and how to do in regards to your quota goes into your 360 feedback session later in the year.

    Anyway, it has worked out well. A tried and true approach.
  • SomeCoder 2008-08-28 12:18
    I've added popups and exceptions like "FUCK YOU!!!" when trying to find bugs. Mostly this is only after hours of banging my head against something and not being able to figure it out.

    Luckily, none of these ever made it into production but these days I'm a bit more careful (I put stuff like "TESTING!!" and "testing more stuff!" if I have to add a popup to try and figure something out)
  • Bobble 2008-08-28 12:19
    Why am I starting to get the feeling that corporate fiction is going to end up as a motivational seminar that my company is going to force me to sit through?
  • anon 2008-08-28 12:22
    Hillarious
  • cellocgw 2008-08-28 12:24
    TopCod3r:
    At my company, one of the many things that our IT department does right, is we have guided the business to continue to use CD-ROMs instead of a website for advertising our products. When I was asked to make the business case for this decision, it was simple:

    1. If you have a web site, there are too many browsers and incompatibilities with javascript, etc. So distributing a CD-ROM solves this problem because it will work on any Windows PC that has a CD-ROM drive, which is all of them.

    2. If you have a web site, anyone can view it, so even your competitors can gather intelligence about your products. Now, we are able to see our competitors website, but since we don't send CD-ROMs to them, they are in the dark!

    3. If you have a web site, you have to worry more about security and being hacked. How many news stories are there out there about companies who have exposed customer data. I have guaranteed that will not happen to us.

    4. If you have a web site, you have to hire web developers. With a CD-ROM application, you can use VB developers, who can create a more graphically rich experience for the customer.

    It really is quite simple to execute. On the last Wednesday of the month, everyone who has a CD-R drive (which includes all IT employees) has to burn their share of the CDs that have to go out the following Monday. So we assign a quota so to speak, and how to do in regards to your quota goes into your 360 feedback session later in the year.

    Anyway, it has worked out well. A tried and true approach.

    Believability Factor: zero.
    Nobody bothers to rifle thru a couple dozen CDs that showed up inthe office junk mail.
    And.. you really think none of your competitors know everything they want to know about your product?

    Ooops, never mind -- you were just trolling in the first place. My bad.
  • Bob N Freely 2008-08-28 12:25
    MS has an internal tool they have to run on any project that will be released to customers. It looks for this kind of stuff in the code. It has a database of offensive words in dozens of languages, so sometimes you get unexpected results.
  • Steve 2008-08-28 12:26
    I was reviewing one of our team's code and came across this:

    if (somecondition)
    {
    //can never get here
    GenerateError("something is f***ed");
    }

    I quickly pointed out that when something "can never happen", it is almost always guaranteed to do so at the most inopportune moments. Begrudgingly, he changed his error message to something more benign as "unexpected error caused by somecondition"

    Sure enough, within two weeks of our release, we had a bug report come in from a customer with that exact error message

    The basic lesson: Never be a wise ass in your messages, either in debugging or in sections of code that you deem to be unreachable, because eventually, the customers will see it.
  • TopCod3r 2008-08-28 12:26
    cellocgw:

    Believability Factor: zero.
    Nobody bothers to rifle thru a couple dozen CDs that showed up inthe office junk mail.
    And.. you really think none of your competitors know everything they want to know about your product?


    I didn't say we didn't have a contact info web site. We have a web site that has out phone number and contact information for example, after all it is 2008. This is also how they can request a CD-ROM, by filling out a simple form that I wrote.

    One best practice that we developed in order to make sure the customer sees the CD-ROM is for our sales staff to personally call them to make sure they received it, and if not send another one.
  • Anon 2008-08-28 12:27
    Could have been worse, it could have said "MFD".

    And the real lesson here is not to tell your co-workers where you live.
  • Matt.C 2008-08-28 12:27
    Tch! When that happens, make it an acronym.

    Prepare Object-Oriented Packet.
  • Code Dependent 2008-08-28 12:30
    When I saw the title of this one, I thought it was going to be a variation on the old "burning bag on the porch--ring the doorbell and hide" routine.
  • UriGagarin 2008-08-28 12:31
    A developer working on an interface for our new CRM system ( this was back during 2000 or so) put in a error message for when the record was really mangled. 'Record fucked' was the error message, although it was pretty accurate , it was felt that something less direct was probably better .

  • Kermos 2008-08-28 12:33
    TopCod3r:
    At my company, one of the many things that our IT department does right, is we have guided the business to continue to use CD-ROMs instead of a website for advertising our products. When I was asked to make the business case for this decision, it was simple: <snip>


    You are kidding right? Please do tell me you are kidding. If you aren't, I seriously hope you don't ever by some odd and random chance need to send me your advertising. The only place that CD is going to go is straight to the trash.

    The very last thing you'll ever see me do is insert a 3rd Party unknown and untrusted advertisement CD into any one of my computers. What do I know what all sorts of crap and garbage that software on that CD is going to do on my system?

    As far as the "more graphically rich experience for the customer", here's a hint: When I go look at information about a product that I potentially want to use / buy I want data, specs, and facts. Not fancy little graphical bullshit animations that serve no purpose but to waste my time.

    The best way to make me not consider a product is to make me wade through excessive amounts of useless advertising clutter. Give me a plain white sheet of paper with the information I need plainly written on it in simple black and white however and you stand a pretty good chance.

    Edit: I just realized who I replied to...that explains things...
  • jkupski 2008-08-28 12:40
    TopCod3r:
    It really is quite simple to execute. On the last Wednesday of the month, everyone who has a CD-R drive (which includes all IT employees) has to burn their share of the CDs that have to go out the following Monday. So we assign a quota so to speak, and how to do in regards to your quota goes into your 360 feedback session later in the year.


    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!

    Surely you realize that a multi drive duplicator would probably pay for itself in a month, two months tops, right?
  • Linux admin 2008-08-28 12:44
    TopCod3r:
    1. If you have a web site, there are too many browsers and incompatibilities with javascript, etc. So distributing a CD-ROM solves this problem because it will work on any Windows PC that has a CD-ROM drive, which is all of them.


    I agree with all of your other points, but I have to disagree with this one. I use Linux and I know at least one other person who uses Linux. And I think Apple is still out there, right? You might want to think about creating different copies for different operating systems. You could probably even fit three different versions on the same CD! If not, maybe think about switching to DVD.
  • shadowman 2008-08-28 12:45
    Erik's company had scored a project for a multinational software company called "The Big M" around the office.


    Novell?
  • iToad 2008-08-28 12:46
    DDF:
    I don't think that is quite as bad as the "You should never see this message" type errors which are proof of either the programmers arrogance, lack of skill or both - not just his poor memory.


    I use the more politically correct phrase "Internal Error", followed by an error code. Yes, I have seen them pop up later.
  • akatherder 2008-08-28 12:58
    iToad:
    DDF:
    I don't think that is quite as bad as the "You should never see this message" type errors which are proof of either the programmers arrogance, lack of skill or both - not just his poor memory.


    I use the more politically correct phrase "Internal Error", followed by an error code. Yes, I have seen them pop up later.


    We did that too. We started assigning sequential errors to the code "Internal Error: E001", "Internal Error: E002", etc. It was a mild pain in the ass to figure out what the latest error number was, so someone decided to just hammer on the keyboard "Internal Error: 2873JD83HJD". Eventually we ended up with "FUK" in one of the error codes. The person who call it in said "Hey I got a 194 f*ck error".
  • Doesn't matter 2008-08-28 13:00
    Note to everyone:

    TopCod3r's posts always have his tongue firmly in his cheek.

    That is all.
  • Pecos Bill 2008-08-28 13:02
    "You big hairy ape!"

    ...appeared on the customer's computer here at my company. I heard about this after joining my team. The contractor had put that into her code as a reminder but alas it made it to production. So much for QA. The internal (thankfully all ours are) customer was VERY unhappy to be insulted and wasn't quite mollified after it was explained and apologies were cast about. My then-boss didn't like losing face either so the contractor didn't stick around much longer. I've taken that to heart and thankfully haven't suffered that fate.

    Pretty funny if you think about software insulting it's users. Some deserve it :-) Others on my team have wanted to wire up electroshock behavioral therapy.
  • Zap Brannigan 2008-08-28 13:07
    Replying to to TopCod3r is a lot like being punk'd.

    TopCod3r, never give up, never surrender!
  • Jason T 2008-08-28 13:08
    In my rookie year I got pulled into the Boss's office to explain why our Employee Bonus Calculation function said 'Hello' to the customer's controller.

    The code was in Paradox 5 and had passed some limit in terms of code size, that the debugger would no longer trace code so I was left to use message box techniques to see where the code was running.

    Sure glad I took out some of the message boxes I had earlier, I remember I had something like:

    ...
    MessageBox("Why")
    ...
    MessageBox("doesn't")
    ...
    MessageBox("this")
    ...
    MessageBox("*******")
    ...
    MessageBox("****")
    ...
    MessageBox("work??")
    ...

    That was my wakeup call on using profanities in debugging code. Thankfully I never 'poop'ed on the customer.
  • xtremezone 2008-08-28 13:09
    Am I the only one that hoped this article was announcing the cancellation of MFD? :-/
  • rpjs 2008-08-28 13:14
    Been there.

    At my last gig a colleague put some (very mild) profanity into some test data that made it into production: on the e-commerce site for a major mobile telco a phone had "My arse" listed as one of its features 8-)

    The client went ballistic and demanded that we fire the perpetrator. Although my colleague had owned up to us, we ended up telling them we were unable to figure out who had done it. I doubt the client believed us but they had calmed down a bit and let it go.
  • meznak 2008-08-28 13:15
    It depends what the button was used for. I would sacrifice the "About Us" button to say "This is a test" if the alternative was paying $30,000. Most users wouldn't click it, and they'd just get a little chuckle about the stupid developer who goofed up. It's a bit harder to just ignore "poop" though.


    Especially if it was the "About Us" button...
  • snoofle 2008-08-28 13:16
    Matt.C:
    Tch! When that happens, make it an acronym.

    Prepare Object-Oriented Packet.

    (C)ommon
    (R)untime
    (A)nalytics
    (P)rocessor

    (C)ustom
    (L)ibrary
    (I)nternalizing
    (T)ransactions
    (O)n
    (R)egistered
    (I)nternal
    (S)ystems

    For a clbuttic filter:
    (F)ind
    (U)nnecessary
    (C)urses
    (K)eenly
    (Y)et
    (O)rdinarily
    (U)ttered
  • CynicalTyler 2008-08-28 13:17
    Lincoln:
    what does his boss expect him to do with a box of used cd's?
    Clearly you're too young to have remembered the free AOL CD days. You can play frisbee, use them as coasters, fix wobbly tables, make a suit... the possibilities are endless! I wish I worked for a company with as great a benefits package as "all the screwed up CD prints you can carry"!
  • rather not say 2008-08-28 13:17
    reminds me of one time in early in my programming career. someone was obviously having a bad day, and made "fuck you" (or possible "fuck off", my memory is hazy) the default value for the "surname" field in our app. it was good, because it didn't fill in the text box at first, it was done in the back end. end result being, if you were to add a new customer, you wouldn't notice their name was "fuck you" until you printed out an invoice for them or some such. top quality.
  • I walked the dinosaur 2008-08-28 13:23
    TopCod3r:
    At my company, one of the many things that our IT department does right, is we have guided the business to continue to use CD-ROMs instead of a website for advertising our products. When I was asked to make the business case for this decision, it was simple:

    1. If you have a web site, there are too many browsers and incompatibilities with javascript, etc. So distributing a CD-ROM solves this problem because it will work on any Windows PC that has a CD-ROM drive, which is all of them.

    2. If you have a web site, anyone can view it, so even your competitors can gather intelligence about your products. Now, we are able to see our competitors website, but since we don't send CD-ROMs to them, they are in the dark!

    3. If you have a web site, you have to worry more about security and being hacked. How many news stories are there out there about companies who have exposed customer data. I have guaranteed that will not happen to us.

    4. If you have a web site, you have to hire web developers. With a CD-ROM application, you can use VB developers, who can create a more graphically rich experience for the customer.

    It really is quite simple to execute. On the last Wednesday of the month, everyone who has a CD-R drive (which includes all IT employees) has to burn their share of the CDs that have to go out the following Monday. So we assign a quota so to speak, and how to do in regards to your quota goes into your 360 feedback session later in the year.

    Anyway, it has worked out well. A tried and true approach.


    I lol'd!
  • KP 2008-08-28 13:30
    Slightly embarrassing situation where I added comments into script code in our application that said something to the effect of:

    // Why the f**k do I need to put this code at the top of the file
    // because the stupid debugger doesn't work after line xxx

    Now, client's don't usually get to see the source code, but sometimes they are really that interested in the details of the logic, and we show them the code.

    The embarrassing part was when a junior developer found this code four years later, and sent around an email to the entire dev group as an example of really poor coding practice, and I had to agree that it was.

    Moral of the story is that you should never put anything in your code that you wouldn't want to show to your most frustrated and litigious client on their worst day, or anything that you wouldn't be proud to present to all of your development peers. Version control has a very long memory...

    Debugger problems were actually not the real cause of my frustration, to top it all off.
  • Steve 2008-08-28 13:32
    A friend of mine tells me that the way the would determine when a piece of software was approaching a condition wherein it could be released was the decreasing frequency of the "F-word" in the comments.

    Once it got down below a certain threshold, it could be shipped.
  • kenrick 2008-08-28 13:49
    yeah i had made some nice comments about a client in a flash file, not realizing that some years later they would get a hold of the source, and decide to poke around.

    well at least they now know what I thought of them.
  • Code Dependent 2008-08-28 13:56
    Doesn't matter:
    TopCod3r's posts always have his tongue firmly in his cheek.
    I guess that's better than having it firmly between someone else's cheeks...
  • mbessey 2008-08-28 13:58
    Except that in our case, it was a problem at the CD duplicator. Instead of shipping us 10,000 copies of our web application server software, they shipped us 10,000 copies of the "National Geographic's 'Mammals'" interactive multimedia CD.

    The CD sleeves, the silk-screened labels, and all the paperwork were all correct, they'd apparently just loaded the wrong master into the stamping machine.

    I never did find out if the folks at National Geographic sent out 10,000 CDs with UNIX server software wrapped up in shiny boxes with pictures of lions and gazelles on them. I certainly hope not.
  • PG 2008-08-28 13:59
    Just to show my age......

    One version of the DECnet SNARJE product had an error message something like.

    RJE-F-$*$@!%&# Try this on for size.

    I never saw the error in person, but they worte up that the message had changed in the release notes for the next dot version.
  • plaidfluff 2008-08-28 14:02
    So, his boss left a container of burned poop on his doorstep? That sounds rather juvenile.
  • Tuxinator 2008-08-28 14:13
    I used to work for a small progarmming house where I was one of 2 programmers (me and the CEO) and I had to also take support calls.

    One day a little old lady calls and tells me she has an error on her screen.

    I ask "What does the error say?"

    "Oh I can't say that"

    "Well it would really help me find the problem faster"

    "Well ok... it says Oh SH%# and Poop"

    After I stopped laughing I checked the code and sure enough it was there right under a comment from the boss saying that this error should never happen.

    Showed the boss and he was quite embarrassed that it had come up.
  • kimbo305 2008-08-28 14:13
    I think the story makes a lot more sense when the word is more vulgar, like "shit," and not "poop." I'm ok with anonymization in the stories, but I think here it hurt to censor a curse.
  • Tuxinator 2008-08-28 14:16
    mbessey:
    I never did find out if the folks at National Geographic sent out 10,000 CDs with UNIX server software wrapped up in shiny boxes with pictures of lions and gazelles on them. I certainly hope not.


    Maybe that's where O'Reilly got the idea to put animals on their books.
  • Cooksey 2008-08-28 14:25
    We had a game go out that on detection of memory corruption problems would abend with the message "PC is HOSED!".

    I suppose in a perfect world without Marketing Depts the bug would have been found and fixed.

    Support let us know all about it when the support lines lit up with folks thinking their PC was broken...

    Oh well, they just were not hip to the PC/NPC (Player Char/Non-Player Char) slang that drifts around a game shop.

    More care was taken after that by the programmers to keep the commentary in the comments...
  • jaykay 2008-08-28 14:30
    [quote user="snoofle"][quote user="Matt.C"]Tch! When that happens, make it an acronym.

    (C)ustom
    (L)ibrary
    (I)nternalizing
    (T)ransactions
    (O)n
    (R)egistered
    (I)nternal
    (S)ystems

    [/quote]

    I looked for C.L.I.T.O.R.I.S. but couldn't find it anywhere...
  • Anon Amous 2008-08-28 14:32
    TopCod3r:
    cellocgw:

    Believability Factor: zero.
    Nobody bothers to rifle thru a couple dozen CDs that showed up inthe office junk mail.
    And.. you really think none of your competitors know everything they want to know about your product?


    I didn't say we didn't have a contact info web site. We have a web site that has out phone number and contact information for example, after all it is 2008. This is also how they can request a CD-ROM, by filling out a simple form that I wrote.

    One best practice that we developed in order to make sure the customer sees the CD-ROM is for our sales staff to personally call them to make sure they received it, and if not send another one.


    In which case i would NEVER get your data. If I am assigned to find out about a product or capability the LAST thing I want is to end up on someone's sales e-mail list.

    If a site offers white papers on their product but requires me to register to see them then they are out of luck.

    If you want to sell me or my company your product then make it easy for me to learn about your product. If you don't want to expose customer data then don't put it on an Internet accessable system.
  • snoofle 2008-08-28 14:37
    jaykay:
    snoofle:
    Matt.C:
    Tch! When that happens, make it an acronym.

    (C)ustom
    (L)ibrary
    (I)nternalizing
    (T)ransactions
    (O)n
    (R)egistered
    (I)nternal
    (S)ystems


    I looked for C.L.I.T.O.R.I.S. but couldn't find it anywhere...

    The you, Sir, are definitely a programmer!
  • Rene 2008-08-28 14:37
    xtremezone:
    Am I the only one that hoped this article was announcing the cancellation of MFD? :-/


    Nope, not the only one.
  • Corporate Cog 2008-08-28 14:55
    Not bloody likely that the boss came over in the rain.
    I really did burn the poop in the military. We had no other means of disposing of sewage so we mixed it into a nice soup with diesel and burned it. Ah... memories.
  • EAPoe 2008-08-28 14:57
    > [...] the doorbell rang. As he walked downstairs to see
    > who it was, he was thinking that it was odd to have a
    > late-night guest, especially on such a rainy night.
    > Standing at the door was his boss, holding a large
    > cardboard box. Both he and the box were soaked

    with an introduction like this i expected the boss to just say something along the lines of: "nevermore!"
    (well, in a way he did).
  • Ben 2008-08-28 14:58
    Those few minutes I spent reading that "story" are minutes I will never get back. Damn, I wish there was a "this is just a bunch of irrelevant shite" filter so I could ignore crap like this.
  • Daniel 2008-08-28 15:16
    I've seen MySQL GUI Tools (either Admin or Query Analyzer, not sure) outputting "SHIT" to the console it was launched from.
  • amet 2008-08-28 15:22
    I think I've read this before...
  • Mhendren 2008-08-28 15:35
    cellocgw:

    Believability Factor: zero.
    Nobody bothers to rifle thru a couple dozen CDs that showed up inthe office junk mail.
    And.. you really think none of your competitors know everything they want to know about your product?

    Ooops, never mind -- you were just trolling in the first place. My bad.


    The guy that was doing our sales presentation did it as flash so it would go on our website. Our product that we are selling is a web based application. When he was about 80% done with the presentation, he burned a CD of the prototype so he could demonstrate it to the president, as the president is one of those people who we would never be able to talk through doing a file transfer, and he wasn't ready to have the presentation available on our website.

    The president loved the CD presentation (with missing things like the website's address, the wrong phone number, missing features) and decided to show it to our "sales person"*. Our sales person is literally incapable of using the web, and remember we are selling a web-based product and need to be able to demonstrate our mastery of web-based technologies and simplicity of use. So, when she needs to demonstrate how easy our product is to use to a potential customer, she takes the prototype CD of the flash based sales presentation over to the disc duplicators and snail-mails the potential customer a copy.

    For some reason, we have had no new customers; only some legacy customers have switched to the web-based system.

    Short version: Is anyone hiring in the Saint Louis, MO area?

    * The term "sales person" is not really applicable, as she has been given money by my employer for 6 years for operating in a sales capacity and has thus far brought in a grand total of $0.
  • Code Dependent 2008-08-28 15:36
    jaykay:
    I looked for C.L.I.T.O.R.I.S. but couldn't find it anywhere...
    Try looking with your tongue.
  • Ville 2008-08-28 16:26
    Similar, but less serious story:
    One day I was developing software that had to do with "assignments" so I had an "ass" variable that held the current assignment.

    Everything was great.

    Until the day some unepexpected error popped up with a stack trace referencing "ass" popped up on a screen. It sais something like "Null pointer in ass." or some other slightly-offensive phrase. I got a good talking to about that. Luckily, we hadn't shipped the product yet so there was time to both fix the bug and change the variable name.

    But I learned an important lesson to even make sure my variable names didn't have potentially offensive language.
    And so you run search&replace and the story had a happy ending when your customer received their brand new buttignments application?
  • Zap Brannigan 2008-08-28 16:33
    Mhendren:

    * The term "sales person" is not really applicable, as she has been given money by my employer for 6 years for operating in a sales capacity and has thus far brought in a grand total of $0.
    Is she hot?
  • James Schend 2008-08-28 16:48
    Zap Brannigan:
    Replying to to TopCod3r is a lot like being punk'd.

    TopCod3r, never give up, never surrender!


    The problem is TopCod3r is *too good* of a troll. The entire comments section just becomes people responding to him, and actual discussion disappears.
  • No version control?! 2008-08-28 16:51
    Note the embedded WTF:

    > Another casualty of the process: there wasn't any time to set up source control.

    Er.. it comes built-in on Linux systems: ci -l filename. Or install cvs, which even way back in the mid-90s of this article took little time at all.
  • Anony Moose 2008-08-28 17:03
    A fun trick: use an editable text box instead of a label in an error dialog. Then have a tester notice this, cause an error, and then type their own inappropriate error message in place of the perfectly innocuous message.

    Result - one slightly concerned programmer. ;)

    (And a lot safer than having the problem text actually in the application...)
  • Randy_virgin_M_4_M 2008-08-28 17:10
    I am a nice tall groomed boy - looking for a hot cowboy to go to MR. Nice if his name is Patrick
  • Sum Yung Guy 2008-08-28 17:13
    Sounds like an "Easter Egg" to me...
  • Ian Tits 2008-08-28 17:16
    Are you for real?

    In the Real World, the first thing anyone learns is to lie and cheat and pretend you're someone from "the public" to stitch up your competitor company.

    You must be thick to think you're not sending your own data to your direct competitors.

  • Mhendren 2008-08-28 17:17
    Zap Brannigan:
    Mhendren:

    * The term "sales person" is not really applicable, as she has been given money by my employer for 6 years for operating in a sales capacity and has thus far brought in a grand total of $0.
    Is she hot?


    Well, she's about 5'7" and something in the range of 80 - 85 pounds, and the face is a two bagger.
  • foo 2008-08-28 17:27
    TopCod3r:
    At my company, one of the many things that our IT department does right, is we have guided the business to continue to use CD-ROMs instead of a website for advertising our products. When I was asked to make the business case for this decision, it was simple:

    1. If you have a web site, there are too many browsers and incompatibilities with javascript, etc. So distributing a CD-ROM solves this problem because it will work on any Windows PC that has a CD-ROM drive, which is all of them.

    2. If you have a web site, anyone can view it, so even your competitors can gather intelligence about your products. Now, we are able to see our competitors website, but since we don't send CD-ROMs to them, they are in the dark!


    This is silly. I'm a customer with two of our competitors and get all of their mailings at my home. You can't filter out competitors.

    3. If you have a web site, you have to worry more about security and being hacked. How many news stories are there out there about companies who have exposed customer data. I have guaranteed that will not happen to us.

    4. If you have a web site, you have to hire web developers. With a CD-ROM application, you can use VB developers, who can create a more graphically rich experience for the customer.


    LOL.

    It really is quite simple to execute. On the last Wednesday of the month, everyone who has a CD-R drive (which includes all IT employees) has to burn their share of the CDs that have to go out the following Monday. So we assign a quota so to speak, and how to do in regards to your quota goes into your 360 feedback session later in the year.


    So is it ok to just pay the 25 cents to get CDs made by a service? That's what I would do if I worked for your company.

    Anyway, it has worked out well. A tried and true approach.
  • Matt 2008-08-28 17:32
    Steve:
    I was reviewing one of our team's code and came across this:

    if (somecondition)
    {
    //can never get here
    GenerateError("something is f***ed");
    }

    blah blah...


    If it can never get there, drop the whole damn if-statement!

    // C/C++
    #include <assert.h>
    assert(somecondition)

    // C#
    using System.Diagnostics;
    Debug.Assert(somecondition)

    or if it can really happen, then you need a sensible error message (duh)
  • Zonk 2008-08-28 17:35
    I worked for a company who did this, sort of, ... 3 times. (magazine cover mounts).

    Each time was 25-30,000 GBP worth.

    It was not that comic.

    First time it happened, they included a expirying version of the viewing component, so it tested fine, but broke by street date....

    2nd time, the original tested master went to the BBFC for rating, never came back, so a new master was created off the disc image, and was never tested. a totally worthless, unworking disc was handed back.

    3rd time, i can't recall exactly what the issue was. I think it was idiocy.
  • Unregistered trolls hunter 2008-08-28 17:57
    TopCod3r:
    At my company, one of the many things that our IT department does right, is we have guided the business to continue to use CD-ROMs instead of a website for advertising our products. When I was asked to make the business case for this decision, it was simple:

    1. If you have a web site, there are too many browsers and incompatibilities with javascript, etc. So distributing a CD-ROM solves this problem because it will work on any Windows PC that has a CD-ROM drive, which is all of them.

    2. If you have a web site, anyone can view it, so even your competitors can gather intelligence about your products. Now, we are able to see our competitors website, but since we don't send CD-ROMs to them, they are in the dark!

    3. If you have a web site, you have to worry more about security and being hacked. How many news stories are there out there about companies who have exposed customer data. I have guaranteed that will not happen to us.

    4. If you have a web site, you have to hire web developers. With a CD-ROM application, you can use VB developers, who can create a more graphically rich experience for the customer.

    It really is quite simple to execute. On the last Wednesday of the month, everyone who has a CD-R drive (which includes all IT employees) has to burn their share of the CDs that have to go out the following Monday. So we assign a quota so to speak, and how to do in regards to your quota goes into your 360 feedback session later in the year.

    Anyway, it has worked out well. A tried and true approach.


    I call it Troll!
    Try to not post everyday TopCod3r. We can now easily detect your trolling! :-P
  • Doesn't matter 2008-08-28 18:03
    Code Dependent:
    Doesn't matter:
    TopCod3r's posts always have his tongue firmly in his cheek.
    I guess that's better than having it firmly between someone else's cheeks...


    Unless it's Irish Girl.
  • Marcin from Austin 2008-08-28 18:07
    I'm looking for a fun gay time with a good fella' from OCH. I will lickie lickie brownie brownie down under if you will ;)
  • diaphanein 2008-08-28 18:07
    Matt:
    Steve:
    I was reviewing one of our team's code and came across this:

    if (somecondition)
    {
    //can never get here
    GenerateError("something is f***ed");
    }

    blah blah...


    If it can never get there, drop the whole damn if-statement!

    // C/C++
    #include <assert.h>
    assert(somecondition)

    // C#
    using System.Diagnostics;
    Debug.Assert(somecondition)

    or if it can really happen, then you need a sensible error message (duh)


    Problem with both of these examples is that they are debug only. Release builds will have these checks optimized away and you're liable to crash/fail in an unpredictable manner.
  • Rob 2008-08-28 20:05
    "In the Real World, the first thing anyone learns is to lie and cheat and pretend you're someone from "the public" to stitch up your competitor company."

    There is a lot of truth in this. I knew someone who worked in the head office of a large supermaket. Part of her job was to phone up the customer information line of rival supermarkets asking how much they charged for certain products.
  • Aleks 2008-08-28 20:22
    A tech writer I once worked with, responsible for help files, started her introductory section template by listing each of the few product components as section titles. The body text of each section would read something like "You can keep blah blah blah blah about your company". If you think this is not an exact quote, you're right ... I only remember the "blah blah blah blah" part exactly (to the letter). Of course, later on she put the REAL(tm) content in there...

    After we released the product (version) to market somebody called us to tell us that "blah blah blah blah" is still in English help files. And Spanish. And French. And other 12 languages the product was translated to. I remember Spanish being something like "y datai y datai ...", and Chinese being not translated directly but as a single word meaning "nonsense" (as we were later told...).
  • That Guy 2008-08-28 20:27
    akatherder:
    iToad:
    DDF:
    I don't think that is quite as bad as the "You should never see this message" type errors which are proof of either the programmers arrogance, lack of skill or both - not just his poor memory.


    I use the more politically correct phrase "Internal Error", followed by an error code. Yes, I have seen them pop up later.


    We did that too. We started assigning sequential errors to the code "Internal Error: E001", "Internal Error: E002", etc. It was a mild pain in the ass to figure out what the latest error number was, so someone decided to just hammer on the keyboard "Internal Error: 2873JD83HJD". Eventually we ended up with "FUK" in one of the error codes. The person who call it in said "Hey I got a 194 f*ck error".
    ShowMessage("Internal error at " __FILE__ ":" __LINE__);
    Problem solved.
  • Dracolith 2008-08-28 21:15
    TopCod3r:

    1. If you have a web site, there are too many browsers and incompatibilities with javascript, etc. So distributing a CD-ROM solves this problem because it will work on any Windows PC that has a CD-ROM drive, which is all of them.


    It's not everyone. Many people use PCs that don't use Windows; OS X, for example. Many people use Windows PCs that have no CD-ROM drive or other media drive.


    2. If you have a web site, anyone can view it, so even your competitors can gather intelligence about your products.


    Yes. Everyone can view a web site, including your customers and prospective customers, and it is much more convenient for them to look at a web site than to attempt to load a CD-ROM.

    Which may not even be allowed. In many companies, programs cannot be run from CD-ROMs except by sys admins, Windows System policies applicable to your customer on their business workstation may prevent your CD from working (or at least, it will fail to autorun).

    As for your competitors: it doesn't matter that you didn't mail a CD to their HQ, they will still get it if they want one. Some of your legitimate customers will actually be providing information and details about your marketing to your competition, while seeking a better deal.

    Also, some of your "customers" may be people working for your competitors in disguise. Your competitors may have even found someone at your company they can learn all they need to know about what's on the CD from.


    3. If you have a web site, you have to worry more about security and being hacked.


    You still have to worry about it without a web site; if you have computer networks, even completely private ones, it is possible they may be used without your knowledge to benefit an adversary: whether through technical exploits or social engineering. Some of your employees have internet access, don't they?

    Consider the attack model: employee (an insider) gains access to sensitive information and sells it, perhaps they send it out via e-mail. Merely not having a web site is no protection against this attack model.

    Proper security involves implementing a firewall and separating your internal networks from untrusted networks.
    It also involves segmenting information internally, so
    An employee in Department A can't read information that
    only employees in Department B should see.
    (Marketing doesn't get to see the legal department's records,
    for ex)

    Your web server (if you have one) should just be part of
    yet another untrusted network, if it never has privileged access of any sort to your trusted networks, then you are no less secure than before.

    Web sites start to become a risk only when proper isolation is not in place, or the web site explicitly access internal data (for example, for a customer to place an order using the web site)


    4. If you have a web site, you have to hire web developers. With a CD-ROM application, you can use VB developers, who can create a more graphically rich experience for the customer.


    Less consistent experience. VB developers are likely to be more expensive than HTML developers.

    It is just as expensive to design the visuals, whether VB is used or not, but HTML certainly provides more easily used tools, and it is much less expensive to design an impressive
    website than to design an impressive VB application.


    It really is quite simple to execute. On the last Wednesday of the month, everyone who has a CD-R drive (which includes all IT employees) has to burn their share of the CDs that have to go out the following Monday. So we assign a quota so to speak, and how to do in regards to your quota goes into your 360 feedback session later in the year.



    That's nuts. Much better to have a CD-R duplicator and one assistant assigned to do that.

    The opportunity cost involved in having system admins burning loads of CDs is tremendous, they should be doing other work that is more valuable to the business.

    While burning of CDs should be relegated to people who either
    have run out of real work to do, or to less-expensive staff
    who won't be distracted from more important duties.
  • Steve 2008-08-28 21:21
    (Movie Rushmore http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0128445/quotes)
    Max Fischer: Were you in the shit?
    Herman Blume: Yeah, I was in the shit.
  • BentFranklin 2008-08-28 21:35
    Dear TopCod3r/Brian,

    I read comments at wtf so I can see how other people think about things. I'm not elite, I'm not even a professional coder, so I don't always know the "right" ways to do things. I'm just trying not to wtf myself. So I learn a lot in the comments. The learning is the fun part for me, although some posts do make me laugh pretty hard too. But not yours.

    When I read your posts, I think "That's odd, but I don't know everything, so maybe someone really does believe that." Later when I figure out you were just talking through your ass I feel mightily jerked around.

    Plus, who knows how much of your disinformation actually lodges in a reader's subconscious in spite of consciously knowing you were just trolling? You're actually contributing to more wtf's in people, just the same way that advertising works and racism spreads.

    I could simply not read your posts, but I have never bothered up to now to look at posters' names first and I don't think I should have to. So you think you're being funny but you're really just making work for other people.

    There are better ways to be funny. You're smart enough to approach your subject obliquely instead of just saying the opposite of what is true.

    Peace,
    BentFranklin

    PS - Speaking of teh funnay, I'd like to share this awesome paper with everyone:

    http://www.tomveatch.com/else/humor/paper/humor.html

  • Duke of New York 2008-08-28 21:50
    The developer responsible for that message should be fired and forced to take kindergarten for the rest of his life.
  • Dave G. 2008-08-28 22:41
    Similar, but less serious story:

    Until the day some unepexpected error pooped up with a stack trace referencing "ass" popped up on a screen...


    FYP
  • Bappi 2008-08-28 23:34
    Dear TopCod3r,

    My company desperately needs a person with your depth and breadth of knowledge in all matter IT. Please inform us of how you would see your job with us. what responsibilities you would like to assume, and how you would like to be remunerated. I will have my secretary draw up a contract forthwith and have it couriered over, if that is acceptable to you.

    Awaiting your response in eager anticipation,
    (s) Awestruck.
  • Microsoftie 2008-08-28 23:40
    MS has an internal tool they have to run on any project that will be released to customers. It looks for this kind of stuff in the code. It has a database of offensive words in dozens of languages, so sometimes you get unexpected results.


    Said tool is called PoliCheck, and it's overly sensitive. You get errors if your strings include words like "red" (potentially-offensive synonym for communist) and "wife" (heterocentric, the approved term is "spouse or life partner").
  • more randomer than you 2008-08-29 00:03
    Dracolith:
    TopCod3r:

    1. If you have a web site, there are too many browsers and incompatibilities with javascript, etc. So distributing a CD-ROM solves this problem because it will work on any Windows PC that has a CD-ROM drive, which is all of them.


    It's not everyone. Many people use PCs that don't use Windows; OS X, for example. Many people use Windows PCs that have no CD-ROM drive or other media drive.


    2. If you have a web site, anyone can view it, so even your competitors can gather intelligence about your products.


    Yes. Everyone can view a web site, including your customers and prospective customers, and it is much more convenient for them to look at a web site than to attempt to load a CD-ROM.

    Which may not even be allowed. In many companies, programs cannot be run from CD-ROMs except by sys admins, Windows System policies applicable to your customer on their business workstation may prevent your CD from working (or at least, it will fail to autorun).

    As for your competitors: it doesn't matter that you didn't mail a CD to their HQ, they will still get it if they want one. Some of your legitimate customers will actually be providing information and details about your marketing to your competition, while seeking a better deal.

    Also, some of your "customers" may be people working for your competitors in disguise. Your competitors may have even found someone at your company they can learn all they need to know about what's on the CD from.


    3. If you have a web site, you have to worry more about security and being hacked.


    You still have to worry about it without a web site; if you have computer networks, even completely private ones, it is possible they may be used without your knowledge to benefit an adversary: whether through technical exploits or social engineering. Some of your employees have internet access, don't they?

    Consider the attack model: employee (an insider) gains access to sensitive information and sells it, perhaps they send it out via e-mail. Merely not having a web site is no protection against this attack model.

    Proper security involves implementing a firewall and separating your internal networks from untrusted networks.
    It also involves segmenting information internally, so
    An employee in Department A can't read information that
    only employees in Department B should see.
    (Marketing doesn't get to see the legal department's records,
    for ex)

    Your web server (if you have one) should just be part of
    yet another untrusted network, if it never has privileged access of any sort to your trusted networks, then you are no less secure than before.

    Web sites start to become a risk only when proper isolation is not in place, or the web site explicitly access internal data (for example, for a customer to place an order using the web site)


    4. If you have a web site, you have to hire web developers. With a CD-ROM application, you can use VB developers, who can create a more graphically rich experience for the customer.


    Less consistent experience. VB developers are likely to be more expensive than HTML developers.

    It is just as expensive to design the visuals, whether VB is used or not, but HTML certainly provides more easily used tools, and it is much less expensive to design an impressive
    website than to design an impressive VB application.


    It really is quite simple to execute. On the last Wednesday of the month, everyone who has a CD-R drive (which includes all IT employees) has to burn their share of the CDs that have to go out the following Monday. So we assign a quota so to speak, and how to do in regards to your quota goes into your 360 feedback session later in the year.



    That's nuts. Much better to have a CD-R duplicator and one assistant assigned to do that.

    The opportunity cost involved in having system admins burning loads of CDs is tremendous, they should be doing other work that is more valuable to the business.

    While burning of CDs should be relegated to people who either
    have run out of real work to do, or to less-expensive staff
    who won't be distracted from more important duties.


    So much text, so little clue.

    </luctus>
  • Bappi 2008-08-29 00:22
    Microsoftie:

    Said tool is called PoliCheck, and it's overly sensitive. You get errors if your strings include words like "red" (potentially-offensive synonym for communist) and "wife" (heterocentric, the approved term is "spouse or life partner").

    "Wife" isn't heterocentric, it's male-centric. Or you think married women don't use your software?
  • Tourist 2008-08-29 01:52
    iToad:
    DDF:
    I don't think that is quite as bad as the "You should never see this message" type errors which are proof of either the programmers arrogance, lack of skill or both - not just his poor memory.


    I use the more politically correct phrase "Internal Error", followed by an error code. Yes, I have seen them pop up later.


    poop up?
  • Me 2008-08-29 02:39
    Bappi:
    Microsoftie:

    Said tool is called PoliCheck, and it's overly sensitive. You get errors if your strings include words like "red" (potentially-offensive synonym for communist) and "wife" (heterocentric, the approved term is "spouse or life partner").

    "Wife" isn't heterocentric, it's male-centric. Or you think married women don't use your software?


    I like to think it's lesbian-centric, which then makes the software kind of erotic... at least to me it does.
  • Sparky 2008-08-29 03:48
    There are a few things about test data and impossible error messages that everybody should know:

    you WILL forget to change or remove it
    it WILL show up when demoing the software to the client (this has happened to me many times)

    We have a policy of using funny, but non-insulting test data. The funny part ensures that nobody in their right mind could mistake it for real data, just in case it accidentally makes it into a production database (which has also happened more than once).

    A recipe database, for example, will have recipes for making coffee, thee and sandwiches. A contact information table will have records for Donald Duck, Lilo and Stitch, etc. (we just might get sued by Disney for copyright infringement).

    That way, you won't have to change the testing database while you're trying to get other things done in time for a demo, either.
  • RPJS 2008-08-29 05:10
    Years ago I built a quick-and-dirty offender record system for the county probabtion service*. For test data I used Rimmer from Red Dwarf with offence codes such as "being obnoxious". The probabtion people loved it.

    * This was an interim system to hold the line until an all-signing, all-dancing national system was eventually rolled out, which it was years late and over-budget and I learnt didn't do half the things my little one-month of solo effort app did!
  • Taz 2008-08-29 05:11
    jaykay:
    I looked for C.L.I.T.O.R.I.S. but couldn't find it anywhere...


    You looked in the wrong place. :)

    TRWTF is to sanitize this worthless article, I mean who says "poop" IRL other than some 4 yo?

    Worthless because were it not for Top Cod3er's troll post, there wouldn't be anything worth to discuss. Poop (ooops!) happens. BFD.

  • ender 2008-08-29 06:05
    Sparky:
    We have a policy of using funny, but non-insulting test data. The funny part ensures that nobody in their right mind could mistake it for real data
    Don't count on it - there were a few stories on this very site about stuff that was shipped to mr. Testing Test on Test Avenue 111.
  • blah 2008-08-29 06:05
    Similar, but less serious story:
    One day I was developing software that had to do with "assignments" so I had an "ass" variable that held the current assignment.

    Everything was great.

    Until the day some unepexpected error popped up with a stack trace referencing "ass" popped up on a screen. It sais something like "Null pointer in ass." or some other slightly-offensive phrase. I got a good talking to about that. Luckily, we hadn't shipped the product yet so there was time to both fix the bug and change the variable name.

    But I learned an important lesson to even make sure my variable names didn't have potentially offensive language.

    You let the client see the stack trace?! WTF...
  • dkf 2008-08-29 06:31
    Taz:
    TRWTF is to sanitize this worthless article, I mean who says "poop" IRL other than some 4 yo?
    I suspect it was in the original submission, and quite possibly in the triggering event way back. After all, sanitizing to "poop" is just thoroughly dumb.
  • TD 2008-08-29 06:41
    Oh my, Pat should clearly have been dehired for such blatant unprofessionalism. I'm guessing that Pat was pretty young and not long out of college at the time (it is ususally schoolkids who find it amusing to pepper their code with profanity and "cute" variable/function names). But being young and inexperienced is absolutely no excuse for littering production code with profanity and junk. If you're smart enough to write program code you should be smart enough to realise how retarded this behaviour is. On the rare occasions I see this in our codebase I flag it for review and then immediately fail it. If it were ever to make it into prodcution, people would lose their jobs.
  • Someone You Know 2008-08-29 08:08
    RPJS:
    Years ago I built a quick-and-dirty offender record system for the county probabtion service*. For test data I used Rimmer from Red Dwarf with offence codes such as "being obnoxious". The probabtion people loved it.

    * This was an interim system to hold the line until an all-signing, all-dancing national system was eventually rolled out, which it was years late and over-budget and I learnt didn't do half the things my little one-month of solo effort app did!


    Was it the system or the offenders who were quick-and-dirty?
  • Jasper 2008-08-29 08:09
    shadowman:
    Erik's company had scored a project for a multinational software company called "The Big M" around the office.


    Novell?


    No, Movell. :)
  • rainer 2008-08-29 08:30
    Doesn't matter:
    Note to everyone:

    TopCod3r's posts always have his tongue firmly in his cheek.

    That is all.


    The fact that someone needs to call attention to this, on a highly
    technically inclined site frequented by the (hopefully) more intelligent
    part of the population, made me stop and reassess my view of the state of the technological world (and yes, this quote is partly stolen from The Amazing MIT Mailing List Blowup).
  • brettdavis4 2008-08-29 08:36
    TopCod3r:
    At my company, one of the many things that our IT department does right, is we have guided the business to continue to use CD-ROMs instead of a website for advertising our products. When I was asked to make the business case for this decision, it was simple:

    1. If you have a web site, there are too many browsers and incompatibilities with javascript, etc. So distributing a CD-ROM solves this problem because it will work on any Windows PC that has a CD-ROM drive, which is all of them.

    2. If you have a web site, anyone can view it, so even your competitors can gather intelligence about your products. Now, we are able to see our competitors website, but since we don't send CD-ROMs to them, they are in the dark!

    3. If you have a web site, you have to worry more about security and being hacked. How many news stories are there out there about companies who have exposed customer data. I have guaranteed that will not happen to us.

    4. If you have a web site, you have to hire web developers. With a CD-ROM application, you can use VB developers, who can create a more graphically rich experience for the customer.

    It really is quite simple to execute. On the last Wednesday of the month, everyone who has a CD-R drive (which includes all IT employees) has to burn their share of the CDs that have to go out the following Monday. So we assign a quota so to speak, and how to do in regards to your quota goes into your 360 feedback session later in the year.

    Anyway, it has worked out well. A tried and true approach.


    If this was 1997, that might a good policy.

    BTW if you are having VB Developers create these CDs, I take it that these CDs are only Windows compatible. I hope none of your current/future customers use Macs or Linux, because they will not be able to use your cds.

    So
  • anon 2008-08-29 09:13
    BentFranklin:
    Dear TopCod3r/Brian,
    I read comments at wtf so I can see how other people think about things. I'm not elite, I'm not even a professional coder, so I don't always know the "right" ways to do things. I'm just trying not to wtf myself. So I learn a lot in the comments. The learning is the fun part for me, although some posts do make me laugh pretty hard too.


    If you're learning from comments on TDWTF then given that most of the time TRWTF is the comments, I can safely say UR DOIN IT WRONG.

  • Doesn't matter 2008-08-29 09:39
    rainer:
    Doesn't matter:
    Note to everyone:

    TopCod3r's posts always have his tongue firmly in his cheek.

    That is all.


    The fact that someone needs to call attention to this, on a highly
    technically inclined site frequented by the (hopefully) more intelligent
    part of the population, made me stop and reassess my view of the state of the technological world (and yes, this quote is partly stolen from The Amazing MIT Mailing List Blowup).


    Yes, quite. And the number of people who continued to write "WTF? You're a troll" and then spell out at some length the 'problems' with TopCod3r's stance after I'd posted that was quite shocking. I always find it pays to read the comments BEFORE I reply to a particular post to ensure that a) I'm not repeating what someone else has said and b) I have the full picture.

    I appreciate not everyone realises the "in-joke", in which case just read before you post.
  • Code Dependent 2008-08-29 09:42
    Microsoftie:
    You get errors if your strings include words like "red" (potentially-offensive synonym for communist) and "wife" (heterocentric, the approved term is "spouse or life partner").
    No, sorry, won't work. "life partner" is offensive to polyamorists and serial monogamists.
  • TopCod3r 2008-08-29 09:49
    BentFranklin:
    Dear TopCod3r/Brian,

    I read comments at wtf so I can see how other people think about things. I'm not elite, I'm not even a professional coder, so I don't always know the "right" ways to do things. I'm just trying not to wtf myself. So I learn a lot in the comments. The learning is the fun part for me, although some posts do make me laugh pretty hard too. But not yours.


    I'm sorry that my posts don't make you laugh. But I am encouraged that you are able to learn from them.

    Bappi:
    Dear TopCod3r,

    My company desperately needs a person with your depth and breadth of knowledge in all matter IT. Please inform us of how you would see your job with us. what responsibilities you would like to assume, and how you would like to be remunerated. I will have my secretary draw up a contract forthwith and have it couriered over, if that is acceptable to you.

    Awaiting your response in eager anticipation,
    (s) Awestruck.


    I hope this is a joke, because I am loyal to my current employer. Since I started as a junior developer, I have been promoted to junior developer II, programmer I, programmer II, senior programmer I, and then I passed over senior programmer II and directly to lead developer, which is where I am now. It is hard to find a good place to work, so I am staying here for sure.
  • TadGhostal 2008-08-29 09:52
    He called the SH*T POOP!!!!
  • peterb 2008-08-29 10:03
    Bappi:

    "Wife" isn't heterocentric, it's male-centric. Or you think married women don't use your software?


    Actually, "wife" would apply to my sisters wife as well. :-)
  • Code Dependent 2008-08-29 10:14
    BentFranklin:
    There are better ways to be funny. You're smart enough to approach your subject obliquely instead of just saying the opposite of what is true.
    Hiya, Bent,

    You might hone your humor detection skills on this website, where the author always presents his humor as a deadpan, funeral-serious news report. It could give some insight into Top's approach.
  • KenW 2008-08-29 10:22
    Ben:
    Those few minutes I spent reading that "story" are minutes I will never get back. Damn, I wish there was a "this is just a bunch of irrelevant shite" filter so I could ignore crap like this.


    Hopefully, you'll run out of those minutes soon enough we won't need a filter for your "shite".

    If you don't like the content, either don't read it or don't visit this site. Your posting idiocy doesn't improve things; it just adds "irrelevant shite".

  • KenW 2008-08-29 10:25
    amet:
    I think I've read this before...


    Yay for you!

    Does your mommy know you're online by yourself?
  • KenW 2008-08-29 10:27
    jaykay:

    I looked for C.L.I.T.O.R.I.S. but couldn't find it anywhere...


    You have to find a woman first.
  • KenW 2008-08-29 10:45
    Ian Tits:
    Are you for real?

    In the Real World, the first thing anyone learns is to lie and cheat and pretend you're someone from "the public" to stitch up your competitor company.

    You must be thick to think you're not sending your own data to your direct competitors.



    You must be really thick to have missed the other 100 or so posts mentioning that the post you're responding to (without including a quote) was a joke.

    Read before posting. You won't look so stupid that way. Maybe.
  • KenW 2008-08-29 11:08
    Taz:

    You looked in the wrong place. :)

    TRWTF is to sanitize this worthless article, I mean who says "poop" IRL other than some 4 yo?

    Worthless because were it not for Top Cod3er's troll post, there wouldn't be anything worth to discuss. Poop (ooops!) happens. BFD.



    TRWTF's are:

    1. You assuming that the OP was sanitized. You do know what "assume" means, don't you?

    2. You saying there was nothing to discuss. Obviously, since you felt the need to post, you felt there was. Oops!

    3. You wasting our time posting your useless poop.

    Thanks for playing, though.
  • KenW 2008-08-29 11:12
    brettdavis4:
    TopCod3r:
    At my company, one of the many things that our IT department does right, is we have guided the business to continue to use CD-ROMs instead of a website for advertising our products. When I was asked to make the business case for this decision, it was simple:


    If this was 1997, that might a good policy.

    BTW if you are having VB Developers create these CDs, I take it that these CDs are only Windows compatible. I hope none of your current/future customers use Macs or Linux, because they will not be able to use your cds.


    If this was 2028, you might have a clue.

    And who cares if Mac or Linux users can use your software if your software is written for Windows only? Which the majority of desktop software is, BTW, since you apparently are clueless about that too.
  • tgape 2008-08-29 11:31
    Doesn't matter:
    Note to everyone:

    TopCod3r's posts always have his tongue firmly in his cheek.

    That is all.


    Yes, that may be. But most people who post 'tongue firmly in cheek' don't have said tongue actually sticking through the cheek, and bolted on the other side.
  • tgape 2008-08-29 12:01
    blah:
    Similar, but less serious story:
    ... the day some unepexpected error popped up with a stack trace referencing "ass" popped up on a screen. It sais something like "Null pointer in ass."

    You let the client see the stack trace?! WTF...


    It started with Java, which dumps a stack trace for any uncaught exception, and had no recommended way to fix this behavior, last I checked. Then Python came out, doing the same thing. Now, it seems like everybody and their neighbor's dog are doing it.

    Stack traces *can* be, in some select instances, very helpful for debugging purposes. Of course, they can be less than helpful in other instances. In my opinion, showing a stack trace to a customer is nearly as bad as swearing at them (although, nothing beats a stack trace which swears at them, unless you can make it personal.)

    Ideally, the message one gives a customer in the face of an unexpected issue like this indicates that it is an unexpected issue, and that the customer should contact the appropriate developer. Preferably, not by name; people change jobs. (I learned this one about six months into my current job - when I got a call from the old boss. He'd gotten a very distinctive error message with my name on it. If my replacement had simply searched for said error message, he would've been able to find the problem very quickly. It would've taken him a bit longer to fix it than it would've taken me - but he certainly would've been up to the task.)

    I've not received any flak for making my unexpected errors distinctive. I'm sure part of this is that most of them have never actually occurred. Still, that should probably be considered an advanced trick, as it seems many people cannot figure out how to be distinctive without being offensive. (And, oddly enough, their 'distinctive' frequently isn't very distinctive.)
  • Myrmidon 2008-08-29 13:48
    TopCod3r:
    I hope this is a joke...


    I think we've all come to that conclusion 'TopCod3r'.

    TopCod3r:
    It is hard to find a good place to work, so I am staying here for sure.


    Gnarly Dude! Fer sure!
  • An Old Hacker 2008-08-29 14:01
    rainer:


    The fact that someone needs to call attention to this, on a highly
    technically inclined site frequented by the (hopefully) more intelligent
    part of the population, made me stop and reassess my view of the state of the technological world (and yes, this quote is partly stolen from The Amazing MIT Mailing List Blowup).


    Actually, I joined in on the fun for a similar (although smaller) event at work around 1998. I considered it to be participation in the administration of an internet spanking.

    The best part in my case was that forty-five minutes after the last email, corporate IT sent out a boilerplate humorless "don't do that" email--addressed to corporate all, instead of the original list of two hundred or so. (And yes, it was possible to send to all). I. was. SO. tempted!

    The next day, one of our IT managers had a hand-drawn comic on his door. Frame 1: "To: All Subject: Remove me from your list" Frame 2: A cat with glasses writes "Your request to be removed from the corporate mailing list has been granted"
  • wingcommander 2008-08-29 15:56
    They were just as useful.

    captcha: luptatum

    sure glad I don't have it.
  • Francisco 2008-08-29 16:37
    ClutchDude:
    [...]

    A retraction was printed the next week stating that "XXXXX College was not flattened, contrary to other claims."


    That was funnier than the article!

    LOL (to the point I coughed)
  • buttbuttin of the mbuttes 2008-08-29 17:43
    Similar, but less serious story:
    One day I was developing software that had to do with "assignments" so I had an "ass" variable that held the current assignment.

    Everything was great.

    Until the day some unepexpected error popped up with a stack trace referencing "ass" popped up on a screen. It said something like "Null pointer in ass."
    Haha, that is clbuttic.
  • stormwind 2008-08-30 03:59
    ClutchDude:
    I was a layout editor for the college paper. The writers and section editor would never get their headlines done in time for me to finalize the layout, so I'd always throw some crazy gibberish like "President dismisses entire college staff." I figured there is no way they'd forget to change it.
    Then, one week, a headline "Giant Lizard Flattens Campus" made it into the paper.


    My college's newspaper managed to do this...except the headline read something to the effect of "(actual headline) and some other shit". Needless to say, the administration wasn't happy.
  • Barf4Eva 2008-08-30 07:05
    POOP!!!
  • Bob 2008-08-30 07:37
    Bob N Freely:
    MS has an internal tool they have to run on any project that will be released to customers. It looks for this kind of stuff in the code. It has a database of offensive words in dozens of languages, so sometimes you get unexpected results.

    Wouldn't this *encourage* people to write obscene debugging messages, since there is an additional independent test path to catch the issues?
  • TopCod3r 2008-08-30 09:00
    Bob:
    Bob N Freely:
    MS has an internal tool they have to run on any project that will be released to customers. It looks for this kind of stuff in the code. It has a database of offensive words in dozens of languages, so sometimes you get unexpected results.

    Wouldn't this *encourage* people to write obscene debugging messages, since there is an additional independent test path to catch the issues?


    This gives me a good idea for our build script. We have been having problems with a few of our developers writing insulting comments about other developers on the team or DBAs, so I think on Tuesday I'm going to add something to the build script that checks for any places where a developer or DBAs name is used (or their first initial and last name) and email me so I can remove it immediately.
  • The WHistler 2008-08-30 11:36
    No doubt about it. Poop happens.

    Whistler
    http://www.datools.echoz.com/
  • Xenobiologista 2008-08-30 19:39
    I'm a BIOLOGIST and I realized TopCod3r's post was a joke before I got to the end of it, what's wrong with you IT people?

    @rainer: thanks for the link to the MIT Mailing List blowup.
  • Marshall 2008-09-01 00:41
    Not necessarily. I'm "working" with Delphi 2006 Enterprise and amongst the myriad of ways in which the Delphi IDE crashes was an ASSERT error (somewhere in C/C++ code judging by the message). Lots of memory leaks, pointer errors, index out of bounds and ... you name it, the IDE has crashed because of it.
  • Stephen Leary 2008-09-01 07:46
    There isnt a The Real WTF™ here at all.

  • Paula Bean 2008-09-01 09:16
    TopCod3r:
    This gives me a good idea for our build script. We have been having problems with a few of our developers writing insulting comments about other developers on the team or DBAs, so I think on Tuesday I'm going to add something to the build script that checks for any places where a developer or DBAs name is used (or their first initial and last name) and email me so I can remove it immediately.


    WTF? Your using a 'Build Script'?

    No wonder your getting that sort of 'poop' in your deliverables.... Id have thought a dev lead with your experience would know that the only way you can create a truely safe deliverable is to put it together by hand ....

  • Lewis 2008-09-01 11:16
    Once when I was working on a client's website on my localhost, I was trying to fix a Javascript bug which got me really wound up (as bugs do). Anyway, to 'debug' this bug I was using alert() with random words to see which functions were being triggered. The more wound up I got, the more aggressive the words I used became. It wasn't until I got a phone call from a client asking why whenever he visited his website it called him a "c*nt", that I realised I had accidentally uploaded the file! To say that was slightly awkward to explain would be an understatement! In the end I convinced him that it was a mis-spelling of 'count' that was causing the message.
  • Jake Vinson 2008-09-02 15:10
    kimbo305:
    I think the story makes a lot more sense when the word is more vulgar, like "shit," and not "poop." I'm ok with anonymization in the stories, but I think here it hurt to censor a curse.


    It was me (not Alex), and no, I didn't censor it - "poop" was the exact word used in the submission. If it had been "shit" I would've censored it for people with puritanical content filters at work, however. Probably would've gone with "feces," which I think is still pretty funny.
  • quadeddie 2008-09-04 01:51
    Worked at a shop that was very young and no processes in place. Poop hit the fan when we demoed the CRM site on our dev db where we had stores like "Doug's Whorehouse" which sold double sided dildos.

    From then on out, code and data was painfully mediocre.
  • Steve 2008-10-02 11:47
    akatherder:
    iToad:
    DDF:
    I don't think that is quite as bad as the "You should never see this message" type errors which are proof of either the programmers arrogance, lack of skill or both - not just his poor memory.


    I use the more politically correct phrase "Internal Error", followed by an error code. Yes, I have seen them pop up later.


    We did that too. We started assigning sequential errors to the code "Internal Error: E001", "Internal Error: E002", etc. It was a mild pain in the ass to figure out what the latest error number was, so someone decided to just hammer on the keyboard "Internal Error: 2873JD83HJD". Eventually we ended up with "FUK" in one of the error codes. The person who call it in said "Hey I got a 194 f*ck error".


    That's when you use the name of the function/routine in which the "internal error" is being thrown as part of the number, like "Internal Error: divide01". If you have more than say a dozen internal errors in one function, it's probably time to refactor that function or come up with more specific error messages for some of those errors.
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