After surviving 35 years, dozens of languages, hundreds of projects, thousands of meetings and millions of LOC, I now teach the basics to the computer-phobic

Oct 2017


by in Feature Articles on

Sometime back, our friend Fred told us about his experiences with homegrown PK/FK relationships. Today, he regales us with a tale of trying to get users to use their new-and-improved sso mechanism, even if they don't want to.

His company currently runs a legacy reporting portal service that has an old-school sso which is used by several third party systems. This mechanism stores user names and passwords as clear text in the DB. It also passes them in clear text in a hidden HTML form. The third party code would create the hidden form with the user name and password in clear text and JavaScript-submit it to the login page - without HTTPS. OK, it was the way things were set up way back then.

A computer screen showing the prompt 'My name is *****. My voice is my passport. Verify me.

The Official Software

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At the very beginning of my career, I was a junior programmer on a team that developed software to control an electronics test station, used to diagnose problems with assorted components of jet fighters. Part of my job was the requisite grunt work of doing the build, which entailed a compile-script, and the very manual procedure of putting all the necessary stuff onto a boot-loader tape to be used to build the 24 inch distribution disk arrays.

An unspooled magnetic tape for data storagesource

This procedure ran painfully slowly; it took about 11 hours to dump a little more than 2 MB from the tape onto the target disk, and nobody could tell me why. All they knew was that the official software had to be used to load the bootstrap routine, and then the file dumps.

A Case of Bad Timing

by in CodeSOD on

Although I've retired from full time work, I still consult for lots of small mom-n-pop places. Mostly, it's little scripts to automate doing this and that. Sometimes, the boss' kid or nephew was asked to get ambitious and solve a problem. When the inevitable happens, they call me to bail them out.

For the most part, it's usually something like some file got moved/renamed/deleted. Sometimes, they got ambitious and attempted to write a batch file. This time, a college freshman, who claimed to be "good with computers", had written a program to control the little scripts and jobs in an automated fashion. Apparently, it was getting too complicated for him and they asked me if I could work with it.