Ellis Morning

Ellis is a Computer Science graduate who fought in the trenches of Tech Support, occasionally crossing enemy lines into the Business Analyst and Project Management spheres of war. She's now a freelance writer and author of sci-fi/fantasy adventure novels about a spacefaring knight errant on a quest for justice and enlightenment. Read more at Ellis' website.

The Three-Month Itch

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Compass in coil

It was March 2016, and Ian was in need of a job. Fairly early into his search, he was lucky to find a tiny startup in need of someone with Python architecture and design skills. By "tiny," we mean that there were only three other developers working for Jack, the founder.


Crushing Performance

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IBM-qwert keyboard

Many years ago, Sebastian worked for a company which sold self-assembled workstations and servers. One of the company's top clients ordered a server as a replacement for their ancient IBM PS/2 Model 70. The new machine ran Windows NT Server 4.0 and boasted an IPC RAID controller, along with other period-appropriate bells and whistles. Sebastian took a trip out to the client site and installed the new server in the requested place: a table in front of the receptionist's desk, accessible by anyone walking through the main entrance. Not the best location from a security standpoint, but one of the new server's primary tasks in life would be to serve the company's telephone directory, installed on CD-ROM.


2018: Shiny Side Up

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It's been many, many years since I've suffered a helldesk gig, but I always get a tickle out of silly helpdesk stories like this one. Always look on the shiny side! -- Remy

CD-ROM

It feels as though disc-based media have always been with us, but the 1990s were when researchers first began harvesting these iridescent creatures from the wild in earnest, pressing data upon them to create the beast known as CD-ROM. Click-and-point adventure games, encyclopedias, choppy full-motion video ... in some cases, ambition far outweighed capability. Advances in technology made the media cheaper and more accessible, often for the worst. There are some US households that still burn America Online 7.0 CDs for fuel.


Classic WTF: Power Supply

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It's Christmas Eve, and as per usual, we're taking the day off. As you're thinking about your gifts, think about unwrapping THIS present, from a few years back. Original. -- Remy

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.

The noise is so bad that most facilities issue earplugs to their patients- but some, as Evi relates, spring for $1,500 headsets, and $10,000 systems to play music through said headsets. Seem steep? No doubt the 1–3 year warranties, ranging from $1,500 to $3,500, raise eyebrows too- but it was well outside the warranty period that Evi learned the true extent of the fleecing.


Paper (Size), Please

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Samsung SPP-2040

Terje worked for an IT firm that serviced the purchasing department of a global corporation. To manage purchases, the department used an enterprise shipping and warehousing system that shall be called BLA to protect the guilty. The system ran on a Citrix farm in Norway with all the most impressive resources at its command.


Westward Ho!

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Buoy in the ocean

Roman K. once helped to maintain a company website that served a large customer base mainly within the United Kingdom. Each customer was itself a business offering a range of services. The website displayed these businesses on a map so that potential customers could find them. This was done by geocoding the business' addresses to get their longitude and latitude coordinates, then creating points on the map at those locations.


Rectangle Marks The Spot

by in CodeSOD on

World Map flat Mercator

If you need your user's country of origin, there are many ways you can go about obtaining it programmatically. Some may opt for a simple drop-down that prompts the user to specify his/her country. If you don't want to burden your user this way, you might look at their session data and return their country of origin, time zone, or some other useful information. If you have fancy enough APIs at your disposal, you could even reverse geocode the user's longitude/latitude position and obtain an address.


Classic WTF: Flawless Compilation

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Just today I was joking with my co-workers: I had written software for which we had no viable test hardware, but the code compiled, therefore I was done. The difference is I was joking… --Remy (Originally)

Back in the heady days of Internet speculation, the giant retailer JumboStores contracted with Fred’s software company, TinyWeb, to develop the region’s first web-based supermarket. Customers would be able to assemble carts online and receive their groceries the next day.

The virtual supermarket had to communicate with JumboStores’s inventory system in real-time. The former was bleeding-edge web technology, the latter a cobweb-laden mainframe with no external point of access.


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