Jane Bailey

Jane Bailey is a self-published author of urban fantasy novels as well as a part-time blogger; in her day job, she works in SQA, where she sees plenty of WTFs.

A Passion for Testing

by in Tales from the Interview on

Absolute Value

The interview was going well—as well as one could possibly expect. Alarik, the candidate, had a no-nonsense attitude, a high degree of precision to his speech, and a heavy German accent. He was applying for a job with Erik's company as a C# developer working on an inherited legacy codebase, and he'd almost earned himself the job. There was just one routine question left in the interview:


Software Possession

by in Feature Articles on

KUKA Industrial Robot Writer

Jon worked for a small company that specialized in automation of inspection systems: basically the industrial version of home automation, where you glue together a series of disparate automatable parts to create a specialized workflow. Jon was the only software person at his 15-man company. The client was in Russia, and the company was in the USA, so communication went through email and primarily via a client representative, Sam. Sam would gather the requirements verbatim from the client and hand them to Jon; Jon would augment the software to meet their automation needs, and send a new version over to Sam to deliver. It worked, after a fashion. The system was designed to control a robot that mostly opened boxes, picked things up, ran a series of quality checks on the things, and put them back.


All That Glitters

by in Feature Articles on

Iron disulfide pyrite

Sometimes the writing is on the wall; sometimes, you know you have to get out. Today's submitter, Pietyr, was in just that sort of situation. He decided to head for greener pastures, hoping for a job with a good atmosphere, someplace where he could take it easier and enjoy his work more.


It's The End Of The Month As We Know It

by in Feature Articles on

Calendario abril-junio 2008

If you ask an engineer whether it's safe to cross a bridge, he'll happily walk you through how safe bridges are, how the mathematics work out, how far we've come in structural safety. You'll come away from the conversation feeling confident that no bridge will ever collapse anywhere on the face of the Earth. If you ask a software engineer about banks, however, you'll likely come away terrified, with a 50/50 chance you're now convinced to put all your money in bitcoin. Banks are notorious for bad software decisions—not so much because the decisions are worse, but because most people assume banks are more careful and security-minded.


What's The Floating Point?

by in Feature Articles on

Photograph of the San Francisco Mint Coin Adjusting Room. Tables have assay scales at each station. Coin counting... - NARA - 296577

There are a number of gotchas that trip up new programmers: the difference between declaring a variable and initializing it, the need for semicolons to terminate lines at times, and off-by-one errors, to name a few. All of us in the industry have met genius self-taught programmers who can put together extensive, well-architected applications in their sleep—but all of us have also met self-taught juniors who barely grasp the basics and think that's all they'll ever need. There's a reason degrees and formal training exist, after all.


CSS (Under)Performance

by in Feature Articles on

Heterobranchia composite 02

Ah, WordPress. If you hadn't heard of it by reputation, it sounds pretty good: one platform where you can build a blog, an e-commerce site, an app, or some combination of all of the above. Their site is slick, and their marketing copy sounds impressive: "Beautiful designs, powerful features, and the freedom to build anything you want. WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time." With WordPress, the hype insists, anyone can build a website without having to know anything about coding. Just pick a template, add free modules, and it'll look great without any effort.


2018: Another Bitmask Fail

by in Best of… on
To wrap up our best-of year in review, here's yet another case where a simple problem is solved using simple tools, and everything still turns out entirely wrong. Original. And a happy New Year to you all! -- Remy

Sucre blanc cassonade complet rapadura

As we've seen previously, not all government jobs are splashy. Someone has to maintain, for example, the database that keeps track of every legal additive to food so that paranoid hippies can call them liars and insist they all cause cancer and autism. Today's submitter, Cass, had just released an update when users started getting the dreaded blue Internal Error screen—never a good start to the week.


Shell Out

by in CodeSOD on

Duct tape apollo17

Developers sometimes fail to appreciate how difficult a job Operations really is. In companies that don't hold with newfangled DevOps, the division of labor often comes with a division of reputation as well. After all, developers do the hard work of making software. What are Ops guys even for? They don't make software. They don't generate leads or fix your desktop PC. Why bother paying for talented senior Ops professionals?


Archives