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It's the Best of the Sidebar. What, did you expect more from a title like that?

18 Sep 2014

How To Demoralize Employees: A DIY Guide For Terrible Companies

by Mark Bowytz in Best of the Sidebar on 2014-09-18

If you talk to employers about what it's like trying to attract and retain IT talent the answer is usually the same - IT'S NEAR FRICKIN' IMPOSSIBLE!! Even if you treat employees right, offer a bucket of cash, unlimited vacation, and a hammock in every cubicle, then only maybe will you attract the talent you want. So, based on this logic, you'd think that employers should treat their employees as best as possible, right? Well, by the looks of things, forum favorite Blakeyrat, found an employer that is lacking in common sense.


97 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
06 Jun 2013

Where We're Going, We Don't Need Tables

by Remy Porter in Best of the Sidebar on 2013-06-06

The Oracle database doesn’t allow you to execute a SELECT statement without a FROM clause. You can't, for example, do SELECT 2 + 2, you must do SELECT 2 + 2 FROM dual. “dual” is a fictional table which exists solely to allow these sorts of operations.

What it isn’t meant for is Aspirist’s sample, from the Sidebar.

77 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
22 Jan 2013

Too Much Sleep

by snoofle in Best of the Sidebar on 2013-01-22

I've frequently posted about my attempts to speed up our system being thwarted by sleepy management decisions about application performance. Our application is essentially: query data, crunch data and save results. Each of those tasks took approximately 1/3 of the run time. A large part of my job is to make the application run more quickly. Every time I fixed something, something else would break, not because I coded something incorrectly, but because of the fragility of our application, other associated applications and the database. For instance...

Sleep for the database

We run four instances of our application. We also perform about 30 load-data queries. Most of them query tables with 3+ billion rows. If all four instances of the app do queries at the same time and each query is run in its own thread, that's 120 parallel queries just from our application server instances. The database simply could not keep up. The original developer created five threads for thirty parallel queries. Then, to add insult to injury, he added sleeps after each query (in each thread) to give the database a chance to catch up. Part of the problem turned out to be that the DBAs only allocated 512M of temp space for all users. They refused to fix it.

Sleep to cool the cpu's

72 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
09 Aug 2012

Representative Line - jQuery Search n' Replace

by Mark Bowytz in Best of the Sidebar on 2012-08-09

Out on the The Daily WTF Forums, user dynedain found this gem while doing maintenance on a site that's a huge pile of static HTML files:

$('.bottom_content a').each(function(){ var temp =
              $(this).html().replace('ClientName¬¨√ÜClientService','ClientName®ClientService'); $(this).html(temp); }); 

71 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
22 Aug 2008

It's Just a Truck

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-08-22

Originally posted on the sidebar by "North Bus"...

Having just graduated with an electronics engineering Masters degree, I have been interviewing for jobs in my field from coast to coast. The most interesting interview so far, however, was actually from a major defense contractor...

102 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
18 Jul 2008

Meet The LAN Form

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-07-18

This story was originally posted to The Sidebar by "citking".

Like many large organizations, the University of Initrode-Extension has a LAN Form. This all-encompassing form is responsible for authorizing everything from creating a new user to moving a network connection.

91 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
14 Jul 2008

Hot Water Costs Money

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-07-14

Originally posted to The Sidebar by "ObiWayneKenobi"...

Last year, I took a position as the “Director of IT Services” for a tiny, six-person e-commerce company. The fact that I wouldn’t be managing anyone should have been a red flag, but I hoped that I could get approval down the road to build a real IT department.

109 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
09 Jul 2008

PICKing Javascript

by Jake Vinson in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-07-09

Originally posted to the Sidebar by "hulver"...

At my new job, they had been having some problems with email events on a "special" PICK-based web application. When something happened in the system that needed an action, an email would be sent to the relevant person telling them to do something. Sometimes these emails would not be sent, but sometimes the emails would be sent many times. The emails that were sent many times often got sent at strange times of night when nobody was using the system. It was a bit of a mystery.

101 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
04 Jul 2008

Completely missing the point...

by Jake Vinson in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-07-04

Originally posted to the Sidebar by "Welbog"...

I'm working on bug patrol for a generic data-entry app. It has a grid view that lets users input data, as well as a set of other views in addition to the grid, such as a regular winform-like deal. One of the things the app has is a trigger-like system, in which classes of a certain interface are called at certain points in the life of a record. So if a record is deleted from any view, data about this deletion is passed to an object invoked via reflection. The idea being the 'trigger' doesn't have to care about what view the user is using, just the data.

101 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
30 Jun 2008

Silent But Deadly

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-06-30

From René V...

“Recently, a customer came in who was apparently just as overheated as his computer. When we cracked it open, it was pretty evident that it had something to do with his “quieting modifications. We now recommend better, quieter components.

131 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
27 Jun 2008

DR on a (near) daily basis

by Jake Vinson in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-06-27

Originally posted to the Sidebar by "jetcitywoman"...

"A Bit More Dire" started me reminiscing about the dispatch center where I used to work. I LOVED working there and hated to leave. It was a consolidated county 911 dispatch center, where consolidated means that they had all the dispatchers for the county and every city — fire and police — together in one room. Working off one system. They were busy, one police dispatcher for the largest city typically worked/monitored abour 30 units (cops) at a time during the afternoons. It was hectic, dynamic, and doing the computer support for them was terrible at the time, but after I'd left I really missed it. Here are the highlights.

91 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
23 Jun 2008

The Exemption Pass

by Jake Vinson in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-06-23

Originally posted to the sidebar by "compaqdrew"...

At my old public high school, the District (maybe even the State) mandated that every class must have a final exam, and it must account for 20% of the student's grade. Of course, this fails to explain how it is even possible to give a final in, say, Vocal Music. The teachers hated it and even the principal sympathized, and thus was born the Exemption System.

255 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
16 Jun 2008

The Quake Server

by Jake Vinson in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-06-16

Originally posted by "Da' Man"...

It was in the good ol' days of the dot.com era. I worked as a web programmer for this really sleek web and design agency — that is, not much pay, but lots of great parties. Cool chicks, too... well, not too bad altogether, at least in my memory.

85 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
02 Jun 2008

There Will Be Some Benefit

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-06-02

Originally posted to the Sidebar by "ServZero"...

I do a bunch of contract web-development and received this lead in my inbox this morning: 

132 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
30 May 2008

Stupid Secretary WTF

by Jake Vinson in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-05-30

Originally posted to the sidebar by "snoofle"...

This morning, I had to deal with one of our HR secretaries, and it was déjà vu.

291 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
26 May 2008

The Wrong Thing to Say

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-05-26

Originally posted to the sidebar by "snoofle"...

Some time back, I worked for a large company (now defunct). It was your basic IT department of about 150 people organized into groups of ~10, all on a big open cubicle farm on one floor. Every barrel has it's bad apple. Ours would routinely view kiddie porn - during work hours. He would occasionally leave the images up on the screen when he walked away. Finally, someone got offended enough to say something to HR. HR had "the talk" with him. A few weeks later, he did it again. The same person was offended, again, and complained to HR, again. The same person from HR had "the next talk" with him. A few weeks later he did it yet again. The same person made a much more formal complaint to HR. The head of HR told his #1 to sit down with everyone in IT, 5 at a time, with their immediate boss and their boss, and lay down the law.

186 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
23 May 2008

The Upgrade Treadmill

by Jake Vinson in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-05-23

Originally posted by "Weng" as a response to Book shop WTF...

Among my other pursuits, I'm logistics manager at a non-profit that does electronics recycling. One of my favorite customers is an IT manager for a large banking chain.

113 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
19 May 2008

Security Downupgrades

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-05-19

Originally posted by an anonymous reader...

I work at a smallish startup with about 40 people. It's generally been WTF-free, as the management is usually competent. Unfortunately, things have been sailing towards WTF-land with the arrival of a new CEO a few months ago. He has already built up a steady stream of WTFs, but his latest one just takes the cake.

81 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
12 May 2008

Nuns and Regexes Do Not Mix

by Jake Vinson in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-05-12

Originally posted by "Corona688"...

We run an old text game built on an ancient and mysterious codebase. It occasionally does strange things for reasons that've been lost to the mists of time.

74 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
05 May 2008

Code examples and interviews

by Jake Vinson in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-05-05

Tsk, tsk. After all the requests to plz email me teh codez, and the Daily WTF community's failure to recognize student initiative, "MonkeyCode" posted a similar story in the sidebar...

We're looking for some new developers on our team here at our online travel reservation startup. London being London at the moment, it's proving hard to get good quality candidates to actually show up for an interview. Little did we know how bad the quality can be at times.

192 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
02 May 2008

The Problem Child

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-05-02

Originally posted by "DrillSgtK"...

In the late 90’s, I worked for a small, “start-up/spin-off” dot com company. We were originally The University’s distant learning department, but had been re-constituted as a for-profit company, owned by The University to service The University. A year and a half old, the company had grown from six people working out of a trailer on campus to a seventy-five person operation with three offices and large co-location site in a data center. The IT staff, however, remained the same size: three of us.

131 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
28 Apr 2008

Best f**king censorship ever

by Jake Vinson in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-04-28

Originally posted by "rc_pinchey"...

A friend of mine recently started a new job, and we were having a conversation via email. Unexpectedly, she tells me that my latest email has been blocked by their automated filtering system — instead of receiving my email, she was sent this:

169 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
24 Apr 2008

Thank you, Javascript

by Jake Vinson in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-04-24

Originally posted by "Charles Capps"...

I was having a very, very difficult afternoon. After over a year of pondering, we finally had an excuse to wedge a date widget into our web-based intranet app. Unfortunately, the Javascript library that we chose doesn't exactly have a plethora of widget options unless you're also using the underlying platform the library likes. Yes, I'm talking to you, Prototype. Stop that, it's annoying.

155 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
21 Apr 2008

I'll be back...

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-04-21

Originally posted by "JukeboxJim" ...

Deep within the bowls of a large financial institution lurks a monstrous system that was originally written by a single, Highly Paid Consultant. Today, there is a dedicated army of Oompa Loompas needed to support this system. Innocent souls must be routinely sacrificed into the meat grinder to keep the beast operating.

97 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
14 Apr 2008

A Clean Install

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-04-14

Originally posted by "Dirk"...

A friend of mine recently bought a product called PrintMaster. He had some trouble installing the software and called me up for some tech support. He was receiving an Error 1305, for which a quick Google search lead me towards the following:

106 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
11 Apr 2008

Pascal Strings

by Jake Vinson in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-04-11

Originally posted by "JukeboxJim"...

Extracts from a "Pascal Strings" class inside a Java project... for when Java strings just aren't fast enough for you:

92 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
07 Apr 2008

Halifax Bank Security

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-04-07

Originally posted by "Tann San"...

Not too long ago, my Halifax ATM card got deactivated because I misentered the PIN number three times in a row. So, the next day, I went into the main bank branch to get some cash from a teller.

139 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
04 Apr 2008

Jan-48

by Jake Vinson in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-04-04

Originally posted by Spikeles...

I ordered a software product last year from a company in the US. They're a great company with really smart people who produce really good software.

169 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
03 Apr 2008

Discount calculation

by Jake Vinson in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-04-03

Originally posted by Zecc...

Just bumped against this code on my current project:

52 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
31 Mar 2008

Flirting With Disaster

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-03-31

Originally posted by "jjeff1"...

I’m exposed to a certain application twice a year. It’s used for a fund raising drive: fifty volunteers man the phones, people call in, and the volunteers take a poll and then enter data into the VB application on their workstations. These fundraising events are tied to schedules beyond our control, and there are absolutely no do-overs. That means the application needs to be rock solid.

86 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
24 Mar 2008

The Green Email & Site-to-Site-to-Site-to-Store

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-03-24

The Green Email
George Baker observed, "Some people take this 'green computing' thing way too seriously."

68 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
21 Mar 2008

A Business Analyst's Views on QA

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-03-21

Originally posted by "snoofle" ...

One of our BA's was nosing around for me to make some changes under the radar. We are under strict orders to do everything via our Change-Management system - no exceptions. The BA knows this. He says that if we put it into the CM system, that the QA people will know about it. I pointed out that that's the whole idea of CM.

70 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
17 Mar 2008

They're buffered

by Jake Vinson in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-03-17

Originally posted by "jjeff1" ...

This is going back a while, when I worked at a mom & pop retail computer store. We took in a repair for someone who'd tried to build their own PC. The problem was with the sound. As soon as the tech took the cover off, he called us all over to look inside.

144 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
10 Mar 2008

Random Stupidity

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-03-10

Originally posted by "snoofle" ...

I found this deep in the bowels of something written by our offshore counterparts, in it's entirety:

137 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
07 Mar 2008

Best of the Email

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-03-07

It's Share Your Bizarre Email day! Here's three to get started...


James W passed along this email, originally sent by a manager at a certain non-profit...

102 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
29 Feb 2008

So You Hacked Our Site!?

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-02-29

Not too long ago, I added my company, Inedo, to the federal government's Central Contractor Registration system. I don't know, I just didn't want to miss out on all the fun every one seems to have with government work. Whenever one signs up for virtually any government thing, a deluge of companies somehow manage to find to out. The CCR is certainly no exception.

One of the many companies that contacted me after signing up was the Federal Suppliers Guide. The initial cold call went something like this:

930 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
25 Feb 2008

The Clbuttic Mistake

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-02-25

This clbuttic was originally posted by "ezrec"...

Browsing through a web archive of some old computer club conversations, I ran across this sentence:

179 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
22 Feb 2008

The Comcast "Bill", A Buggy Traffic Light, and More

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-02-22

First there's Comcast WTF that was originally posted by "cheesy" ...

Having not received my bill from Comcast (now Time Warner) one month, I called them up. They said they would send me another copy. This is what showed up a week later.

154 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
20 Feb 2008

Those Unstable Databases & An Interesting Database Field

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-02-20

First, we've got Those Unstable Databases, originally posted by "tbcpp"

I used to work at a radio station, and part of my tasks included keeping the rather old automation system up and running. Now granted, this system was a 98 machine running on a beige box 500mhz and 128mb of ram, but the software was also a little at fault for the crashing it constantly was experiencing.

114 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
13 Feb 2008

We Don't Need Requirements

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-02-13

Originally posted by "snoofle" ...

I've mentioned a few times that I joined a team well into a two year development project. The system was designed, based on the sponsoring users claims, to handle 500-600 million records per day.

112 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
08 Feb 2008

Developing in Access

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-02-08

Originally posted by "marinus"...

There is this Access database. Part of it manages inventory. There is a large storage, in which crates of different stuff from different sources are stored, and in the Access database there is a form onto which this information is entered. There are 38 rows of 10 columns of crates and the height varies.

139 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
06 Feb 2008

U R NT QFD & Giving Notice

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-02-06

Two for the price of one today! U R NT QFD was originally posted by "Ben Fulton"...

I have a suspicion this ad for a programmer was text-messaged in to our local paper...

133 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
04 Feb 2008

ikownjou

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-02-04

Originally posted by "Publius"...

 I'm working on VB6 code written by a Dutch speaker and maintained by an Italian, with variables and comments in both languages. And no indentation whatsoever.

70 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
01 Feb 2008

Six Copies, Please

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-02-01

Originally posted by "snoofle" ...

I've been working with computers since the mid 1970s, and thought I'd seen every possible stupid thing users could do. Coffee cups on the PC's cup holder. $20 bills jammed into the slot (floppy) to purchase stuff on the internet. Pretty much everything featured on TDWTF. Nothing could surprise me anymore. Until today.

123 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
28 Jan 2008

Status Report, Please

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-01-28

Originally posted by "military fool" ...

A while back, I worked for a company that required *frequent* status reports, at every level, with roll-ups from lower-level reports to each level, al the way up the chain.

86 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
25 Jan 2008

Do not run this script, ever!

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-01-25

Originally posted by "snoofle"...

I worked in a fairly large department that used a spreadsheet as the bug-submission-tracking "system". Naturally, the person who assigned the work kept it open at all time, making it impossible for anyone to actually open it to enter a new bug.

187 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
21 Jan 2008

Yee-hawtf!

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-01-21

Originally posted by "jgoewert" ...

While everyone else was partying like it was 1999, I spent the night in my company's war room braced for any Y2K issues. Being naive, right out of college I took a job at a major railroad company doing green screen work. The mainframe was ready. The minutes ticked by. At 12:00:00, everything sat pretty with no major problems. A collective sigh eminated.

105 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
16 Jan 2008

We're not a software company

by Jake Vinson in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-01-16

Today's Best-of-the-Sidebar was originally posted by "aikimark."

When I asked the tech from the bone density scanner company about the poor performace of their software, they replied with "we're not a software company." I'm glad we were listening on a speaker phone, because I have witnesses to that statement. What refreshing honesty! Of course, I didn't disagree.

65 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
11 Jan 2008

The Ear Michael and Danger!

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-01-11

I'm not sure when this was posted on the side bar, but it was the warning sign at the top of the SkyJack that Robin Harrison was using to install wireless access points on the ceiling of a warehouse...

125 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
09 Jan 2008

I am right and the entire Industry is wrong

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-01-09

Originally posted to the Side Bar by Chris, following the response from "Gary" (a manager at his former company) about a question importing Word-HTML into their template system.

Hi Chris,

226 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
04 Jan 2008

Could You Explain Programming Please

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2008-01-04

Today's Best-of-the-Sidebar was originally posted by "Yahweh" ...

Being a programmer and the only computer literate person in my family, I get tech support calls from my family all the time. I got a phone call from a brother-in-law today:

373 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
19 Dec 2007

Their Version of Cut and Paste

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2007-12-19

Today's Best-of-the-Sidebar was originally posted by "old gutsie" ...

A couple years back, I was tasked with making a few changes to a client’s existing website. Most of the changes they wanted were cosmetic – move a few things here, change some text there – but some involved making minor enhancements to the application.

126 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36
13 Dec 2007

plz email me teh codez

by Alex Papadimoulis in Best of the Sidebar on 2007-12-13

Back in July of 2001, a member of Sun's EmbeddedJava Forums asked a fairly simple question: Is it possible to send SMS using Java?

158 Comments - Last Comment @ 08:36