Recent Articles

Jan 2020

Text Should Go Here

by in Error'd on

"The fact that Microsoft values my PC's health over copyediting is why I thumbed up this window," Eric wrote.


Switch Off

by in CodeSOD on

There are certain things which you see in code that, at first glance, if you haven’t already learned better, look like they might almost be clever. One of those in any construct that starts with:

switch(true) {…}


Y2K15

by in Feature Articles on

We’re still in the early part of the year, and as little glitches show up from “sliding window” fixes to the Y2K bug, we’re seeing more and more little stories of other date rollover weirdness in our inbox.

Like, for example, the Y2K15 bug, which Encore got to get surprised with. It feels like date issues are turning into a sports game franchise: new releases of the same thing every year.


Gormless and Gone

by in Representative Line on

There’s always a hope that in the future, our code will be better. Eventually, we won’t be dealing with piles of krufty legacy code and unprepared programmers and business users who don’t understand how clicking works. It’s 2020: we officially live in the future. Things aren’t better.

Duane works in Go, and has a piping hot “Representative Line” written in 2020. If, like me, you don’t quite know Go, it still looks pretty terrible at first glance:


An Unreal Json Parser

by in CodeSOD on

As we've discussed in the past, video game code probably shouldn't be held to the standards of your average WTF: they're operating under wildly different constraints. So, for example, when a popular indie game open sources itself, and people find all sorts of horrors in the codebase: hey, the game shipped and made money. This isn't life or death stuff.

It's a little different when you're building the engine. You're not just hacking together whatever you need to make your product work, but putting together a reusable platform to make other people's products work.


Are You Old Enough to Know Better?

by in Error'd on

"I guess my kid cousins won't be putting these together for a while," Travis writes.


The Compliance Ropeway

by in Feature Articles on

"So, let me get this straight," Derrick said. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath while massaging his temples before letting out an exasperated sigh. "Not a single person... in this entire organization... is taking ANY responsibility for Ropeway? No one is even willing to admit that they know anything about this application...?"

The Operations team had grown accustomed to their new director's mannerisms and learned it's just better to stay silent and let Derrick think out loud. Afterall, no one envied his job or his idealistic quest for actual compliance. If had he been at the bank as long as his team had, Derrick would have learned that there's compliance... and then there's "compliance."


Sharing the Power

by in CodeSOD on

"For my sins," John writes, "I'm working on a SharePoint 2010 migration."

This tells us that John has committed a lot of sins. But not as many as one of his coworkers.


Y-Ok

by in Feature Articles on

Twenty years out, people have a hard time remembering that Y2K was an actual thing, an actual problem, and it was only solved because people recognized the danger well ahead of time, and invested time and effort into mitigating the worst of it. Disaster didn’t come to pass because people worked their butts off to avoid it.

Gerald E was one of those people. He worked for a cellular provider as a customer service rep, providing technical support and designing the call-center scripts for providing that support. As 1999 cranked on, Gerald was pulled in to the Y2K team to start making support plans for the worst case scenarios.


Yet Another Master of Evil

by in CodeSOD on

As a general rule, if you find yourself writing an extension system for your application, stop and do something else. It's almost always in the case of YAGNI: you ain't gonna need it.

George is a "highly paid consultant", and considers himself one of the "good ones": he delivers well tested, well documented, and clean code to his clients. His peer, Gracie on the other hand… is a more typical representative of the HPC class.


Variable Trust

by in Error'd on

Brian writes, "Of course server %1 is trustworthy, I couldn't do my work without it!"


Untested Builds

by in CodeSOD on

Kaylee E made an "oops" and checked in a unit test with a bug in it which caused the test to fail. She didn't notice right away, and thus the commit hit their CI pipeline and was automatically pulled by the build server. She assumed that when she checked the logs she'd see the error, but she didn't. The build completed, and Tests (0/0) ran successfully.

Now, Kaylee was new to the codebase, and since she'd been doing small changes, she'd simply written and run tests around explicitly the functionality she was testing. She hadn't yet done a full test run locally, so that was her next step. From there, it was easy to see why the build server didn't automatically run tests.


Best of 2019: When Unique Isn't Unique

by in Best of… on
We close out our recap of 2019 and head into the new year with one last flashback: when vendors forget what the definition of "unique" is. Original -- Remy

Palm III 24

Gather 'round, young'uns, for a tale from the Dark Ages of mobile programming: the days before the iPhone launched. Despite what Apple might have you believe, the iPhone wasn't the first portable computing device. Today's submitter, Jack, was working for a company that streamed music to these non-iPhone devices, such as the Palm Treo or the Samsung Blackjack. As launch day approached for the new client for Windows Mobile 6, our submitter realized that he'd yet to try the client on a non-phone device (called a PDA, for those of you too young to recall). So he tracked down an HP iPaq on eBay just so he could verify that it worked on a device without the phone API.