They say that, as a programmer, you'd better keep your skills and knowledge current, or the latest "revolution" will leave you spinning in the dust and bumped to management. Obviously, "they" haven't heard of the Microsoft's Common Language Runtime, which allows for any programming language to be adapted for development within the rich .NET platform. This means that some languages that some might consider outdated, such as, perhaps, COBOL, to become a tool for developing modern software. As you might imagine, this can yield some fairly interesting results.

One of Dan Waters' older coworker decided that, since their consulting firm no longer offered mainframe services, he should do some web development. Of course, since he had been programming since abacuses were invented (his words) and pretty much knew everything (also his words), he didn't need any training on how this "web thing" (my words) works. He was given the simplest assignment the company had, a simple "giving" page where donors entered their credit card numbers and administrators would print off and process the gifts by hand.

After a few weeks, he was ready to show off the pages. With its entirely 14-Point Times-Roman Underlined text, it certainly wasn't a looker. But hey, it worked! You could enter in billing info and hit submit, and if you logged on as the administrator, you could see the donation and print it off. Dan did notice, however, that there was just one minor security hole ...

Some of the more hacker-savvy readers might pick up on it as well. When Dan mentioned that you simply need to changed the URL to include LOGGED_ON=YES to "spoof" access, his coworker scoffed, saying something about no one actually looking at those.

But, all's well that end's well. Although Dan is no longer with the consulting firm, he's heard that his coworker is off developing some mission-critical software somewhere.

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