I most of us felt (or, will feel) let down after getting our first job of college. Going from the world of "assume there is an unlimited budget, now ..." to "change the text of the error message generated by ..." makes you feel as if your hard-earned Computer Science degree was as useful as Mordar, your almost-equally hard-earned level 28 half-elf wizard. Of course, this is nothing compared to what Michael Jervis must have felt ...

Shortly after graduating, I started with a small web shop that had just been acquired by a big Tin shifter to start up their services offering. My new boss had written his own ASP editor that he wanted me to use in preference of any decent mature third party code editors, or visual Interdev. Last time I looked (a few years back) it was still available, shame it appears to have disappeared. It was a true master piece of an editor. It was impossible to indent code, as the TAB key in the main text area (no syntax highlighting of course) was forcibly bound to change control focus. The choice of colour was "interesting" and it had many other amazing features. But that was just the start of my boss' genius.

This truly is a masterpiece. While a screenshot may be worth a bunch of words, running the application itself is worth ... well ... quite a lot more.

Check it out. It's really worth it. Back to Michael ....

For his next trick, he decided source code control was unnecessary. "If I need to preserve some code, I'll just zip it up." queue the loss of a large amount of work due to re-writing pages and overwriting files by accident.

The real killer though was this was 1999, this was pre Y2K. He was gripped by an awesome fear that SQL Server 7 would turn out not to be Y2K compliant after all, and thus stored all dates in text fields and manually parsed them. Not enough? Ok, just to make sure he didn't make a mistake, he included the date in a second column, in reverse. One text field whateverdate, varchar(8) one whateverdate_reverse, also varchar(8) one with 01101999 the other with 19991001. Hmm. Still not TOO safe, what if his code was not Y2K compliant? How about we ALSO store the date as a separate Year, Month and Day field, varchar(4), varchar(2) and varchar(2). Wasn't that fun? Oh, and to add to the misery, until I started there no-one had done ADO updating, so every insert/update was a hand-rolled SQL statement.

Anyway. Eventually we got bigger, I got moved to work with a new technology with skilled developers all around me, and was happy.

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