• Cheeky (unregistered)

    Frist! Finally.

  • Michael ZZZZZZZZZZ (unregistered)

    What about my last name, huh?

  • Think of the ... (unregistered)

    I'm sure glad children's privacy is protected (but why not mine?) but the one thing I don't get is how a web site operator is supposed to measure the age of the person at the keyboard. And what if mom steps away to put a load in the washer and her kid starts fiddling with the mouse? Doesn't this require a camera -- and face recognition software -- active on every computer -- just to protect your privacy, of course...

  • Zylon (cs)

    So the message here is that their boss was useless.

  • IV (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Space man (unregistered)

    I call BS. Everyone knows if you can't store a null, just store a zero length string. If that doesn't work, store a single space.

    P.S. InB4 "Comment is blank" "null comments not allowed" "ZZZZZ" etc.

  • WC (unregistered) in reply to Space man

    Too right.

  • frits (cs)
    The Article:
    Eventually, his manager dropped a deuce, threw his hands in the air and told Derek, "Just figure something out."
    :O Derek's job sounds shitty.
    The Article:
    Derek contemplated the unsavory task of hunting down every database query that touched the last name field each time the core team failed to add the Zliminator to the call. "You want me to fix the last name bug? Any constraints on how I do it?"
    Why is this even an issue? Shouldn't this be done in a very limited number of places (like one)?
  • Ryan (unregistered)

    This kind of internal fighting happens often, and the only party that really suffers is the customer. From their perspective, it looks like people are just sitting around ignoring them.

    Additionally the RWTF here is that nothing was done to bridge the gap between the two teams, meaning that this will happen again.

  • jonnyq (cs) in reply to Space man
    Space man:
    I call BS. Everyone knows if you can't store a null, just store a zero length string. If that doesn't work, store a single space.

    P.S. InB4 "Comment is blank" "null comments not allowed" "ZZZZZ" etc.

    I have no understanding of the article at all until this is explained.

    Why was empty string not an option? Even if the field is NOT NULL it can still be zero-length string.

    Until someone explains that, I'm left to assume Derek is a retard.

  • David F. Skoll (unregistered)

    I didn't get it at first. "The Zed-Liminator?"

    Ah. American English.

  • Matt (unregistered)

    So a developer implemented an overly-complicated and unnecessary workaround because the IT director was too spineless to level an overly-arrogant dev lead that just couldn't realize that complying with (admittedly retarded and unenforcable) Federal regulations trumps his opinion.

    Just another day in the life.

  • Andrew (unregistered) in reply to Space man
    Space man:
    I call BS. Everyone knows if you can't store a null, just store a zero length string. If that doesn't work, store a single space.

    P.S. InB4 "Comment is blank" "null comments not allowed" "ZZZZZ" etc.

    "...also considered the fact that the database would sort the ANSI NULLs to the top of the results". Which would probably be true for empty strings, "" being less than "a" after all...

  • Erik (unregistered)
    Why was empty string not an option? Even if the field is NOT NULL it can still be zero-length string.

    They're running Oracle, which has the great "feature" of magically converting empty strings to NULLs. True story!

  • Sock Puppet 5 (cs)

    I'm waiting for the sequel, where Derek finds out that the real reason Steve was stonewalling has some sort of dependency on the last name field.

    Steve:
    We need their name.
  • Buddy (unregistered)

    Nothing like making changes in production separate from everything else.

    We once had a developer who got impatient waiting for a ticket to resolve, so he implemented his change in production to force the issue. But without proper supporting code in the logic layer, validates would fail and not save to the DB.

    The revised code ran over the whole weekend. On the Monday, dozens of technical support requests "I worked for an hour, it didn't save my changes." Of course, the boss was demoing to a potential client, and mad as hell.

    We tested every possibility on staging, could not duplicate. On a hunch, someone did a file compare between production and staging. The diff spit it out, we got a file modification date, matched it to access logs and narrowed the "attack" down to the developer.

    It was the first reprimand I ever wrote "for actions identified as reckless or worse behavior". They got rid of him a month of so later after we were sure his responsibilities could be handled by others.

  • Rfoxmich (unregistered) in reply to Sock Puppet 5

    That would be the part where the firstname/lastname are part of the primary key right?

    capcha dolor - Steve gets far to many dolors

    Sock Puppet 5:
    I'm waiting for the sequel, where Derek finds out that the real reason Steve was stonewalling has some sort of dependency on the last name field.
    Steve:
    We need their name.
  • Worf (unregistered) in reply to Think of the ...
    Think of the ...:
    I'm sure glad children's privacy is protected (but why not mine?) but the one thing I don't get is how a web site operator is supposed to measure the age of the person at the keyboard. And what if mom steps away to put a load in the washer and her kid starts fiddling with the mouse? Doesn't this require a camera -- and face recognition software -- active on every computer -- just to protect your privacy, of course...

    Or the website could just not require the data which benefits all of us.

    A lot of websites require more information than they really need, so they either skirt around with with an under-13 age check, or, more preferably, don't ask for that information to begin with since they don't need it.

  • Rfoxmich (unregistered) in reply to Rfoxmich

    Sorry that should of course be fristname

  • J. Random PMP (unregistered)

    What I don't understand is why Derek or his boss didn't get the Sales and/or Marketing teams involved. It would have been simple for Derek to explain that Steve is keeping them from being able to sell their flagship product.

    The Sales team could then have simply told Steve that he needs to make a choice. He can either make the last name optional, or he can clear his desk and GTFO.

    Thus, even Sales and Marketing can be occasionally useful.

  • John Doe (unregistered) in reply to Sock Puppet 5
    Sock Puppet 5:
    I'm waiting for the sequel, where Derek finds out that the real reason Steve was stonewalling has some sort of dependency on the last name field.
    Steve:
    We need their name.

    Captcha - conventio: by conventio they always the combination of first name and last name as the primary key.

  • asd (unregistered) in reply to Sock Puppet 5
    Sock Puppet 5:
    I'm waiting for the sequel, where Derek finds out that the real reason Steve was stonewalling has some sort of dependency on the last name field.
    Steve:
    We need their name.

    I was expecting a primary key, and hell breaking loose after his "fix"... Only to be disappointed.

  • What do you expect from a Agile company (unregistered)

    I hope there is only one Timmy! Heck, how many David Smith(s) has anyone met? I hope they had a better PK than First+Last name.

    I guess storing a ' ' (space) would have been too easy.

  • shash (unregistered) in reply to What do you expect from a Agile company

    That's what usernames and unique primary keys are for. What if there are two Timmy ZZZZs?

  • Jeff (unregistered)

    I think you've all figured it out. Primary key was last name. In case of duplicates, an on insert trigger just appended a space and tried again.

    OK now that we've dealt with today's WTF, here's another. I'm on a team of developers that work all day thinking about code. Some manager thought it would be ideal to put us right next to a gang of a-holes who apparently have no work to do, because all they ever do is discuss sports and the lottery and politics and TV. Very loudly. Which makes it impossible for developers to concentrate on code.

    Now, the most obnoxious one of them has decided to grace us with his singing skills. I'm to the point where I want to grab my electric stapler by the power cord, start swinging it David and Goliath style, and silence them all with gentle taps to the side of the head.

    Want to. Not going to. Also want to keep my job.

    So, how have you effectively dealt with moronic situations like this? Remember -- he who complains is the troublemaker, not he who engages in offensive behavior all day long.

  • Buddy (unregistered) in reply to What do you expect from a Agile company
    What do you expect from a Agile company:
    I hope there is only one Timmy! Heck, how many David Smith(s) has anyone met? I hope they had a better PK than First+Last name.

    I guess storing a ' ' (space) would have been too easy.

    CHAR (but not VARCHAR) fields strip any trailing spaces, so ' ' would be converted to ''. You can constrain fields not to be empty.

  • Anon (unregistered) in reply to Jeff
    Jeff:
    So, how have you effectively dealt with moronic situations like this?

    First, you have to stop whining like a pussy and grow a pair.

  • SMOCK SMOCK SMOCK SMOCK SMOCK (unregistered) in reply to Jeff
    Jeff:
    [...]I'm on a team of developers that work all day thinking about code. Some manager thought it would be ideal to put us right next to a gang of a-holes who apparently have no work to do, because all they ever do is discuss sports and the lottery and politics and TV. Very loudly. Which makes it impossible for developers to concentrate on code.

    Now, the most obnoxious one of them has decided to grace us with his singing skills. I'm to the point where I want to grab my electric stapler by the power cord, start swinging it David and Goliath style, and silence them all with gentle taps to the side of the head.

    Want to. Not going to. Also want to keep my job.

    So, how have you effectively dealt with moronic situations like this? Remember -- he who complains is the troublemaker, not he who engages in offensive behavior all day long.

    untested solution: Baby monitor with one end near the assholes and the other in their/your/a boss's office.

  • SQLlist (unregistered) in reply to Buddy

    Wrong. CHAR appends spaces to meet it´s given char limit. CHAR(5) field would make ' ' to ' '

  • Bubak (unregistered)

    Maybe ' ' ?

  • trtrwtf (unregistered) in reply to Jeff
    Jeff:
    I think you've all figured it out. Primary key was last name. In case of duplicates, an on insert trigger just appended a space and tried again.

    OK now that we've dealt with today's WTF, here's another. I'm on a team of developers that work all day thinking about code. Some manager thought it would be ideal to put us right next to a gang of a-holes who apparently have no work to do, because all they ever do is discuss sports and the lottery and politics and TV. Very loudly. Which makes it impossible for developers to concentrate on code.

    Now, the most obnoxious one of them has decided to grace us with his singing skills. I'm to the point where I want to grab my electric stapler by the power cord, start swinging it David and Goliath style, and silence them all with gentle taps to the side of the head.

    Want to. Not going to. Also want to keep my job.

    So, how have you effectively dealt with moronic situations like this? Remember -- he who complains is the troublemaker, not he who engages in offensive behavior all day long.

    I'm in the same hell here - I'm on the other side of a cubicle wall from the tech support team, and whenever they're not on a call, they're sitting around talking very loudly about nothing at all. It's awful.

    It gets worse, though: the woman sitting next to me does trainings for employees, so she spends an hour at a time speaking very clearly and very loudly about this or that or the other... and I can't even complain because it's her job.

  • Machtyn (unregistered) in reply to Matt
    Matt:
    So a developer implemented an overly-complicated and unnecessary workaround because the IT director was too spineless to level an overly-arrogant dev lead that just couldn't realize that complying with (admittedly retarded and unenforcable) Federal regulations trumps his opinion.

    Just another day in the life.

    It may not be enforceable by law, but their clients were school districts that would definitely get their panties in a wad if the application was not COPPA compliant. Therefore, it is self enforceable in that no client would ever purchase a non-compliant software package.

  • snoofle (cs) in reply to Jeff
    Jeff:
    I think you've all figured it out. Primary key was last name. In case of duplicates, an on insert trigger just appended a space and tried again.

    OK now that we've dealt with today's WTF, here's another. I'm on a team of developers that work all day thinking about code. Some manager thought it would be ideal to put us right next to a gang of a-holes who apparently have no work to do, because all they ever do is discuss sports and the lottery and politics and TV. Very loudly. Which makes it impossible for developers to concentrate on code.

    Now, the most obnoxious one of them has decided to grace us with his singing skills. I'm to the point where I want to grab my electric stapler by the power cord, start swinging it David and Goliath style, and silence them all with gentle taps to the side of the head.

    Want to. Not going to. Also want to keep my job.

    So, how have you effectively dealt with moronic situations like this? Remember -- he who complains is the troublemaker, not he who engages in offensive behavior all day long.

    Make a recording of THEM shouting and singing while YOU and a peer are trying to talk. Make sure to get all the voices. Then play it for your boss and HR and say that this is why you can't concentrate, or get anything done.

  • SQLlist (unregistered) in reply to SQLlist
    SQLlist:
    Wrong. CHAR appends spaces to meet it´s given char limit. CHAR(5) field would make ' ' to ' '
    There are 5 white spaces in the last part. In case you were wondering.
  • Mark (unregistered)

    There really is a simple solution:

    1. Fire Steve. He is refusing to make changes that are required by law.
    2. There is no step 2.
  • Zolcos (cs)

    Derek is the WTF here, not Steve. They make an application that necessarily gathers information about children. New law says you can't gather information about children without parental consent. So their solution, instead of unambiguous regulatory compliance, it to skirt around the law by omitting certain bits of information that trigger noncompliance, and effects on the app be damned?

    Assuming the story wasn't too badly mangled by the anonymizing process, students are turning in their homework using this system. So now the teachers get the joy of sorting out all the assignments from "Timmy NULL" to determine who gets the grades from each one. It would only push the teachers to stop using the online system altogether due to unreliability.

    Seems like it would be easier to just... get written parental consent. From what the story mentioned about an install process, I assume it wasn't a hosted service and that the individual schools' IT departments ran the production environments. In that case, all they'd have to do is notify the schools that they need to get parental consent for COPPA compliance. It's probably not a big headache for them to do so since schools already hand kids reams of forms for their parents to sign

  • Matt Westwood (cs) in reply to Buddy
    Buddy:
    Nothing like making changes in production separate from everything else.

    We once had a developer who got impatient waiting for a ticket to resolve, so he implemented his change in production to force the issue. But without proper supporting code in the logic layer, validates would fail and not save to the DB.

    The revised code ran over the whole weekend. On the Monday, dozens of technical support requests "I worked for an hour, it didn't save my changes." Of course, the boss was demoing to a potential client, and mad as hell.

    We tested every possibility on staging, could not duplicate. On a hunch, someone did a file compare between production and staging. The diff spit it out, we got a file modification date, matched it to access logs and narrowed the "attack" down to the developer.

    It was the first reprimand I ever wrote "for actions identified as reckless or worse behavior". They got rid of him a month of so later after we were sure his responsibilities could be handled by others.

    The trouble is that for every serious problem caused by not adhering to config mgt procedures, a hundred bodges go unquestioned because the perpetrator is lucky.

  • Childish (unregistered) in reply to David F. Skoll
    David F. Skoll:
    I didn't get it at first. "The Zed-Liminator?"

    Ah. American English.

    I have a friend named Zed, and I don't want him elminated. I guess he can't go to Commonwealth Countries.

  • Nagesh (cs)

    I am not able to understend the failure here. I read story 2 times and realise that both people are defending there side of story. Company policy must be transparunt for everybody to get same levels of clarity. Both people are argueing for sake of argueing.

  • Abso (cs) in reply to Jeff
    Jeff:
    OK now that we've dealt with today's WTF, here's another. I'm on a team of developers that work all day thinking about code. Some manager thought it would be ideal to put us right next to a gang of a-holes who apparently have no work to do, because all they ever do is discuss sports and the lottery and politics and TV. Very loudly. Which makes it impossible for developers to concentrate on code.

    Now, the most obnoxious one of them has decided to grace us with his singing skills. I'm to the point where I want to grab my electric stapler by the power cord, start swinging it David and Goliath style, and silence them all with gentle taps to the side of the head.

    Want to. Not going to. Also want to keep my job.

    So, how have you effectively dealt with moronic situations like this? Remember -- he who complains is the troublemaker, not he who engages in offensive behavior all day long.

    Noise-isolating earbuds + mp3 player. If I don't want to listen to music, the earbuds make decent earplugs.

    Of course, this requires that you have a boss who doesn't mind if you listen to music, can tolerate being startled occasionally when someone you didn't hear come in tries to get your attention, and can talk over the other people or go somewhere else when you need to talk to the people you work with.

  • Zolcos (cs) in reply to David F. Skoll
    I didn't get it at first. "The Zed-Liminator?" Ah. American English.

    Even considering the equally valid "zed" pronunciation of Z, I don't see how you could come to "Zed-Liminator" from seeing "Zliminator". Do you pronounce Zebra as "Zed-ebra" too?

  • David F. Skoll (unregistered) in reply to Zolcos
    Zolcos:
    I didn't get it at first. "The Zed-Liminator?" Ah. American English.

    Even considering the equally valid "zed" pronunciation of Z, I don't see how you could come to "Zed-Liminator" from seeing "Zliminator". Do you pronounce Zebra as "Zed-ebra" too?

    Yes, Zedolcos, I do.

  • Sonny Bono (unregistered) in reply to Anon
    Anon:
    First, you have to stop whining like a pussy and grow a pair.
    My daughter grew a pair and now look what's become of him, you insensitive clod!
  • operagost (cs) in reply to Jeff
    Jeff:
    OK now that we've dealt with today's WTF, here's another. I'm on a team of developers that work all day thinking about code. Some manager thought it would be ideal to put us right next to a gang of a-holes who apparently have no work to do, because all they ever do is discuss sports and the lottery and politics and TV. Very loudly. Which makes it impossible for developers to concentrate on code.

    Now, the most obnoxious one of them has decided to grace us with his singing skills. I'm to the point where I want to grab my electric stapler by the power cord, start swinging it David and Goliath style, and silence them all with gentle taps to the side of the head.

    Want to. Not going to. Also want to keep my job.

    So, how have you effectively dealt with moronic situations like this?

    Dropped a deuce?

  • operagost (cs) in reply to Sonny Bono
    Sonny Bono:
    Anon:
    First, you have to stop whining like a pussy and grow a pair.
    My daughter grew a pair and now look what's become of him, you insensitive clod!
    Shut up, Cher.
  • I have Blood Storm, Blood Squad and Blood Storm 2, STUPID! (unregistered) in reply to operagost
    operagost:
    Sonny Bono:
    Anon:
    First, you have to stop whining like a pussy and grow a pair.
    My daughter grew a pair and now look what's become of him, you insensitive clod!
    Shut up, Cher.

    SHUT UP, MOM!

  • Anon (unregistered) in reply to Zolcos
    Zolcos:
    I didn't get it at first. "The Zed-Liminator?" Ah. American English.

    Even considering the equally valid "zed" pronunciation of Z, I don't see how you could come to "Zed-Liminator" from seeing "Zliminator". Do you pronounce Zebra as "Zed-ebra" too?

    Yes, that is how the English word Zebra is correctly pronounced.

  • anonymouser (unregistered)
    article comments:
    people who think that NULL != NULL is not true and is technically not false either, and people who are wrong.
    IF (NULL != NULL) 
    	SELECT 1
    ELSE IF NOT (NULL != NULL)
    	SELECT 2
    ELSE
    	SELECT 0
    

    RESULT: 0

  • Z (unregistered) in reply to Jeff
    Jeff:
    OK now that we've dealt with today's WTF, here's another. I'm on a team of developers that work all day thinking about code. Some manager thought it would be ideal to put us right next to a gang of a-holes who apparently have no work to do, because all they ever do is discuss sports and the lottery and politics and TV. Very loudly. Which makes it impossible for developers to concentrate on code.

    Now, the most obnoxious one of them has decided to grace us with his singing skills. I'm to the point where I want to grab my electric stapler by the power cord, start swinging it David and Goliath style, and silence them all with gentle taps to the side of the head.

    Want to. Not going to. Also want to keep my job.

    So, how have you effectively dealt with moronic situations like this? Remember -- he who complains is the troublemaker, not he who engages in offensive behavior all day long.

    For why this happens, refer to yesterday's WTF, particularly the priority level assigned to IT engineers. Once you realize the value that the rest of the company assigns to you, go out and buy yourself a good pair of headphones.

  • Melnorme (cs) in reply to Zolcos

    This:

    Zolcos:
    Derek is the WTF here, not Steve.

    does not follow from this:

    They make an application that necessarily gathers information about children. New law says you can't gather information about children without parental consent. So their solution, instead of unambiguous regulatory compliance, it to skirt around the law by omitting certain bits of information that trigger noncompliance, and effects on the app be damned?

    Assuming the story wasn't too badly mangled by the anonymizing process, students are turning in their homework using this system. So now the teachers get the joy of sorting out all the assignments from "Timmy NULL" to determine who gets the grades from each one. It would only push the teachers to stop using the online system altogether due to unreliability.

    Seems like it would be easier to just... get written parental consent. From what the story mentioned about an install process, I assume it wasn't a hosted service and that the individual schools' IT departments ran the production environments. In that case, all they'd have to do is notify the schools that they need to get parental consent for COPPA compliance. It's probably not a big headache for them to do so since schools already hand kids reams of forms for their parents to sign

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