• Zeroth! (unregistered)

    The only thing worse than reading tomorrow's WTF is commenting on it before tomorrow. The only consolation is that the new colour scheme isn't tan.

  • Outlaw Programmer (cs)

    The original "high-tech" solution is definitely a WTF but I don't agree with the "low-tech" solution the second guy came up with. I figure part of the reason the Tanning Salon lady wanted things to be computer-based is so she could jack up the rates and advertise the place as the "Tanning Salon of the Future." Anyone that goes to tanning salons has to be shallow enough to believe a few Win98 computers is worth a much higher price than the timer-and-key approach.

  • dlikhten (cs)

    Windows 98 to manage your networking BRILLIANT!

    I guess its always better to get a 2nd opinion when you have no idea what the other person is talking about...

    Also, I would have went to a minimum of 2 places and asked them to just outline what they would do. Get a reasonably tech-savvy friend, and just see which one sounds better.

    After that just get a person who is just "practical in life" and just ask them if you need a kick in the head because you are overshooting the solution.

  • Moo (unregistered)
    Instead of configuring each tanning bed computer to communicate with a fixed server name or IP address, he used a clever, low-level networking trick to find the server. Each time the clients were rebooted, they sent a UDP broadcast packet that was picked up by the server and responded to with an IP address.

    Wow, computers can do that? I think I'll call it, the Dynamic Host-Configuration Protocol.

  • dbt (unregistered) in reply to Moo

    Moo, I think the point is that that's what the clients used to find the server, not now the clients got an IP address.

    The dumbest part, assuming that this isn't another Alex "enhanced" tale, is that you can buy much cheaper off the shelf software and bed controllers than putting a PC in every room, and without the security overhead.

    • Dave (who used to work in the industry, oh, 12 years ago)
  • Junkieman (cs)

    From past experience, I would have to think long and hard before climbing into a sunbed controlled by win98. I mean, what if there is a BSOD or hardware failure? You'll burn more than just your mainboard! The horror!

  • Laur (unregistered)

    It's a hardware solution, you insensitive clods! :)

  • AdT (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • ChiefCrazyTalk (unregistered) in reply to Zeroth!

    The real WTF is that people still pay to expose their skin to harmful radiation.

  • Johan (unregistered)

    Is it just me, that I don't see the titles in the article?

    Only when I select the text, both show up...

    (And when viewing the article separately I see them, just not when looking at the front page... )

  • Anon Fred (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • SomeCoder (unregistered) in reply to ChiefCrazyTalk
    ChiefCrazyTalk:
    The real WTF is that people still pay to expose their skin to harmful radiation.

    Agree 100%, this really is the real WTF.

    That said, my ex-girlfriend worked at a tanning salon and if I remember correctly, they would go and unlock the booths for the customers, then go back up front. There, they had a little black switching unit that they could select the bed and how many minutes. The bed would only run for however long they set it for.

    Not exactly high tech, but does the job.

  • CRNewsom (cs) in reply to ChiefCrazyTalk
    ChiefCrazyTalk:
    The real WTF is that people still pay to expose their skin to harmful radiation.
    Not always, some people choose to spray their skin a horrid shade of orange that makes you look like and alien (a space alien, not one of the South-of-the-border varieties, I felt like I needed to specify)
  • xtremezone (cs)

    Isn't this old? I remember reading this already...

  • Villa (unregistered)

    Tony deserves all the praise in the world for this. I bet he was fired.

  • Aaron (cs) in reply to ChiefCrazyTalk
    ChiefCrazyTalk:
    The real WTF is that people still pay to expose their skin to harmful radiation.
    What do you call it when somebody skips over to Mexico or Cuba for the winter?
  • Renan_S2 (cs)
    Each time the clients were rebooted, they sent a UDP broadcast packet that was picked up by the server and responded to with an IP address.

    So, did they just reinvent DHCP?

  • krupa (unregistered)

    Not every problem requires a digital solution. It's nice to see someone in the industry acknowledging that.

  • Anon (unregistered)

    How about the WTF that the users had such easy access to the computer that they could pull out the serial cable.

  • TroelsL (unregistered)

    I find it rather strange to have an actual attendant at a tanning salon. Even her "high-tec" solution required actual staff. Here, the lobby has videosurveilance, and a foolproof payment system. I don't get why this would possibly require all the computers mentioned.

    Have a box in the lobby with a coin slot and four buttons (one for each tanning bed). Insert coin, select button. Timer starts, as long as timer is above 0, the tanning bed has power - when it reaches 0, it turns off. Short of rewiring the place, there is no way customers can cheat, and it only requires a single workstation instead of five. If she wanted, the keyrings could still be used (not solving the unlimited subscription problem though).

  • CodingForPretend (cs) in reply to Renan_S2
    Renan_S2:
    Instead of configuring each tanning bed computer to communicate with a fixed server name or IP address, each time the clients were rebooted, they sent a UDP broadcast packet that was picked up by the server and responded to with an IP address.

    So, did they just reinvent DHCP?

    No, more like a custom version of ping or maybe inverse DHCP.

  • dsp (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • snoofle (cs) in reply to Anon
    Anon:
    How about the WTF that the users had such easy access to the computer that they could pull out the serial cable.
    Not for nothing, but the (few) folks that I know that would even use a tanning salon wouldn't know a serial cable from a butter knife, let alone how to remove one.
  • freelancer (unregistered) in reply to SomeCoder
    SomeCoder:
    ChiefCrazyTalk:
    The real WTF is that people still pay to expose their skin to harmful radiation.

    Agree 100%, this really is the real WTF.

    That said, my ex-girlfriend worked at a tanning salon and if I remember correctly, they would go and unlock the booths for the customers, then go back up front. There, they had a little black switching unit that they could select the bed and how many minutes. The bed would only run for however long they set it for.

    Not exactly high tech, but does the job.

    No, The Real WTF is that you two actually agree on what TRWTF is. That's not how it works!

  • user (unregistered)

    "To make matters worse, the software provided no way to interactively monitor tanning activity"

    That's a very nice way to say "The Real WTF is that the Owner did not boost revenue by offering a live cam stream on the internet so that people could 'interactivily monitor tanning activity'".

  • foxyshadis (unregistered) in reply to Moo
    Moo:
    Instead of configuring each tanning bed computer to communicate with a fixed server name or IP address, he used a clever, low-level networking trick to find the server. Each time the clients were rebooted, they sent a UDP broadcast packet that was picked up by the server and responded to with an IP address.

    Wow, computers can do that? I think I'll call it, the Dynamic Host-Configuration Protocol.

    Those who do not remember DHCP are doomed to reinvent DHCP, poorly.

  • ChiefCrazyTalk (unregistered) in reply to Aaron
    Aaron:
    ChiefCrazyTalk:
    The real WTF is that people still pay to expose their skin to harmful radiation.
    What do you call it when somebody skips over to Mexico or Cuba for the winter?
    Depends on if they bring sunscreen and a big floppy hat or not.
  • John Doe (unregistered) in reply to ChiefCrazyTalk
    ChiefCrazyTalk:
    Depends on if they bring sunscreen and a big floppy hat or not.
    If they're smart, they'll use the 5 1/4" floppies for that, because they are lighter than the 3 1/2" ones.
  • n9ds (cs)

    But wait, how to you tell if someone has broken into the room without the key? You need a sensor on the door to tell if it has been opened, and then you need a computer to monitor the sensor, and another computer to collect and log the SNMP traps sent out by the door sensor monitor computer, and a computer to monitor the use of the bed itself, and a management workstation to run the other computers and...HEY! I'm sounding Enterprise-y already!

  • Matthew (unregistered) in reply to Aaron
    Aaron:
    ChiefCrazyTalk:
    The real WTF is that people still pay to expose their skin to harmful radiation.
    What do you call it when somebody skips over to ... Cuba for the winter?

    Terrorism.

  • Trerro (cs)
    I find it rather strange to have an actual attendant at a tanning salon. Even her "high-tec" solution required actual staff. Here, the lobby has videosurveilance, and a foolproof payment system. I don't get why this would possibly require all the computers mentioned.

    Have a box in the lobby with a coin slot and four buttons (one for each tanning bed). Insert coin, select button. Timer starts, as long as timer is above 0, the tanning bed has power - when it reaches 0, it turns off. Short of rewiring the place, there is no way customers can cheat, and it only requires a single workstation instead of five. If she wanted, the keyrings could still be used (not solving the unlimited subscription problem though).

    That's not hard to solve either. It's a pretty safe bet that tanning isn't something people do more than once per day, so simply have the machine log all the keyrings that were already used that day. Clear the log once per day by some reliable method (cron / task scheduler / attach the log clearer to the nightly report / whatever.) If you're concerned about the very rare case that someone DOES use it twice in a day, have an override code just in case.

  • ForcedSterilizationsForAll (unregistered)

    "...so she retained the services of a software consulting firm to help her get there."

    That's the real WTF.

  • drinkingbird (cs) in reply to CodingForPretend
    CodingForPretend:
    Renan_S2:
    Instead of configuring each tanning bed computer to communicate with a fixed server name or IP address, each time the clients were rebooted, they sent a UDP broadcast packet that was picked up by the server and responded to with an IP address.

    So, did they just reinvent DHCP?

    No, more like a custom version of ping or maybe inverse DHCP.

    No, actually it's just like a partial DHCP. It's just retrieving the server IP, not setting it, similar to retrieving DNS or gateway information via DHCP.

    DHCP is not just about setting a friggin' IP address for the client. Learn your network protocols, it's important!

  • Translation Not Available! (unregistered) in reply to Anon Fred
    Comment held for moderation.
  • its me (cs) in reply to Matthew
    Matthew:
    Aaron:
    ChiefCrazyTalk:
    The real WTF is that people still pay to expose their skin to harmful radiation.
    What do you call it when somebody skips over to ... Cuba for the winter?

    Terrorism.

    ROTFLMAO! Good one.

    Unless...? Good god you're not serious are you? No, no couldn't be.

    Well... if you are that's just too sad. -Me

  • its me (cs) in reply to Outlaw Programmer
    Outlaw Programmer:
    The original "high-tech" solution is definitely a WTF but I don't agree with the "low-tech" solution the second guy came up with. I figure part of the reason the Tanning Salon lady wanted things to be computer-based is so she could jack up the rates and advertise the place as the "Tanning Salon of the Future." Anyone that goes to tanning salons has to be shallow enough to believe a few Win98 computers is worth a much higher price than the timer-and-key approach.

    No, this is an excellent approach, and more tech guys should think this way.

    Repairing or replacing the existing apps would likely have been a budget buster, and taken considerable time; during which the company has to live with these problems..... Going low-tech you resolve the issue fast and get the tanning company's revenues flowing again.

    What's not included here is the sales pitch. Get the tanning company up and running quickly with a few calls to a locksmith, but then planning and budgeting for reimplementing their original high-tech vision, only this time get it right. By suggesting the low-tech approach and building a customer relationship Tony (or his company) could turn this into a potentially successful project.....

    -Me

  • Moo (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Infidel66 (unregistered)

    Upgrade to Windows ME and she'll be roasting chicken before she knows it.

  • Bat (unregistered)

    You forgot the epilogue: a year later, Tony's inoperable skin cancer finally put an end to his illustrious career. He is fondly remembered by his pasty-faced wife and six kids.

  • real_aardvark (cs) in reply to its me
    its me:
    Matthew:
    Aaron:
    ChiefCrazyTalk:
    The real WTF is that people still pay to expose their skin to harmful radiation.
    What do you call it when somebody skips over to ... Cuba for the winter?

    Terrorism.

    ROTFLMAO! Good one.

    Unless...? Good god you're not serious are you? No, no couldn't be.

    Well... if you are that's just too sad. -Me

    Apart from the fact that it isn't a particularly funny joke -- let God decide -- it isn't clear whether the terrorism in question is Marxist, Cubano, or U.S. Or, in fact, little green men with an interest in bombing decaying baroque architecture in the tropics.

    In fact, it isn't even clear whether you are objecting to Marxism, the Cuban variant thereof, or the green(back)ish version.

    Let him be. Meaninglessness is its own reward.

  • Dude (unregistered) in reply to Infidel66
    Infidel66:
    Upgrade to Windows ME and she'll be roasting chicken before she knows it.

    Calling Windows ME an upgrade is the real WTF! hehehe

  • andreyvul (cs)

    The real WTF is the lack of safety checks in the code. e.g., why did the timer automatically set to zero if the serial port connection was lost? A lack of fail safety for a radiation machine is simply brillant. I'm getting my troll-smacking 2"x4" and using it on these Windows 98 developers!

  • Grobbendonk (unregistered) in reply to Anon Fred

    [quote user="Anon Fred"]Putting a radiation emitting device under the control of Windows 98?

    What, like nuclear submarines or Aegis cruisers? Windows for Warships? <gnn>

    Please can we get "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" included as part of everyones core education?

  • JohnFx (unregistered) in reply to Outlaw Programmer

    I figure part of the reason the Tanning Salon lady wanted things to be computer-based is so she could jack up the rates and advertise the place as the "Tanning Salon of the Future."

    There is an easy answer for that. Leave the Win95 workstations in the tanning rooms, but disconnect them from the tanning bed. The customers could still scan their cool barcodes and feel all high-techy.

  • Andy Wong (unregistered)

    The owner was wrong at the first place, because she wanted something high tech probably to boot up the marketing image, but want she really need was probably an easy management which may be computerized solutions or just lock/timer.

    That software company had criminal mind of cheating the ignorant customers and had no regard of public safety of using Win98 to control a tanning device.

    It is common that customers don't know what they really need and want. Who care about the duty and business ethic of professionals?

  • jmroth (cs)

    Find the error:

    Windows 98 Workstation

  • freelancer (unregistered) in reply to Translation Not Available!
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Fowl (unregistered) in reply to jmroth
    jmroth:
    Find the error:

    Windows 98 Workstation

    Oh god, there isn't a Windows 98 Server was there?

    panic

    mmm picnic....

  • Zeroth! (unregistered) in reply to jmroth
    jmroth:
    Find the error:

    Windows 98 Workstation

    Windows

  • Atario (unregistered) in reply to Anon Fred
    Comment held for moderation.

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