Ellis Morning

Ellis is a Computer Science graduate who fought in the trenches of Tech Support, occasionally crossing enemy lines into the Business Analyst and Project Management spheres of war. She's now a freelance writer and author of sci-fi/fantasy adventure novels about a spacefaring knight errant on a quest for justice and enlightenment. Read more at Ellis' website.

Paper (Size), Please

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Samsung SPP-2040

Terje worked for an IT firm that serviced the purchasing department of a global corporation. To manage purchases, the department used an enterprise shipping and warehousing system that shall be called BLA to protect the guilty. The system ran on a Citrix farm in Norway with all the most impressive resources at its command.


Westward Ho!

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Buoy in the ocean

Roman K. once helped to maintain a company website that served a large customer base mainly within the United Kingdom. Each customer was itself a business offering a range of services. The website displayed these businesses on a map so that potential customers could find them. This was done by geocoding the business' addresses to get their longitude and latitude coordinates, then creating points on the map at those locations.


Rectangle Marks The Spot

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World Map flat Mercator

If you need your user's country of origin, there are many ways you can go about obtaining it programmatically. Some may opt for a simple drop-down that prompts the user to specify his/her country. If you don't want to burden your user this way, you might look at their session data and return their country of origin, time zone, or some other useful information. If you have fancy enough APIs at your disposal, you could even reverse geocode the user's longitude/latitude position and obtain an address.


Classic WTF: Flawless Compilation

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Just today I was joking with my co-workers: I had written software for which we had no viable test hardware, but the code compiled, therefore I was done. The difference is I was joking… --Remy (Originally)

Back in the heady days of Internet speculation, the giant retailer JumboStores contracted with Fred’s software company, TinyWeb, to develop the region’s first web-based supermarket. Customers would be able to assemble carts online and receive their groceries the next day.

The virtual supermarket had to communicate with JumboStores’s inventory system in real-time. The former was bleeding-edge web technology, the latter a cobweb-laden mainframe with no external point of access.


Reproducible Heisenbug

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Illustration of Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

Matt had just wrapped up work on a demo program for an IDE his company had been selling for the past few years. It was something many customers had requested, believing the documentation wasn't illustrative enough. Matt's program would exhibit the IDE's capabilities and also provide sample code to help others get started on their own creations.


Classic WTF: Common Sense Not Found

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It's the Forth of July in the US, where we all take a day off and launch fireworks to celebrate the power of stack based languages. While we participate in American traditions, like eating hot dogs without buns, enjoy this classic WTF about a real 455hole. --Remy

Mike was a server admin at your typical everyday Initech. One day, project manager Bill stopped by his cube with questions from Jay, the developer of an internal Java application.

“Hello there- thanks for your time!” Bill dropped into Mike’s spare chair. “We needed your expertise on this one.”


Randomly Functional

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True random number generator

Jonathan T. had recently been afforded the opportunity to go back and tweak the very first Python-based CMS he'd ever built. Years earlier, he and another junior developer had been forced to cobble this site together with no code reviews, oversight, or help of any kind. Terrible choices had been made in the name of getting their work done.


Just One More Point

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Fermat Points Proof

Tim B. had been tasked with updating an older internal application implemented in Java. Its primary purpose was to read in and display files containing a series of XY points—around 100,000 points per file on average—which would then be rendered as a line chart. It was notoriously slow, taking 1-2 minutes to process each file, but otherwise remained fairly stable.


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