Recent Best of…

Our "best" articles of years past.

Dec 2021

Best Of 2021: Totally Up To Date

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2021 has been a year that flew by so quickly it's hard to keep up. But keeping up with changes can frequently be harder than it seems.

NOAA Central Library Card Catalog 1

The year was 2015. Erik was working for LibCo, a company that offered management software for public libraries. The software managed inventory, customer tracking, fine calculations, and everything else the library needed to keep track of their books. This included, of course, a huge database with all book titles known to the entire library system.

Best of 2021: The Therac-25 Incident

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It's not always "fun" bugs and flaws. Earlier this year, we did a deep dive on a much more serious example of what can go wrong.

A few months ago, someone noted in the comments that they hadn't heard about the Therac-25 incident. I was surprised, and went off to do an informal survey of developers I know, only to discover that only about half of them knew what it was without searching for it.
I think it's important that everyone in our industry know about this incident, and upon digging into the details I was stunned by how much of a WTF there was.
Today's article is not fun, or funny. It describes incidents of death and maiming caused by faulty software engineering processes. If that's not what you want today, grab a random article from our archive, instead.

When you're strapping a patient to an electron gun capable of delivering a 25MeV particle beam, following procedure is vitally important. The technician operating the Therac-25 radiotherapy machine at the East Texas Cancer Center (ETCC) had been running this machine, and those like it, long enough that she had the routine down.

Best Of 2021: Worlds Collide

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As we take inventory of the past year, let's look back on one way people track history. --Remy


George had gotten a new job as a contractor at a medium-sized book distributor. He arrived nice and early on Day 1, enthusiastic about a fresh start in a new industry.

Best of 2021: It's a Gift

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Per tradition, we're taking the week before the new year as a chance to review some of our favorites from this year. We open with this one from way back in January. Consider it… a gift.

Tyra was standing around the coffee maker with her co-workers when their phones all dinged with an email from management.

Edgar is no longer employed at Initech. If you see him on the property, for any reason, please alert security.