Time To Transfer

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TN-wall-clock hg

When people think about government, they usually think about a President or Prime Minister, Senators, MPs, or what have you. But government isn't just a handful of people at the top of the food chain: there's government all the way down to the city level, quietly making the country run. Driver's licenses have to be issued, as do pet licenses. Buildings have to be inspected and certified. All those elevator certificates get printed up somewhere. Increasingly, these small functions are being computerized—in bits and pieces, in incompatible systems—and hooked up to the Internet.


An Emailed Condition

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For a change of pace, the code in this CodeSOD isn’t the real WTF. Our Anonymous submitter works for a company that handles meeting scheduling for corporate customers. This entails shipping off loads of HTML-emails, and that means using a relatively terrible WYSIWYG editor that generates code like this:

<p class="MsoNormal"><strong style="color: #003877;">Meals</strong></p>
<p class="MsoNoSpacing">
<span style="font-size:9.0pt;font-family:" verdana",sans-serif;="" mso-fareast-language:en-gb"="">
All breakfasts and lunches will be served in Food Capital on the ground floor of the hotel.
&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;
</span></p>
<p class="MsoNoSpacing"><span style="font-size:9.0pt;font-family:" verdana",sans-serif;="" mso-fareast-language:en-gb"="">
We look forward to hosting you for the following dinners:
<o:p></o:p></span></p>

Ride the URL Line

by in Error'd on

Michael R. wrote, "So, https://TfL.Gov.UK...does that bus go on the 'Information Superhighway'?"


Featurette: Hired!

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As you know, Hired has been sponsoring the site for the past few months. I went “behind the scenes” to have a brief chat with Michael Mitchell, a full stack web engineer focused on their “Candidate Experience” features.


Object Relational Mangling

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Writing quality database code is a challenge. Most of your commands need to be expressed in SQL, which is a mildly complicated language made more complicated by minor variations across databases. Result sets often have a poor mapping to our business logic’s abstractions, especially in object-oriented languages. Thus, we have Object-Relational-Mapping tools, like Microsoft’s EntityFramework.

With an ORM, you use an object-oriented approach to fetching your objects, and could write something like: IList<HJFRate> rates = db.HJFRates.where(rate=>rate.typeOfUse == typeOfUse) to return all the rows as objects. There’s no concern about SQL injections, no need to process the result set directly. While ORMs can generate poor SQL, or create really inefficient data-access patterns, their ease-of-use is a big selling point.


Cut Short

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Marcus worked on a small networking team responsible for keeping a series of UK-based garages interconnected with the world-wide web. Seymour, the Team Leader (in title only), knew far less about networking than Marcus, but that didn't stop him from acting like the big shot. Seymour was working a cash register at the original garage several years ago when the owner asked him, "You're a young guy, right? That means you know how the internet works. What can we do to make this place internet-friendly?" After taking a Networking 101 course, Seymour managed to get the garage online, then enabled it to monitor gas prices and perform credit card transactions. This made Seymour a hero to the owner, and earned him the title, "Networking Team Leader" before he even had a team.

Eventually the garage grew from a single location into a chain. When each new location opened, Seymour made it "internet-friendly", using the same techniques he learned at the original store, which usually involved sloppy cable runs and the cheapest router he could buy. When it came time to do more than just have the ISP arrive to show where Seymour to plug in the network cable, he was completely lost. Having multiple locations networked together was really advanced stuff, so he convinced the owner to hire some help.


Attack of the "i" Creatures

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Mrs S” works for a large software vendor. This vendor has a tendency to quickly increase staffing to hit arbitrary release targets, and thus relies heavily on contractors. Since they’re usually doing this during a time crunch, these contractors may have a… dubious skill set.

They also don’t care. There is no documentation, no tests, and no explanation. They are just paid tho write the code, not maintain it. They’ll be on another contract before long, so it’s some other schmuck’s problem.


D.O.A.

by in Error'd on

John A. writes, "Um, you know, I don't think this was a brilliant idead."


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