What Happens in Massachusetts...

by in Error'd on

"I came across this while submitting to a background check for a new job," writes Jay S., "Good to know that felonious behavior in Boston is perfectly acceptable."

Interned Sort

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Caleb scored his first intership at a small, family-owned print-shop. Much to his surprise, the day before he started, their primary web-developer left for a bigger, more lucrative job. His predecssor was an experienced programmer, but came at solving problems in his own unique way. This meant no comments, no functions, no classes, SQL injection vulnerabilities everywere, and cryptic 500-character one-liners stuffed into the value attribute of an input tag.

Caleb spent his first day just trying to get the code running on his dev machine. On the second day, he sat down with a more experienced co-worker to try and understand some of the queries. For example, there was one query that needed to return product details sorted in some meaningful fashion- like by name. Weirdly, though, the page wasn’t sorting them by name, except when it was- no one who used the product search understood the sort order.

Twisted Branches

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David pulled his headphones off when he heard a loud harrumph behind him. One of his project managers loomed in the doorway, and had obviously been standing there for some time, trying to get David’s attention.

“You pulled from Staging-Core branch into the Version–2 branch and broke Liam’s changes,” the PM said.

See You Last Saturday

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One of the more difficult things for beginning programmers to pick up is computer-minded thinking. Sure, if you're reading this, it's probably easy for you to look at a system and plot out how to get the outputs you want in one area out of the information you have in another. For someone who's been programming for years, it's practically second nature. When mentoring interns or teaching beginners, however, it can readily become apparent just how strange this mindset can be to newcomers.

Mercy the Mercenary in… The App Store

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We return with the penultimate installment of the tale of Mercy, the Mercenary Developer. Last time, she implemented a countdown clock- but nobody told her what it was counting down to, because nobody knew.

It was standing-room only at Rockwood for Governor campaign headquarters. All the tables had been pushed to the walls or folded and stowed away; most of the chairs were stacked. Volunteers milled about, eating delivery pizza, wings, and (probably spiked) soda.

Paula Lives

by in Error'd on

"While poking around on my brand new Galaxy S7, I was tempted to pick one ringtone in particular," writes Ronon D..

Mysterious Mysteries of Strange Mystery

by in Coded Smorgasbord on

Code is a window into the programmer’s mind. Our thought processes are laid bare, exposed and cemented for all eternity in keywords and symbols. It’s left there, waiting for another programmer to come by and wonder: “What were they thinking?”

That’s exactly what “seebs” was wondering, when he found this PHP code.

Enterprise Automation

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Rex had just been hired on with a large retailer as a Puppet Automation Engineer, tasked with using Puppet Labs to automate deployments of some SAP-py, enterprisey software. He was paired up with another Puppet Automation Engineer, Alexi. Alexi was the expert, and he was in charge of automating the company’s Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) auditing.

Alexei was a firm believer that the Customer Is Always Wrong, and Alexei Knows Best. As a consequence, he thought that any requirements he didn’t like could be changed to arbitrary ones he did like. If the customer wanted a report that provided some summarized sales numbers for the year and he thought that was stupid, he’d instead give them a report showing their top product’s Line-Of-Code count divided by the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the month. If they wanted to slice-and-dice their customer database by demographics, he would code up a line graph relating the number of characters in their last name to the average nightly lows on their date of birth.

These are Sarbanes and Oxley, but you can imagine these are the characters of this story.