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.

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.

Shiny Side Up

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It feels as though disc-based media have always been with us, but the 1990s were when researchers first began harvesting these iridescent creatures from the wild in earnest, pressing data upon them to create the beast known as CD-ROM. Click-and-point adventure games, encyclopedias, choppy full-motion video ... in some cases, ambition far outweighed capability. Advances in technology made the media cheaper and more accessible, often for the worst. There are some US households that still burn America Online 7.0 CDs for fuel.

Why Medical Insurance Is So Expensive

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VA One AE Preliminary Project Timeline 2001-02

At the end of 2016, Ian S. accepted a contract position at a large medical conglomerate. He was joining a team of 6 developers on a project to automate what was normally a 10,000-hour manual process of cross-checking spreadsheets and data files. The end result would be a Django server offering a RESTful API and MySQL backend.

Titration Frustration

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From submitter Christoph comes a function that makes your average regex seem not all that bad, actually:

According to "What is a Titration?" we learn that "a titration is a technique where a solution of known concentration is used to determine the concentration of an unknown solution." Since this is an often needed calculation in a laboratory, we can write a program to solve this problem for us.

Part of the solver is a formula parser, which needs to accept variable names (either lower or upper case letters), decimal numbers, and any of '+-*/^()' for mathematical operators. Presented here is the part of the code for the solveTitration() function that deals with parsing of the formula. Try to read it in an 80 chars/line window. Once with wrapping enabled, and once with wrapping disabled and horizontal scrolling. Enjoy!

An Array of WHY

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Medieval labyrinth

Reader Jeremy sends us this baffling JavaScript: "Nobody on the team knows how it came to be. We think all 'they' wanted was a sequence of numbers starting at 1, but you wouldn't really know that from the code."

Jumped The Gun

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1904 Olympic sprint

Sheldon was a support engineer at Generic Media Co. In his 6 years with the company, he'd enjoyed working for several great managers—but then came the reorg. Once the dust cleared, he found himself in the wrong department, reporting to one of the most loathed individuals in the entire organization.

10001 Problems

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A rat leaving a ship via the mooring rope, thus spreading th Wellcome V0010685

Our Anonymous submitter's first job was helping to support a distributed system running in a low-energy embedded platform. Interesting on its face, the platform was actually a bloated, outdated monstrosity made worse by the decision to use C++ in conjunction with a homemade (read: unsafe) binary data format.

RAM On Through

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The company Tomasz worked for launched a new device line with more RAM than the previous generation. This was supposed to put an end to the sort of memory shortages common to embedded systems. However, it wasn't long before they began hearing from clients whose systems crashed whenever they attempted to upgrade the accompanying software package.