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Error‘d: Legitimate Links

Swedish...Russian...English....same, difference! wrote Fred. Scott P. writes, I had 6 right and 5 wrong on this online quiz, but apparently I did better than that, getting 10 out of correct. I had to accept information while trying to modify a booking through the official Iberia Airlines app, Mario writes. Ben S. wrote, YouTube would like to... umm... do a sorta complicated thing, is that OK? So, do I follow the text box or do I follow th

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CodeSOD: Dashboard Confessional

Three years ago, this XKCD comic captured a lot of the problems we have with gathering requirements: Our users have no idea which kinds of problems are hard and which kinds are easy. This isn‘t just for advanced machine learning classification projects- I‘ve had users who assumed changing the color of an element on a page was hard (it wasn‘t), to users who assumed wiring up our in-house ERP to a purchased ERP was the simple

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CodeSOD: Abstract Test Case

A great many breakfast cereals promise some sort of health benefit. This brand is good for your heart, that brand has 11 essential vitamins and minerals. This one‘s got bran! Just because there‘s a promise of health benefits doesn‘t mean they actually exist- most of these cereals are lightly fluffed sugar held together with a smidge of starch. Object-oriented languages promise a lot of code-health benefits, and used properly,

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Error‘d: Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

After trying to close my steam support ticket, I got this, writes Joe, Now, Im not entirely sure. Hiram P. wrote, Oh man, listening to Artists 0, 1, and 2 really take me back! I was on the ASME.org login page where I guess Ill start over, but wait! its an endless loop! wrote John A. Cozzolino writes, Great, Trenitalia.com now provides puzzles to fill your time while waiting to get onto the train. The deal sure is tempting but I dont think

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The Official Software

At the very beginning of my career, I was a junior programmer on a team that developed software to control an electronics test station, used to diagnose problems with assorted components of jet fighters. Part of my job was the requisite grunt work of doing the build, which entailed a compile-script, and the very manual procedure of putting all the necessary stuff onto a boot-loader tape to be used to build the 24 inch distribution disk arrays.

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Error‘d: Sorry for the Inconvenience

Yeah, Im kinda sorry that I have to use Visual Studio too, wrote Kevin D. Turns out, the Office 365 Dev Center isnt as helpful as one would expect, wrote John A. Im not sure what I saved, but it sure feels good to be 18 more than average! writes Bob. Kevin M. wrote, Thanks, Verizon, for being incredibly precise! Now, if only there were some way to round numbers off... David E. writes, And just like that, our IT department becomes a treme

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CodeSOD: Too Salty

The first rule of building your own password storage mechanisms is don‘t. Like most other highly-specialized wheels, you aren‘t going to do as good a job as someone who specializes in it. It‘s bad enough when you write your own date mangling code, but for security-critical features, like passwords or encryption, you‘re begging for trouble. Joni spotted some trouble: many of the users in the database had the same password

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Error‘d: Please Leave a Message

So is this the email equivalent of one mans trash is another mans treasure? writes Allan. David C. wrote, I received this automated bill notification from Canada Posts online inbox service saying that, possibly, nobody wants me to pay them. Well, to be fair, the did say that using Mail Chimp makes it easy to send email, Jacob R. wrote. Here at M*******t we take your privacy seriously! James writes. Kurt W. writes, Its funny because email

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Sponsor Post: Hired: State of Contracting

Our sponsor, Hired, passed us off a report they just published: ‘The State of Contract Work‘. I said to myself, ‘Wait a second, I‘m a contractor!‘ Well, technically, I‘m more of a consultant or sometimes a trainer- one of those evil highly paid consultants who swing in, tell developers how to do their jobs, and leave behind nothing more than the smell of brimstone and invoices. The bad thing about this line o

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Representative Line: Refactoring the Conditional

Virginia N was trying to refactor some code, and that meant understanding where the value m_PSOC_SIG was used, and why. So, she did some searching, and found this line, which doesn‘t contain our value: ChangePosition(P,true,(bool)ar[6],(DateTime)ar[1],(DateTime)ar[5]); Now, you might be asking yourself, ‘what‘s the problem?‘ Well, let‘s put this into a little context. You‘re probably familiar with the ‘

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CodeSOD: RAM On Through

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 wasnt long before they began hearing from clients whose systems crashed whenever they attempted to upgrade the accompanying software package. The initial reports were met with surprise and skepticism, but the investigation soon led Tomasz and

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Error‘d: Choose Wisely

Im not sure how I can give feedback on this course, unless, figuring out this matrix is actually a final exam, wrote Mads. Brian W. writes, Sorry that youre not happy with our spam, but before you go...just one more. I was looking forward to getting this Gerber Dime, but I guess Ill have to wait till they port it to OS X, wrote Peter G. Deleting 7 MB frees up 6.66 GB? I smell a possible unholy alliance, Mike W. writes. Bill W. wrote, I wo

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News Roundup: EquiTF

We generally don‘t do news roundups when yet another major company gets hacked and leaks personally compromising data about the public. We know that ‘big company hacked‘ isn‘t news, it‘s a Tuesday. So the Equifax hack didn‘t seem like something worth spending any time to write an article about. But then new things kept coming out. It got worse. And worse. And worse. It‘s like if a dumpster caught on fir

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CodeSOD: The Anty Pattern

An anti-pattern that shows up from time to time here is the old ‘our IDE‘s build output is mapped to a network drive on the web server‘, but ‘Drummer‘ shows us a novel new variation on that theme. It all started when a co-worker asked them, ‘how do I change the compiler version?‘ The code was built using Ant, so ‘Drummer‘ opened the build file and searched through it for a javac element- the

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CodeSOD: We Know How This Works

One of the selling points of a language like Java is that it comes with a rich standard library of useful classes. This allows developers to completely ignore those useful features, and instead reinvent the wheel badly. Once this novel square wheel has come off the assembly line, it becomes the defacto standard for the organization. Take, for example, Caiwan‘s office. They have a special date-handling library. public class DateUtil {

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CodeSOD: An Exception to the Rule

‘Throw typed exceptions,‘ is generically good advice in a strongly typed language, like Java. It shouldn‘t be followed thoughtlessly, but it‘s a good rule of thumb. Some people may need a little more on the point, though. Alexander L sends us this code: public boolean isCheckStarted (final String nr) throws CommonException { final BigDecimal sqlCheckStarted = executeDBBigDecimalQueryFirstResult ( Query.CHECKS

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The Porpoise of Comment Easter Eggs

Todays submitter writes: I wonder how many developers out there have managed, intentionally or otherwise, to have a comment Easter egg go viral within a project. It seems in the late 90s he was working on a project codenamed Dolphin. This wasnt the GameCube; it was an ASP/VB6 N-Tier system, also known as way less fun. One of the first phases of the project involved a few web-based forms. The architects provided them with some simple standard t

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CodeSOD: A Case of Bad Timing

Although Ive retired from full time work, I still consult for lots of small mom-n-pop places. Mostly, its little scripts to automate doing this and that. Sometimes, the boss kid or nephew was asked to get ambitious and solve a problem. When the inevitable happens, they call me to bail them out. For the most part, its usually something like some file got moved/renamed/deleted. Sometimes, they got ambitious and attempted to write a batch file. T

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