Hard Reboot

by in CodeSOD on

Every day in IT, each one of us walks the fine line between "brilliant" and "appalling." We come across things that make our jaws drop, and we're not sure whether we're amazed or horrified or both. Here's a PHP sample that Brett P. was lucky—or unlucky—enough to discover:


The Maybe Compiler

by in Error'd on

"Maybe it it compiled...maybe it didn't. I guess that I have to find out myself from here on out," wrote, Y. Diomidov.


The Smell-O-Vision

by in Feature Articles on

Ron used to work for a company which built “smell-o-visions”. These were customized systems running small form factor Windows PCs that operated smell pumps and fans using USB relays timed to a video to give a so-called “4D Experience.” Their product was gimmicky, and thus absolutely loved by marketing groups.

One such marketing group, whose client was a branch of the military, worked with them to create a gimmick to help with recruiting. A smell-o-vision was installed on a trailer and towed around the country, used to convince teenagers to join the service by making them smell fresh-squeezed orange juice while watching a seizure-inducing video with guns. The trailer was staffed by grunts, and these guys cycled through so frequently that they received little or no training on the system.

A vintage ad for a smell-o-vision film called 'Scent of Mystery'

Your Private Foursome

by in Bring Your Own Code on

Last week, I shared some code that, while imperfect, wasn’t that bad. I then issued a challenge: make it worse. Or better, if you really want. As many comments noted: one case covers only the first iteration of the loop, and one case only covers the last iteration of the loop. You could easily pull those out of the loop, and not need a for-case at all. Others noticed that this pattern looked like odd slices out of an identity matrix.

With that in mind, we got a few numpy, Matlab, or MatrixUtils based solutions generally were the “best” solutions to the problem: generate an identity matrix and take slices out of it. This is reasonable and fine. It makes perfect sense. Let’s see if we can avoid making sense.


The New Manager

by in Feature Articles on

Error Message Example vbs

She'd resisted the call for years. As a senior developer, Makoto knew how the story ended: one day, she'd be drafted into the ranks of the manager, forswearing her true love webdev. She knew she'd eventually succumb, but she'd expected to hold out for a few years before she had to decide if she were willing to change jobs to avoid management.


Documented Concerns

by in CodeSOD on

There’s a lot of debate about how much a developer should rely on comments. Clear code should, well, be clear, and thus not need comments. On the other hand, code that’s clear the minute you write it might not be as clear six months later when you forget what it was for. On the other, other hand, sometimes a crime has been committed and we need the comments for a confession.

Austin S confesses his crime.


Just Buttons

by in Error'd on

"What do you think the buttons do? If you thought the dialog was trying to help you log in or give an opportunity to send them an e-mail, instant message, or tweet pointing out how the buttons don't do anything, you might be mistaken," writes Alex M., "


A Naughty Bot

by in Feature Articles on

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As many of you know, outside of being a writer, I also work on open-source projects. The most famous of these is Sockbot, a chatbot platform that interfaces with various forum and message clients. If you're reading this, my boss didn't object to pointing out that my work has never made this particular mistake—but maybe we'd be more famous if we had.


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