How The Semester Ends

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Ginger recently finished an advanced degree, and during her work, she of course had to work as a TA for a number of classes. Computer science professors are, at least in theory, capable of programming, and thus can build automation around assignments- providing students with templates to highlight specific tools and techniques, or to automate the process of grading.

Dr. Buchler taught the computer graphics course, and the ultimate assignment was to build a simple 3D game. Buchler provided a pre-scaffolded project with a set of templates that could be filled in, so the students didn’t need to worry about a lot of the boilerplate. Beyond that, Buchler didn’t offer much guidance about how students should collaborate, so students did what came naturally: they set up git repos and shared code that way.


Assert Yourself

by in CodeSOD on

Chris V does compliance testing. This often means they trace through logic in code to ensure that very specific conditions about the code’s behavior and logic are met. This creates unusual situations, where they might have access to specific and relevant pieces of code, but not the entire codebase. If they spot something unusual, but not within the boundaries of their compliance tests, they just pass on by it.

One of the C++ code bases Chris had to go through featured this “defensive” pattern everywhere.


One Way to Solve a Bug

by in CodeSOD on

Startups go through a number of phases, and one specific phase is the transition from "just get it done and worry about the consequences tomorrow" into "wait, maybe if we actually did some planning and put some process around what we do, we won't constantly be one step behind the current disaster."

And that's when they start to hire people who have more management experience, but are also technical enough that they can contribute to the product directly. At BK's company, the latest hire in that category is Sylvester.


Watch the Skies!

by in Error'd on

"In light of the imminent UFO strike, I may need to reconsider my flight plans...or leaving my house in general," writes Pedro.


Overlapping Complexity

by in CodeSOD on

After his boss left the company, Joel C was promoted to team lead. This meant that Joel was not only responsible for their rather large production codebase, but also for interviewing new potential team members. There are a ton of coding questions that one can ask in a technical interview, and Joel figured he should ask one that they actually solve in their application: given two unordered sets of timestamps, calculate how much overlap (if any) is between the two series.

If you think about it for a minute, it's really quite simple: first, find the minimum and maximum values for each set to get the start and end times (e.g. [01:08:01,01:09:55] and [01:04:11,01:09:42]). Then, subtract the later start time (01:08:01) from the earlier end time (01:09:42) to get the overlap (01:09:42 - 01:08:01 = 00:01:41). A non-positive result would indicate there's no overlap (such as 12:00:04 - 13:11:43), and in that case, it should probably just be zero. Or, in a single line of code:


The Most Secure Option

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“The auditors have finished examining our codebase.”

That was how Randy’s boss started the meeting, and she delivered the line like a doctor who just got the tests back, and is trying to break the news gently.


Time Dilation

by in Representative Line on

A good variable name is clear and specific about what the variable does. But sometimes you can have a variable name that's perhaps a little too specific. Victoria found this representative line of Rust code:

let threeseconds = time::Duration::from_secs(60);

A Botched Escape

by in CodeSOD on

Nancy was recently handed a pile of "modern" PHP that weighs in at tens of thousands of lines of code.

This is how every query is executed:


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