Recent Feature Articles

Sep 2022

Model Years

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Caleb (previously) continues to work for a vehicle finance company. Most recnetly, he was working on a data ingestion application. Its job was to pull in a big ol' pile of CSVs from a mix of vendors and customers and feed it into a central database to keep things up to date.

"Application", however, is misleading. In reality, it was a suite of Access databases scattered around various network shares. Each represented a custom data loading pathway for a kind of data. It wasn't true that each was isolated from every other- frequently, the data flow would be "Open database \\fileserver\processing\vendor01.mdb, use the form to load the CSV file, then open \\fileserver\processing\process01.mdb, but only AFTER you've deleted the CSV file."

Version Numbers

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Initech was the big customer for Chops's company. And like a lot of big customers, they had requests and they had the weight to throw around to get their requests fulfilled. When they wanted a new feature, they got a new feature. When they found a bug, they got the patch ASAP.

No matter how special Initech thought they were, they were mostly requesting things that other customers wanted anyway, so it worked pretty well.

Not-so-Simple Network Management Protocol

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"Phillip, are you familiar with SNMP? Do you know Python?" asked Phillip's new boss.


Classic WTF: Security By Oblivity

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It's a holiday in the US, so once again, it's time to reach back into the archives. Two-Factor Authentication is pretty standard these days, but once upon a time, it felt far more cumbersome to use. This story from 2006 highlights some… unique solutions to the problem. Original --Remy

Laptops are blessing for many corporate workers: never before has it been so easy to bring work home and neglect one's family to get in a few extra hours of unpaid overtime. As eager as employees are to do this, the mean ole' folks in IT Security are not. They cite all these news stories about sensitive data being lost as a result of laptops and remote access, and say it's just not safe to bring the company work home.

Thankfully, the IT Security director at MK's company (a fairly large banking institution) knows that the ability to conveniently work remotely is much more important than working securely. Shortly after some mean ole' regulatory agency mandated that remote access is secured with a VPN that requires typing in a constantly changing passcode from a physical token, the director had just the solution for everyone ...