Jane Bailey

Jane Bailey is a self-published author of urban fantasy novels as well as a part-time blogger; in their day job, they're a renaissance person, dabbling in all sorts of fields in search of interesting puzzles and finding mostly WTFs.

Totally Up To Date

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NOAA Central Library Card Catalog 1

The year was 2015. Erik was working for LibCo, a company that offered management software for public libraries. The software managed inventory, customer tracking, fine calculations, and everything else the library needed to keep track of their books. This included, of course, a huge database with all book titles known to the entire library system.


Who Tests the Tester?

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Computer keyboard

The year was 2001: the year before many countries in the EU switched from using their national currency to the new euro. As part of the switch, many financial software packages had to be upgraded. Today's submitter, Salim, was hired as an IT support staffer in a medium-sized healthcare organization in the Netherlands. While Salim had a number of colleagues, they had to support a greater number of small satellite offices, and so on occasion any of them would be left to hold the main office alone. It just so happened that Salim's first solo day was the day they were testing the software upgrade, with the CFO himself executing the test.


Reinventing the Wheel

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Vigyan Ashram Chemistry Lab

There are often two types of software development departments mentioned: the kind where software is the product, and the kind where software enhances or sells the product. ChemCo is a third type: a physical chemistry lab, one with extensive customization of lab setups and computer-controlled devices that need to be programmed, as well as a need for statistics and simulations to handle the results. The team includes one C/LabVIEW magician, one Octave specialist, one Java developer, and one Python scripter. Therefore, most of the computer-controlled setups have LabVIEW GUIs and C DLLs for the logic, though some have Python over top of the DLLs instead.


Version Chaos

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Tangled power lines in Puerto Rico

Today's submitter, Erica, writes: Every time I tell this story to other developers they don't believe it, because this is quite possibly the dumbest way version control has ever been done.


Best of 2020: Web Server Installation

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While this year has felt endless, there are projects which will feel like they take forever. As we wrap up our tour of the best of 2020, let's visit an endless project. Original -- Remy

Connect the dots puzzle

Once upon a time, there lived a man named Eric. Eric was a programmer working for the online development team of a company called The Company. The Company produced Media; their headquarters were located on The Continent where Eric happily resided. Life was simple. Straightforward. Uncomplicated. Until one fateful day, The Company decided to outsource their infrastructure to The Service Provider on Another Continent for a series of complicated reasons that ultimately benefited The Budget.


Mandatory Confusion

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Mighty gnarled tree (Unsplash)

CorpCo was a small company; it consisted of Tymeria, the president, and two programmers, Kylie and Ronnie. Kylie had seniority, having been working there for 6 or 7 years, but Ronnie, our submitter, had been working there a hefty 4 years herself. The company purchased a legacy VB web app from a client company, AClientCompany; AClientCompany had been working on the app for 15 years, with their lead programmer Michelle as the sole programmer. The app had been written in classic ASP using VBScript, though at some point Michelle had begun converting the project to ASP.NET with VB.NET. (Did you know you can mix and match classic ASP with ASP.NET and classic VBScript with VB.NET in the same solution? I didn't!). Of course, the app was riddled with security vulnerabilities, copypasta, and spaghetti code. One main class, called DBFunctions.vb, was over 30,000 lines!


Sweet Release

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READ FASTER READ BETTER

Release Notes: October 31, 2019

  • Added auto-save feature every five minutes. Auto-saves can be found in C:\Users\[username]\Documents\TheApp\autosaves.
  • Added ability to format text with bold, underline, and italics.
  • Removed confusing About page. Terms and conditions can now be found under Help.

Web Server Installation

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Connect the dots puzzle

Once upon a time, there lived a man named Eric. Eric was a programmer working for the online development team of a company called The Company. The Company produced Media; their headquarters were located on The Continent where Eric happily resided. Life was simple. Straightforward. Uncomplicated. Until one fateful day, The Company decided to outsource their infrastructure to The Service Provider on Another Continent for a series of complicated reasons that ultimately benefited The Budget.


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