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Things have been a little too quiet on my side here, so its time for an exciting new series:
practiseSafeHex's new life as a manager.
Episode 1: Dealing with the new backend team
It's great to be back folks. Since our last series where we delved into the mind numbing idiocy of former colleagues, a lot has changed. I've moved to a new company and taken a step up as a Dev manager / Tech lead. Now I know what you are all thinking, sounds more dull and boring right? Well it wouldn't be a practiseSafeHex series if we weren't ...
DEALING! ... WITH! ... IDIOTS!
Bingo! so lets jump right in and kick us off with a good one.
So for the past few months i've been on an on-boarding / fact finding / figuring out this shit-storm, mission to understand more about what it is i'm suppose to do and how to do it. Last week, as part of this, I had the esteemed pleasure of meeting face to face with the remote backend team i've been working with. Lets rattle off a few facts to catch us all up:
- 8 hour time difference to me
- No documentation other than a non-maintained swagger doc
- Swagger is reporting errors and several of the input models are just `Type: String`
- The one model that seems accurate, has every property listed as optional, including what must be the primary key
- Properties go missing and get removed at the drop of a hat and we are never told.
- First email I sent them took 27 days to reply, my response to that hasn't been answered so far 31 days later (new record! way to go team, I knew we could do it!!!)
- I deal directly with 2 of them, the manager and the tech lead. Based on how things have gone so far, i've nick named them:
So lets look at some example of their work:
- I was trying to test the new backend, I saw no data in QA. They said it wouldn't show up until mid day their time, which is middle of the night for us. I said we need data in our timezone and I was told: a) "You don't understand how big this system is" (which is their new catch phrase) b) "Your timezone is not my concern"
- The whole org started testing 2 days later. The next day a member from each team was on a call and I was asked to give an update of how the testing was going on the mobile side. I said I was completely blocked because I can't get test data. Backend were asked to respond. They acknowledged they were aware, but that mobile don't understand how big the system is, and that the mobile team need to come up with ideas for the backend team, as to how mobile can test it. I said we can't do anything without test data, they said ... can you guess what? ... correct "you don't understand how big the system is"
- We eventually got something going and I noticed that only 1 of the 5 API changes due on their side was done. Opened tickets. 2 days later asked them for progress and was told that "new findings" always go to the bottom of the backlog, and they are busy with other things. I said these were suppose to be done days ago. They said you can't give us 2 days notice and expect everything done. I said the original ticket was opened a month a go *sends link* ......... *long silence* ...... "ok, but you don't understand how big the system is, this is a lot of work"
- We were on a call. Product was asking the backend manager (aka "Ass") a question about a slight upgrade to the new feature. While trying to talk, the tech lead (aka "Hole") kept cutting everyone off by saying loudly "but thats not in scope". The question was "is this possible in the future" and "how long would it take", coming from management and product development. Hole just kept saying "its not in scope", until he was told to be quiet by several people.
- An API was sending down JSON with a string containing a message for the user with 2 bits of data inside it. We asked for one of those pieces to also come down as a property as the string can change and we needed it client side. We got that. A few days later we found an edge case and asked for the second piece of data to be a property too. Now keep in mind, they clearly already have access to them in order to make the string. We were told "If you keep requesting changes like this, you are going to delay the release of the backend by up to 2 weeks"
Yes folks, there you have it, the most minuscule JSON modifications, can delay your release by up to 2 weeks ........ maybe I should just tell product, that they don't understand how big the app is, and claim we can't build it on our side? Seems to work for them
Thats all the time we have for today,
Tune in for more, where we'll be looking into such topics as:
- If god himself was an iOS developer ... not
- Why automate when you can spend all day doing it by hand
- Its more time-efficient to just give everything a story point of 5
- Why waste time replying to emails ... when you can do nothing instead
See you all next week,
Welcome back to practiseSafeHex's new life as a manager.
Episode 2: Why automate when you can spend all day doing it by hand
This is a particularly special episode for me, as these problems are taking up so much of my time with non-sensical bullshit, that i'm delayed with everything else. Some badly require tooling or new products. Some are just unnecessary processes or annoyances that should not need to be handled by another human. So lets jump right in, in no particular order:
- Jira ... nuff said? not quite because somehow some blue moon, planets aligning, act of god style set of circumstances lined up to allow this team to somehow make Jira worse. On one hand we have a gigantic Jira project containing 7 separate sub teams, a million different labels / epics and 4.2 million possible assignees, all making sure the loading page takes as long as possible to open. But the new country we've added support for in the app gets a separate project. So we have product, backend, mobile, design, management etc on one, and mobile-country2 on another. This delightfully means a lot of duplication and copy pasting from one to the other, for literally no reason what so ever.
- Everything on Jira is found through a label. Every time something happens, a new one is created. So I need to check for "iOS", "Android", "iOS-country2", "Android-country2", "mobile-<feature>", "mobile-<feature>-issues", "mobile-<feature>-prod-issues", "mobile-<feature>-existing-issues" and "<project>-July31" ... why July31? Because some fucking moron decided to do a round of testing, and tag all the issues with the current date (despite the fact Jira does that anyway), which somehow still gets used from time to time because nobody pays attention to what they are doing. This means creating and modifying filters on a daily basis ... after spending time trying to figure out what its not in the first one.
- One of my favourite morning rituals I like to call "Jira dumpster diving". This involves me removing all the filters and reading all the tickets. Why would I do such a thing? oh remember the 9000 labels I mentioned earlier? right well its very likely that they actually won't use any of them ... or the wrong ones ... or assign to the wrong person, so I have to go find them and fix them. If I don't, i'll get yelled at, because clearly it's my fault.
- Moving on from Jira. As some of you might have seen in your companies, if you use things like TestFlight, HockeyApp, AppCenter, BuddyBuild etc. that when you release a new app version for testing, each version comes with an automated change-log, listing ticket numbers addressed ...... yeah we don't do that. No we use this shitty service, which is effectively an FTP server and a webpage, that only allows you to host the new versions. Sending out those emails is all manual ... distribution groups?? ... whats that?
- Moving back to Jira. Can't even automate the changelog with a script, because I can't even make sense of the tickets, in order to translate that to a script.
- Moving on from Jira. Me and one of the remote testers play this great game I like to call "tag team ticketing". It's so much fun. Right heres how to play, you'll need a QA and a PM.
*QA creates a ticket, and puts nothing of any use inside it, and assigns to the PM.
*PM fires it back asking for clarification.
*QA adds in what he feels is clarification (hes wrong) and assigns it back to the PM.
*PM sends detailed instructions, with examples as to what is needed and assigns it back.
*QA adds 1 of the 3 things required and assigns it back.
*PM assigns it back saying the one thing added is from the wrong day, and reminds him about the other 2 items.
*QA adds some random piece of unrelated info to the ticket instead, forgetting about the 3 things and assigns it back.
and you just continue doing this for the whole dev / release cycle hahaha. Oh you guys have no idea how much fun it is, seriously give it a go, you'll thank me later ... or kill yourselves, each to their own.
- Moving back to Jira. I decided to take an action of creating a new project for my team (the mobile team) and set it up the way we want and just ignore everything going on around us. Use proper automation, and a kanban board. Maybe only give product a slack bot interface that won't allow them to create a ticket without what we need etc. Spent 25 minutes looking for the "create new project" button before finding the link which says I need to open a ticket with support and wait ... 5 ... fucking ... long ... painful ... unnecessary ... business days.
... Heres hoping my head continues to not have a bullet hole in it by then.
Id love to talk more, but those filters ain't gonna fix themselves. So we'll have to leave it here for today. Tune in again for another episode soon.
And remember to always practiseSafeHex14
So i've been put in charge of bringing the devs together to form a small dev team, instead of having 3 separate devs (including me) sitting apart on separate projects. The idea was to have us talk more, work together more, learn more about the other projects, reuse more code etc.
(I've been arguing to let us do this for a while)
So I asked my manager could we move to the 4 desks in the corner, so we can have our own space, talk without having to book a meeting room each time etc. Its also a bit quieter over there and we all really need that in our noisy office.
Manager sent me an IM today while I was working from home to tell me we can have the desks. Was super happy, messaged the devs to tell them they can start moving.
Just got a message from one of them to say our manager has started moving his stuff over too. Seems he agreed with me that it is quieter over there and he doesn't like the noise either ... so he's joining us.
A huge part of the move was us wanting to work on side projects to automate and speed up various things in the team, that he has been against. We know we can make huge improvements but he doesn't see it. He's only interested in Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
So now we have our space, and anytime we try to work on something we are actually interested in, we'll have a little voice in the corner to pop up and point out what other things he deems more important and tell us to stop wasting our time.
Pretty fucking annoyed to be so happy and then get shot down like that. Happy weekend everyone!!9
1. Just because it sounds cool doesn't mean it is.
2. Automate all the things. If you can see everything from cli all the better.
3. If it isn't commited and pushed, it doesn't exist or won't after a hard drive burnout
4. Everything on your workstation should be quickly reproduceable or in a git repo.
5. Murphy is a bitch3
I recently joined this big MNC after shutting down my own startup. I was trying to automate their build process properly. They were currently using grunt and I favor gulp, so I offered to replace the build process with gulp and manage it properly.
I was almost done with it in development environment and QA was being done for production.
In the meantime I was trying to fix some random bug in a chrome extension backend. I pushed some minor changes to production which was not going to affect the main site. That was in the afternoon.
This Friday my senior rushed to me. It was like he ran six floors to reach me. He asked, did you push the new build system to production, I refused. He then went to the computer nearby and opened the code.
It was Friday and I was about to leave. But being a good developer, I asked what's the problem. He told me that one complete module is down and the developers responsible for them left for the day already and are unreachable.
I worked on that module multiple times last month, so I offered my help. He agreed and we get to work.
The problem was in the Angular front end. So we immediately knew that the build process is screwed. I accidentally kept the gulp process open for anyone, so I immediately rebuilt using grunt and deployed again, but to no success.
Then I carefully analyzed all the commits to the module to find out that I was the one who pushed the change last. That was the chrome extention. I quickly reverted the changes and deployed and the module was live again. The senior asked, how did you do that? I told the truth.
He was surprised that how come that change affect the complete site too. We identified it after an hour. It was the grunt task which includes all the files from that particular module, including chrome extension in the build process.
He mailed the QA team to put Gulp in increased priority and approved the more structural changes, including more scrutiny before deployment and backup builds.
The module was down for more than 5 hours and we got to know only after the client used it for their own process. I was supposed to be fired for this. But instead everyone appreciated my efforts to fix things.
I guess I am in a good company 😉4
The state of the web in 2020:
discussion sites as a medium are dying. chalk that up to censorship.
reddit is an echochamber. twitter is mostly a marketing platform disguised as (anti)social media. instagram is a self promotion/wannabe eceleb site, and youtube is the new hollywood..quickly becoming irrelevant.
facebook is where I (dont) go to (totally not) ignore all the people important to me.
and email is where I go to send letters bordering on hatespeech to my various local and federal "representatives", in between borderline cyberbullying people stupid enough not to automate their spam marketing in 2020. or talking to left/right self-help grifters about the state of society.
in the grim dark future of 2020, the last bastion of intelligent conversation, free speech, and civility, the one shining icon of hope in a dark world..
is the comment section of pornhub videos where a women got stuck under a bed for the 50,000th time. And all I can think is "wow I never knew how easy it was to get trapped under a bed. They should look into fixing this safety hazard."
newsmedia has jumped so many sharks, the fonz now spins in his grave so fast we could hook him up to a generator. meanwhile people hide in their homes for a disease so deadly you have to be tested to know if you even have it.
while ever more car commercials
are released, set to somber but hopeful piano music to the tune of "in this time of social distancing its important to stay close even when we're apart."
Im beginning to think media has become a poison on society, both television and the internet, and like an ersatz cargo cultist worshipping the great-charles- manson-in-the-sky we should all take a page from the unabomber and smash our televisions with hammers before going outside and sawing down the telephone polls.
I jest of course. But there is no denying the inherent appeal of moving from the unsettling uncertainty of complex societies, driven by expertly manipulated fear cycles, to the beatitude-esque simplicty of pastoral protestant style living, sans witch burning and shoe buckles.
And against the reckoning of utopians who are still fresh from the womb as it were, wet behind the ears and smelling of their mother's pussy, I reject the notion that "up" is a synonym for "forward."
Were it the case, every drinking binge, followed by throwing up, would bring us, with each vomitting, one step closer to heaven. Rather the state of affairs is what it is, and what it is, like most of nature, is a cruel master and a harsh teacher. And while we may binge on digital delusions of grandeur and a greater society, rest easy in the nihilistic and sobering thought that we are little more than 200,000 year old cave men wielding magic bricks, and atomic bombs.
..where water flows more readily from metal tubes in our houses than it does from the nile. where food comes to our door at little more than our beck and call.
where we may bath, and sleep, and *shit*, cleanly, comfortably, and safely, wrapped in the (failing) bubble of delusion we all tenaciously grasp collectively, the thing we call "civilization".
an empire of needful things, wanton and fragile.
if we have not gone mad from boredom, I have no doubt we one day will.
it becomes more and more obvious to me every day, had war never existed, it would have been necessary for man to invent it just to have something to do, that didnt include farming, fucking, or building.
And so enters "political idealogy."
How would we ever have enemies if we were allowed to speak our piece instead of being given the means (and reflex dogwhistle training) to silence and destroy one another?
give a man a gun, he'll rob a bank. give a man a bank, he'll rob the world.
give him a media empire or a tech platform, and he'll lie about the theft and convince one half of millions of lemmings to hate all the other lemmings.11
The day I discovered Schrödinger's lesser known paradox of simultaneously being fired and not fired.
This isn't really much of a dev story, but I figured I'd share it anyway.
About two minutes into signing into all my stuff, I suddenly was kicked out of everything. I tried logging in a few more times, and then suddenly started getting the error, "Your account has been disabled for security reasons." I couldn't sign into chat, and co-workers confirmed that I was missing from the company directory. My manager didn't come in for another two hours, and we couldn't get anyone else to answer what the hell was going on. So I was kinda panicking.
Eventually, we found out from one of our coordinators that someone else with the same name as me was leaving the company, and they had deactivated the wrong person.
It ended up getting a lot better. They told me that it could take up to 48 hours to restore my access (it took longer), so I found stuff to do so I could maintain my paycheck. One of those things was assisting someone with data collection and processing, where I eventually said, "Dude, I could totally automate this," and now that's what I'm getting paid to do.1
How do I don’t over complicate things?
Background: I’m currently working for a game with some base project. It alr has pretty complicated ai and some other system.
Today, I was asked by boss to help him set up a test environment for testing taking damage of a character.
First I tried to read up how the battle system and ai works in the base project. Figured, it’s overkill for this testing purpose.
Then, tried to use some plugin to automate the ai and movement. Make the enemy follow the target and stuff.
Alr spending half day, then suddenly realised all I need is just to make one script that takes damage on collision.
Why am I still a programmer? 😭6
I've caught the efficiency bug.
I recently started a minimum wage job to get my life back in order after a failed 2 year project (post mortem: next time bring more cash for a longer runway)
I've noticed this thing I do at every job, where I see inefficiency and I think "how can I use technology to automate myself out of this job?"
My first ever application was in C++ for college (a BASIC interpreter) and it's been so long I've since forgotten the language.
But after a while every language starts to look like every other language, and you start to wonder if maybe the reason you never seriously went anywhere as a programmer was because you never really were cut out for it.
Code monkey, sure. Programmer? Dunno, maybe I just suffer from imposter syndrome.
So a few years back I worked at a retail chain. Nothing as big as walmart, but they have well over 10k store locations. They had two IBM handscanners per store, old grungy ugly things, and one of these machines would inevitably be broken, lost or in need of upgrade/replacement about once a year, per location. District manager, who I hit it off with, and made a point of building report with, told me they were paying something like $1500 a piece.
After a programming dry spell, I picked up 'coding' with MIT app inventor. Built a 'mostly complete' inventory management app over the course of a month, and waited for the right time.
The day of a big store audit, (and the day before a multi-regional meeting), I made sure I was in-store at the same time as my district manager, so he could 'stumble upon' me working, scanning in and pricing items into the app.
Naturally he asked about it, and I had the numbers, the print outs, and the app itself to show him. He seemed impressed by what amounted to a code monkeys 'non-code' solution for a problem they had.
Long story short, he does what I expected, runs it by the other regionals and middle executives at the meeting, and six months later they had invested in a full blown in house app, cutting IBM out of the mix I presume.
From what I understand they now use the app throughout the entire store chain.
So if you work at IBM, sorry, that contract you lost for handscanners at 10k+ stores? Yeah that was my fault (and MIT app inventor).
They say software is 'eating the world' but it really goes to show, for a lot of 'almost coders' and 'code monkeys' half our problem is dealing with setup and platform boilerplate. I think in the future that a lot of jobs are either going to be created or destroyed thanks to better 'low code' solutions, and it seems to be a big potential future market.
In the mean while I've realized, while working on side projects, that maybe I can do this after all, and taken up Kotlin. I want to do a couple of apps for efficiency and store tracking at my current employer to see if I'm capable and not just an mit app-inventor codemonkey after all.
I'm hoping, by demonstrating what I can do, I can use that as a springboard into an internal programming position at my current gig (which seems to be a company thats moving towards a more tech oriented approach to efficiency and management). Also watching money walk out the door due to inefficiency kinda pisses me off, and the thought of fixing those issues sounds really interesting. At the end of the day I just like learning new technologies, and maybe this is all just an excuse to pick up something new after spending so long on less serious work.
I still have a ways to go, but the prospect of working on B2B, and being able to offer technological solutions to common and recurring business needs excites the hell out of me..as cringy and over-repeated as that may sound.5
Tl;Dr - It started as an escape, carried on as fun, then as a way to be lazy, and finally as a way of life. Coding has defined and shaped my entire life from the age of nine.
When I was nine I was playing a game on my ZX spectrum and accidentally knocked the keyboard as I reached over to adjust my TV. Incredibly parts of it actually made a little sense to me and got my curiosity. I spent hours reading through that code, afraid to turn the Spectrum off in case I couldn't get back to it. Weeks later I got hold of a book of example code to copy out to do various things like making patterns on the screen. I was amazed by it. You told it what to do, and it did it! (don't you miss the days when coding worked like that?) I was bitten by the coding bug (excuse the pun) and I'd got it bad! I spent many late nights on that thing, escaping from a difficult home life. People (especially adults) were confusing, and in my experience unpredictable. When you did things wrong they shouted at you and threatened to take you away, or ignored you completely. Code never did that. If you did something wrong, it quietly let you know and often told you exactly what was wrong. It wasn't because of shifting expectations or a change of mood or anything like that. It was just clean logic, simple cause and effect.
I get my first computer a year later: an IBM XT that had been discarded by a company and was fitted with a key on the side to turn it on. With the impressive noise it made it really was like starting an engine. Whole most kids would have played with the games, I spent my time playing with batch scripts and writing very simple text adventures. And discovering what "format c:" does. With some abuse and threatened violence I managed to get windows running on it. Windows 2.1 I think it was.
At 12 I got a Gateway 75 running Windows 95. Over the next few years I do covered many amazing games: ROTT, Doom, Hexen, and so on. Aside from the games themselves, I was fascinated by the way computers could be linked together to play together (this was still early days for the Web and computers networked in a home was very unusual). I also got into making levels for Doom, Heretic, and years later Duke Nukem 3D (pretty sure it was heretic; all I remember is the nightmare of trying to write levels entirely by code!). I enjoyed re-scripting some of the weapons and monsters to behave differently. About this time I also got into HTML (I still call this coding, but not programming), C, and java. I had trouble with C as none of the examples and tutorial code seemed to run properly under a Windows environment. Similar for my very short stint with assembly. At some point I got a TI-83 programmable calculator and started rewriting my old batch script games on it, including one "Gangster Lord" game that had the same mechanics as a lot of the Facebook games that appeared later (do things, earn money, spend money to buy stuff to do more things). Worried about upcoming exams, I also made a number of maths helper apps, including a quadratic equation solver that gave the steps, and a fake calculator reset to smuggle them into my exams. When the day came I panicked and did a proper reset for fear of being caught.
At 18 I was convinced I was going to be a professional coder as I started a degree in Computer Science. Three months later I dropped out after a bunch of lectures teaching what input and output devices were and realising we were only going to be taught Java and no C++. I started a job on the call centre of a big company, but was frustrated with many of the boring and repetitive tasks we had to do. So I put my previous knowledge to use, and quickly learned VBA to automate tasks. It wasn't long before I ended up promoted to Business Analyst where I worked on a great team building small systems in Office, SAS, and a few other tools.
I decided to retrain in psychology, so left the job I was in and started another degree. During my work and placements my skills came in use a number of times to simplify and automate tasks. I finished my degree, then took a job as a teaching assistant while I worked out what I wanted to do next and how to pay for it. Three years later I've ended up IT technican at the school, responsible for the website, teaching a number of Computing lessons each week, and unofficial co-coordinator for Computing as a subject. I also run a team of ten year old Digital Leaders who I am training in online safety and as technical experts; I am hoping to inspire them to a future in coding. In September I'll be starting teacher training with a view to becoming a Computing specialist teacher. Oh, and I'm currently doing a course in Android Development in my free time.
And this all started with an accidental knock on the keyboard of a ZX Spectrum.7
TL;DR; windows XP + bat scripts + fascination about being able to make things yourself.
I was born and raised in a village. And the thing about living in a village is that you are free :) Among all the other freedoms you are also free to build your own solutions to various domestic problems, i.e. to build stuff. This is one of the things that fascinates me about living outside the city.
When I finally was old enough (and had the means to, i.e. a computer) to understand that programming is something that allows you to build your own solutions to computer problems, it got to me.
With win 3.1 I was still too fresh and too young. With win 95 I was more interested in playing with neighbours outdoors. With win 98 I was a bit too busy at school. But with win XP the time had come. I started writing automation solutions for windows administration using .bat scripts (.vbs was and still is somewhat repelling to me). I no longer needed to browse Russian forums and torrent sites to find a solution to a problem I had! That was amazing!!! [esp. when my Russian was very weak].
That was the time when I built my first sort-of-malware - a bat script downloading and installing Radmin server, uploading computer's IP and admin credentials to my FTP.
I loved it!
However, I'd stumbled upon may obstacles when writing with batch. I googled a lot and most of the solutions I found were in bash (something related to Linux, which was a spooky mystery to me back then). Eventually, I got my courage together and installed ubuntu. Boy was I sorry... Nothing was working. I was unable to even boot the thing! Not to mention the GUI...
Years later I tried again with ubuntu [7.10 I think.. or 7.04] on my Pavilion. Took me a looooot of attempts but I got there. I could finally boot it. A couple of weeks later I managed to even start the GUI! I could finally learn bash and enjoy the spectacular Compiz effects (that cube was amazing).
I got into bash and Linux for the next several years. And then I thought to myself - wait, I'm writing scripts that automate other programs. Wouldn't it be cool I I could write my own programs that did exactly what I wanted and did not need automation? It definitely would! I could write a program that would make sound work (meaning no more ALSA/PA headaches!), make graphics work on my hardware, make my USB audio card to be set to primary once connected and all the other amazing things! No more automation -- just a single program or all of that!
little did the naive me knew :)
I started with python. I didn't like that syntax from the beginning :/ those indentations...
Then I tried java. Bucky (thenewboston), who likes tuna sandwiches, on my phone all the free time I had. I didn't learn anything :/ Even tried some java 101 e-book. Nothing helped until I decided to write some simple project (nothing fancy - just some calculations for a friend who was studying architecture).
I loved it! It sounds weird, but I found Swing amazing too. With that layout manager where you have to manually position all the components :)
and then things happened and I quit my med studies and switched to programming. Passed my school exams I was missing to enter the IT college and started inhaling every bit of info about IT I could get my hands on (incl outside the college ofc).
A few more stepping stones, a few more irrelevant jobs to pay my bills in the city, and I got to where I am now.6
finally got TI to cough up their SDK and I noticed there's no compiler or linker or anything. Turns out I need to use TASM.
...TASM is for MS-DOS or compatible. I'm on Linux.
Well, it went poorly, as usual, specifically like this:
- tried to automate building with DOSBox config and Python script: output binary always corrupted. Manually repeated, TASM mangles output on DOSBox every time. No PCem or 86box, and i'm on a Ryzen, so no KVM DOS. Out of luck there.
- TASM Linux build or wrapper? No build, but there is a wrapper! ...wait, it needs... 4 things written by random people to be made from source. I mean, that's not actually that bad... oh, after setting all of them up (and struggling through some autoconf/automake bullshit, one of the programs only had source for a 2.x kernel and autoconf/automake were not happy about it) it fails because one project's been worked on a lot more and dropped support for working with the other 3... goddammit.
- Community SDK? Several options for this... but all of them need .NET 2 to run on Win9x, don't work in Wine, or require... hey look, TASM! GODDAMMIT!
- DOS on a real machine? It's a massive bitch to shuttle files to and from a real DOS machine quickly and I can't take 30 minutes between builds that take me 4 minutes to change enough to need tested again.
why must i suffer like this23
Things I wish people had said at my first job (in light of lots of the people I see starting their first dev gig on here). Please add yours.
Take a breath, you will be fine.
If you get frustrated, take a moment to collect your thoughts.
Don't be afraid to say you don't know, you are not expected to know everything.
Your workday needs to end at a decent time. Don't overdo it or you will be useless for more of your hours.
Always take whatever length of time you think something will take and double it. If you think it will take 15 minutes, it'll probably take your 4 hours.
Concentrate on networking and personal relationships.
Pick the smartest people who have moved the most vertically and pay attention to what they say, they might know a lot.
When management makes an "unwise" or "crazy" decision, ask them why or what the context or motive is that made then arrive at that course of action. Some of them might surprise you in their bigger picture motives or dumbassedness.
Six sigma may be in your future, learn what it is.
Automate as much of your own job as possible.
Um, that's all I've got for now. Hopefully that's helpful to people just starting out. Feel free to add yours.5
After reaching the pinnacle of my latent burnout and mental overload lately I quit and managed to get paid leave for the rest of the notice period through hr as I told them I'm not able to work for them anymore and else had to go on sick leave. My brain just had to have a clean cut and blocked me from
getting into their overcomplex and shitty, unplanned projects as I see no value in doing anything for them anymore. I gave them all my access keys and a small handover, but it was clear that they would run into problems without me, cause I've been doing like 5 jobs there due to developer shortage. Now I still get requests from my manager even though I had an operation and spent last week in the hospital and am still recovering for the next two weeks. He's still trying to build pressure as if it was my fault that we never got time to document stuff properly and automate things that have to be automated. He ignored every recommendation I made in past to ensure that things keep running when I leave, as I always knew that I wouldn't do this shit for long. It was always more important to please bosses ever-changing requests and stupid whims as fast as possible at the cost of quality, pressuring us into putting projects live at 80% to meet random deadlines we had no say on. What a fucking asshole trying to put the responsibility on me now. Not my problem anymore. Have fun finding someone else taking over that shithole of an underengineered software-architecture. I'm out!1
A day in the life of @C0D4
Yay it's Tuesday.....
So morning goes something like coffee, yea no coffee no @C0D4, get to the office, get busy with normal morning routine - run the almost automated scripts I have to run - delete the 100+ emails I don't actually need from last night, read the 2 I do care about - yea 2 freakin emails out of 117 🤦♂️
But what ever that's what outlook rules are for... except I actually have to glimpse over them all just in case something of mine broke.
Go get another coffee,
Start working through the days tickets - ok cool nothing major to worry about, let's get back to writing tests from yesterday.
Well fuck that was a bad decision, no matter what I do this little fucker won't pass, yet doing this process step by step, detail for detail, it works - no issues, but automate this fucker and it screams its head off.
So fine, I give up and go to lunch,
Come back... spend next 3 hours on this 1 problem... 1 FREAKING problem 🤦♂️🥴🤦♂️🥴🤦♂️
This thing has beaten me, and for no apparent reason - it just doesn't like running under a test scenario.
Would have given up hours ago, except its a vital piece of code I'm trying to cover 😑 of course it is.
Well somewhere in there I managed to do a deployment for another project and change a few things in there.
This week is starting to look like hell,
Yay hump day tomorrow!!!!!
That's something, the week is coming to an end.... right? Please.... right!!!7
I decided to upgrade my intellij ultimate from 2019.3 to 2020.2 and I saw there is update button.
I clicked on it.
As I expected it didn’t work and it was 30 minutes waiting looking at progress bar going back and forth couple of times before I decided just to download latest version and drag and drop it to applications folder ( took me 5 minutes) - I use mac so it replaces all crap ( I think ).
I cleared the old cache that growed to 2 gigabytes leaving some configuration files.
Next as always crash on startup cause of incompatible plugins with long java stacktrace - at least I could click the close button or popup closed itself I can’t remember ( one version I remember this button couldn’t be clicked cause it was off the screen and you need to do some cheating to launch ide )
The font has changed and I see that it at least work a little faster - that is nice. Indexing is finally fixed after all those years - probably thanks to visual studio code intellisense pushing those lazy bastards to deal with this.
But the preloader on first logo disappears so I think they decided to remove it cause it’s so fast - no it loads the same time or maybe little longer when I launch it on my old macbook.
After that as always I looked at plugins to see if there’s something interesting, so to find ability to scroll over whole plugins I needed to click couple of times. I think they assume I remember all the nice plugins in their marketplace and I only type search.
Maybe I should be type of user who reads best 2020 plugins for your best ide crap articles filled with advertising or even waste more time to watch all of this great videos about ide ( are there any kind of this stuff ? )
After a few operations I unfortunately clicked apply instead of restart ide and it hanged up on uninstalling some plugin I’m no longer interested in for 5 minutes so I decided to use always working ‘kill -9’ from command line.
Launched again and this time success.
Fortunately indexing finished for this workspace and I can work.
I’m intellij ultimate subscriber for 7+ years and I see those craps are not changing from like forever.
What’s the point of automate something that you can’t regression test ?
I started thinking that now when most people are facebook wall scrolling zombies companies assume that when new software comes out everyone is installing it right away and if not they’re probably not our customers cause they’re dead.
What a surprise they have when I pay for another year I can only imagine ( to be fair probably they even don’t know who I am ).
Yeah for sure I am subscribed to newsletters and I have jetbrains as a start page cause I shit myself with money and have nothing better to do then be grupie ( is there corporate grupies already a big community? )
Well I am a guy who likes to spend some time when installing anything and especially software that is responsible for my main source of income and productivity speed up.
Anyway I decided to upgrade cause editing es7 and typescript got to be pain in the ass and I see it’s working fine now. I don’t know if I like the font but at least the editor it’s working the same or maybe faster then the original that is huge improvement as developers lose most of their time between keyboard and screen communication protocol.
I don’t write it to discourage intellij as it’s great independent ide that I love and support for such a long time but they should focus on code editor and developers efficiency not on things that doesn’t make sense.
Congratulations if you reached this point of this meaningless post.
Now I started thinking that maybe it’s working faster cause I removed 2 gigs of crap from it.
Well we’ll see.1
LinkedIn: Exploiting social psychology for fun and profit.
I was reading an excellent post by Kage about linkedin (you can find it and more here - https://devrant.com/users/Kage) a little while ago and it occurred to me the unique historic moment we are in. Never before have we been so connected in history. Never before have we had so great an opportunity to communicate with strangers (perhaps except for sketchy candy vans on college campuses, and tie dye wearing guys distributing slips of paper at concerts). And yet today, we are more atomized than ever before. In this unprecedented era of free information, and free communication, how can we make the most of our opportunities?
The great thing about linkedin is all the fawning morons who self select for it. They're on it. They're active, so you know they're either desperate attention hungry cock goblins,
self aggrandizing dicknosed cretins, desperate yeasty little strumpets, or a managerie of other forgetable fucking pawns,
willingly posting up their entire lives to be harvested and sold so someone can make 15 cents on a 2% higher ad conversion ratio for fucking cilas or beetus meds.
So what is a psychopathic autist asshole to do?
Ruthlessly exploit them by feeding them upvotes, hows-it-going-guys, and other little jolts of virtualized feel-good-chemical bullshit.
Remember the quickest way to network is for people to like you. And the quickest way to make people like you is either agree with them on everything, or be absolutely upfront with everything you disagree on.
Well, they'll love you, or hate you. But at least you'll be living rent free in their head. And that means they'll remember you when you call looking to network or get a referal.
Of course, in principle, this extends to any social media site. Why not facebook? Why not fucking *myspace*? Why not write a script in selenium to browse twitter all day, liking pictures of lattes and dogs posted by the lonely and social-approval-hungry devs working at places like google, twitter, faceborg, etc?
You could even extend this to non-job prospects. Want a quick fuck? Why, just script a swipe-right hack on tinder, or attach a big motherfucking robot arm to your phone, tapping and swiping for hours. Want to make a buck? Want not harvest data on ebay or amazon all god damn day and then run arbitration for 'wanted' classifieds on craiglist?
Why not automate all the things?
The world is at your fingertips, and you the power to automate it, while all the wall lickers and finger painters live oblivious to the opportunity they are surrounded with and blessed with daily.
Surely now that you know, it is your obligation, nay, your DUTY to show the way.
Now you are learned. Now you are prepared. Go forth and stroke the egos of disposable morons to bilk for future social favors while automating the world in ways never intended.3
I have been working with a colleague on a "off the books" project to improve an internal process. We chose a two prong attack to automate the process and started work.
All well and fine so far. We ended up implementing and proposing our new approach to management. The manager liked it and urged us to continue and do an official demo this Friday.
This is where thing became annoying. We started out with a complete idea to improve and simplify everyone's lives but now I find out that my part is being "put on hold for the moment" and his part is getting the go ahead. What doesn't make sense is that the individual parts aren't an improvement one without the other so overall things will become even more complicated in my opinion.
I know for a fact that the guy talked to management and then things suddenly changed, what I can't deduce for certain is if it is an act of betrayal or a senseless management decision. As far as I know the guy, he doesn't seem the type to casually back-stab but I've had prior experiences where the same impression was horribly wrong.
What do you guys think?
(i realize that there is nowhere near enough information to make even an educated guess on your part or even on my part so i'm going to let this come down to statistics. Based on the personal experience of everyone who reads this and decides to answer, the scales will tilt either in favor of mal-intent or just a bad decision making and at least i'll start to get an idea on how to react)3
Our owner's other company sells products online (or has the ability to anyways). Their current site is 7+ years old WordPress/Woocommerce and is seriously outdated because the site breaks if you update anything so we've been told to make a new site (finally). They also said they were going to release a whole new line up of products. So the first thing I tried to do was get them to nail down their product line and how shipping was going to be configured. I was told to just use the shipping from the previous site.
Turns out those shipping rates don't use any sort of math or automation at all, there is literally a manually set shipping value for every single product for every single shipping location (30*60) and even values for different quantities. And there's no way to export these rates into a readable table because the plugins they use shove all the data into the postmeta table, I'm forced to go through and put the data into a spreadsheet so that I can attempt to organize it and hopefully find someone way to automate it. Owner claims at one point that he has a similar spreadsheet that's more up to date but for some reason refuses to send it over or put me in touch with the right people in the shipping department.
I've gone through the shipping rates with the old products and the new products and organized them as best I can and each time I've gotten done and shown them the spreadsheet with their products and shipping, they add or change something which requires me to basically wipe the slate clean and start over eating another 50 or so hours of my time, which with everything else really means another month+ to find time to work on it between other projects.
After about a year they finished their products and I finally finished the planning and got approval to build it out for the site. Small victory!!
After about 60 hours plugging these values into the database (only about 1/3 done) I get an email from their head of shipping who tells me the values in my spreadsheet are "terribly inaccurate, in some areas by $100+" and that the data should not be used anywhere.
So after something like a year and a half and 200+ hours of work, the data I've been using to plan all this isn't even accurate. I'm trying not to go crazy here but this kind of shit is unacceptable. When we're done with this I'm going to send the owner an invoice to show him how much money he wasted on this because nothing was planned and he just wanted it built. There's a fucking process for a reason, when you don't follow the process you fuck everything up. If a client had pulled this shit and turned their simple site into this much work they would have been dropped. I get constant emails asking when the new site will be done and every time my answer is "I'm still waiting for x items that I asked for last time you asked where we were." He gets a couple things on the list and sends them back and then goes unresponsive for weeks at a time.
Management has been telling me that I seem more stressed lately but only one of them understands what's going on here when I explain it. The rest say stupid shit like "why don't you automate it" or "make an intern do it." You won't let me hire an intern and even if I did, I'm not sure I could explain how the shipping works now to even trust someone else to do it. I'm hoping when the shipping guy gives me the new sheet that maybe there's some easier solution here because I'm ready to start shooting people.2
Things I say to my clients when I know that a reboot is required to fix their issue but I don't have enough evidence to prove it to them :
"... On any computing platform, we noted that the only solution to infinite loops (and similar behaviors) under cooperative preemption is to reboot the machine. While you may scoff at this hack, researchers have shown that reboot (or in general, starting over some piece of software) can be a hugely useful tool in building robust systems.
Specifically, reboot is useful because it moves software back to a known and likely more tested state. Reboots also reclaim stale or leaked resources (e.g., memory) which may otherwise be hard to handle. Finally, reboots are easy to automate. For all of these reasons, it is not uncommon in large-scale cluster Internet services for system management software to periodically reboot sets of machines in order to reset them and thus obtain the advantages listed above.
Thus, when you indeed perform a reboot, you are not just enacting some ugly hack. Rather, you are using a time-tested approach to improving the behavior of a computer system."
I've started my business in amazon with dropshipping. And I'm using the dropshipping tool extension which simply makes .csv file with computed prices and things from the product search I've made in amazon. But still I have to check all the products one by one and delete the ones which are not eligible for selling. And it takes like 1 hours for 100-150 products and after that I only have 3 or 4 products left.
So I've made a program to automate this by taking the csv file and checking the products itself and deleting not eligible products . And now I'm thinking of selling it. Is it better to sell it with monthly plan like $4/month or to sell it for $50?2
I've been worrying about the following problem for months now and I don't find any solution. Maybe anybody of you can lead me the way.
We are developing a software suite which consists of a number of desktop applications:
* 12 applications written in C++; all over 20 years old; further development by 5 or 6 guys (one man armys) - mainly bugfixing, changes of law implementations, small features
* 2 applications we are currently writing in C#; completely new developments of existing C++ applications; scrum teams with at least 5 guys; this is, where we put our focus in
These applications (C++ and C#) are sharing some core assemblies and are interacting with each other. So they are not independent.
We organize them in a mono repository in one huge solution, which consists currently of about 500 projects.
* With all projects in one solution and through project references, Visual Studio takes care of the right build order
* Code navigation is superb - every single line of code is accessible - this makes refactoring easy
* Every developer can map the branch and build the whole suite locally
* Debugging on the local machine is easy
* DevOps pipeline is straight forward - it just have to build a single solution
* The huge solution is extremely slow.
* If you want to build the solution or you want to debug (which does essentially the same as a pre step) Visual Studio is building a lot of projects, although they haven't been changed. Their detection is buggy. So sometimes you wait 2 minutes until it starts the app. That slows us down a lot.
* Full builds need about an hour, because its building the same projects (even if they haven't been changed) over and over again (with ready made nuget packages this could be improved a lot I think)
* If a core team member changes some core apis, he is changing the calling code too, although he doesn't know the calling code, because another team has written it. I don't think, that's best practice and it doesn't scale.
* Often, a C# developer has to mess around with C++ building problems, because the C++ projects are in the same solution
* It gets more and more confusing and frustrating, because there is no clear organizational seperation between apps and nobody can't just focus on his app alone.
I was thinking about putting the whole framework and core projects in a new solution (around 100 projects). Then we could take all old C++ projects and put them also in a new solution (around 200 projects). This would leave the newer projects (new applications - C#) in the existing solution.
This should speed up things, and would be a first step to better seperation, BUT:
How should the integration process look like?
Scenario: Core team is changing an API in our framework
Current process: Because all projects are in the same solution, they change the calling code too. So it's immediately integrated and the app developers just have to do "get latest".
New process (?): Core team is providing the changes through a nuget package (new version). So does every developer now has to keep track of if there is a new package version and if yes, do the integration? And how can we coordinate the different teams, so they are upgrading all at the same time? Because we ship our applications as a suite, all apps has to use the same versions. Or should we automate the integration process? Is there a best practice?
I have to add, that our core team is making changes very frequently, so the integration process will have to happen often.
Thank you so much in advance!4
Fucking hate to explain basic shit to computer illiterate. Usually I don't mind, but right know I working on the project, want to automate one thing I need to do every morning, put two numbers to web page(I will explain details maybe in next rant). So I am only one who fix, buys computers, printer(for some problems I call for other repair man.). Generally speaking working as IT guy. Firm has like 50 computers, some of them has SCADA software. Some computers have Win 7, some win 8 and others win 10, can't upgrade those computers, not enough money(I can deal with this problem). And yes, computer buying is not the fastest, easiest thing too. Because is public firm, I need to do public buying(I don't know how to translate to english), and most of the time wins the lowest price, I am ok with that. But I can't on item specification write I want that model pc or it components. Example: I can't write I want intel processor, however I can write number of cores, frequency. But it's not that bad, usually i have template for all things I buy. One of the worst thing is this, our firm bought new bookkeeping software version, old version was using visual foxpro framework. Good thing I didn't initiate the purchase, because right know I would be jobless, not because I would be fired, but because our senior accountant would drive me crazy. In fact accountants drive me crazy, but I can handle it for now. As I wrote before our form has about 120 workers, major part of workers are old, like my parents age. (I am 28 btw. Mom is 55.). As you all know what happens if you say you work with computers. So our accountants are like 60 years old, got new program, don't know how to work with it, and they ask me how to do certain things. if I don't know how to I ask program's support, every question is like 90 Eur. So in short accountants expect I should know their work and how program works. If I try say something they don't like, they try to make my day hard. Next thing is our billing program. Man that worked before me done some payments import. And when I came everyone expect me to do that. Ok I did that because that people working with billing program would probably fuck it up. And I semi automated that, so I don't mind that much. Sometimes that program fucks up, like it happened yesterday, it send email invoices attachment without filename. Example: people got this attachment ".pdf"(no filename, only extension), And if you save it you need do OPEN WITH command and then select pdf reader or rename file (I don't know what easier). And surprise surprise our firm, customer support redirects all phone calls, emails to me. But I did explain to customer support what to say to people. Still they redirect it to me.
PS: This is my first job after school. I work as part time.
TL;DR Thinking my life, carrier choices. accountants are not the nicest people.4
What the hell am I!? I wonder if you guys can help me...
I've been programming most of my life but I've never actually been a developer by title or job role. I thought maybe if I list what I do and have done someone here could help? I'm sure there are more of you in a similar boat.
- C# and VB dev for some quick DBMS projects to help me understand and mine databases and create a nice simple view for project teams to show findings from the data to help make certain decisions.
- Automating a lot of my colleagues work with Python and if very restricted then just VBA macros in Excel and MSP. This did also include creating tools to gather data during workshops and converting the data for input into other systems.
- Brought Linux to the office with most team members now moving over to Linux with the peace of mind to know that though they do need to try solve their own problems, I can help if need be.
- Had to learn AWS and then implement an autoscaling and load balanced data center installation of a few Atlassian toolsets.
- Creating the architecture diagrams documentation needed for things like the above point.
- Having said that, also have ended up setting up all the Jira/Confluence etc. servers we use and have implemented so far whether cloud (Azure/AWS) or on prem and set up scripts to automate where possible.
- Implemented an automated workflow view in SharePoint based on SP list data and though in an ASPX page, primarily built in JS.
- Building test systems in PHP/JS with Laravel and Angular to help manage integration between systems. Having quite a time right looking into how to build middleware to connect between SOAP and REST API's, the trouble caused more by the systems and their reliance on frameworks we're trying to cut out of the picture.
- Working on BI and MI and training a team to help on the report creation so that I can do the fun creative stuff and then set them to work on the detail :)
Actually it seems safe to say that it seems that though I've finally moved into a dev office (beforehand being the only developer around) I seem to be the one they go to when a strategic solution is needed ASAP and the normal processes can't be followed (fun for someone with a CompSci degree and a number of project management courses under the belt... though I honestly do enjoy the challenges)
But I always end up Jack of all but master of, well hopefully some at least. let's not even get started on the tech related hobbies from circuit design and IoT to Andoid / iOS and game dev and enjoying a bit of pen testing to make sure we're all safe at work and at home.
As much as I don't like boxes, I'm interested to know if there is in fact a box for me? By the way, the above is just a snapshot of my last two years minus the project management work...2
when i found out on how to import modules instantly being able to deploy bugfixes and changes to multiple macro-dependent documents without copy-pasting the code to every single file manually.
We have an API and a lot of microservices based on that API. Additionally we have a store of protobuf-templates (files to automate serializing certain events etc).
Currently for each service we have the API with general stuff (connection stuff etc) and then copy the 5 or 6 proto-files we need for that service, they update sometimes, so does the API, for each service, two things that need to stay updated. Which option would seem more logical to you?
a) Integrate all proto files into the API. The services then only need to update the API but they also have access to many proto files they don't need for that service (which are required for other services however)
b) Keep them seperated and keep manually updating the proto-files for affected services
Disclaimer: our proto files are always backwards compatible by design, both the API and protofiles change fairly frequently.
1. Purpose: Being at the forefront of discovering how and helping to automate business processes in all domains and learn about "how things work"
2. Relative autonomy
3. Mastery (of languages, concepts, methods)
oh dear the stocktaking i did (maybe am still doing? don't know whether it's done yet🤷) with my dad for his little shop😩
his pc/office skills had begun with microsoft excel (he taught me how to use a pc all together) ... and have stopped there. Excel for almost everything. To be fair, he uses PCs like a normal user and isn't of that metier, ok fine🤷.
but when i saw the table he uses, which he copied over the years from the previous versions (still ok), i quickly found out that his table entries were written by him FOR HIM. it was very hard for me to help him (he tells me the article he sees in his storage, i have to include, so i look it up in the table and do stuff) as he had nicknames for his articles that only he associated with😐.
next he prints out a list a company has given to him where he buys some products from, which is ordered by id number ... my dad works with the correspnding names instead so of course all product names are random😑, so every time i need a price for an article he has to scan every list item. you've guessed it, n² search😪😒.
i tell him multiple times to call the company and send him a list in alphabetical order but he refuses as "we've almost finished" ... 🙄 (i'm not allowed to ask for him, as the company will only talk with the responsible one😑)
so I'm tied to a pc, talking to my dad over phone, who has to walk around and has to help me very often to find the article he's meaning to, at the end, do a n² search to add all the prices....😩
I absolutely want to help him automate things for sanity's sake🤔😅
install databases, connect via internet, connect to companies databases for up-to-date prices etc., make some desktop/web app/i don't know for fast access and boom...
and i don't even know where to start and where to find the time for it and whether it's even all possible😅🤔😐🤷
Since a friend of mine owns a domain for an open-source project and manages pretty much everything, including dealing with a db for registered accounts, I'm currently not really able to help when it comes to UI/UX things and frontend, besides the "main editor", which is like the core functionality of the project. I would like to set up smth like docker (on Windows 10 home, which is already not suitable, great start🤦) for some kind of pseudo-db all inclusive functionality thingy to be able to run a working example locally. Also a goal would be to switch to Typescript, include testing, to use webpack and to automate as much as possible.
Sad part is, I don't even know where to start and I'm also 100% sure that I will do almost everything wrong from research to implementation.😐1