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Joined devRant on 3/18/2018
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Clients keep asking if our software will support XYZ format.
XYZ format is a proprietary format that we are not the proprietors of. Unfortunately, it has become something of a de-facto standard in our industry.
It is not practical to support the format because being able to figure it out is difficult, time consuming and not even a certainty. In fact while we have historically done so for previous versions, it has been upgraded several times so this becomes something of an arms race for us (whether intentional or not).
Responses from clients when we try to explain this vary, but a not insignificant number of them intimate that this is a failing or fault on our part.
It is pretty annoying, and considering the damage in perception it can do, is a pretty interesting and subtle form of economic moat I had not previously considered.14
I've worked at a small business for the last 10 years. We used to do all our IT provisioning services in house because originally you could count the number of employees on a mutilated hand. The nice thing about this was that we could get a new employee up and onboarded in a couple of hours.
In the last 6 months we've now moved to Microsoft stack for credentials and managed by a 3rd party provider because it's not worth our time. The problem is that 4 days in, our new employees still have no access to their email or the fileserver.
I've heard about the power of positive thinking so just wanted to celebrate how I've made it to big enterprise!
(Also Microsoft Teams is utterly horrific and IMO successful only because big enterprise organisations need to fulfil statutory compliance/accreditation requirements. It is the definition of economic rent seeking)2
The hotly debated topic that anybody can learn to code is always seems to devolve into a definitional or even epistemological argument to the point of being valueless. But I like to think about it like this:
Anybody can learn to code in the same way anybody can learn to drive. The most rudimentary of searches for 'dash cam fails' should provide some valuable context for the practical implications of this.7
Settle an argument for our development team. We have infrastructure to report crashes when they occur, via a simple online form submission. The form provides basic fields for a description and an email address, and also posts some basic telemetry (rebuilding what it can of call stack, variables etc). Currently the email address is optional (you can submit the form and leave it blank). The form is not mandatory (the user can hit 'send' to submit online, 'save' to save the crash report to transfer in other ways, or 'cancel' to just ignore it entirely (irregardless of their choice, depending on where the crash has occurred, they may be able to continue using the application or it might exit).
A suggestion has been put forward to make the email address mandatory. Surprisingly, this has kicked off an incredibly polarising debate, so I thought I would put it to devRant to see what is the consensus here.
I'm trying not to bias the discussion by stating with the considerations at play, but would encourage you to think about them before chiming in!4
Working with a developer from another company, nominally called Jo. I had a programming session with Jo today.
Sometimes it's hard to succinctly describe an individual developers level of aptitude in highly technical fields to outsiders because it often requires a lot of context relating to the problem being solved and their attempts to solve it.
In this case I think it could be pretty accurately summarised in this little anecdote: there was a 10 second pause in our work today while Jo was trying to figure out how to type '<'3
Was testing an editor for writing technical documentation. Asked their support:
Hey ___, am I right in thinking you can't paste images directly from clipboard into a document?
Couple of hours later:
Hi ___, yes, you can add images by uploading them: <url>
The URL they provide has no examples of being able to paste images directly from the clipboard. provides Trying to figure out if this is yes-but-no or no-but-yes.
Quotes are paraphrased (unless *) to protect the incompetent and stupid (or more the case: client and I'm reducing risk of exposure)
Situation: We have a program that opens sqlite database files. Occasionally new versions of the program needs to upgrade these files.
Program UI: To proceed you need to upgrade your database. It is recommended you backup your database before proceeding. Hit Yes to continue or No to abort.
Client: How do you back up a model once it has upgraded? If I hit No the program closes leaving me no option to backup the model.
Support: *The easiest way of backing up a model before upgrading is creating a copy of the file and keeping it in a separate folder*
Client: *Haha forgot about being able to do that outside of* <program name>
TL;DR: engineer in technical role who is probably getting paid $150k+ forgets it is possible to make a copy of a file.1
Open my Windows 10 laptop and the night light is still on from last night. It's 10am.
Go to night light settings and they're disabled.
Move on and keep working.
After an hour, had enough so google the problem. Looks like it's reasonably common and and there's a registry fix to enable the settings again.
Apply settings. Go to settings and they're all enabled!
However, they don't do anything anymore. Night light is still on.
Problem Night light settings widgets are disabled.
Solution: Enable night light widgets, but don't make them change night light5