SkillsAsm86, VB, C#, SQL, Dataflex, Powerflex, JS, Delphi, Pascal, Lisp
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So the last 2 devs who I really looked up to and respected at my company peaced out within the last 2 months. So I began seriously chasing offers while the market was hot. The new bigwigs that were brought in at the company knew I was one of the biggest flight risks, so they threw more money at me without me asking for it.
I just got an offer from a company that I really like that matched the salary that I was bumped to - to them it exceeds my expectations because they did not know about this preemptive bump.
Best part is, I applied to this company on my own, the old fashioned way. No recruiter as my hype person or negotiator. I made a good impression on them myself.
No, wait, the real best part - they offered me a senior level role after seeing my code in a day-long working interview (virtual of course). I mean I had to do some shit with RabbitMQ, which I had heard about and seen in passing, but never worked with before, which to my own surprise, I got working in a matter of a few hours. Blows my mind that someone outside of my old company actually thinks I'm good.
No, wait, the REAL real best part: I've spent the last 4 years - a large majority of my professional career - at my current company. I experienced a lot of growth, but they shoehorned me into a development manager role, which bummed me out as i found myself getting farther and farther away from the code. I'm so excited to get a fresh start and go back to spotify + code for 10 hours a day.1
A couple of years ago I was working on a fairly large system with a complex (by necessity) access control architecture.
As is usually the case with those projects, it's awkward for developers to repro bugs that have to do with a user's accesses in production when we are not allowed to replicate production data in test, let alone locally.
We had a bug where I ended up making myself a new row in the production database for a thing I could have access to without affecting real data to repro it safely. I identified the bug so I could repro it in dev/test and removed the row and ensured everything worked normally, whew scary.
Have you ever walked into the office one day, and everyone is hunched over in a semicircle around one person's workstation, before one turns around to look at you and says - after a pause - "... ltlian?.."
Turns out I had basically "poisoned the well" with my dummy entity in a way where production now threw 500 for everyone BUT me who had transitive access to this post-non-entity. Due to the scope of the system, it had taken about a day for this to gradually propagate in terms of caching and eventual consistencies; new entities coming in was expected, but not that they disappear.
Luckily I had a decent track record for this to be a one-off. I sometimes think about how I would explain testing in prod and making it faceplant before going home for the day, other than "I assumed it would be fine". I would fire me.3
Me: code quality is important
Everyone: <no shit given>
Director: code quality is important
Everyone: yes, it is very important, hurray!
Fast forward few weeks/months...
Me: why this function accepts 14 arguments?
ShitDev: yhm, you know, we need to fix it... maybe
Me: why this exception is swallowed?
ShitDev: oh, really? yhm, yhm
Me: why this function is copy-pasted and repeated (20 LoCs)?
ShitDev: yeah, true, but we wanted to make it fast.
Me: Dear director, this project sux and its quality is shit.
Director: you're exaggerating, it can't be that bad, it works, right?
Me: <polishing CV>
ShitDev: got praised for delivery11
This Part 3 and finale of the tale of Mr DDTW, or the worst coworker I've ever had to deal with. I suggest you start from the beginning if you don't have the context, it's been a trip.
Part 1: https://devrant.com/rants/4210605
Part 2: https://devrant.com/rants/4220715
The problem with this man threatening to snitch on me to the professor if I didn't revert my commit was that he backed me into a corner. Letting him go at his pace with his quality standards would have ruined the project for the rest of us, and I'm not going to let three other people's grades suffer because one was lazy. I'm the PM, team lead, the guy who will ultimately be held responsible for this project succeeding or failing and the mediator of problems.
So I snitched first.
The professor knew us. He had an idea of how we worked as a team, who was enthusiastic about this subject, who was diligent, and who wasn't. It'd been half a semester and he wasn't stupid. I'd also taken the not-so-minor task of testing our software and handling all the little integration problems between components and between the professor's server. This had resulted in several calls between me and him because he'd been flying by the seat of his pants with some of the upgrades he'd been doing to the server code and as the fastest group we were the ones running into all the bugs on his end. And he'd also noted our prior complaint and seen the discrepancy in commits, author tags and hours logged. Mr DDTW had been graded significantly worse than the rest of us. So when I sent him a goddamn novel about our team's internal problems, the bomb was set. And so we get to the conference call, with everybody panicking and with no clue what any of this is about. Except me.
Dear god. That call was pure catharsis. Never have I seen a man get demolished so hard. Mr DDTW got a 45 minute LECTURE, a goddamn SMACKDOWN, about how he needs to take some responsibility for this team effort and that in the real world he'd have been fired. And the professor was so incredibly serene throughout! He could've blasted him with the rage of a thousand suns but he said it in such a way that Mr DDTW's only real responses were "yes", "I understand" and "I'm sorry". An entire semester of this useless fucking bitch being nothing but a leech on our team in three separate projects and he was finally getting SCHOOLED. And then, it gets even better. The professor asked how we could solve this problem, as Mr DDTW needs to do work to be graded but he can't hold us back.
I dropped a suggestion: As I had implemented the module in a way that worked, we could carry on using my version while Mr DDTW could work on a separate branch. Everything else was working reasonably well for an MVP, we just needed to improve and test now, so if Mr DDTW got it working we could merge it back into the main branch. This solved the team's problem of not being able to progress, it solved Mr DDTWs problem of not wanting to fail the course, and it solved my problem of not having to work with this shit-for-brains for the forseeable future. A weight was lifted off my shoulders. No more Mr DDTW. No more bitching and no more shitcode. A grating arsehole that had been bugging everyone all sememster put in his place and out of my hair.
On the way home from uni that day, I rang a friend and told him the entire story as I needed to get it off my chest. Every time I brought up a problem, an issue, a setback, an argument, he made a remark.
"Damn, if only he just... did the work."
Every time he said it it was in a slightly different way, but every time it made me laugh harder as he just didn't stop interrupting me with the same comment. If only he did the work. But the funniest part of all was how right he was. Mr DDTW had so many opportunities to just sit down, shut up, and do the work like the rest of us, but instead he decided to do fuck-all until he got flak for it and proceeded to dig his own grave. What sort of delusional entitlement, sheer incompetence or other dumbfuckery was he suffering from to make such terrible decisions? It's his last year of university and he still hadn't learned to just do the goddamn work (I would later find out that his friend had covered his shortcomings a lot and was apparently the reason why he hadn't flunked out of uni yet).
And so ends the story of Mr Didn't Do The Work the worst person I have ever had the displeasure of working with. We never did merge his branch as we ran out of time during testing. The professor passed him, possibly out of pity or just so that he wouldn't have to resit the course and burden some other poor sods. We weren't the top scorers this time, partially because of my shortcomings as PM but mostly because of the huge delays and manpower deficit, but we did well enough to pass the course with some very high grades. With one exception of course.5
Part 1: https://devrant.com/rants/4210605
So let's talk about these tasks we were assigned. Ms Reliable and Mr DDTW's friend who I just realized I haven't named yet were in charge of programming communications. Ms Enabler and Mr DDTW were in charge of creating the vehicle subclasses for the new variants we were instructed to build. Each one had to handle one variant, and we estimated that both of these would be about the same difficulty (Ms Enabler's one turned out to be a little harder).
I like Ms Enabler, and she's a good friend, although she isn't the best at problem solving and her strengths as a dev lie in her work ethic and the sheer amount of theory she knows and can apply. These just so happened to be the exact opposites of my strengths and weaknesses. Within a few days of having assigned the tasks, she came up to me asking for help, and I agreed. Over the following couple of weeks I'd put in quite a lot of hours reviewing the design with her, and we'd often end up pair programming. It was more work for me, but it was enjoyable and overall we were very efficient.
The other two girls in the group were also absolutely fine this sprint. They simply did the work they had to and let us know on time. Outside of some feedback, requests, bugfixes, and mediating disagreements, I didn't have to do anything with their tasks.
A week and half into the sprint and everybody else has their part almost in an MVP state. As Mr DDTW hadn't said or shown anything yet, I asked if he could push his stuff to the repo (he got stuck with this and needed help btw), and what does he have?
A piece of shit "go to this location" algorithm that did not work and was, once again, 150 lines of if statements. This would not have been such a massive deal if THE ENTIRE PREVIOUS SPRINT HAD BEEN DEDICATED TO MAKING THE CODE DO THIS IN A SENSIBLE WAY. Every single thing that this guy had written was already done. EVERY SINGLE THING. A single function call with the coordinates would let the vehicle do what he wrote but in a way THAT ACTUALLY WORKED AND MADE THE TINIEST BIT OF FUCKING SENSE. He had literally given so few shits about this entire goddamn project that he had absolutely zero clue about what we'd even done last sprint.
After letting this man civilly know through our group chat about his failures, giving him pointers on what's wrong and what he can use and telling him that he should fix it by the end of the week, his response?
That was it. Fuckass was starting to block us now, and this was the first sign of activity he's given since the sprint started. Ms Enabler had finished her work a fucking week ago, and she actually ASKED when she ran into trouble or thought that something could be improved. Mr DDTW? He never asked for shit, any clarification, any help, and I had let everybody know that I'm open. At least the other two who didn't ask for shit ACTUALLY DID SOMETHING. He'd been an useless sack of shit for half a semester in three separate projects and the one time he's been assigned something half important that would impact our grades he does this. I would not stand for it.
I let him know all this, still civil (so no insults) but much less kind, capped with "Stop fooling around. Finish this by the of the week." which probably came off as a threat but his shithead kinda had it coming.
He was actually mad. Dropped a huge faux-apologetic spiel in the chat. Why couldn't I just trust him (his code was garbage and he was constantly late without explanation), his work was almost done (it wasn't and if he'd started he'd understand the scope of what he was assigned), that the problem was that I'm a condescending piece of shit (bruh), and was suddenly very interested in doing work. Literally everybody ignored him. What was funny was seeing the first questions and requests for help after that spiel. I obliged and actually answered what he asked.
The end of the week came and went he'd just uploaded more garbage that didn't work. I had foreseen this and, on top of everything else, had been preparing his section of the work done by myself and properly. Thus came a single commit from me with a working version of the entire module, unblocking the entire team. I cannot imagine the sheer hatred for this man at that moment for the commit message to simply be:
And with that, all I got was a threat to report me to the professor for sabotaging his work. The following day our group got an email from the professor, with no explanation, asking for an almost-immediate video conference. Group chat was a shitshow of panic, as nobody knew what was going on. Least of all Mr DDTW.
Once again, I'm approaching the word limit so to be continued in part 3 (hopefully of 3)7
There was a time I made an update on one of our client's e-commerce website sign-up page. The update caused a bug that allowed new users to create an account without actually creating an account.
The code block meant to save user credentials (i.e email address and password) to the database was commented out for some reasons I still can't remember to this day. After registration new users had their session created just as normal but in reality they have no recorded account on the platform. This shit went on like this for a whole week affecting over 350 new customers before the devil sent me a DM.
I got a call from my boss on that weekend that some users who had made purchases recently can't access their account from a different device and cannot also update their password. Nobody likes duty calls on a weekend, I grudgingly and sluggishly opened up my PC to create a quick fix but when I saw what the problem was I shut down my PC immediately, I ran into the shower like I was being chased by a ghost, I kept screaming "what tha fuck! what tha fuck!!" cus I knew hell was about to break loose.
At that moment everything seemed off as if I could feel everything, I felt the water dripping down my spine, I could hear the tiniest of sound. I thought about the 350 new customers the client just lost, I imagined the raving anger on the face of my boss, I thought about how dumb my colleagues would think I was for such a stupid long running bug.
I wondered through all possible solutions that could save me from this embarrassment.
-- "If this shitty client would have just allowed us verify users email before usage things wouldn't have gotten to this extent"
-- "Should I call the customers to get their email address using their provided telephone?... No they'd think I'm a scammer"
-- "Should I tell my boss the database was hacked? Pffft hack my a**",
-- "Should I create a page for the affected users to re-verify their email address and password? No, some sessions may have expired"
-- "Or maybe this the best time to quit this f*ckn job!"
... Different thoughts from all four corners of the bathroom made it a really long bath. Finally, I decided it was best I told my boss what had happened. So I fixed the code, called my boss the next day and explained the situation on ground to him and yes he was furious. "What a silly mistake..!" he raged and raged. See me in my office by Monday.
That night felt longer than usual, I couldn't sleep properly. I felt pity for the client and I blamed it all on myself... yeah the "silly mistake", I could have been more careful.
Monday came boss wasn't at the office, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday not available. Next week he was around and when we both met the discussion was about a different project. I tried briefing him about last week incident, he seems not to recall and demands we focus on the current project.
However, over three hundred and fifty customers swept under the carpet courtesy of me. I still felt the guilt of that f*ck up till this day.1
Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves for a rant with a capital R, this is gonna be a long one.
Our story begins well over a year ago while I was still in university and things such as "professionalism" and "doing your job" are suggestions and not something you do to not get fired. We had multiple courses with large group projects that semester and the amount of reliable people I knew that weren't behind a year and in different courses was getting dangerously low. There were three of us who are friends (the other two henceforth known as Ms Reliable and the Enabler) and these projects were for five people minimum. The Enabler knew a couple of people who we could include, so we trusted her and we let them onto the multiple projects we had.
Oh boy, what a mistake that was. They were friends, a guy and a girl. The girl was a good dev, not someone I'd want to interact with out of work but she was fine, and a literal angel compared to the guy. Holy shit this guy. This guy, henceforth referred to as Mr DDTW, is a motherfucking embarrassment to devs everywhere. Lazy. Arrogant. Standards so low they're six feet under. Just to show you the sheer depth of this man's lack of fucks given, he would later reveal that he picked his thesis topic "because it's easy and I don't want to work too hard". I haven't even gotten into the meat of the rant yet and this dude is already raising my blood pressure.
I'll be focusing on one project in particular, a flying vehicle simulator, as this was the one that I was the most involved in and also the one where shit hit the fan hardest. It was a relatively simple-in-concept development project, but the workload was far too much for one person, meaning that we had to apply some rudimentary project management and coordination skills that we had learned to keep the project on track. I quickly became the de-facto PM as I had the best grasp on the project and was doing a lot of the heavy lifting.
The first incident happened while developing a navigation feature. Another teammate had done the basics, all he had to do was use the already-defined interfaces to check where the best place to land would be, taking into account if we had enough power to do so. Mr DDTW's code:
-Wasn't actually an algorithm, just 90 lines of if statements sandwiched between the other teammate's code.
-The if statements were so long that I had to horizontal scroll to see the end, approx 200 characters long per line.
-Could've probably been 20 normal-length lines MAX if he knew what a fucking for loop was.
-Checked about a third of the tiles that it should have because, once again, it's a series of concatenated if statements instead of an actual goddamn algorithm.
-IT DIDN'T FUCKING WORK!
My response was along the lines of "what the fuck is this?". This dipshit is in his final year and I've seen people write better code in their second semester. The rest of the team, his friend included, agreed that this was bad code and that it should be redone properly. The plan was for Mr DDTW to move his code into a new function and then fix it in another branch. Then we could merge it back when it was done. Well, he kept on saying it was done but:
-It still wasn't an algorithm.
-It was still 90 lines.
-They were still 200 characters wide.
-It still only checked a third of the tiles.
-IT STILL DIDN'T FUCKING WORK!
He also had one more task, an infinite loop detection system. He watched while Ms Reliable did the fucking work.
We hit our first of two deadlines successfully. We still didn't have a decent landing function but everything else was nice and polished, and we got graded incredibly well. The other projects had been going alright although the same issue of him not doing shit applied. Ms Reliable and I, seeing the shitstorm that would come if this dude didn't get his act together, lodged a complaint with the professor as a precautionary measure. Little did I know how much that advanced warning would save my ass later on.
Second sprint begins and I'm voted in as the actual PM this time. We have four main tasks, so we assign one person to each and me as a generalist who would take care of the minor tasks as well as help out whoever needed it. This ended up being a lot of reworking and re-abstracting, a lot of helping and, for reasons that nobody ever could have predicted, one of the main tasks.
These main tasks were new features that would need to be integrated, most of which had at least some mutual dependencies. Part of this project involved running our code, which would connect to the professor's test server and solve a server-side navigation problem. The more of these we solved, the better the grade, so understandably we needed an MVP to see if our shit worked on the basic problems and then fix whatever was causing the more advanced ones to fail. We decided to set an internal deadline for this MVP. Guess who didn't reach it?
Hitting the character limit, expect part 2 SOON7
Lads, I will be real with you: some of you show absolute contempt to the actual academic study of the field.
In a previous rant from another ranter it was thrown up and about the question for finding a binary search implementation.
Asking a senior in the field of software engineering and computer science such question should be a simple answer, specifically depending on the type of job application in question. Specially if you are applying as a SENIOR.
I am tired of this strange self-learner mentality that those that have a degree or a deep grasp of these fundamental concepts are somewhat beneath you because you learned to push out a website using the New Boston tutorials on youtube. FOR every field THAT MATTERS a license or degree is hold in high regards.
"Oh I didn't go to school, shit is for suckers, but I learned how to chop people up and kinda fix it from some tutorials on youtube" <---- try that for a medical position.
"Nah it's cool, I can fix your breaks, learned how to do it by reading blogs on the internet" <--- maintenance shop
"Sure can write the controller processing code for that boing plane! Just got done with a low level tutorial on some websites! what can go wrong!"
(The same goes for military devices which in the past have actually killed mfkers in the U.S)
Just recently a series of people were sent to jail because of a bug in software. Industries NEED to make sure a mfker has aaaall of the bells and whistles needed for running and creating software.
During my masters degree, it fucking FASCINATED me how many mfkers were absolutely completely NEW to the concept of testing code, some of them with years in the field.
And I know what you are thinking "fuck you, I am fucking awesome" <--- I AM SURE YOU BLOODY WELL ARE but we live in a planet with billions of people and millions of them have fallen through the cracks into software related positions as well as complete degrees, the degree at LEAST has a SPECTACULAR barrier of entry during that intro to Algos and DS that a lot of bitches fail.
NOTE: NOT knowing the ABSTRACTIONS over the tools that we use WILL eventually bite you in the ASS because you do not fucking KNOW how these are implemented internally.
Why do you think compiler designers, kernel designers and embedded developers make the BANK they made? Because they don't know memory efficient ways of deploying a product with minimal overhead without proper data structures and algorithmic thinking? NOT EVERYTHING IS SHITTY WEB DEVELOPMENT
SO, if a mfker talks shit about a so called SENIOR for not knowing that the first mamase mamasa bloody simple as shit algorithm THROWN at you in the first 10 pages of an algo and ds book, then y'all should be offended at the mkfer saying that he is a SENIOR, because these SENIORS are the same mfkers that try to at one point in time teach other people.
These SENIORS are the same mfkers that left me a FUCKING HORRIBLE AND USELESS MESS OF SPAGHETTI CODE
Specially to most PHP developers (my main area) y'all would have been well motherfucking served in learning how not to forLoop the fuck out of tables consisting of over 50k interconnected records, WHAT THE FUCK
"LeaRniNG tHiS iS noT neeDed!!" yes IT fucking IS
being able to code a binary search (in that example) from scratch lets me know fucking EXACTLY how well your thought process is when facing a hard challenge, knowing the basemotherfucking case of a LinkedList will damn well make you understand WHAT is going on with your abstractions as to not fucking violate memory constraints, this-shit-is-important.
So, will your royal majesties at least for the sake of completeness look into a couple of very well made youtube or book tutorials concerning the topic?
You can code an entire website, fine as shit, you will get tested by my ass in terms of security and best practices, run these questions now, and it very motherfucking well be as efficient as I think it should be(I HIRE, NOT YOU, or your fucking blog posts concerning how much MY degree was not needed, oh and btw, MY degree is what made sure I was able to make SUCH decissions)
This will make a loooooooot of mfkers salty, don't worry, I will still accept you as an interview candidate, but if you think you are good enough without a degree, or better than me (has happened, told that to my face by a candidate) then get fucking ready to receive a question concerning: BASIC FUCKING COMPUTER SCIENCE TOPICS
* gays away into the night44
Working from home has added 10 hours a week to my life from not having to commute to the office.10
I once worked until 8am to get a demo ready for a client of the client. I knew the client was a bit thick, so I made some comprehensive video demos and sent them over to him, to save him trying to demo it himself. I wake up at 11am with him screaming down the phone at me:
“It doesn’t work, none of it works!”
“What do you mean?”
“I go to login and I can’t enter anything.”
“I haven’t sent you anything to log into...wait, are you trying to log into a video? Tell me you’re not trying to log into a video of a login page.”
“Uh...oh hang on, it just worked. Ok no pr-“
“No wait, what do you mean it worked?”
“I logged in fine.”
“It’s a video. You can’t log into a video.”
“Uh...alright, bye mate, thanks!”
The moral of the story is: never assume any level of intelligence on the part of a client, even if they exhibit signs of it at first. If they are paying you they will forget how to tie their own shoelaces.17
I need a vacation.
I’m horribly depressed and burned out, every day for months has been a little harder than the last, and really doing anything at all is a monumental challenge, work or otherwise. Let alone working on the fucking screwdriver.
I told my boss last night and requested time off.
> Oh no, but the new screwdriver! We were all really really hoping to get it out by the end of the month!
I’m a crumpled wreck and all you care about is the fucking screwdriver that PRACTICALLY NOBODY WILL FUCKING USE? Seriously dude, go to hell.29
Dumbfuck Dev: DD
DD: *Dumbfuck question*
Me: I’m in a meeting, talk to you in an hour.
DD: But I’m an important ass dumbfuck and the world revolves around me so I’m going to continue talking as if you didn’t say anything.
Somewhere in the distant world, a volcano erupts.1
On my annoying radar today - devs who learn one language and then *insist* on using it for everything, even when it makes absolutely zero sense.
"Ooh I'd like to do some microcontroller development. But I only know Java. How do you run Java on a microcontroller?"
"...but I heard a talk where someone did it. Look, there's this microjava page. How do I use it?"
"It's an interesting technical demo, but that's it. Dude, just learn C. It's not hard, Java has C style syntax anyway and this way you can...."
"...but I only want to use modern programming languages. C is irrelevant these days, it's pointless me learning it."
"It's definitely still relevant if you want to program a microcontroller."
"...but I want to do that in Java."
What the fuck is wrong with all those chinks on alibaba? They post their product at $100 a piece then when you try buying from their store, all out of a sudden its $450 plus $600 shipping (for a 1.5kg box, mind you)
How the actual fuck can those morons assume someone is retarded enough to fall for that kind of shit? Are we all (westerners) so fucking dumb in their eyes?
I can buy that shit from a reputable brand like Samsung @ retail stores right here for less than what they try charging for their no-name garbage that at a closer look feels like it barely survived a fucking nuclear disaster and I don't even have to wait for 912375819 weeks for their army of starving slave kids to actually build the product, nor another 2-3 weeks for DHL to decide to bring it in, nor another 2-3 weeks for the parcel to clear customs (usually in one piece but hey sometimes accidents do happen, like an officer's drunken elephant trips and smashes through the whole fucking pallet) (sorry sir it was like that when it got here)12
I wrote a piece of code. A logic. My senior changed it. And.. I am glad she did.
My descriptive variables and her conditional breakup of logic made up for a very beautiful piece of code. Simple and elegant. So much so that it makes total sense without any need of a comment.
Never thought I would be loving a 5-lines code piece this much.
This is one of those days when collaboration happens for the betterment.
After a little bit, I land on their “Do not sell my data” page and discover that, not only does it have 175+ trackers,
it doesn’t even fucking work. Also, on the desktop version of the site, the very control allowing the user to opt out of having their data shared/sold doesn’t even render.
These are all absolutely inexcusable.22
I can agree to shit when presented with hardcore data, data that proves me otherwise. But when people go by opinions and then hold is a truth because of "many feel the same way" I cannot help but to giggle a bit.
Most issues I have found with programming stacks come from opinions rather than hard presented data, if a bunch of people dislike a tool, but it delivers, I get to differ two things: (1) it is bad but it performs as needed, but it is bad because of design problems etc, (2) some dude made a post concerning why he things is bad and sheep mentality follows.
If technologies were without merit, then we would have all discarded C++ a long time ago cuz Linus disliked it, a powerful programmer indeed, but a FOCUSED one, meaning, one that deals with 1 domain (kernel development)
Do I care about what Linus things about web development? No, lol, he is a better kernel developer than I am, but I highly, grossly doubt that he knows enough about web development to give me something to think about.
all languages have faults, regardless of what point of view we look at them, but completely disregarding a tech stack because of shit that you saw some fucktard wrote about, benefits and otherwise, just seems....well...sheepish, there might very well be a tech stack out there that covers everything, to me it is a mixture of things, and I use them as I please and feel like, but this is because after years of learning I have read about quirks and pitfalls and how to avoid them. I would suggest you all do the same, by you all I mean those of high opinions that can't be deflected.
This field is far too wide and concentrated to go head and think about absolutes when even the fundamental mathematical theory concerning computer science is not absolute whatsoever, it is akin to magic, shit works, but it might not, the incantation might be right, but circuits and electricity have a way of telling us to go fuck ourselves, so do architectures, specifically ones based on physics.3
Just right now:
Management: How's the feature going?
Me: The backend is done. Here's how the front end looks so far...
Management: What?! No! Where will they input the units? What about the input#2? and the graphs?! You were just not going to put that?
Me: ... this is how it's lookin so far. The deadline isn't until next week. I'm actually pretty ahead of schedule.
Management: But what about button #2 and #3? And input #4?
Me: Yes, it's all planned. It's not done yet. You asked me how I'm doing so far. Of course I haven't finished.8
Problem: Someone isn't receiving emails.
Me: Finds that someone else set up their account without an email address.
Me: Man what kinda person would let you turn on email alerts without a valid email address .....
Me: You know anyone could have made that mistake, I'll just fix it up right here ....
I have this little hobby project going on for a while now, and I thought it's worth sharing. Now at first blush this might seem like just another screenshot with neofetch.. but this thing has quite the story to tell. This laptop is no less than 17 years old.
So, a Compaq nx7010, a business laptop from 2004. It has had plenty of software and hardware mods alike. Let's start with the software.
It's running run-off-the-mill Debian 9, with a custom kernel. The reason why it's running that version of Debian is because of bugs in the network driver (ipw2200) in Debian 10, causing it to disconnect after a day or so. Less of an issue in Debian 9, and seemingly fixed by upgrading the kernel to a custom one. And the kernel is actually one of the things where you can save heaps of space when you do it yourself. The kernel package itself is 8.4MB for this one. The headers are 7.4MB. The stock kernels on the other hand (4.19 at downstream revisions 9, 10 and 13) took up a whole GB of space combined. That is how much I've been able to remove, even from headless systems. The stock kernels are incredibly bloated for what they are.
Other than that, most of the data storage is done through NFS over WiFi, which is actually faster than what is inside this laptop (a CF card which I will get to later).
Now let's talk hardware. And at age 17, you can imagine that it has seen quite a bit of maintenance there. The easiest mod is probably the flash mod. These old laptops use IDE for storage rather than SATA. Now the nice thing about IDE is that it actually lives on to this very day, in CF cards. The pinout is exactly the same. So you can use passive IDE-CF adapters and plug in a CF card. Easy!
The next thing I want to talk about is the battery. And um.. why that one is a bad idea to mod. Finding replacements for such old hardware.. good luck with that. So your other option is something called recelling, where you disassemble the battery and, well, replace the cells. The problem is that those battery packs are built like tanks and the disassembly will likely result in a broken battery housing (which you'll still need). Also the controllers inside those battery packs are either too smart or too stupid to play nicely with new cells. On that laptop at least, the new cells still had a perceived capacity of the old ones, while obviously the voltage on the cells themselves didn't change at all. The laptop thought the batteries were done for, despite still being chock full of juice. Then I tried to recalibrate them in the BIOS and fried the battery controller. Do not try to recell the battery, unless you have a spare already. The controllers and battery housings are complete and utter dogshit.
Next up is the display backlight. Originally this laptop used to use a CCFL backlight, which is a tiny tube that is driven at around 2000 volts. To its controller go either 7, 6, 4 or 3 wires, which are all related and I will get to. Signs of it dying are redshift, and eventually it going out until you close the lid and open it up again. The reason for it is that the voltage required to keep that CCFL "excited" rises over time, beyond what the controller can do.
So, 7-pin configuration is 2x VCC (12V), 2x enable (on or off), 1x adjust (analog brightness), and 2x ground. 6-pin gets rid of 1 enable line. Those are the configurations you'll find in CCFL. Then came LED lighting which required much less power to run. So the 4-pin configuration gets rid of a VCC and a ground line. And finally you have the 3-pin configuration which gets rid of the adjust line, and you can just short it to the enable line.
There are some other mods but I'm running out of characters. Why am I telling you all this? The reason is that this laptop doesn't feel any different to use than the ThinkPad x220 and IdeaPad Y700 I have on my desk (with 6c12t, 32G of RAM, ~1TB of SSDs and 2TB HDDs). A hefty setup compared to a very dated one, yet they feel the same. It can do web browsing, I can chat on Telegram with it, and I can do programming on it. So, if you're looking for a hobby project, maybe some kind of restrictions on your hardware to spark that creativity that makes code better, I can highly recommend it. I think I'm almost done with this project, and it was heaps of fun :D13
I'd like to extend my heartfelt fuck-you to the following persons:
- The recruiter who told me that at my age I wouldn't find a job anymore: FUCK YOU, I'll send you my 55 birthday's cake candles, you can put all of them in your ass, with light on.
- The Project Manager that after 5 rounds of interviews and technical tests told me I didn't have enough experience for his project: be fucked in an Agile way by all member of your team, standing up, every morning for 15 minutes, and every 2 weeks by all stakeholders.
- The unemployment officer who advised me to take low level jobs, cut my expenses and salary expectations: you can cut your cock and suck it, so you'll stop telling bullshit to people
- The moron that gave me a monster technical assignment on Big Data, which I delivered, and didn't gave me any feedback: shove all your BIG DATA in your ass and open it to external integrations
- the architect who told me I should open my horizons, because I didn't like React: put a reactive mix in your ass and close it, so your shit will explode in your mouth
- the countless recruiter who used my cv to increase their db, offering fake jobs: print all your db on paper and stuff your ass with that, you'll see how big you will be
To all of them, really really fuck you.13
OK I can't deal with this user anymore.
This morning I get a text. "My laptop isn't getting emails anymore I'm not sure if this is why?" And attached is a screenshot of an email purporting to be from "The <company name> Team". Which isn't even close to the sort of language our small business uses in emails. This email says that his O365 password will soon be expiring and he needs to download the attached (.htm) file so he can keep his password. Never mind the fact that the grammar is awful, the "from" address is cheesy and our O365 passwords don't expire. He went ahead and, in his words, "Tried several of his passwords but none of them worked." This is the second time in less than a year that he's done this and I thought we were very clear that these emails are never real, but I'll deal with that later.
I quickly log into the O365 admin portal and reset his password to a randomly-generated one. I set this to be permanent since this isn't actually a password he should ever be needing to type. I call him up and explain to him that it was a phishing email and he essentially just gave some random people his credentials so I needed to reset them. I then help him log into Outlook on his PC with the new password. Once he's in, he says "so how do I reset this temporary password?" I tell him that no, this is his permanent password now and he doesn't need to remember it because he shouldn't ever need to be typing it anyway. He says "No no no that won't work I can't remember this." (I smile and nod to myself at this point -- THAT'S THE IDEA). But I tell him when he is in the office we will store the password in a password manager in case he ever needs to get to it. Long pause follows. "Can't I just set it back to what it was so I can remember it?"10
Thanks for not completely fucking up Github. At least you didn't integrate Office365, allow only Azure deployments, or force downloading repos through OneDrive or something.
But like most developers, I don't deal well with changes to familiar interfaces.
So please.... STOP FUCKING TWEAKING THE BUTTON PLACEMENTS AND TEXTS ALL OVER THE WEBSITE.
(or at least send me a bottle of cognac and a box of chocolates before every UI experiment, so I can deal with it emotionally. I'm a very sensitive boy, you know).26
I've noticed quite a lot of times that whenever I have something really really important to do in really really short amount of time on my computer, the computer seems to hang and freeze on purpose. It feels like the computer almost wants you to fail at completing the task. The computer can literally smell your fear and act accordingly. A few months back when it was my team's turn to pitch our product for a hackathon, my laptop's battery died at the exact time they started asking questions from us!!! Similarly, every time I am late for attending my online class, the laptop takes forever to open up MS Teams. Every. Single. Time.7
Always tell junior devs the same.
You'r not going to become the senior dev or architect you have in your grand vision by sitting around this company fulfilling mundane tickets.
Start thinking through new ideas, possibilities, software that you think could really help a specific niche Or pick a model that already exists. The ideas prior existence doesn't matter but having a new idea that has potential has always inspired me to keep pursuing it.
Break out lucid charts, learn how to map out your domain objects and their relationships. Build out a service map of how you want things to work together. You dont have to know how context boundaries or demilitarized zones work or any that technical jargon. At the end of the day those concepts <should> develop organically and then the jargon will come to you like "oh thats the term for this". Some people learn better from knowing and then implementing. I usually come to it organically then learn about it later. Thats the point of this though. Read up on it, understand enough to map it out and then start building them out.
Use a language you want to be proficient in but are not. Use a framework you want to understand but do not. If theres an auth protocol in high demand that meets your needs but you do not understand, run with it. You'r proficient with mysql; mongo would also be a good fit for the business needs but you've never used it. Perfect, use mongo then.
Find avenues of improvement down the line. Maybe the simple records resource server would be a good candidate for GraphQL. Pull in a pub/sub to increase service communication/aggregation, learn websockets to maintain a vital client interface. If you dont know what the fuck im talking about, perfect! Jump in there. Start small, build up, tinker.
You'll meet soul sucking blockers all along the way and thats the biggest thing that separates seniors from juniors is having worked through these issues before, time and time again. Embrace failure, embrace change, maintain initiative because you can be another miserable dev that keeps the cogs turning making a decent 50k salary or you can be a positive catalysis.16
devRant is awesome, but Disney also manages to light-up my day.
This is how Wall-E became a beloved member of our team, and helped me put a smile on my face throughout a very frustrating project.
It all started in a company, not so far far away from here, where management decided to open up development to a wider audience in the organization. Instead of continuing the good-old ping-pong between Business and IT...
'not meeting my expectations' - 'not stated in project requirements'
'stuff's not working - 'business is constantly misusing'
'why are they so difficult' - 'why don't they know what they really want'
'Ping, pong, plok... (business loses point) ping, pong'
... the company aimed to increase collaboration between the 2 worlds, and make development more agile.
The close collaboration on development projects is a journey of falling and getting back up again. Which can be energy draining, but to be honest there is also a lot of positive exposure to our team now.
The relevant part for this story is that de incentive of business teams throughout these projects was mainly to deliver 'something' that 'worked'. Where our team was also very keen on delivering functionality that is stable, scalable, properly documented etc. etc.
We managed to get the fundamentals in place, but because the whole idea was to be more agile or less strict throughout the process, we could not safeguard all best-practices were adhered to during each phase of a project. The ratio Business/IT was simply out of balance to control everything, and the whole idea was to go for a shorter development lifecycle.
One thing for sure, we went a lot faster from design through development to deployment, high-fives followed and everybody was happy (for some time).
Well almost everybody, because we knew our responsibility would not end after the collection of credits at deployment, but that an ongoing cycle of maintenance would follow. As expected, after the celebrations also complaints, new requirements and support requests on bug fixes were incoming.
Not too enthusiastic about constantly patching these projects, I proposed to halt new development and to initiate a proper cleaning of all these projects. With the image in mind of a small enthusiastic fellow, dedicated to clean a garbage-strewn wasteland for humanity, I deemed "Wall-E" a very suited project name. With Wall-E on board, focus for the next period was on completely restructuring these projects to make sure all could be properly maintained for the future.
I knew I was in for some support, so I fetched some cool wall papers to kick-start each day with a fresh set of Wall-E's on my monitors. Subsequently I created a Project Wall-E status report, included Wall-E in team-meetings and before I knew it Wall-E was the most frequently mentioned member of the team. I could not stop to chuckle when mails started to fly on whether "Wall-E completed project A" or if we could discuss "Wall-E's status next report-out". I am really happy we put in the effort with the whole team to properly deploy all functionality. Not only the project became a success, also the idea of associating frustrating activities with a beloved digital buddy landed well in our company. A colleagues already kickstarted 'project Doraemon', which is triggering a lot of fun content. Hope it may give you some inspiration, or at least motivate you to watch Wall-E!
PS: I have been enjoying the posts, valuable learnings and fun experiences for some time now. Decided to also share a bit from my side, here goes my first rant!3
My best case "Deploy Bittersweet Pipeline":
Prep a bunch of carrots, cucumber and tomatoes for day snacks. Roll & cut some pasta noodles, cook stock with fresh veggies & mushrooms, add some droopy soft boiled egg(s) to the broth, drizzle in some black garlic hot sauce. Enjoy that breakfast with an unsweetened Australian flat white and a half-liter cup of chai spiced green tea. Watch some science/tech/woodworking/cooking YouTube videos while feeding my Bittersweet Jr girl.
(yeah my mood is determined for about 90% by food)
Fire up docker compose & IDEs, and start refactoring code and migrating/fixing old databases.
My worst case "Fatal Incident Bittersweet Repair & Recovery Process":
Stuck while refactoring the worst kind of trash code since 9am.
Pour a glass of Tawny Port at 9pm. Pour a glass of cognac at 11pm. Unwrap 3 chocolate bars and break them into chunks in a bowl. Look at IDE, get nauseated, not from the booze or chocolate, but from the code.
Can't fall asleep because code is too broken, that crap should simply not exist. Take some LSD and amphetamine, can't sleep anyway. Start splitting several 10k-line-long files into smaller classes, type until my fingers have blisters. Empty two bags of Doritos, order a large Falafel with extra garlic sauce at 4am.
Fall asleep at 5am with my face on my keyboard, wake up at 9am with keyboard pattern on my skin.
Cook some hangover noodles.
Call work that I'm taking 3 days off. Feed Bittersweet Jr while I watch some YouTube channels with her. Bittersweet has successfully rebooted.1
Paraphrased with imaginary ending:
Me: Ok so this X will never be more than Y items and not more than one pages?
Person: Yes. it won't be more than Y items and never more than one page.
Me: If this is always Y items or less and not more than one page, I can hammer this out quick then. If it is more than that it will take much longer to complete.
Person: OK here's the template for Y x10 items and multiple pages.
Me: Oh I'm sorry, we're going to have to stop working on this. I thought you actually gave a fuck about this 'important' project and that you had deadlines you cared about, but apparently not enough to participate in this conversation with any level of intellectual honesty. Please fuck off now while I go work on more productive tasks....4
Right, I've been here before.
Our app requires an internet connection, and one of our clients wants to roll it out on a strictly managed network.
We told them which addresses our app communicates with and their network team opened them up for traffic. Should work, right?
Nope, doesn't work.
So I request them to use Fiddler to do some debugging of the network traffic, and lo and behold, it does work when Fiddler is active.
One important detail is that Fiddler uses it's own SSL certificate to debug HTTPS communications. I've had moments where expired certificates were the cause of things not working and running Fiddler "fixes" this because of their own certificate.
So I point this out in numerous mails to their network team, every time I get a response saying "nah, that can't be it".
I keep insisting "I have had this before, please check if any installed Root CA Certificates is expired"
At this point I'm certain they have updates turned off on these machines, and their certificates must not have been updated for a long time.
At one point they come back to me. "Hey, when Fiddler is off, WireShark shows the app communicating with ICMP calls, but when it's on it shows HTTP calls instead".
...YOU'RE THE SUPPOSED NETWORK EXPERTS?! You think data can be send via ICMP? Do you even know what ICMP is? Of course you'll see ICMP calls when the network is rejecting the packages instead of HTTP calls when everything's fine.
(ICMP is used to communicate errors)
I'm trying to keep my patience with these guys until they find exactly what's wrong because even I am somewhat grasping at straws right now. But things like this makes me doubt their expertise...8
You useless piece of shit. I'm here drowning in tickets and you keep using me as your personal debugger. I don't mind helping but the way you frame everything as something I left off and therefore, I should fix it, makes me not want to. I completed the code, the unit tests, the review points, fucking EVERYTHING before I left. All you had to do was create a deployment branch and merge it there when it's time to deploy. That's all.
But no, the first day I came back from vacation, you pester me with "this isn't working, blah blah blah". Did you see the pipeline? Successful, right? What about the production deployment? It passed all the reviews, the tests in all environments and no issues were reported but somehow, it's not working? It took me just a few seconds looking at your shit to figure out that you didn't even merge it, meaning you didn't follow the deployment process and waited for me to come back to submit the fucking MR for a task that's already complete but was just assigned for you to deploy. Bitch, what did you even do?
You copy/paste shit from the internet and don't even bother figuring out how they work. When they don't magically work and you get an error, you send it to me. Even when I give you the commands, if it needs the tiniest amount of tweaking, you just give up and send it back to me. What I fucking hate the most is how you phrase it in a way that it's not working because of me. It's like the new year came and you decided to be an asshole.
I'm not helping you anymore, you cunt. I have bigger issues and you already wasted the first day of my week. All your issues are one search away. I'm not reading your messages and you can tell everyone that you're not having any progress because I'm not helping you and I will gladly take those tickets from you.
I usually cringe when someone rants about a senior not knowing something because I believe that this field is pretty vast and you can't know every single thing but man, your attitude isn't even something I would like in a junior developer. You have the ego of a senior but none of the skills. How did you even get here when you couldn't figure things out yourself?
I find it so funny because when the good senior engineer who finds you disappointing started giving you development tasks, it became more clear that you really don't know what you're talking about when you rush me. Look how the tables turned, you even have the easiest tickets and yet, here you are flailing like a motherfucka.
Figure it out yourself. Fuck you.12