It Ain't Over Til It's Over

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"Countdowns are hard, particularly once they run out!" writes Peter.


Dumb's The Word

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Thank-you-word-cloud

Brent's latest software project contained a story for adding a word-cloud to a PDF report that was already being generated on a production server using Java. Instead of being handled by Brent's in-house team, the requirement was assigned—against Brent's wishes—to overseas developers whom the company had recently contracted to "add more horsepower" to things.


Built Up

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In most languages, strings are immutable. As developers, we often need to manipulate strings- for example, constructing output through concatenation.

Constructs like foo += " and then I appended this"; “solve” this immutability issue by creating a new string instance. If you’re doing a long round of concatenation, especially if it happens inside of a loop, this could get very expensive, which is why most languages also have a StringBuilder type, which allows you to append without all that overhead of new instances. Often, the advice is that you should prefer StringBuilder objects to string.


Putting the "No" in "Novell"

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In the late 90's, Gregg was hired to administer a small Novell network at EduLoans, a student loan processing company. What it amounted to though was a toxic waste cleanup at a Superfund site. To say his predecessor, Loretta, was underqualified was a blunt understatement. The company wanted a network on the cheap, which included elevating a receptionist with slight technical skills to the ranks of Novell administrator. They figured the only training she would ever need was a two week hands-on Novell CNA course. Novell Netware login screen circa 1997

Loretta returned from training with tons of free swag in tow. This included a CD-ROM beta version of Netware 3.12, with bold text printed across its face reading NOT FOR USE IN A PRODUCTION ENVIRONMENT. Ignoring that, she convinced the President of EduLoans that they could get by with this great free version so there would be more money to spend on hardware - and her raise.


Now There's a Switch…

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You know what’s awful? If-then-elseif conditions. You have this long, long chain of them, and then what? If only there were a shorter, clearer way to write a large number of conditions.

Oh, what’s that? There is? It’s called a switch statement? But doesn’t a switch statement only work on equality comparisons? I’d really like something that works on any condition.


Pirates, Your Days are Numbered

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"If you pirate Windows 10, watch out," Norman D. wrote, "One week and 100 years from now, Microsoft is going to catch you."


Our Next Kickstarter: Lairs Board Game

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I've been a board/tabletop gamer for as long as I can remember, even before writing my first program (obviously, 10 PRINT "ALEX IS COOL" / 20 GOTO 10). After seeing how much you supported the Release! game, it turned out that a lot of you are into games, too.


Trained Developer

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ASP.NET, like any other web development system, has a “role provider” system to handle authorization. With a small quantity of code, you can hook your custom security settings into this API and get authorization essentially for “free”. Not every organization uses it, because it’s not sufficient for every security situation, but it’s a good starting point, and it’s guaranteed that it’ll be covered in any ASP.NET training course.

Paul’s employer recently found a new hiring strategy. Instead of hiring expensive, well qualified people, they hire completely inexperienced people on the cheap, and send them to training classes. That’s likely where this code started its life- cribbed from notes in a training class.


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