BSOD with a Side of Fries

by in Error'd on

"Yes, I'd like to have a Quarter Pounder meal with a Coke and a Blue Screen of Death on the side. To go," Bruce W. writes.


What Am I?

by in Representative Line on

Object oriented programming is the weapon of choice for many programmers, and when wielded properly, you can often rely on a mix of convention and strong types to make it clear what type of object you’re working with. Sometimes though, you need to check. In a language like Java, you have the instanceof operator, a boolean comparison which answers if obj instanceof SomeClass. Seeing a lot of that in a codebase is a clear code smell.

Sometimes, though, not seeing it is the code smell.


The Support Game

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PDP-11 (459312210)

In the 1970s, shortly before our friend Argle dared to do exactly what his boss asked of him in an efficient manner, he worked at the computer lab of a local community college. When his friend Terry was hired on as a new assistant, Argle sat down with her at the Tech Support desk for a run-down of hard-earned knowledge and best practices.


Never Refuse a Fifth

by in CodeSOD on

Sometimes, you want your dates to look like this: 3/3/2019. Other times, you want them to look like this: 03/03/2019.

There are plenty of wrong ways to do this. There are far fewer right ways to do it, and they mostly boil down to “use your language’s date library.”


An Excelent Start to a Career

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Hal was a wiz kid computer programmer at age 15 in 1976. He could make the toggle switches and LEDs on his Altair 8800 dance at will. In college, he was class valedictorian after earning his computer science degree in 1984. Hal was destined for greatness and the real world was about to get rocked.

Hal's college friend Victor, who graduated two years prior, was already running his own startup company that made Unix-based financial planning software. Remembering Hal's brilliance, Victor recruited him to join his company the day after graduation. Victor needed the wiz kid-turned-wiz adult to create the equivalent of Lotus 1-2-3 in Unix. It was a tall first project but it paid well, so Hal happily signed up. Besides, everyone knew that spreadsheets were gonna change the world.


Every System's Preferences

by in Error'd on

Rob W. wrote, "Looks more like this process is responsible for customizing the entire solar system's preferences."


Sorting Out a Late Night

by in CodeSOD on

Karl’s trials of crunch (previously) didn’t end with a badly written brain-fart. After too many consecutive late nights, Karl noticed that their grid layout was wrong.

It did this:

AlphaBeta
DeltaGamma

How The Semester Ends

by in Feature Articles on

Ginger recently finished an advanced degree, and during her work, she of course had to work as a TA for a number of classes. Computer science professors are, at least in theory, capable of programming, and thus can build automation around assignments- providing students with templates to highlight specific tools and techniques, or to automate the process of grading.

Dr. Buchler taught the computer graphics course, and the ultimate assignment was to build a simple 3D game. Buchler provided a pre-scaffolded project with a set of templates that could be filled in, so the students didn’t need to worry about a lot of the boilerplate. Beyond that, Buchler didn’t offer much guidance about how students should collaborate, so students did what came naturally: they set up git repos and shared code that way.


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