Oct 20 2011

Worst Software Bugs

We all have heard of missiles blowing up in midair because of the wrong unit was used in calculating the trajectory or bank software that misplaced millions of dollars because of a decimal place. It might not compare against blowing up a multi-million dollar missile but here are some of the worst software bugs I’ve seen in projects where I’ve worked.

Shift + O Short Cut – I once worked on a software application where one of the engineers developed a screen search functionality that would find the UI screen by name or feature. Needless to say the modal pop-up dialog for this search feature popped up when the user hit the Shift + O keys. This feature was developed by the engineer on his own initiative, so you can imagine everyone’s surprised when we couldn’t even type a capital o without this thing popping up.

Exposing Regular Expressions – In another project we developed micro expression language which was used and exposed at the application level to users. In one situation, a user reported a error when he wanted to replace a variable place holder with a dollar amount. It seems that when he called the expression language replaceall(“AMOUNT_VALUE”, “$0.00”) the got back the value of AMOUNT_VALUE.00. This problem was caused because we used Java Regular Expressions feature of the String class and $0 expression is a special value in the Java RegEx. This was like a Regular Expression Injection bug.

Localization and Internationalization – In the same project we had a problem with displaying the correct currency symbol used in a financial account statement. There is a big difference between $100 and €100. Account holders are not happy to know that their €100 are now worth $100.

Cut/Copy/Paste Does Not Work – I have seen way too many Java/Swing application where some component does not have proper support for cut, copy, or paste. When you cut from a Java application and paste to say Notepad you get a stringified Java object.

Textarea Size Limit – When filling online forms, the one bug that just kills me is where a textarea has a size limit not shown and you spend time typing a long response which will be either truncated, lost, or rejected on submit.


Apr 18 2011

Retweet March 2011

From time to time I just blast tweets about software development, project planning, team dynamics, or whatever else comes to mind. Here is a synopsis of recent tweets and rants. If you want to follow the conversation follow me at techknow and/or juixe and I’ll be sure to follow back.

Software Development

  • Worst than coder’s block is coder’s shiny tech infinite loop.
  • I got 99 problems and a bug ain’t one.
  • I’m a rockstar ninja guru mofo byte code copy editor.
  • If you could Myers-Briggs test your code what type would your code be and what type of developer would that make you?
  • Are you test driven or bug driven development?
  • Spiderman had his spidey sense and I have my buggy sense and it is tingling.
  • Software bugs can byte my shiny metal ass.
  • Code is a continuum.
  • Mo data, mo problems.
  • Let there be APIs.
  • “Hello, World” is a programmer’s first program. Blog engine is a web developer’s first web app. Consultant’s first product, time management application.
  • Duh, #debugging.
  • Code is never complete.
  • Code less, debug less.
  • I’m a bandwagon programmer!
  • This is not the code you are looking for.
  • I break for bugs.
  • My code runs more than you.

Team Dynamics

  • Passion is not a fruit, it’s a seed.
  • Pitch your passion.
  • Self help gurus first help themselves.
  • If you are waiting for tomorrow you will always be waiting.
  • In the evening be exhausted, in the morning exhilarated.
  • Great ideas don’t join country clubs.
  • Inside a large risk is a large reward, you just need to know how to unwrap it and then monetize it.
  • Meetings begets meetings
  • It’s not how the ball is pitched to you, it’s how you hit the ball, duh #winning.
  • Replace “what if” with “when and how.”
  • The way you think of a problem affects the way you think of the solution.
  • Everybody lives in there own bubble, expand yours.

Product Placement

  • I’m confused as to which photo service we are all supposed to use this month, flickr, picasa, twitpic, instangram, picplz, plixi, color, etc
  • Color app seems like Bump for pictures.
  • Why is the director of the FBI emailing my AOL email account from a io domain?
  • 3G forecast: partly spotty with chances of AT&T fail.
  • Out of all of Apple’s products, Jobs’ best revenue generating product must be the iPhone earbuds. At $30, it has $.50 of material.
  • I’ve lost count, would Google Circles be Google’s third or fourth social networking attempt?
  • Outlook should have a Save As option to save as a Word document.
  • What Google giveth Google taketh away with one change in their algo.
  • Ikea has made a killing by selling designer cardboard.

Quotes

  • Standards are paper. I use paper to wipe my butt every day. That’s how much that paper is worth. – Linus Torvalds
  • Seeing companies promote their Facebook fan page in advertisements reminds me of when companies promoted their AOL keyword. – @bencasnocha
  • Every software package expands until it can send email. – Zawinski’s Law
  • One great rock show can change the world. – School of Rock

Questions

  • How many tweets does it take change a light bulb and start trending?
  • Do you live in the moment or in a hurry to get to the next moment?
  • Is #SXSW the equivalent to #Woodstock but for social media experts and tech hipsters?
  • Forget Scientology, what Hollywood religion is Charlie Sheen practicing where he is a warlock and lives with goddesses?
  • If William of Occam worked at Gillette how many blades would Occam’s razor have?
  • Is Chris Brown the next Dennis Rodman?

The Valley

  • There is a “lifestyle business” bubble.
  • To VCs, startup founders are like dogs to be sorted by pedigree.
  • Is it a bubble if you can’t afford to invest in a seed round?
  • Everybody is scared of a little bubble.
  • Forget about building a better mouse trap, think about building a better people trap.
  • Some party like a rock star, I party like a VC.

Technologist

  • Single sign-on is something that should be native in the browser.
  • Love thy neighbors, like thy Facebook friends, and retweet they twitter followers.
  • People like liking.
  • Tell me what smart phone you have and I’ll tell you everything about you, especially of you have it unlocked.
  • Terms of Service do not void your constitutional rights.
  • Love thy neighbors, like thy Facebook friends, and retweet they twitter followers.
  • If there ever is a a zombie attack just remember that the Googleplex has the biggest brains, Hollywood and Washington not so big.

Tweeple

  • Mr. Zuckerberg, tear down this walled garden.
  • Mr. Jobs, fix my iPhone.
  • I think Aaron Sorkin should write a treatment for a movie based on Stuxnet.
  • Jeff Bezos to serialize his brain and store it Amazon’s cloud and allow developers to access it via an API.

Japanese Earthquake

  • My heart goes out to the Fukushima 50 and all the search and rescue workers.
  • I have the same feeling, level of disbelief and sense of magnitude, about Japan now as I did about New York after September 11.
  • Earthquake + Tsunami + Nuclear + Meltdown = (Me Praying for the People of Japan)^8.7
  • Wow, the Japan quake at 8.9 is 700x stronger than the Haiti earthquake.
  • There is no match to the “shock and awe” that Mother Nature can produce in matter of minutes.
  • I <3 Japan
  • Stay strong Japan! If there is any country that can recover from two nuclear bombs, multiple Godzilla attacks, and a 8.9 quake Japan can.

Jan 7 2011

Retweet December 2010

From time to time I just blast tweets about software development, project planning, team dynamics, or whatever else comes to mind. Here is a synopsis of recent tweets and rants. If you want to follow the conversation follow me at techknow and/or juixe and I’ll be sure to follow back.

Software Development

  • I wish I could Ctrl+Alt+Delete out of everything.
  • The recommendation engine is the new search engine.
  • Loop. Break. Null. Exception.
  • How do you explain a feature is often as important as how you implement it.
  • The implications of a code change are often much larger than the code change itself.
  • There Will Be Bugs
  • Don’t trust the cloud.
  • This is my debugger. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My debugger is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I …
  • Code fist and test later is like shooting first and asking questions later.
  • I program with pen and paper.
  • The debugger is my best friend.

Team Leadership

  • Whining is not trying.
  • Doing nothing is doing something.
  • Don’t compound your problems by manifesting new problem.
  • A great team chooses a great leader and great leaders builds a great team.
  • Making good choices leads to better choices.
  • The most narrow minded perspective is that “We Versus Them” attitude. There is no them, only we.
  • If you have it, bring it, and if you brought it, don’t hide it!
  • You are not who you used to be or who you will become.
  • I am an idea artist, making you think is my master piece.
  • Productize your expertise.
  • Cheat off your own hard work.
  • Instead of making the effort, sometimes people make excuses.
  • If you can’t find reception don’t CALL ME.
  • In search of a triple rainbow.

Product Placement

  • Steve Jobs is one third innovator, one third imitator, and one third black shirt and jeans.
  • If Yahoo were to close down Flickr, there would be blood in the streets.
  • I got my hands on a Google CR-48 yesterday. It’s just a laptop with one single app, a browser. It’s a thin client for cloud computing.
  • I CAN HAZ CR-48!
  • I wouldn’t mind testing a Google CAR-48, their self driving car, for free.
  • Atlassian should buy corporate twitter clone Yammer.
  • I would like the hotel check-in process to be as easy as Foursquare check-in.
  • Taco Bell is Moctezuma’s Revenge.
  • I just had the yuckiest drink, Gatorade Recover Strawberry Kiwi. Claims to be a post game protein recovery beverage. Tastes like recovered gym shorts.
  • This day will go down in history as the Great Skype Fail Whale of 2010, when people had to remember how to use a phone to call someone…

Quote

  • It’s easier to invent the future than to predict it. – Alan Kay
  • I aspire to inspire before I expire – Alina Morelli
  • It is fun to do things others call impossible. – Emile Baudot
  • I’m a hope fiend. – Frankie/Celebrity Rehab
  • We now know that Visa, Mastercard and Paypal are instruments of US foreign policy. It’s not something we knew before. – Julian Assange
  • Guantanamo is used for laundering people to an offshore haven that does not follow the rule of law. – Julian Assagne
  • Assange had a lot of help making Sweden look like the last place on Earth that you would want to take your penis. – Scott Adams

Holiday

  • Happy Shopmas Season!!!
  • Jingle bells, cashiers ring, websites clicked.
  • Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow… cash.
  • Finishing up with xmas shopping.
  • Santa is welcomed in my house any time.
  • I think I developed carpal tunnel from opening all those gifts. Thank you santa.
  • My new year’s resolution is to double surface area of my comfort zone.
  • I’m gonna party like it’s 3999!
  • We are going to one up 2010 in 2011.
  • Getting ready for 2010++!
  • 2011 > 2010!

Oct 18 2010

Dates and Bugs

Dates are the source of a large number of issues that I have had to solve, and that I may have introduced.  When working with an application that is used outside of your office, date problems will propagate.  Many date bugs are like time bombs waiting to strike at the right daylight saving change or leap year.

Date bugs come in different flavors, you have your rendering and parsing bugs where you expect one format and are given a different one.  You have your timezone problems, where you expect Pacific Standard Time (PST) and you are given Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).  I also enjoyed working on daylight saving issues caused when the Bush administration passed a law that changed when the start of daylight savings time occurred in 2007.  In addition to date issues caused by policy change, there are geopolitical issues.  For example, many Caribbean countries don’t change their timezone for daylight savings, they are on Eastern Standard Time (EST) year long.  And I haven’t even mentioned the classic date issue of all time, the Y2K bug.


May 2 2010

Retweet April 2010

From time to time I just blast tweets about software development, project planning, team dynamics, or whatever else comes to mind. Here is a synopsis of recent tweets and rants. If you want to follow the conversation follow me at techknow and/or juixe and I’ll be sure to follow back.

Software Development

  • Any software feature request should be broken down to 90% thinking and 10% coding.
  • Multiple-touch is the greatest things since buttons.
  • If a developer fools you once, shame on you, because they are usually fooling themselves when it comes to giving accurate estimates.
  • Don’t take developers estimate at face value.
  • Recommend The Rubyist for the Developers Directory on Tumblr: http://www.tumblr.com/directory/recommend/developers/rubyist
  • Many non-programming software users don’t understand the meaning of concatenated or null so don’t use these in labels in your UI.
  • I like to provide solutions that don’t involve complaining.
  • If Heraclitus is right and you never step in the same river twice, then you never write the same program twice.
  • Bugs keep my code humble.
  • A bug’s ingenuity is proportional to a developer’s ego and self importance.
  • Bugs like to in build nests out of spaghetti code in untested corner cases.
  • Working running code is just one corner case.
  • I use dead laptop drives as coasters.
  • My emotions are user generated.
  • I om nom nom nom on memes.
  • The interweb is my inspiration.
  • I CAN HAZ DREAMS OF INTERWEB MEMES

Team Leadership

  • When life gives you lemons, you may make lemonade. When life gives me lemons, I make myself some limoncello.
  • New motto/slogan: Don’t be a robot, unless you are 20 feet tall and can transform into a fighter jet.
  • Dream big or wake up.
  • The Law of Big Consequences: Large consequences are often the effect of making considerable decisions in a big rush.
  • Laughter is the duct tape equivalent of emotions, it can be used to patch up bad feelings or misunderstandings.
  • Manual, Error Prone, Time Consuming. Pick none!
  • When people dig their own hole they can’t get out of it by digging deeper.
  • Fight the power, and fight the hype.
  • A key skill in life is to know when to end a conversation.
  • Nothing is how you thought of it originally, it is up to you to make it better.
  • If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.

Product Placement

  • Amazon knows what books you bought for the Kindle, how often and for how long you read, can add and remove books, and read your bookmarks, notes, and highlights…
  • FaceBook, Inc = F.B.I.
  • Apple wants to design multiple-touch devices, Google wants to crawl content, Facebook wants to own your social graph and associated data.
  • Facebook is really dumbing down the web with the like button.
  • Facebook’s Open Graph is not really open. If you don’t own the platform, can look through the source, can own the data it is not open!
  • Did someone just unlocked the Foursquare Sellout Badge at Yahoo HQ!
  • I’ve had enough Lifetime movies for one lifetime.
  • The world according Ronald McDonald is made out of corn meal.
  • The McChicken nugget is the worst thing since sliced bread.
  • Peeps are the most disgusting artificial food product.

Qoute

  • One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. – Bob Marley
  • I don’t like negotiating with people I can’t beat up. – Goldberg
  • We live in an amazing world and it’s wasted on the crappiest generation. – Louis C.K.
  • Beware of artists they mix with all classes of society and are therefore most dangerous. – Queen Victoria
  • He eyes are the nipples of the face. -The House Bunny

Apr 6 2010

Retweet March 2010

From time to time I just blast tweets about software development, project planning, team dynamics, or whatever else comes to mind. Here is a synopsis of recent tweets and rants. If you want to follow the conversation follow me at techknow and/or juixe and I’ll be sure to follow back.

Software Development

  • Security pet peeves: captchas, security questions, having to login after changing my password.
  • A supercomputer won’t solve the incompetence of bad programmers on a deadline.
  • All software is in beta.
  • The Like button needs to be killed.
  • \-: “premature optimization is root all of evil.” (-: “That’s what she said.”
  • This must be a record. I just improved our app’s memory consumption by 80%, some 400MB, by changing one line of code.
  • I love technology because I can now blame my misspelling on my iPhone.
  • Where 2.0 is the new meme. Is your website Where 2.0 aware?
  • Building a community and building a business around a community are not the same thing.
  • The linked list was recently patented, I’m going to patent something critical to civilization, like calculus or pottery.
  • Dear debugger, I wish you could introspect my feelings and put a breakpoint on my heart break.
  • A slew of computer bugs are caused by assumptions made by the programmer.
  • You know things are bad when you get error code 0000.
  • Bugs grow organically.
  • It is possible to make spaghetti code out of Obeject Oriented Programmmmmming?
  • Rule of thumb: use immutable objects as keys to hash maps otherwise get to you your debugger.

Team Leadership

  • The best ideas are free.
  • No matter what, you will never be less busy.
  • Let’s be honest, anywhere from 10-30% of a resume is a stretch.
  • So as not to forget anything, remember nothing.
  • When you give someone else time, you waste you own.
  • Don’t give any answer, give the right question.
  • If you have a one trick pony, ride it until it is ready to be put to pasture.
  • Problems are meant to be solved only if they can’t be ignored.
  • The one best possible thing you can do to make any situation better is to not make it worse.
  • One can lead by asking questions, just as well as giving orders.
  • If you build it, they will come. But if you make it to complex or change it to often, then they will leave.
  • The secret ingredient is to believe there is a secret ingredient.
  • I don’t express myself best when speaking, but when reflecting.
  • Praying may not change the world, but it can change your perspective which is helpful to change your world.
  • Folks usually want the what first but I think that the why and the how is more important than the what.

Product Placement

  • Facebook announced a major investment by the CIA. It was reported that the US Gov will push for Facebook Connect as a National ID program.
  • PayPal just sucks. I can transfer money to former Soviet Bloc countries faster than I can between PayPal and my bank.
  • Spam is like a staple in Hawaii. So it comes as no surprise that Mahalo is one of the most spam ridden sites online.
  • My suggestion to cable companies: give away basic cable to every American with on demand features. Add value outside the cable box.
  • Which will provide better value/info for businesses, yelp or foursquare?
  • The current Apple Appstore approval time is rand() * Months.
  • McDs should make a tofu McMuffin.
  • A sign at a Palo Alto church: redeem your soul, there is an app for that.
  • Purple Cow Thinking: don’t be boring, safe is risky, design rules now, very good is bad.

Quote

  • If there is a limit, you should, you must test it. – Seth Godin/Purple Cow
  • Vision without execution is hallucination – Thomas Edison
  • Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. – Herman Cain