Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

July 1, 2021

Never used foo/bar/baz as variable names, can I still call myself a programmer?

Filed under: Humor,My Thoughts,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 4:14 PM

Just realized today that in my 24+ years of programming I have never named a variable foo, bar or baz. These are the goto names for placeholders in code & metaphysical variables and have decades of history behind them. Most programmers use them for temporary variables or place holders. Since I have never used them, can I still call myself a programmer? 😀

Jokes aside, you should use good variable names in your code that are meaningful, easy to read and concise. Some guidelines on how to do that are below:

Also, another point to keep in mind is to avoid acronyms that can have a different meaning in a different language or resemble rude words etc. See the screenshot below for an example of a ‘bad’ variable name:

Example of a bad variable name
Example of a bad variable name

Well this is all for now. Will post more later.

– Suramya

May 22, 2021

The Programmer Move: Automating everything has a logic behind it

Filed under: Humor,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 11:48 PM

In the past few weeks I have seen this joke multiple times where they talk about programmers automating something in 10 days that could be done manually in 10 mins. It does seem funny and people love to think that programmers like doing things the hard way. At times this is true but not always. There is a reasoning behind why we spend 10 days automating a 10 min task. When people look at this they don’t consider the frequency of the task i.e. how many times we are doing that 10 min task. Most of the time you will find that the 10 min task was being done fairly frequently and wasting a lot of time.


Programmers move

When I evaluated candidates for automation in one of my previous companies we had a calculation we used to determine if a process was a candidate for automation. We looked at the time required to complete, complexity of the task (ease of automation), the frequency at which it was done (hourly/daily/weekly/yearly) and the resources freed if automated. Then we looked at how long it would take to automate the process. Looking at the two values we would take the call to automate or not depending on the return of investment from the automation. So, if we had something that was only 10 minutes but done daily then spending the 10 days to automate would probably make sense. On the other hand if the task was a one-off or done yearly then it wouldn’t be a candidate for automation.

Programmers love to automate things. I have automated most of the tasks that I do frequently for system maintainance etc. However not every task needs to be automated and assuming that programmers are doing it just for the heck of it is a disservice. But it is funny. Take a look at a Rube Goldberg machine if you want to see this taken to the extreme, where everything is automated in a manner as complicated as possible.


Rube Goldberg machine: Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin

– Suramya

May 6, 2021

Blast from the Past: Is Your Son a Computer Hacker?

Filed under: Humor — Suramya @ 5:37 PM

While surfing the web, I came across this article on Hacker News from 2001, where a parent found out that their son is a computer hacker and now wants to highlight the symptoms to other parents so that their kids don’t fall to the same trap that he did. I first read this article when I was in college and found it as idiotic and funny then as I do now. Apparently, using AMD or having flash installed on your machine makes you a hacker. So does reading “Programming with Perl” by Timothy O’Reilly. If any of you reading this are parents, please do actual research rather than reading random articles on the web or watching YouTube videos.

Without further ado, read on to find out if your son is a hacker:

———
As an enlightened, modern parent, I try to be as involved as possible in the lives of my six children. I encourage them to join team sports. I attend their teen parties with them to ensure no drinking or alcohol is on the premises. I keep a fatherly eye on the CDs they listen to and the shows they watch, the company they keep and the books they read. You could say I’m a model parent. My children have never failed to make me proud, and I can say without the slightest embellishment that I have the finest family in the USA.

Two years ago, my wife Carol and I decided that our children’s education would not be complete without some grounding in modern computers. To this end, we bought our children a brand new Compaq to learn with. The kids had a lot of fun using the handful of application programs we’d bought, such as Adobe’s Photoshop and Microsoft’s Word, and my wife and I were pleased that our gift was received so well. Our son Peter was most entranced by the device, and became quite a pro at surfing the net. When Peter began to spend whole days on the machine, I became concerned, but Carol advised me to calm down, and that it was only a passing phase. I was content to bow to her experience as a mother, until our youngest daughter, Cindy, charged into the living room one night to blurt out: “Peter is a computer hacker!”

As you can imagine, I was amazed. A computer hacker in my own house! I began to monitor my son’s habits, to make certain that Cindy wasn’t just telling stories, as she is prone to doing at times.

After a few days of investigation, and some research into computer hacking, I confronted Peter with the evidence. I’m afraid to say, this was the only time I have ever been truly disappointed in one of my children. We raised them to be honest and to have integrity, and Peter betrayed the principles we tried to encourage in him, when he refused point blank to admit to his activities. His denials continued for hours, and in the end, I was left with no choice but to ban him from using the computer until he is old enough to be responsible for his actions.

After going through this ordeal with my own family, I was left pondering how I could best help others in similar situations. I’d gained a lot of knowledge over those few days regarding hackers. It’s only right that I provide that information to other parents, in the hope that they will be able to tell if their children are being drawn into the world of hacking. Perhaps other parents will be able to steer their sons back onto the straight and narrow before read this list carefully and if their son matches the profile, they should take action. A smart parent will first try to reason with their son, before resorting to groundings, or even spanking. I pride myself that I have never had to spank a child, and I hope this guide will help other parents to put a halt to their son’s misbehaviour before a spanking becomes necessary.

1. Has your son asked you to change ISPs?

Most American families use trusted and responsible Internet Service Providers, such as AOL. These providers have a strict “No Hacking” policy, and take careful measures to ensure that your internet experience is enjoyable, educational and above all legal. If your child is becoming a hacker, one of his first steps will be to request a change to a more hacker friendly provider.

I would advise all parents to refuse this request. One of the reasons your son is interested in switching providers is to get away from AOL’s child safety filter. This filter is vital to any parent who wants his son to enjoy the internet without the endangering him through exposure to “adult” content. It is best to stick with the protection AOL provides, rather than using a home-based solution. If your son is becoming a hacker, he will be able to circumvent any home-based measures with surprising ease, using information gleaned from various hacker sites.

2. Are you finding programs on your computer that you don’t remember installing?

Your son will probably try to install some hacker software. He may attempt to conceal the presence of the software in some way, but you can usually find any new programs by reading through the programs listed under “Install/Remove Programs” in your control panel. Popular hacker software includes “Comet Cursor”, “Bonzi Buddy” and “Flash”.

The best option is to confront your son with the evidence, and force him to remove the offending programs. He will probably try to install the software again, but you will be able to tell that this is happening, if your machine offers to “download” one of the hacker applications. If this happens, it is time to give your son a stern talking to, and possibly consider punishing him with a grounding.

3. Has your child asked for new hardware?

Computer hackers are often limited by conventional computer hardware. They may request “faster” video cards, and larger hard drives, or even more memory. If your son starts requesting these devices, it is possible that he has a legitimate need. You can best ensure that you are buying legal, trustworthy hardware by only buying replacement parts from your computer’s manufacturer.

If your son has requested a new “processor” from a company called “AMD”, this is genuine cause for alarm. AMD is a third-world based company who make inferior, “knock-off” copies of American processor chips. They use child labor extensively in their third world sweatshops, and they deliberately disable the security features that American processor makers, such as Intel, use to prevent hacking. AMD chips are never sold in stores, and you will most likely be told that you have to order them from internet sites. Do not buy this chip! This is one request that you must refuse your son, if you are to have any hope of raising him well.

4. Does your child read hacking manuals?

If you pay close attention to your son’s reading habits, as I do, you will be able to determine a great deal about his opinions and hobbies. Children are at their most impressionable in the teenage years. Any father who has had a seventeen year old daughter attempt to sneak out on a date wearing make up and perfume is well aware of the effect that improper influences can have on inexperienced minds.

There are, unfortunately, many hacking manuals available in bookshops today. A few titles to be on the lookout for are: “Snow Crash” and “Cryptonomicon” by Neal Stephenson; “Neuromancer” by William Gibson; “Programming with Perl” by Timothy O’Reilly; “Geeks” by Jon Katz; “The Hacker Crackdown” by Bruce Sterling; “Microserfs” by Douglas Coupland; “Hackers” by Steven Levy; and “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” by Eric S. Raymond.

If you find any of these hacking manuals in your child’s possession, confiscate them immediately. You should also petition local booksellers to remove these titles from their shelves. You may meet with some resistance at first, but even booksellers have to bow to community pressure.

5. How much time does your child spend using the computer each day?

If your son spends more than thirty minutes each day on the computer, he may be using it to DOS other peoples sites. DOSing involves gaining access to the “command prompt” on other people’s machines, and using it to tie up vital internet services. This can take up to eight hours. If your son is doing this, he is breaking the law, and you should stop him immediately. The safest policy is to limit your children’s access to the computer to a maximum of forty-five minutes each day.

6. Does your son use Quake?

Quake is an online virtual reality used by hackers. It is a popular meeting place and training ground, where they discuss hacking and train in the use of various firearms. Many hackers develop anti-social tendencies due to the use of this virtual world, and it may cause erratic behaviour at home and at school.

If your son is using Quake, you should make hime understand that this is not acceptable to you. You should ensure all the firearms in your house are carefully locked away, and have trigger locks installed. You should also bring your concerns to the attention of his school.

7. Is your son becoming argumentative and surly in his social behaviour?

As a child enters the electronic world of hacking, he may become disaffected with the real world. He may lose the ability to control his actions, or judge the rightness or wrongness of a course of behaviour. This will manifest itself soonest in the way he treats others. Those whom he disagrees with will be met with scorn, bitterness, and even foul language. He may utter threats of violence of a real or electronic nature.

Even when confronted, your son will probably find it difficult to talk about this problem to you. He will probably claim that there is no problem, and that you are imagining things. He may tell you that it is you who has the problem, and you should “back off” and “stop smothering him.” Do not allow yourself to be deceived. You are the only chance your son has, even if he doesn’t understand the situation he is in. Keep trying to get through to him, no matter how much he retreats into himself.

8. Is your son obsessed with “Lunix”?

BSD, Lunix, Debian and Mandrake are all versions of an illegal hacker operation system, invented by a Soviet computer hacker named Linyos Torovoltos, before the Russians lost the Cold War. It is based on a program called “xenix”, which was written by Microsoft for the US government. These programs are used by hackers to break into other people’s computer systems to steal credit card numbers. They may also be used to break into people’s stereos to steal their music, using the “mp3” program. Torovoltos is a notorious hacker, responsible for writing many hacker programs, such as “telnet”, which is used by hackers to connect to machines on the internet without using a telephone.

Your son may try to install “lunix” on your hard drive. If he is careful, you may not notice its presence, however, lunix is a capricious beast, and if handled incorrectly, your son may damage your computer, and even break it completely by deleting Windows, at which point you will have to have your computer repaired by a professional.

If you see the word “LILO” during your windows startup (just after you turn the machine on), your son has installed lunix. In order to get rid of it, you will have to send your computer back to the manufacturer, and have them fit a new hard drive. Lunix is extremely dangerous software, and cannot be removed without destroying part of your hard disk surface.

9. Has your son radically changed his appearance?

If your son has undergone a sudden change in his style of dress, you may have a hacker on your hands. Hackers tend to dress in bright, day-glo colors. They may wear baggy pants, bright colored shirts and spiky hair dyed in bright colors to match their clothes. They may take to carrying “glow-sticks” and some wear pacifiers around their necks. (I have no idea why they do this) There are many such hackers in schools today, and your son may have started to associate with them. If you notice that your son’s group of friends includes people dressed like this, it is time to think about a severe curfew, to protect him from dangerous influences.

10. Is your son struggling academically?

If your son is failing courses in school, or performing poorly on sports teams, he may be involved in a hacking group, such as the infamous “Otaku” hacker association. Excessive time spent on the computer, communicating with his fellow hackers may cause temporary damage to the eyes and brain, from the electromagnetic radiation. This will cause his marks to slip dramatically, particularly in difficult subjects such as Math, and Chemistry. In extreme cases, over-exposure to computer radiation can cause schizophrenia, meningitis and other psychological diseases. Also, the reduction in exercise may cause him to lose muscle mass, and even to start gaining weight. For the sake of your child’s mental and physical health, you must put a stop to his hacking, and limit his computer time drastically.

I encourage all parents to read through this guide carefully. Your child’s future may depend upon it. Hacking is an illegal and dangerous activity, that may land your child in prison, and tear your family apart. It cannot be taken too seriously.
———

– Suramya

March 31, 2021

French monks praying for buyers for 2.8 tonnes of cheese from their monastery

Filed under: Humor,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 11:59 PM

The Covid lockdown had a major impact on small/medium scale business worldwide though it was absolutely required. It still caused a lot of economic hardship for people and there is a French monastery located south of Dijon in Paris that has a major problem. Due to Covid they were unable to sell their cheese production to restaurants and visitors so they are stuck with over 2.8 tonnes of cheese that they need to sell immediately before it spoils.

“We tried explaining to our 75 cows that they needed to produce less milk but they don’t seem to have understood,” said brother Jean-Claude, in charge of marketing at the monastery, which was founded in 1098.

They are now working with Divine Box, a french startup to allow people to buy the cheese online. Unfortunately they don’t seem to ship internationally else I would have loved to place an order. Maybe during my next visit to France I will visit the monastery and purchase the cheese directly.

Source: French monks locked down with 2.8 tonnes of cheese pray for buyers

– Suramya

February 21, 2021

All Your Base Are Belong To Us: Turns 20

Filed under: Humor,My Life,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 12:05 AM

‘All Your Base Are Belong To Us’ is a phrase that is very familiar to anyone who was active on the internet in 2000’s as this was pretty much the first meme which took the entire net by storm. I remember someone posting a giant version of it in our college dorm windows using A4 paper. Unfortunately I don’t have a pic of it, but there were plenty of other places this popped up over the weeks really confusing a lot of people.

The first version showed up online on February 16, 2001 when a robo-voiced music video went live at Newgrounds.com. The video was a capture from a 90’s video game called Zero Wing with some hilariously bad English translation from the original Japanese. It contained phrases like “How are you gentlemen!!”, “Somebody set up us the bomb” and the infamous “All Your Base Are Belong To Us!”. The video presented the original Sega Genesis graphics, dubbed over with monotone, machine-generated speech reading each phrase. The video is shown below, click on play to view the original video with the awesome soundtrack:


All Your Base Are Belong to Us

The transcript of the video is as follows:

Captain: What happen ?
Mechanic: Somebody set up us the bomb.
Operator: We get signal.
Captain: What !
Operator: Main screen turn on.
Captain: It’s you !!
CATS: How are you gentlemen !!
CATS: All your base are belong to us.
CATS: You are on the way to destruction.
Captain: What you say !!
CATS: You have no chance to survive make your time.
CATS: Ha ha ha ha …
Operator: Captain !!
Captain: Take off every ‘ZIG’!!
Captain: You know what you doing.
Captain: Move ‘ZIG’.
Captain: For great justice.

After the original video from the game it moves on to show the phrase photoshopped into all sorts of images and photos from actual locations where it was inserted really confusing most folks because they had no idea what it meant.

It was extremely silly but great fun. Watching it again has really brought back memories of the great times from college. Here’s to the next 20 years, ’cause remember “All Your Base Are Belong To Us!”

– Suramya

September 4, 2020

A ‘genius’ on Quora wants to know if they can sue someone for removing them from a Whatsapp Group

Filed under: Humor,Interesting Sites — Suramya @ 11:50 PM

Every once in a while you will come across something that highlights the self entitlement of the poster. Today’s winner of entitled litigator (to-be) is a gentleman who posted the following question on Quora: “I want to file a case against a WhatsApp admin for removing me and my spouse from a group without a valid reason. Can it be done as it has affected us mentally?”. I don’t have words on how petty and entitled you have to be in order to think that someone removing you from a whatsapp group is a valid reason to sue the admin of the group.

The person doesn’t say where they are from but based on their eagerness to sue, I have a feeling that they are from the US as American’s are the most eager litigator’s that I know of. On one side its funny but on the other hand its scary how much people think is due to them and how far they are willing to go to get what they feel is due to them. Some of the cases filed would boggle your mind. We have had a kidnapper sue his victims for breach of contract when they escaped and another one sued for being misled that a sugary snack has a lot of sugar. In all a lot of bizarre lawsuits that have been filed till date, mostly in the US but there are a few gems from Europe as well. I was curious and searched for the most ridiculous law suites ever filed and boy did the Internet deliver. Below are some of my favorites from the search results:

Woman Says Jelly Belly Lied To Her

A California woman filed a mind-blowing lawsuit in 2017 when she felt misled by the fact that Jelly Belly candies contained sugar, Jessica Gomez filed a complaint against the jelly bean maker over its use of the term “evaporated cane juice” appearing on the packaging for Jelly Belly Sport Beans.

She said she thought it meant the candies were sugar-free and that they were a healthier snack option. The candy company called the suit “nonsense” and urged the courts to drop it because the product’s nutrition label clearly shows its sugar content.

The case was dismissed after the cart ruled that the plaintiffs failed to show facts specific to their purchase and reliance on advertising.

The next one just made me roll my eyes, the lady this guy sued had a lucky escape. Imagine living with someone so entitled!

The ‘First Date From Hell’

A Texas man made international news and became a poster boy for pettiness when he sued a woman after what he called the “first date from hell.”

Brandon Vezmar, 37, went on a date with a woman he met on Bumble in 2017 and was angered when she apparently spent the whole night on her phone. Vezmar sued the woman, hoping to get back the $17.31 he spent taking her to the movies.

The woman eventually just gave him the money back, so he’d drop the whole thing and leave her alone.

Here’s another Gem, Apparently this genius didn’t know that things in the sun get hot (especially if they are painted black). I learnt that lesson in kindergarten… But why use your brain when you can sue.

Fan’s Burned Butt Means Lawsuit For Dallas Cowboys

In 2012, a Dallas Cowboys fan sued her favorite football team after she claimed she suffered severe burns after sitting on a hot bench at a game. Jennelle Carrillo, herself a Texan, got lawyers involved after attending a team scrimmage in August 2010 and unwittingly sitting on a very hot seat.

The temperatures that day were more than 100 degrees and the bench itself was black, but Carrillo claimed she had no way of knowing that the seat would be so hot because the team didn’t have signs posted warning fans.

The lawsuit disappeared after initial media mentions.

The next one just makes me think, what the hell was this guy thinking?

Dangerous breasts

A man visits a nude bar. We’re not sure how the joke normally goes, but in this instance it ends up in court. In 1996 a a man named Paul Shimkonis sued his local topless bar claiming a dancer’s breasts had given him whiplash. Shimkonis described the breasts as ‘cement blocks’ which had caused him physical and mental anguish. His request fro $15,000 in damages was denied by the judge. We find ourselves wondering what sort of dance move can cause that level of momentum.

If you have some free time and need to laugh you can check out the list of ridiculous lawsuits here and here.

The really scary part is that sometimes these idiots win and then we get warning labels telling us that the Hot Coffee we ordered is actually Hot.

– Suramya

August 28, 2020

Got my first bot response to a Tweet and some analysis on the potential Bot

Filed under: Humor,My Thoughts,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 10:21 PM

Today I achieved a major milestone of being on the internet, 🙂 I finally had a bot/troll (potential) respond to one of my Tweets with the usual nonsense. Normally I would ignore but it was just so funny to see this response that I had to comment on it. The reply was to my Tweet about how we could potentially achieve our target of eradicating Tuberculosis by 2025 because of the masks we are wearing due to Covid-19. You see TB bacteria are spread through the air from one person to another and just like Covid TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, speaks, or sings infecting people nearby when they breathe in these bacteria. Now that wearing a mask is becoming the new normal in most parts of the world (except for some morons who don’t understand/believe science or believe that politics is stronger than science) there is a high chance that it will also reduce the spread of other illnesses spread through air.


My Tweet & the response to it

Once I saw the response, I clicked on the profile and scrolled through the posting history and saw that a majority of the posts (atleast for the amount I was able to stomach while scrolling down) were retweets of Anti-Masker, Covid denial, Pro-Trump, anti vaccine nonsense. As I needed a distraction I decided to spend a bit of time to try and identify if the account was just a stupid person or a clever bot and did a little bit of investigation on the account.

Looking at the account a couple of things stood out right from the start, the first was that the account was created in July 2020 and the username had a bunch of numbers in it which is usually the case for automatically created accounts. So I ran a query on the account via Botometer® by OSoMe which gave me a whole bunch of data on the account and there was a bunch of data that made it stand out as being a potential bot. In just over a month (5 weeks and a day to be exact) the account had tweeted 6,197 times and 2,000 times in just the past 7 days which equates to about 12 tweets every hour every day. The other data point that stood out was that the account tweeted at almost the same time every day which is usually indicative of a Bot.

Interestingly the Botometer does give the account a low possibility of being a fully automated bot but that could be just because the person running it is manually feeding the responses and having the system spray it out. Or it could be a bored person doing it for LOL’s, which is code for morons who don’t know better and think they are being ‘cool’ or ‘edgy’ or whatever. But if that’s the case then they really need to get a better hobby.

Well this is all for now. Wear a mask when you go out and stay safe.

– Suramya

PS: I have no paitience for the anti-masker/anti-vaccine/anti-science nonsense so will be deleting any comments/responses or making fun of the comments depending on my mood at the time.

August 22, 2020

Bangla TV thinks that Scotch Brite scrubs are a valid replacement for defibrillator’s

Filed under: Humor — Suramya @ 11:59 PM

A lot of times TV Serials, moveis take liberties with facts and sometimes even with common sense which is understandable. However there are instances where you see something and go What The Hell did I just see… Case in point is the following screenshot taken from a Bangla TV serial in India. 🙂 I guess they didn’t want to spend the effort to get something that looked like shock paddles of a defibrillator so they used whatever was closest to hand not realizing that people would notice. 🙂


Scotch Brite can now restart your heart and help keep your bathroom clean at the same time.

This is why you need someone to proof watch your shoots before you make them public.

– Suramya

August 21, 2020

Emotion detection software for Pets using AI and some thoughts around it (and AI in general)

Filed under: Computer Software,Emerging Tech,Humor,My Thoughts,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 5:32 PM

Pet owners are a special breed of people, they willingly take responsibility for another life and take care of them. I personally like pets as long as I can return them to the owner at the end of the day (or hour, depending on how annoying the pet is). I had to take care of a puppy for a week when Surabhi & Vinit were out of town and that experience was more than enough to confirm my belief in this matter. Others however feel differently and spend quite a lot of time and effort talking to the pets and some of them even pretend that the dog is talking back.

Now leveraging the power of AI there is a new app created that analyses & interprets the facial expressions of your pet. Folks over at the University of Melbourne decided to build an Convolutional Neural Networks based application called Happy Pets that you can download from the Android or Apple app stores to try on your pet. They claim to be able to identify the emotion the pet is feeling when the photo was taken.

While the science behind it is cool and a lot of pet owners who tried out the application over at Hacker News seem to like it, I feel its a bit frivolous and silly. Plus its hard enough for us to classify emotions in Humans reliably using AI so I would take the claims with a pinch of salt. The researchers themselves have also not given any numbers around the accuracy percentage of the model.

When I first saw the post about the app it reminded me of another article I had read a few days ago which postulated that ‘Too many AI researchers think real-world problems are not relevant’. At first I thought that this was an author trolling the AI developers but after reading the article I kind of agree with him. AI has a massive potential to advance our understanding of health, agriculture, scientific discovery, and more. However looking at the feedback AI papers have been getting it appears that AI researchers are allergic to practical applications (or in some cases useful applications). For example, below is a review received on a paper submitted to the NeurIPS (Neural Information Processing Systems) conference:

“The authors present a solution for an original and highly motivating problem, but it is an application and the significance seems limited for the machine-learning community.”

If I read this correctly then basically they are saying that this AI paper is for a particular application so its not interesting enough for the ML community. There is a similar bias in the theoretical physics/mathematics world where academics who talk about implementing the concepts/theories are looked down upon by the ‘purists’. I personally believe that while the theoretical sciences are all well & good and we do need people working on them to expand our understanding, at the end of the day if we are not applying these learnings/theorems practically they are of no use. There will be cases where we don’t have the know-how to implement or apply the learnings but we should not let that stand in the way of practical applications for things we can implement/use.

To quote a classic paper titled “Machine Learning that Matters” (pdf), by NASA computer scientist Kiri Wagstaff: “Much of current machine learning research has lost its connection to problems of import to the larger world of science and society.” The same year that Wagstaff published her paper, a convolutional neural network called AlexNet won a high-profile competition for image recognition centered on the popular ImageNet data set, leading to an explosion of interest in deep learning. Unfortunately, the disconnect she described appears to have grown even worse since then.

What do you think? Do you agree/disagree?

Source: HackerNews

– Suramya

October 10, 2019

Taxonomy of Terrible programmers

Filed under: Humor,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 11:58 PM

If you have been in tech for a while you would have had the dubious pleasure of meeting some or all of the types of programmers described in the following post: The Taxonomy of Terrible Programmers

In one of my previous companies I had the pleasure of working with the The Arcanist and trust me it was a painful experience that I still remember more than a decade later. So what is an Arcanist?

Anyone who has worked on a legacy system of any import has dealt with an Arcanist. The Arcanist’s goal is noble: to preserve the uptime and integrity of the system, but at a terrible cost.

The Arcanist has a simple philosophy that guides his or her software development or administrative practices: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – to an extreme.

The day a piece of software under his or her auspices ships, it will forever stay on that development platform, with that database, with that operating system, with that deployment procedure. The Arcanist will see to it, to the best of his ability. He may not win every battle, but he will fight ferociously always.

All change is the enemy – it’s a vampire, seducing less vigilant engineers to gain entry to the system, only to destroy it from within.

The past is the future in the Arcanists’ worldview, and he’ll fight anyone tries to upgrade his circa 1981 PASCAL codebase to the bitter, tearful end.

We had to fight him to move from a system that required you to edit HEX code for making any changes to a web based UI that controlled the system and gave extra functionality. In the end the project was moved to a different team as everyone realized that he was going to kill it just because he was used to the old system and didn’t want to change.

Check out the linked article for details on the other types. If you recognize some of the behaviour’s described in the post as something you might do, I suggest you take a good long look at yourself and seriously think about changing as being classified/identified as one of the types of people in this list is not a great carrier move.

– Suramya

PS: Before you ask, yes this post links to a really old post. The post has been sitting in my draft folder for ages and I finally decided to publish it.

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