Doubly Encrypted Logins

by in CodeSOD on

Providing authentication for your web-based APIs is both a challenging problem but also a largely solved problem. The hardest part is really just working your way through the various options, and from there it’s usually some variation on a drop-in component.

Done properly, it’s also client-agnostic. I can access the service from my browser, I can access it from a thick client, I can access it from cURL. Done incorrectly, well, you get what happened to Amira.


It's The End Of The Month As We Know It

by in Feature Articles on

Calendario abril-junio 2008

If you ask an engineer whether it's safe to cross a bridge, he'll happily walk you through how safe bridges are, how the mathematics work out, how far we've come in structural safety. You'll come away from the conversation feeling confident that no bridge will ever collapse anywhere on the face of the Earth. If you ask a software engineer about banks, however, you'll likely come away terrified, with a 50/50 chance you're now convinced to put all your money in bitcoin. Banks are notorious for bad software decisions—not so much because the decisions are worse, but because most people assume banks are more careful and security-minded.


Killer Errors

by in Error'd on

Adam wrote, "I hear that NewFeature1 is a real, ahem, killer feature of these Wi-Fi drivers."


Swing and You're Out

by in CodeSOD on

George G was hired to do some UI work for a company which sold a suite of networking hardware. As networking hardware needs to be highly configurable, George was hired on to do “some minor tweaks” to the UI. “It’s just some sizing issues, fonts, the like. I’m sure you’ll do something to the stylesheets or whatever,” said the boss.

The boss didn’t know what they were talking about. The UI for some of the products was a web based config tool. That was their consumer-grade products. Their professional grade products used the same Java program which was originally released 15 years earlier. There were no stylesheets. Instead, there was an ancient and wobbling pile of Java Swing UI code, maintained by a “master” who had Strong Opinions™ about how that code should look.


Remove This

by in CodeSOD on

Denae inherited some 90s-era GUI code. The original developers have long since gone away, and the source control history has vanished into oblivion. In the 90s, the Standard Template Library for C++ was still very new, so when Denae needs to debug things in this application, it means doing some code archaeology and picking through home-brewed implementations of common data structures.

Denae’s most recent bug involved understanding why some UI elements weren’t updating properly. The basic logic the application used is that it maintained a List of GUI items which need to be repainted. So Denae dug into the the List implementation.


Exceptionally Serial

by in Feature Articles on

You may remember Kara, who recently found some "interesting" serialization code. Now, this code happens to be responsible for sending commands to pieces of machine equipment.

Low-level machine interfaces remain one of the domains where serial protocols rule. Serial communications use simple hardware and have minimal overhead, and something like RS232 has been in real-world use since the 60s. Sure, it's slow, sure it's not great with coping with noise, sure you have to jump through some hoops if you want a connection longer than 15m, but its failures are well understood.


Portage and Portability

by in Feature Articles on

ST 225 20MB drive and WDC controller

Many moons ago, when PCs came housed within heavy cases of metal and plastic, Matt Q. and his colleague were assigned to evaluate a software package for an upcoming sales venture. Unfortunately, he and the colleague worked in different offices within the same metro area. As this was an age bereft of effective online collaboration tools, Matt had to travel regularly to the other office, carrying his PC with him. Each time, that meant unscrewing and unhooking the customary 473 peripheral cables from the back of the box, schlepping it through the halls and down the stairs, and catching the bus to reach the other office, where he got to do all those things again in reverse order. When poor scheduling forced the pair to work on the weekend, they hauled their work boxes between apartments as well.


Do Not Read The Daily WTF

by in Error'd on

Neil S. wrote, "MSN UK's reverse psychology marketing angle is pretty edgy."


Archives