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The Worst Development Job You've Ever Had?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the weeping-anecdotes dept.

Programming 1078

manavendra asks: "I'm currently working for a solution provider for telcos, and as part of product migration the entire API has to be 'internationalized'. Owing to a legacy architecture, most (if not all) application logic is still embedded in PL/SQL stored packages. My job: find hard coded strings, and replace with calls to the globalization API. Yes there is a script written to handle most tasks, but its quite primitive (not to mention fears of automating 'too much'). Boredom is at all time high. Have tried all means of whittling away the time, and hence this question to other Slashdot users: What's the worst ever job you had to do in the name of 'software development' (or as a software developer)?"

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doing the goatse (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729346)


The worst job you can have (-1, Insightful)

Pingular (670773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729348)

Of course the worst job you can have depends on which type of job you like. For example one person may hate something where you have to do the same thing over and over again (for example working in a factory), wheras someone else might love it.

Re:The worst job you can have (4, Funny)

Neophytus (642863) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729367)

Unless you were in the manager's office I don't know anyone who would like working on a production line.

Re:The worst job you can have (0, Redundant)

ItMustBeEsoteric (732632) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729374)

This is a very good point. For example I have a friend (who is actually an engineer) who, if he could do ANYTHING he wanted to, would work on old cars all day.

This would make me go insane, I HATE even changing my oil.

To each their own.

Re:The worst job you can have (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729437)

... from the no-shit department.


Re:The worst job you can have (5, Insightful)

baudilus (665036) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729442)

You can have the best job in the world and it still sux because of who you work for.

Like when your boss has chronic halotosis (or "halo" for short.)

mine does.

MODS! PUT DOWN YOUR PIPES! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729579)

Don't mod this loser up! Pingular is a tired, sad little early-post troll who always suckers mods who are a little too anxious with their points. Did he say anything insightful? No. DOES HE EVER SAY ANYTHING WHATSOEVER? No.

Mods who waste points on Pingular are the /. versions of premature ejaculators.

Re:The worst job you can have (2, Interesting)

cshark (673578) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729582)

I've been pretty lucky with the work itself. I can't say from that prespective that I've had a job I haven't liked for several years. It's the politics that go along with positions like mine, especially in federal and state governmental entities for example, that I don't like. But hey, I guess I should count my blessings. I had a job a few years ago, where the guy from the staffing company I was working for (brainpower) wanted me to re-negotiate my own contract. All I wanted to do was make code draw pretty pictures...

McDonalds (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729352)

Thank you and please pull to the first window for your total.

Drinks are on me! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729496)

A round of rohypnol for the house, barkeep!!!

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729353)

First Programmer

First baby... ME! (-1, Offtopic)

clarus (39399) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729355)

I always wanted a first post... take TWO!!!

I once had to write a (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729357)

first post generator

In the name of "software development" (4, Funny)

morelife (213920) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729358)

Yeah. Populating a database .. manually.

Re:In the name of "software development" (5, Funny)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729391)

Yeah. Populating a database .. manually.

quote from a former boss:
"while it may be faster than dlt tapes, 're-typing' is not a valid recovery strategy."

Re:In the name of "software development" (4, Interesting)

SmackCrackandPot (641205) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729481)

Man, I've been throught that .. in the early days of office LAN's, we had these very primitive network analyzer boxes which could pick up the MAC addresses of all machines on the network. However, these had to be named manually. And there was no permanent storage. So every time the box lost power, some poor sod had to type in the entire network database back in again.

Re:In the name of "software development" (3, Funny)

jarrettwold2002 (601633) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729553)

Web Development. Period. Most thankless job ever. My favorite are the employers that take a three month job and will it into a two week project. All flash, massive data driven site, all while maintaining IT stuff as well. I don't last long in those jobs.

It could be that I feel like a juggling seal after three days of no sleep. However at four days of no sleep the evil smurfs come out and start making fun of me.

Perl for Domain Name searcher. (4, Funny)

mekkab (133181) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729359)

Internet startup.
Turn batch perl scripts for searching domain names for sale into a live cgi.
The "server" was a P133 running bsd. Once I got it to run, it would take 15-20 minutes
to generate the output. The web page would periodically reload once a minute. The Boss
had a cable modem set-up where after a certain number of reloads, they would just cache the
page. He never actually got to see it work.

THe next day another guy just loaded all the possible names in a database on a fast machine
with gigs of ram. Response time? Sub-second.

I still got paid, though (much to the chagrin of the owner).

Re:Perl for Domain Name searcher. (4, Interesting)

blinder (153117) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729533)

Heh, sounds like you used your powers for awesome!

I on the other hand, many years ago, working for a telecom, was working on an application, in coldfusion, to automate some billing functions... only to find out that there was a whole other development effort doing the same exact thing! Yeah, no one talked to anyone at this company (which is probably why its just a sad pathetic footnote in the world of telecom).

That was the worse, being half-way through the project and someone coming along and saying "uh yeah, we have another team working on this." My manager, turns out, was making a power play. Nice being a pawn :)

Once I... (2, Funny)

darth_MALL (657218) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729368)

...worked on an Open Source project (:-P

I work for Microsoft (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729370)

Yeah, I develop Windows. It's the worst development job I ever had.


tshirt (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729376)

"I work at Slashdot and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt"

worst. job. ever.

Memories...ahhh.. memories. (5, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729378)

~12-13 years ago I was working at a place developing software for the trucking industry. One day I came to work and the door to our offices was locked (I was usually the first one in). I went to the landlord saying "The door to our offices is locked." He held up a bounced cheque and said "I know."

Fortunately I had some cash saved so I lived for a while but then I got a phone call many months later from Revenue Canada (like the U.S.' IRS) saying I hadn't paid any income tax on my income for that year. "Uhh.. I have my paystubs showing that it was deducted..." Turns out the owner was deducting tax, charging taxes, etc and not remitting. Faxed in copies which saved my butt.

That isn't the worst development job I've had but it was the one that left the worst taste in my mouth.

Re:Memories...ahhh.. memories ... The worst (5, Interesting)

bigjocker (113512) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729447)

I live in a Spanish speaking country, without any knowledge whatsoever about german. Three years ago I was working for a German company developing the intranet for a very large european corporation.

After eight months of joy and fulfillment (the project was really good and enjoyable) I was reassigned to take over a project started three months before my arrival (it was 11 months old when I took care of it) because the Project Manager had been fired. The project had to be delivered in two or three months and was the bigest pile of sh*t I have ever seen: harcoded strings, copied and pasted all over the place, used three different database servers (Oracle, MS SQL Server, Postgres) depending on the mood of the developer, used a client/server architecture when it was not needed and created a lot of innecesary APIs (it had a complete implementation of a SOAP-like protocol, implemented for communications, instead of using SOAP or Axis). It was about one million lines long and 40% done. Those three or four months where living hell trying to decode what the heck where the developers thinking (BTW, the project did not have any single piece of comment).

At the end we delivered the system with one month of delay, but the client was happy and to ease the pain I was promoted after setting it up on production :)

Working for OSS. No pay. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729379)

Bill pays better.

Re:Working for OSS. No pay. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729510)


Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Personally, (0, Offtopic)

Rhesus Piece (764852) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729382)

All of my worst have been ill-concieved college projects assigned by TAs, particularly ones that have little to nothing to do with the course. Augh, now I'm having flash-backs to buggy Nachos stuff for an OS course.

Y2K (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729383)

nuff said.

Windows security developer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729384)

"Please make more secure code", screams Mr. Gates at the top of his lungs.

Conversion conversion (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729386)

I converted 65 ASP files to PHP in 2 days (Saturday/Sunday) plus Access DB to MySQL.

no sleep, boring as hell!!

Software? (4, Funny)

Op7imus_Prim3 (645940) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729389)

In my dad the worst job I ever had was converting those bloddy cog wheel counting machines into valve computers. We considered ourselves lucky if we got one vavle each too. Software? Kids these days are so spoilt.

Re:Software? (5, Funny)

Tebriel (192168) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729511)

You're the only one I know who's had a job in your dad.

Of course, everyone's had a job in your mom.

I Can't Find (4, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729390)

a developer job you insensitive clod!

Student (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729393)

Any of the ridiculous projects I had to do in a software engineering class.

outlook 2000 api's (1)

adamshelley (441935) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729397)

I wrote some outlook automation stuff that used the outlook api's only to have the next service pack disable the ability to use half of it because of security lock downs. The only way to get around the problem was to link outlook with exchange. bleh.

What a waste of time.

Big form with lots of fields (1)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729398)

I coded an online database form that had over 200 questions and several thousand fields (no not all displayed at once).

The coding wasn't hard but it was vary repetitive and boring.

Y2K Conversions (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729399)

Yes, the Y2K bug was real. No, nothing happened. Why? Because poor fuckers like me worked our asses off doing the most boring programming work known to mankind for 2 years straight.

Re:Y2K Conversions (2, Funny)

JohnnyCannuk (19863) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729491)

So you worked for Keane too, eh?

I did the exact same thing... (1)

hsoft (742011) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729400)

Replacing hardcoded strings... I was a CS trainee back then. CS trainee is the "Cheap labor" of the IT. Thus, a lot of companies use them to do boring tasks that no regular employe want to do.

Sad but true... (0, Redundant)

KillerHamster (645942) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729401)

I've never had a development job, you insensitive clod!

(And at the moment, it doesn't look like I'll ever have one.)

Re:Sad but true... (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729455)

beat you to it- but the way my day has gone i'll get the -1 redundant and you'll get the +5 phunny

Claim Ownership (5, Interesting)

dschuetz (10924) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729408)

Not long after having joined a development group, I was given a list of software (mostly open-source security / hacker sort of stuff), and instructed to find a way to "re-brand" the software to imply that we owned it. To make us look better to venture capitalists for a commercial INFOSEC spinoff we were trying to ramp up.

Needless to say, I said no, almost got fired, and eventually fled the sinking ship a year later. They ended up spinning off, failing miserably, and selling for less than the cost of my current house.

My biggest regret is not swiping an Aeron as I left.

Re:Claim Ownership (1)

kwpulliam (691406) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729501)

What's wrong with Re-branding GPL Software? As long as you sell your companies "Services" and don't distribute the software, wouldn't that be in complete and total compliance with the GPL?

Re:Claim Ownership (3, Informative)

dschuetz (10924) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729571)

What's wrong with Re-branding GPL Software?

It wasn't quite like that. It was much more like "make it look like we wrote this, that it's proprietary, cutting edge, and that nobody else even comes close."

I don't remember all the details any more (this was about 4 or 5 years ago), but everyone I worked with agreed that it was way over the line, and could easily get us sued. Fortunately, when I complained (and got booted from the dev team), nobody else was given the task, and we were able to fail on our own merits. :)

My worst job (2, Interesting)

Tebriel (192168) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729411)

I was hired to help update a financial company's internal software. The day I get there, I get told that the funding for the project was cancelled. I spent a summer in a file room re-organizing the hard copy of all their transactions. I'd have quit, but I needed money.

worst is every day (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729412)

I have to write software where the specs seem to be changing and/or expanding every other day or so. This makes me sad because it means I may have to rewrite some stuff I spent *hours* doing a few days ago.

VB is Evil (4, Informative)

bobej1977 (580278) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729416)

Converting a quarter of a million lines of VB code to Java...

Re:VB is Evil (4, Funny)

VanillaCoke420 (662576) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729473)

*shudders* That is wrong on at least two levels.

Re:VB is Evil (5, Funny)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729556)

Converting a quarter of a million lines of VB code to Java...

How many billions of lines of Java did you end up with?

I wrote a virus for Linux (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729422)

but no one ran it :(

I know. (5, Insightful)

Rhesus Piece (764852) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729430)

I know this is cheating, but I must say: the worst development job I've ever had is unemployment. Lots of work, but no pay. Any job is better than no job, so long as you're getting paid.

Worst software job ever (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729431)

In the early 80's, working for a major computer manufacturer, we had to change the process id's used by the OS from 8 bits to 16. (This was on a 16-bit minicomputer.) This meant going through the entire code base (which contained a lot of assembly code) and finding every piece of code that used the other 8 bits of that 16-bit word for something else, and splitting them up! Talk about boooring and unrewarding!

Software Developer (0)

jeephistorian (746362) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729432)

Yeah....I hated working with the software developer, once it gets on your clothes, it never comes out. I much prefer the new Polaroid software for that reason.

UNIBASIC (3, Interesting)

Simeon2000 (13536) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729433)

Coding a 401k tracking and transfer system in UNIBASIC. Hands down. An incredibly aged and horribly designed system (honestly, are any legacy systems WELL designed?) that definitely was NOT defined with extensibility in mind

Doesn't sound TOO horrible, I know. And it wouldn't have been, if this weren't my first professional consulting coding job. At a hostile client site (The boss could be heard almost daily shouting, "When's that [CENSORED] from [CENSORED]'ing [CONSULTING FIRM] gonna be done with that [CENSORED]??!!?"). In a factory in the middle of nowhere. In a language that makes COBOL look like Epcot center.

School Lackey (1)

excalibrax (646805) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729434)

How about being a school lackey, working on creating small software packages for people you know will never know how to use them to their full extent and getting paid 5.25/hr because they only have room in their budget for a workstudy. The people are great to work with, the job is as dull as can be. Being in better places getting paid more is on the workers mind. If they added incentives like free tuition, or free books, etc. Things would be better off for myself, instead of working 2 jobs to keep up with the cost of living while going to school

Once I was (5, Funny)

SparafucileMan (544171) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729436)

Writing worms and viri for spammers. And go figure, the fucker split when I had finished and paid me in Penis Enlargement Pills.

My worst job... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729438)

was also my first job, first assignment. Rewrite all date/time routines to offset the year so the company wouldn't have to pay for their DEC RSTS license. They planned to set the system clock back 4 years.

I found a new job within the week.

.com with aggresive transexual boss (5, Funny)

carn1fex (613593) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729441)

Worked at a startup .com that thought it was going to make billions selling cult/foreign movies. My boss was a flaming 300lb male crossdresser who hired other 'developers' who barely knew front page. I was under pressure to make this amazingly creative super site while the Big Gay Al constantly changed his mind about what he wanted.. I had to be frisked before i went to my office because the rest of the employees often stole stuff (our office was above one of their video chains in nyc). And if things wernt working out, my boss would threaten to "fuck our asses.".

Converting from Opensource to Proprietary (4, Interesting)

metlin (258108) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729443)

There was this project that used Opensource tools, and everything was fine and dandy.

And then, some PHB felt that this does not have adequate punch since it would not convince potential customers, and so there was this plan of changing it to using propritary stuff.

It probably had a lot to do with the fact that the company was hiring cheap MCSEs rather than competent programmers.

So, all the perl/cgi/php code was converted into ASP, Apache to IIS, MySQL replaced by MS-SQL and platform shifted from Linux to Windows NT (NT - mind you).

And oh yes, did I say we had agents on the *nix box which had to be rewritten in VC++? Which, not to mention, kept crashing every two minutes or when there were too many connections.

Everything turned messy, the whole project was deigned useless and a good product turned bad.

Worst job (1)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729445)

Perl programmer at a huge porn site that had been in business since 1994. Lots of shitty coders passed through that place over the years and there were a lot of versions of Perl. And we never rewrote or redesigned anything, we just fixed it.

Re:Worst job (1)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729490)

Forgot to mention, octothorpes were few and far between if you get my drift.

Re:Worst job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729564)

wait, what's the downside?

4GL (1)

iCat (690740) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729446)

Hacking a 4GL (remember them?) to do something it was never designed to do. I was actually quite successful, but sure did make me bitter! Abstraction is important, but don't ever work on a project where you have to abstract upwards then downwards to get what you want!

Gooey (1)

SpiffyMarc (590301) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729457)

Rewriting a hardware controller GUI that is a hacked-up rewrite of a hardware controller GUI that was wrapped around some DLLs that were written and grafted onto by many, many people over the past few years.

Here's a real example I'll make generic:

setTemperature takes a temperature and a byte index of either 0 or 1. The corresponding getTemperature takes an integer index of 0, 1 or 2. Yep, you guessed it, the 0 and 1 of the setter correspond to the 1 and 2 of the getter. Neither function has bounds checking, so you'd better get it right the first time. Oh, and we're not allowed to modify the DLLs containing said functions, just use them.

The "API documentation" is a dumpbin /exports I made when I got tired of pouring through C source code to find the name of a function.


Creating a document standard for a hospital. (5, Interesting)

mystery_bowler (472698) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729462)

The hospital had more than 15,000 pages of "standards and procedures" documentation. Almost no two were in the same structure.

I had the "good" part: create a structure to which all these documents could be adapted and then make an application for putting the documents in a database.

Two intern developers had the "bad" part: scan and OCR 15,000 pages of hospital documents. Proof-read them for OCR errors. Since no one was willing to pay for a tie-in between the OCR program and the application I developed, the interns had to cut-and-paste the documents from Word to my app. I wanted to cry for those guys.

Hands down. (2, Interesting)

Murmer (96505) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729463)

The time was a decade ago, before XML and bootable CDs and the conversation went like this:

"We need to you to convert all of this old data to a usable format: Comma-delimited ASCII."

"No problem. I'll set up perl, do some regexes, it's all good."


"It's a really good parsing tool. I'll just install it and..."

"You can't install new software on these computers. You'll be fired if you do."

(Gak!) "What am I allowed to use?"

"Whatever's there."

(Oh, no...)

It turned out that "whatever's there" means "a word processor", specifically Corel WP6 on Win3.1, and it wasn't all good; it was, as a point of fact, all bad.

And there was lots, and lots, and still more lots, of this data, which needed to be checked manually for incorrectly-placed linebreaks...

Easy... (5, Funny)

Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729466)

I once had to photograph, up close, over 200 naked 18 year old girls for a porn site. I was alone in a room with a girl an hour for weeks, and half the time they got themselves drunk or drugged up to ease the pain of the perverse life they had chosen for themselves, and they would always be like "Hey, lets fuck" and stuff. And get this... I had to use a specific digital camera which only had USB 1.1!!! It took, life, forever, to move all those images at the end of the day. Worst... job... ever.

Any software needed to process Gigli? (0)

FerretFrottage (714136) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729469)

No matter what the sw was used for, if it was developed using TDD, then the poor souls probably had to watch the movie 100+ times

Keep Your Sanity (3, Insightful)

4of12 (97621) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729470)

Try to come up with more and more clever scripts for finding where changes need to be made rather than doing it by rote brute force.

Not only does it make better use of your brain and avoid boredom, but until you get to the last 1% of changes, it is the more efficient thing to do. Then, at the very end, cave-in and make 10 changes by hand to get the overall beast to work.

There is nothing more mind-numbing than doing repetitious work that a machine could be doing. It's kind of like moving rocks, only worse, because you can't disengage your attention from the task as much as you can when moving rocks.

Worst People? (2, Insightful)

nramsay (23117) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729474)

I find that the "worst jobs" are often caused by the people you're working with/for.

Sure, you can get a boring job, etc - but life can be made really difficult when you have a "mean" boss. It's time to get out when this happens.

Co in Columbia, SC... (1)

MisanthropicProgram (763655) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729479)

Those of you who've been their know.

Unreasonable deadlines

If you thought that the deadline was unreasonable then you were not "XYXC" people

Had to deliver vaporware

Were told that if you didn't deliver vaporware, you weren't "XYZC" people

If you told managers the truth, you were told you had a bad attitude.

"Chuck" wanted you to tell HIM the truth.

direct managers took you aside and told you that you were to tell them the problems NOT Mr. Calahan (Chuck).

They were a bunch of FUCKERS!

They treated programmers like shit because they could get new ones from the local TECH school for dirt cheap!

CEO fucked stockholders and burried fucking in balance sheet.

Sad fact - CEO DIDN'T do anything illegal! Beleive it or not - our system is fucked.

How I know above - SEC investigated and found nothing wrong.

I'm stopping now because I"m boring myself....

writing unit tests for other people (2, Insightful)

hikerhat (678157) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729482)

I'll never again explain to a client who doesn't have unit tests how important unit tests are. Nothing is worse than writing a zillion unit tests for someone else's piss poor code that wasn't designed to be tested.

I worked for (1, Funny)

Lugor (628175) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729499)

Donald Trump, but I got fired.

Two words: (1)

M. Piedlourd (68092) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729500)

Access database. With a baroque VBA frontend.

Numerical Control Programmer (1)

MrRuslan (767128) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729503)

I work in a kitchen factory as a CNC programmer. Sometimes my boss gives me peaces to make and there dimensions where they are supposed to fit but no other important dimensions so if a radius is too big or to small it can become kind of disastrous and I don't hear the end of how much I suck and how useless I am...not that I mind about it...when something goose wrong here everyone hears about it even the ups guy.

Some software company... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729508)

...wanted their core software ported to a new shiny processor family running under a very famous OS.

They deployed us to help doing the job, and the first thing we found after trying for a few days to build one of the kernel drivers is that there are about thirty times more warnings than calls to the compiler in the build log (grand total was over 10k lines)--just cleaning that up was a nightmare). Segmentations and modularization that almost didn't exist, interfaces that were not defined (but implicitly), functions with same name and different signatures all around the place; duplicated definitions with different name it.

Everything that had a big red tape saying no-no in the book was there...

The code was basically held together with needles. We bailed out of there swearing that was the last time we worked on non-free software. At least free software doesn't charge millions for it.

coded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729515)

I coded my job to be performed by cheap labour in india.

now i sell crack cocaine

Manual Conversion is the Worst (-1, Troll)

bcolflesh (710514) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729517)

Never temp for M$ - they had me convert all the Hotmail login routines to Commodore BASIC - then write a VBscript web interpreter.

Worst Task Ever (1)

NastyGash (450776) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729521)

I once had to maintain an assembler written in COBOL

i'll take it (1)

1000101 (584896) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729523)

As a Computer Science major who is graduating in August, I will gladly take your boring developing job.

Me bitter? (1)

blogboy (638908) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729524)

At a major PC manufacturer, the project being setting up data connectivity between US and the new manufacturing facility in Malaysia. Weekends, late nights, a couple 24 hour nights even--I bled for that project.

The fruit of my efforts? A severance package once the outsourced facility came on-line.

Easy... (1)

slobber (685169) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729525)

TPS reports, anyone?

SLASH (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729527)

The worst development job I've ever had was cleaning up Malda's code in S.L.A.S.H.

21 CFR Part 11 (1)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729529)

Even for accounting systems, because they might touch the data.

Even for grade III systems that might touch the data, eventually, next year, maybe...

Let's dis-regard the techies opinion because after all 100% computer security is easy to achieve with written procedures.

I've trained my whole working life to write programs when I should have been training how to write documentation.

Early in my computer (consulting) career (2, Interesting)

mefus (34481) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729531)

Client: Law Office specializing in evictions
Role: Subcontracted web-database development
Project: automate printing, filling out of forms used to kick people out of their homes.

I was asked to modify some word documents with fields for automatic data entry. I told them I was a backend/interface guy and wasn't qualified.

They really wanted me to do it, or at least look at the job. I spent a couple hours looking at this hopelessly complex job (the documents were made by someone mad and any adjustment rendered them out of spec.)

The law company then screwed me out of fifteen hours of work claiming I wasn't qualified for the work I was hired for or something. I told them fine, and didn't work for them anymore, even on their database application.

They never completed their project, and now some other company is occupying that building.

They fit all those lawyer stereotypes I never took seriously (unlike any other lawyer I have met and had the pleasure of talking/arguing with -- except on the 'Net, and those were astroturfing for MS or whichever)

Rewriting a BBS (1)

CaptainCheese (724779) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729544)

I re-edited an all-in-one custom BBS package so that messages stored in a non-standard database could be expired, and deleted so the disk didn't run out of space.

It had been quickly hacked together in BASIC and the guy who wrote it never bothered to store the message number internally. In fact all messages wer 1K and the software just paged through the file 1k at a time, so after 544k message no. 544 began...

BP (1)

selderrr (523988) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729546)

never thought I'd have the ocasion to tell this story... (note : actual numbers may vary a factor of 100 or some more. the story got from mouth to mouth and everyone added a margin...) anyway...

British Petrol one day did a huge investigation of the operating cost of their computer park in europe. According to the survey, they had a loss of about 50mil Euro on the current systsem because it was outdated, monolith and required way to much maintenance. So they hired JDEwards to create a complete new system from scratch. For everything. And your mum. And her kitchen sink. And the kitty litter filling bags cords factory keymaker's kitchen sink. U get the point.

They start with spending about a milion on a whole building made of cargocontainers that they pull out of thin air in less than 2 weeks. Then they fly over 150 indian programmers and stuff'em in the cargo containers to create the new software. Could have been 450 too (I can never remember a face, let alone an indy face !)

They work like madmen and create a HUGE system. I mean huge. I never counter the number of tables, but just PGDOWN scrolling thru them on AS400 terminal took a few minutes. NOBODY (and I mean aboslutely nodbody) had any grasp on this beast whatshowever. Except for the indy dudes offcourse. They walk thru it as if it were a minesweeper readme file. Amazing guys. Really.

Then they leave because the contract is done...

[insert deafening silence here]


Big Fucking Doh

A $75.000.000 system and noone who can even crate a user account.
Anyway. I was hired as a local to create very stupid simple Access interface on top of it to monitor incoming-outging fuel-truck traffic. I was hired 3 ays before the indy blokes left the building (which was taken down 6 days later)

Try to imagine my HUGE BIG FUCKING DOH here, mkay ?

The old days (1)

JPDeckers (559434) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729547)

Had to write a convertor for one DOS-based salary-system (file storage) to a new one (Windows, own db-system), while file formats where proprietary/not known etc.

Tried to hack around, couldn't convert the files.

Final solution:

DOS-box in windows running old system

Key-emulator to go through the whole system, through every option.

Screen grabber to grab output and convert to intermediate format (Q&D).

Importer for new system

Well, not that proud of it afterwards, but hey, it worked!

My current job (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729548)

Writing accounting software for the construction industry using MFC and B-Trieve.

After twelve years in the software industry, including work with award-winning graphics and voice recognition packages, I never thought I'd end up here, but then the local economy imploded. At least I have a job. Biding my time...

This is a bad one (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729549)

It's 2003, and I am writing 16-bit dos apps for a company. First of all I've never used abything 16bit ecept BASIC. But since college it's all been 32 bit.

Everything was a program and it all had to fit into 640k. The C code was horridly formatted like:
if (condition)
Suffice to say it sucked.

We were also using a non-relational database which is a network-model database. (Rather than store key info it is stored as a child item, it eliminates key duplication). You had to do all the locking yourself. No schema changes on the fly either. You had to write a program to copy out of the old and into the new. Set manipulation (like fetch_row(), but worse because you had to manually connect parents and children) was your responisbility.

As if that wasn't bad enough, we were using a new MFC on top of this arcane database format. This MFC app had been sent to China to be done by the lowest bidder. Suffice to say the code was not built for cleanlyness, it was written to fit a requirement.

Sensitive confidential information was stored in this database, which was more or less an ASCII file, with no security. Puruseing through you could see passswords and information. Fortunately, the format itself was rather jumbled, so you'd get a block that made sense and the next one wouldn't.

I worked hard to fix it, and we made significant strides while I was there, replacing it with PostgreSQL. Everything improved. Seciruty, speed, and it was easier to write software against. But I left before the project hit production. Most of my day was devoted to fixing these 16 bit programs.

A lot of states change there forms by a miniscule amount each year. I had to update our reports. That is called Tax compliance. Rather than have an easy way to di it, I'd change a margin and recompile.

Our testing department was me and my boss. Later we added a third to the mix. But as long as we got "works for me" on our desktops, we shipped it. It usually worked out ok though.

DASD Cop (1)

imgumbydamnit (730663) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729552)

Back when I started my career in 1983, I worked for an insurance company that let the actuaries run their own VSBasic programs under TSO without any release control. Aside from dumps debugging, my job included periodically going through the source code of hundreds of programs to determine if the user was using company resources for personal uses like tracking lottery numbers or NCAA brackets.

On one occasion, the operator scratched the pack that I had recovered MSS volumes to for this purpose, leading to weeks of tape recovery from Iron Mountain. After recovering thousands of files and not recovering hundreds, not one user had even noticed anything wrong. I quess they didn't need any of those files after all

Britney Spears (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729554)

I once was hired to develop Britney Spears's singing abilities.

I will never work as a developer again.

Javascript... lots and lots of javascrip (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729559)

I graduated from a top 5 CS school and took what appeared to be a great job in a research group at IBM. Turns out, they changed my job a day after I got there and I spent the better part of a year writing code in Javascript... object-oriented javascript. I'm truly scarred for life.

Independant Development (3, Interesting)

Slime-dogg (120473) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729560)

I had an independant contract that I was working on not too long ago. I love the "real" job that I have, but the on-the-side project would have provided some extra cash.

My friend and I went into the deal without writing up a contract, and also without requiring a final set of specifications up front. This was our biggest mistake, because the guy we had the contract with kept changing the specifications on a whim. You could tell that he hadn't ever done real development work either, because he though his changes would be simple, when in fact they usually involved two to three days of work.

As it went, we took far longer than we had estimated, and we never got paid for the work. I guess we still own the copyright on the code, but it isn't really useful for us in any way. I had spent many nights coding a program that I didn't really enjoy instead of doing hobbies or going out. I had to endure a number of phone calls that occasionally came later at night, because the guy that we had the contract with was socially inept. Lastly, he did not speak English very well at all.

That whole experience almost turned me off to the whole independant project experience. At least now I know that everything needs to be defined in the beginning, with little room for change. The design needs to be in place before the coding, otherwise you'll get bogged down in a quagmire of continuous "extra" features.

Old school (1)

Syberghost (10557) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729561)

Writing and maintaining client-specific accounting programs in RPG-II.

What this means is, we wrote a seperate program for every client, reusing code where suitable. Thus, if we found a bug, we could MAYBE fix it the same way in every other client's code, but only by manually merging it in each.

Oh, and I got paid $4 an hour.

I lasted less than two months, and that only because I needed the money. I actually would have lasted longer, but I discovered that I was also being used as a "mule" to smuggle drugs, so I decided the time was ripe to take my leave.

do... (1)

alchemistkevin (763955) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729567)

jobs in the indian subcontinent qualify to be cribbed about here...

AS/400 and Visual LANSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8729569)

I have the joy of programming in LANSA. Does anyone have a gun?

I'm a Microsoft Windows coder... (4, Funny)

bergeron76 (176351) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729570)

[ shudder - twitch ]

My Worst. (4, Funny)

captainClassLoader (240591) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729574)

The worst programming job I ever had involved maintaining 60 KLOC of Fortran that had been hacked together by about 5 different guys, each of whom used EQUIVALENCE statements to alias all of the variables into mnemonics in their native languages. It was completely uncommented except for a single line, about halfway through the big plate o' spaghetti that this thing was, which read:
Oh, yeah, and need I mention that this was for a mission-critical system?

Well, sadly, (1)

Morologous (201459) | more than 10 years ago | (#8729578)

The worst development job I've ever had is the development job I currently have.
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