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How Would You Handle a $1,000,000 Coding Error?

timothy posted about 10 years ago | from the wasn't-me dept.

Bug 878

theodp writes "The Chicago Tribune's efforts to upgrade its computer system over the weekend turned into a fiasco when the system crashed, halting all printing operations and leaving about half of the Trib's subscribers without papers. The software contained 'a coding error,' according to a spokesman who estimated the cost to resolve the problem at 'under $1 million.' Any advice for the poor schmuck who's going to get the blame?"

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Tell them (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744845)

To go stick it in their gay nigger asses

This is offensive. (1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | about 10 years ago | (#9744967)

Not really. Slashdot has become a disgustingly safe haven for wannabe trolls with grotesque messaging. Can I get a penis bird at least? Some hot grits? A page widening? Something other than "NIGGER" "GAY"? That post wasn't offensive, it was cliche. Keep up the good work, dipshits.

Just one (5, Funny)

kalidasa (577403) | about 10 years ago | (#9744849)

Check out this link [state.il.us] . Sorry, dude. Any of us could have done it.

Re:Just one (1)

simonharvey (605068) | about 10 years ago | (#9745018)

as first post (almost) the site that you referred to is slashdotted as well as the one on the main news page.

can anybody else post a mirror?

simon

Dogbert Strategy (5, Funny)

mfh (56) | about 10 years ago | (#9744850)

> How Would You Handle a $1,000,000 Coding Error?

I would have to follow Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook [amazon.com] , and take full responsibility for the bungle. That way when the next job comes up two or three rungs above me, I'll be at the top of the list of people with actual experience with massive projects, and it won't matter that it was a colossal screw-up because I will have jumped two or three pay-grades. Corporate fall-guys, if they take it right, always end up better off than quiet behind the scenes types.

So my advice is that you should take full responsiblity and sharpen that resume, but be sure to make it known that you have learned from your mistakes and you worked hard to correct them. Nobody gets anywhere without making big blunders along the way. Be a good sport and you'll jump at least two pay grades for this blunder.

Re:Dogbert Strategy (5, Insightful)

Pulse_Instance (698417) | about 10 years ago | (#9744940)

In my experience being honest about your mistakes and having the willingness to learn from them always pays off.

The scoop (2, Funny)

SIGALRM (784769) | about 10 years ago | (#9744851)

Any advice for the poor schmuck who's going to get the blame?
Yeah... you shouldn't have written:
char buf[8];
printf ( "Hey, what's the scoop, newsboy? " );
gets ( buf );
printf ( "Good one my boy, now off to the presses to publish %s!!\n", buf );

(It pays to use Splint [splint.org] )

Re:The scoop (1)

draevil (598113) | about 10 years ago | (#9744959)

"Yeah... you shouldn't have written:

char buf[8];
printf ( "Hey, what's the scoop, newsboy? " );
gets ( buf );
printf ( "Good one my boy, now off to the presses to publish %s!!\n", buf ); "

Ah that was the programming error, he used gets()!

The Coder? Nothing... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744852)

As for the QA department...

Advice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744855)

Change your name? Use that guy that cost the Cubs their game last year as a shield?

oops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744856)

run, cause you can't hide.....

Do as any knee-jerk slashdotter would... (5, Funny)

Jad LaFields (607990) | about 10 years ago | (#9744857)

... and blame it on Microsoft.

My advice. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744858)

Time for plan B [sdmcdonalds.com]

Go to Microsoft (0, Troll)

gmuslera (3436) | about 10 years ago | (#9744859)

They seem to not have problem dealing with the multibillon dolar programming error called Windows, maybe being there will help to put the facts in perspective.

OMG TOO FUNNY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744947)

You see, Windows is all teh bugs!

Mod parent +2 so dang funny!!!

Re:Go to Microsoft (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744987)

They seem to not have problem dealing with the multibillon dolar programming error called Windows, maybe being there will help to put the facts in perspective.

I'll ignore your two-bit typo and refer you to the section on this page [linuxmyths.org] titled "coding errors on both platforms", since you're allegedly interested in "perspective"

Re:Go to Microsoft (1)

DaHat (247651) | about 10 years ago | (#9745030)

I was quite interested to see what you linked to there but I keep seeing "error 400: Bad Request" /.ed perhaps?

run for your life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744860)

Go to Mexico

Since you asked, here's my advice: (1)

Bold Marauder (673130) | about 10 years ago | (#9744863)

Debuggers and Virtual Machines [google.com] are your friends!

Well, if they're outsourced to India... (4, Funny)

Gldm (600518) | about 10 years ago | (#9744866)

Just have each of their coders chip in a dollar, problem solved.

*ducks*

Re:Well, if they're outsourced to India... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744969)

Do you really expect your fellow coders to pay one month's salary for your mistake?

Or South Florida (5, Funny)

LoztInSpace (593234) | about 10 years ago | (#9744974)

Or The journalists that work at the outfit the link went to. Did you notice it took 3 of them to write that article? Talk about overstaffed.

umm... (2, Funny)

maxdamage (615250) | about 10 years ago | (#9744870)

Blame it on the company not supplying enough caffine?

Who Was It REALLY? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744872)

Anyone else think it was poor 'theodp' ??!

yea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744877)

duck

It's my first week! (5, Insightful)

Fubar420 (701126) | about 10 years ago | (#9744878)

Well, ok so that might not fly, but hey, it works when its true if you work for a modestly forgiving employer...

Now if the cause was insufficient testing, well then QA has to answer for it.

And if there's no QA, well that's managements fault...

Now if it all comes down to dumb circumstances, it's poor planning on the papers fault for not testing themselves ;-)

That said, fess up, worse comes to worse, you now have national infamy, and any fame is good fame, right??

Re:It's my first week! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744908)

I'd blame whoever forced the code into production without QA'ing it under a production test environment. Everybody makes mistakes, that's why you have systems in place to catch them.

Install Linux (-1, Flamebait)

DasBub (139460) | about 10 years ago | (#9744879)

Problem Solved.

(waits for the -5000 flamebait)

I would get drunk. (4, Funny)

Mmm coffee (679570) | about 10 years ago | (#9744883)

I would go out, and get so absofreakinlutely drunk that I wouldn't be able to remember my middle name, let alone that I made a $1M error. And then when the lawsuits are about to go to court and I started showing signs of severe alcoholism, I would put my head inbetween my legs and kiss my ass goodbye. 'Cause man, that would really suck.

Well, you asked.

Advice? (2, Funny)

quantaman (517394) | about 10 years ago | (#9744885)

Any advice for the poor schmuck who's going to get the blame?

Well my first advice is to come clean, yes I mean you theodp, I think we all know who this poor schmuck is ;)

Simple Advice (2, Funny)

gnugie (757363) | about 10 years ago | (#9744886)

He should blame the requirements.

There's always a mistake in the requirements.

Newsweek (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744887)

I hear Newsweek is firing their publishing chief because he published their news too early. [msn.com] Perhaps Mr Chicago Tribune man could offer Newsweek some help by delaying publication until Steve Jobs holds his press conference.

Just my two pence.

Sincerely,
Seth Finklestein
Media Watchdog Gadfly
Not affiliated with Seth Finkelstein [sethf.com]

Ok everyone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744889)

The problems occurred after a flaw in software installed over the weekend crashed the newspaper's production system.


Que the "that's what you get for using Windows" jibes; 1,2,3...GO!

Testing? (5, Insightful)

buff_pilot (221119) | about 10 years ago | (#9744891)

Where was the pre-install testing?

A good test should have identified some errors, especially if it blew up IMMEDIATELY.

Deployment? (5, Insightful)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | about 10 years ago | (#9744999)

Where was the phased or parallel deployment?

You don't just change a system like in a weekend. There WILL be problems, so you have to have ways of dealing with it. Maybe that means flicking the switch back to the old system if it fails, or maybe it means running with degraded capacity a while, but whatever it is, it's dead-in-the-water is not your Plan B.

planning? (5, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | about 10 years ago | (#9745027)

A good test should have identified some errors, especially if it blew up IMMEDIATELY.

Good planning would have had an abort procedure, so the show would go on. Everything changed should be undone if it did not work. They could figure it out after the paper was printed.

Errors are inevitable. Good planning and implementation keep you from falling on your face even when you publish seven days a week. It's not the coder's fault.

Re-engineer (3, Funny)

OmegaGeek (586893) | about 10 years ago | (#9744893)

That isn't a bug - its a feature!

if it was outsourced (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744897)

He's probably in India, so will have to go back to working at the Old Navy shirt factory.

hey now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744900)

If they didn't test the system well enough before throwing it in there, the people who installed it and the Paper's employess share the blame.

Become a software engineer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744903)

It's so easy! Code a bunch of nonsense, and when it screws up, just shrug and keep doing it!
Become an electrical engineer, and one single, tiny, almost undetectable mistake, your career is over!

Uptime (3, Funny)

FiberOpPraise (607416) | about 10 years ago | (#9744904)

23:44:03 up 48545 days, 6:15, 1 user, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00 Blink. up 0 days, 1:00, 1 user, load average: 0.00, 0.00, 0.00 I hope they got a SS of that massive uptime.

Re:Uptime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744938)

Wow, a computer with a 133 year uptime. That's impressive.

Re:Uptime (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9745032)

considering 133 years ago they didn't have "computers" in the traditional sense.

Refund their subscription for the day? (1)

nspitze (122888) | about 10 years ago | (#9744906)

You could refund their subscription for the day, or you could add an additional week to their current subscription. Which one would generate better goodwill and thus better publicity? (perhaps a slashback)
Tell the truth, fess up. People will accept the error as long as you give them free stuff.
-NOAH

Damn outsourcing (0, Troll)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | about 10 years ago | (#9744910)

Who would have guessed "start" didn't mean the same in India?

Blame Microsoft (1)

Petronius (515525) | about 10 years ago | (#9744912)

It always works. ;)

Blame a contract coder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744915)

They'll just blame the contract coder that left six months ago because the guy that really f*#@ed it up was the boss...

What will the naughty programmer do? (0, Redundant)

stinkydog (191778) | about 10 years ago | (#9744918)

I hear that McDonald's in India [mcdonaldsindia.com] is hiring.

SD

No Paper this morning (2, Interesting)

justanyone (308934) | about 10 years ago | (#9744919)

I didn't get my paper this morning and was angry until I read this.

I'm not angry anymore, I'm sympathetic for the poor schmuck as well as all the customer service people who probably got yelled at this morning.

-- Kevin J. Rice

Re:No Paper this morning (1)

real_smiff (611054) | about 10 years ago | (#9745007)

oh dear, that just leaves - everyone who didn't get a paper and doesn't read /.

to get angry.

and probably quite a few people on /. who'll start flaming the guy (i'm assuming it's a guy) who did this.

Always blame the coder... (2, Insightful)

gik (256327) | about 10 years ago | (#9744920)

People, it's called QA.

Toss his newspaper subscription and egg his car. Other than that, leave the poor geek alone.

How many people here have fucked LILO into the ground the night before a java assignment on a laptop with no floppy? anyone?

yeah. i thought as much.

Re:Always blame the coder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9745045)

that's what a liveCD is for.

/leaves knoppix in his laptop's dvd drive just in case

1 million is not that much (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744929)

Management frequently makes mistakes which cost much more. The difference is that their mistakes are not as easily identified or attributed to a single person.

The culprit should just admit it. Shit happens, it's unavoidable even if you take all precautions. Don't make the same mistake again, though.

A $1,000,000 coding error? (0, Troll)

James A. U. Joyce (795786) | about 10 years ago | (#9744931)

Dammit...what's Taco done now?

Advice... (1)

Jim Starx (752545) | about 10 years ago | (#9744934)

Any advice for the poor schmuck who's going to get the blame?

Start looking for a new job.

yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744935)

tell the moon to tell to tell the march tell the moon to tell to tell the march.. he is here tell the moon to tell to tell the march he is here, tell the moon to tell to tell the march

Fire ME???? (1)

Marko DeBeeste (761376) | about 10 years ago | (#9744942)

You dickwads just paid a megabuck to train me.

Re:Fire ME???? (1)

AnotherFreakboy (730662) | about 10 years ago | (#9745005)

Looks like the dickwads paid a few megacents too few.

Point to EULA (4, Funny)

ejaw5 (570071) | about 10 years ago | (#9744944)

LIMITED LIABILITY
Software provided as-is. Softare developer/company is not liable for any physical, financial, or any other loss or damage arising from use of software.

Doesn't all software come with things like this? (nevertheless, thank-goodness I'm not a software developer)

Re:Point to EULA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9745015)

I would wager a bet that such a stipulation doesn't hold up well in court under extreme circumstances such as this.

from Office Space (2, Funny)

v1x (528604) | about 10 years ago | (#9744945)

" .. I must have missed a zero somewhere ... damn I always do that!"

Re:from Office Space (1)

scoot241 (794509) | about 10 years ago | (#9744981)

"Yeaahh... I'm gonna need you to come in on Saturday... oh, and Peter, I'm gonna need you to come in on Sunday too."

why wasn't this caught in testing? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744946)

If I ever was on the specifying end of software (instead of the coding end, where I do these things reflexively anyway), I would demand the following of the team I hired:

1) 100% unit test coverage, verified by a second outside team using whatever tools are appropriate for whatever language they are using (i.e., something like Jester for Java).

2) Reduction of existing code at each iteration. After the project implements the basic features, I would demand reduction of logical code lines (i.e., actual code statements, not comments or multiple statements on each line) at each iteration. In other words, existing code must *shrink* before you can add new code.

3) full source code and copyrights

If they couldn't meet these requirements as well as the actual project requirements, I would fire them, not pay them, and find someone else. Cost and deadline would be secondary concerns to these.

And on the flip side, if I were the programmer and I couldn't get clear requirements and enthusiasm from the customer, I'd drop the project.

Ahh.. a man can dream can't he?

My advice (4, Funny)

baywulf (214371) | about 10 years ago | (#9744954)

"Any advice for the poor schmuck who's going to get the blame?"

My advice: Prepare three envelopes

any relation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744956)

PR huff and puff [sun.com]

Wait, another bug (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744957)

They misplaced a decimal... it was actually a $1 billion error.

Only one thing to do now... (5, Funny)

C60 (546704) | about 10 years ago | (#9744958)

Change your name, and switch to a "skills" based resume rather than an experience based one...

damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744960)

I knew we shouldn't have switched our system to MS Office + a bunch of VBA scripts...

And this is why... (4, Funny)

WarMonkey (721558) | about 10 years ago | (#9744961)

And this is why you don't use an Access database for a job like this.

advice to hapless code monkey (5, Funny)

Jayfar (630313) | about 10 years ago | (#9744964)

Any advice for the poor schmuck who's going to get the blame?

Down, not across. (motto of alt.sysadmin.recovery referring to best method of slashing one's wrists).

Re:advice to hapless code monkey (2, Informative)

Intocabile (532593) | about 10 years ago | (#9745048)

Come on, the only honorable way to commit suicide is good old fashioned seppuku. Bonus points if your offshore replacement is the one ready to behead you if the need arises.

just NICK BERG him! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9744966)

just NICK BERG him!

Luckily... (1)

mars_rover (741702) | about 10 years ago | (#9744975)

the software that caused the crash was open source and there are currently 6000 geeks working on the problem as we speak... -- no news is good news! --

No one person should be at fault (5, Insightful)

David Frankenstein (21337) | about 10 years ago | (#9744977)

With any large roll out, if only one person is at fault for a fiasco like this, then the project mas mismanaged. They should have had a plan in place to backout the change.

it's all a marketing problem (1)

Stevyn (691306) | about 10 years ago | (#9744979)

if they just called this MyNewspaper.NET this would never have been news. Hell, they could have blamed it on a "routine update."

Only one solution... (1)

bman08 (239376) | about 10 years ago | (#9744983)

seppuku.

Great thread. (1)

Hatechall (541378) | about 10 years ago | (#9744986)

I was pretty sure when I read the thread title that this was going to be chock full of posts containing bad jokes. And what horrible jokes they are. Truely awful. Bad, I say.

How to handle $1,000,000 coding error? (4, Funny)

multipartmixed (163409) | about 10 years ago | (#9744994)

Well, if I was in management.. I would find the programmer responsible, and have him snipped!

Re:How to handle $1,000,000 coding error? (2, Funny)

gkuz (706134) | about 10 years ago | (#9745051)

I would find the programmer responsible, and have him snipped!

Poor schmuck probably already got that e-mail, and this "coding error" was a last-ditch attempt to generate the FOURTHY-THOUSAND DOLLARS he needed.

Fix it. (5, Interesting)

wideBlueSkies (618979) | about 10 years ago | (#9744996)

Simple enough.

Take responsibility and ownership of the problem. Don't make excuses, but give real reasons.

Fix it..do whatever it takes, even if it means working over a weekend.

Write a good post mortem, explaining how th e fix is different from the original problem.

And hope to god that your management is understanding enough to keep you on.

This is comong from a guy, who in 1997 blew a $100,000 test weekend by kicking off the systems tests by loading the wrong generation of tapes.

I took the blame, and expected to lose my job. But I knew that the right thing to do was to try to recover from the problem. I stayed in the office from 1:00AM Sunday to 10:00AM Monday morning rerunning every job and report and proving out the results.

Not only did I keep my job, but I got promoted a year later. I made a name for myself that weekend....sure I could f*k up, but I work hard to keep things right for the company.

wbs.

Who' is paying the tuition? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9745003)

Years ago, when the then new FBI headquarter building was being built, the foundation reinforcing steel was installed incorrectly. The North/South design orientation had been actually been installed in error as East/West. It was an error which cost the company thousands of dollars to correct.

The foreman responsible for the error wasn't fired, to the surprise of almost everyone. The owner was asked why the guy wasn't fired. He answered something along the lines of,

"That mistake cost the company $10,000. He's never going to make that mistake again. I paid for his education. If he's fired he'll go to work for anther company. Why should I let another outfit get the benefit of the lesson I paid for?"

Yeah, the coder's fault (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9745004)

I have never been at a large company that was able to adequately mimic their complex production environment is development or QA. Different feeds, user loads, interactions with other production systems, etc.

I can imagine how hard it would be to code stuff that controls mechanical devices without being able to test on the production equipment in high stress conditions that will exercise as much of the code as possible.

I've seen this problem before (4, Funny)

Orion Blastar (457579) | about 10 years ago | (#9745012)

I've had coworkers who made major bugs that crashed servers and workstations and caused a lot of downtime. This is because they wrote sloppy code in a hurry and never bothered to check it. Management usually wants faster turnaround time on projects.

So your choices:

Plan A: Blame managers for forcing you to work under stressful conditions that lead to a workplace hazard (stress) that caused you to make the error. Cite that you had to work a lot of overtime and the lack of breaks and sleep caused you to miss a major bug.

Plan B: find someone like me who takes their time coding and have them look over the code and fix the problem for you. Sometimes another pair of eyes helps to find things you've missed.

Plan C:
Go to work in flip-flops, a Hawaiian shirt, sunlasses and tell everyone you are on vacation. Make Pacman noises, and talk to your invisible friends. Claim insanity and see if that works.

Plan D:
Start looking for another job ASAP.

Typical Users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#9745014)

Even after an editor assured her that she wasn't alone, a Stickney woman had to ask one more question to ease her mind.

She wanted to be sure that her missing Monday paper had nothing to do with the fact that her Sunday Tribune had been labeled "Final" edition.

Yep... sounds about like the end users I know.

So.. (1)

emazing (778569) | about 10 years ago | (#9745020)

Heh, that's why I didn't get the paper until about three in the afternoon.

The Honorable Way (1)

mikebelrose (192357) | about 10 years ago | (#9745021)

"The condemned man received a jeweled dagger from the emperor. He selected as his second a faithful friend, received official witnesses, and plunged the dagger into the left side of his abdomen, drew it across to the right, and made a slight cut upward; his second then beheaded him with one stroke of a sword, and the dagger was returned to the emperor."

http://www.bartleby.com/65/ha/harakiri.html [bartleby.com]

Fire him... (1)

super_ogg (620337) | about 10 years ago | (#9745025)

If you aren't a perfect human being, you shouldn't be coding.
ogg

UAT/QA anyone? (4, Insightful)

bwy (726112) | about 10 years ago | (#9745026)

One of the benefits of working for a big company is a QA/UAT department. You have an entire department of people lined up just to test your shit. And, usually this type of job makes a person very anal. They log defects for just about everything.

The person writing the code can unit test to his or her best ability, but it is really the job of someone else to put it through the wringer testing thousands of simulated real-world scenerios. Sure, a coder could do this testing. But a QA guy or gal is doing really well if he makes 3/4 the salary of the guy who wrote the code- so a divison of labor only makes sense.

Not to mention the person writing the code makes the worst tester in the world. You only test it the way you THOUGHT people would use it. So, while a coder is perhaps the one who created the original problem, the real fault is in whoever let this slip through to production. Assuming, of course, that it wasn't some kind of time-bomb easter egg that would have been impossible to test. Although, good QA testers should alter their system date/time when testing date sensitive routines.

No wonder my copy of the Tribune... (1)

IronChefMorimoto (691038) | about 10 years ago | (#9745028)

...featured the tagline:

"To hell with shoes that shit to sprint..."

F7 could've saved this guy his job. ;-)

IronChefMorimoto

My advice (4, Funny)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | about 10 years ago | (#9745029)

Send the coder to the Open Source world because no one is going to pay him to code anymore.

And send his supervisor too for not testing the system properly before trying to roll it out.

The classic . . . (1)

_pi-away (308135) | about 10 years ago | (#9745031)

off-by-one-million error.

Easy (1)

Xeth (614132) | about 10 years ago | (#9745035)

Run.

"angry or confused" (2, Informative)

Kris_J (10111) | about 10 years ago | (#9745039)

By mid-day, the paper had received more than 40,000 phone calls from angry or confused subscribers.
My, some people get worked up easily. I bet there was a message on the automated phone system explaining that there had been a technical error and some papers hadn't been delivered. I can't imagine I would have needed to lodge a complaint, speak to a human or get angry.

Mind you, here in Perth we only have one daily newspaper and it sucks, so I can't imagine getting worked up about a failed delivery.

Very carefully! (5, Funny)

YouHaveSnail (202852) | about 10 years ago | (#9745040)

How Would You Handle a $1,000,000 Coding Error?

Frankly, I can't believe anyone would pay $1M for a coding error. Hell, the guys I work with make coding errors all the time, and practically for free!

(That's free, as in beer.)

Nothing to see here (4, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | about 10 years ago | (#9745041)

I don't think any specific programmer will be blamed for that, and I don't think the phrase "coding error" really reflects what happened. It's more likely just a popular explanation like "the computer crashed".

Noone [in their right mind] orders a brand new paper publishing system from a single consultant. The software probably was priced in several million dollars. Somewhere between the components something broke. For example, the file format that the publisher produced was rev. 2.1, but the software at the presses side was only aware of rev. 1.7 and below... If the coder only tested his code with the "other" piece of latest revision, he would never see any problem; and it is not his guilt that in real life the real customer uses some obsolete stuff that isn't compatible...

This kind of problem is clearly of administrative nature, of a system design and of checking which pieces work with which other pieces. Clearly, blame should be assigned to non-existent QA procedures, insufficient unit testing and [obviously] inadequate integration of components. The coder is nowhere here, it's all system design and QA stuff, realm of managers.

More common than you think... (5, Informative)

John Whorfin (19968) | about 10 years ago | (#9745042)

I'm a programmer for a large, (US) national newspaper chain and screwing up the publication cycle is somewhat more common that you might think.

Most daily newspapers produce various editions, between 2 and four, and I've seen a couple of times, where only one edition is printed due to "codeing errors" (like the 1 billion seconds from the epoc thing - my personal favorite).

Of course the vendor had to be called at the $500/hour emergency rate to fix their own error.

Once I saw a print pre-processor go off line because /dev/null was deleted and the backup systme had been down for 6 mos. and take out $50,000 - $100,000 in advertising.

The call daily newspapers "the daily miracle" and when you look at some of the computer band-aids they have producing them, you can see why.

I always say... (0, Redundant)

Ponkinator (466952) | about 10 years ago | (#9745043)

Try before you buy.

renew there indemnity insurance now!! (1)

zenst (558964) | about 10 years ago | (#9745046)

REnew there indemnity insurance now, before they make a claima nd there premius go thru the roof :D

He lives in India you silly goose... (1)

Derge (683339) | about 10 years ago | (#9745049)

...he'll be fine.
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