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'[OT]: Clock Tuning (MOPCode Contest)'
2001\03\08@164622 by jamesnewton

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Most excellent... I loved that one. My personal favorite is:

Don't Recompile: Let's start off with probably the most fiendish technique
ever devised: Compile the code to an executable. If it works, then just make
one or two small little changes in the source code...in each module. But
don't bother recompiling these. You can do that later when you have more
time, and when there's time for debugging. When the hapless maintenance
programmer years later makes a change and the code no longer works, she will
erroneously assume it must be something she recently changed. You will send
her off on a wild goose chase that will keep her busy for weeks.

I worked for a guy that hired two "helper" programmers but wouldn't let me
take the time to set up anything like CVS. One day, he actually ordered me
to make some changes to the current source related to a future version of
our most complex program (without making the supporting changes that were
the jobs of the other programmers) and told me just to not recompile it, so
that we could still use the existing exe. He would have the other
programmers "finish it up" when the time was right. I had a really bad
feeling about this and expressed a desire to copy it to a new folder at
least but he insisted and I did as I was told...

Time passed, I was let go, forgot all about it and got called back (at 5
times my payrate when I was working there) to figure out why the "lame brain
moron" who he had just fired couldn't get a new feature added to this
program. It didn't click until the second day and luckily I was in the
bathroom because I peed from laughing so hard.

Now, the funny thing is this guy kept volumes of incremental backups on
CDR's (when they first came out) and so I just went back to the version of
the source that I had added the changes to and the other programmers first
try at adding the supporting changes. I reviewed that code, found the bug I
had introduced and corrected a few minor problems.

Bingo. Everything worked perfectly. It took me an hour or two to force
myself to fess up and explain what had happened to the other guy, and when I
did, the boss got all pissed off and refused to pay me for my work. That
will teach me.

Anyway, I've never been in that other guys situation, I don't think he was
hired back, and I haven't run into him (thank God) but I really feel for
him... I hope he was able to convince himself that he wasn't an incompetent
programmer...

---
James Newton (PICList Admin #3)
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