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programming

Do people write insane code with multiple overlapping side effects with a straight face?

Who writes code like that with a straight face? It's one thing to write it because you're trying to win the IOCCC or you're writing a puzzle, but in both cases, you know that you're doing something bizarre.

Code Health: To Comment or Not to Comment?

While reading code, often there is nothing more helpful than a well-placed comment. However, comments are not always good. Sometimes the need for a comment can be a sign that the code should be refactored.

“Don’t run this on any system you expect to be up” they said, but we did it anyway

This is the story of how we upgraded over 2000 Ubuntu production servers – turning over millions an hour – by installing the operating system in memory, wiping the root disk and reinstalling the OS back on disk from RAM. We did it, there was zero data loss and it saved us lots of time and money in support. It also took months of careful planning and many many tests.

On being the employee who “needs improvement”

Once upon a time I had this job at an extremely small company. It was going along swimmingly, I thought. Until the day maybe half a year in when my bosses called me into a meeting to tell me that I had not been performing satisfactorily.

Why We Argue: Style

Here's what I've noticed. In some places, folks are generally happy. Programmers get along. They feel as if they are all "in this together." At businesses like this I spend most of my time actually teaching object-oriented design.

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