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Comment: Think of it as breaking it (Score 1) 396

by Farlan (#33271500) Attached to: How Can I Make Testing Software More Stimulating?
As a software analyst and a QA engineer, if you think of the software you write as if it were someone else's (preferably someone you know is a poor coder), test the software with the objective of breaking it, and finding those loopholes which will allow you to use the software in ways it wasn't designed to be used. It makes a very monotonous task so much more enjoyable.
Bug

Software Glitch Leads To $23,148,855,308,184,500 Visa Charges 544

Posted by timothy
from the what's-the-grace-period-again dept.
Hmmm2000 writes "Recently several Visa card holders were, um, overcharged for certain purchases, to the tune of $23,148,855,308,184,500.00 on a single charge. The company says it was due to a programming error, and that the problem has been corrected. What is interesting is that the amount charged actually reveals the type of programming error that caused the problem. 23,148,855,308,184,500.00 * 100 (I'm guessing this is how the number is actually stored) is 2314885530818450000. Convert 2314885530818450000 to hexadecimal, and you end up with 20 20 20 20 20 20 12 50. Most C/C++ programmers see the error now ... hex 20 is a space. So spaces were stuffed into a field where binary zero should have been."
Image

Passenger Avoids Delay By Fixing Plane Himself 178

Posted by samzenpus
from the flying-the-diy-skies dept.
It would be a shame if an engineer on a recent Thomas Cook Airlines flight doesn't get a complimentary first class upgrade every time he flies. The engineer was on flight TCX9641 when it was announced that the trip would be delayed eight hours, while a mechanic was flown in to fix a problem. Luckily for the other passengers, the engineer happened to work for Thomsonfly Airlines, which has a reciprocal maintenance agreement with Thomas Cook. After about 35 minutes the man fixed the problem and the flight was on its way. A spokeswoman for Thomas Cook said, "When they announced there was a technical problem he came forward and said who he was. We checked his licence and verified he was who he said he was, and he was able to fix the problem to avoid the delay. We are very grateful that he was on the flight that day."
Image

Carnivorous Clock Eats Bugs 197

Posted by samzenpus
from the little-office-of-horrors dept.
Designers James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau have created a clock that is powered by "eating" bugs. The clock traps insects on flypaper stretched across a roller system and then drops them into a vat of bacteria. The insects are then "digested" and the ensuing chemical reaction is transformed into power that keeps the rollers moving and the LCD clock working. The two offer another version that is powered by mice and an even cooler machine that picks insect fuel from spiderwebs with the help of a robotic arm and a video camera.
Databases

MySQL Founder Starts Open Database Alliance, Plans Refactoring 153

Posted by timothy
from the database-shakeup dept.
Gary Pendergast writes "Monty Widenius, the 'father' of MySQL, has created the the Open Database Alliance, with the aim of becoming the industry hub for the MySQL open source database. He wants to unify all MySQL-related development and services, providing a potential solution to the fragmentation and uncertainty facing the communities, businesses and technical experts involved with MySQL, following the news of the Oracle acquisition of Sun." Related to this, an anonymous reader writes that "MySQL has announced a project to refactor MySQL to be a more Drizzle-like database." Update: 05/14 20:50 GMT by T : Original headline implied that this was a project of Sun, but (thanks to the open source nature of MySQL) it's actually Monty Widenius — no longer with Sun — leading this effort.
The Courts

Court Orders Breathalyzer Code Opened, Reveals Mess 707

Posted by timothy
from the take-a-sober-look-at-this dept.
Death Metal writes with an excerpt from the website of defense attorney Evan Levow: "After two years of attempting to get the computer based source code for the Alcotest 7110 MKIII-C, defense counsel in State v. Chun were successful in obtaining the code, and had it analyzed by Base One Technologies, Inc. By making itself a party to the litigation after the oral arguments in April, Draeger subjected itself to the Supreme Court's directive that Draeger ultimately provide the source code to the defendants' software analysis house, Base One. ... Draeger reviewed the code, as well, through its software house, SysTest Labs, which agreed with Base One, that the patchwork code that makes up the 7110 is not written well, nor is it written to any defined coding standard. SysTest said, 'The Alcotest NJ3.11 source code appears to have evolved over numerous transitions and versioning, which is responsible for cyclomatic complexity.'" Bruce Schneier comments on the same report and neatly summarizes the take-away lesson: "'You can't look at our code because we don't want you to' simply isn't good enough."

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