Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn


I just spent about two hours tracing a bug in this old scheduling thing my research group uses to manage some local resources. Given that it's an entirely private internal resource, and there are endless bits of technical cruft that I've been working on, replacing it has been a low priority. Recently it's stopped allowing repeated reservations though, meaning scheduling all tuesdays at 4:30 for four weeks week requires people in my group to do that multiple times. The thing is written in PHP, and so like most PHP programs it's an ugly hack written by people who probably can't really program. It eventually traced to the software not being careful with its SQL and trying to insert an empty string into an integer field. At some point in the past, PostgreSQL silently converted that to an integer, and an upgrade fixed that behaviour, which unfortunately broke the scheduler (and revealed its utter lack of error checking). Just like some weird pointer bugs in C I've tracked down over the years, I have to repeat to myself that debugging builds character... even in PHP. At least now I can go back to programming interesting things in pleasant languages.. or working with brains.

I'm still hoping to hear back from some people who want to go see VNV Nation, Pirates of Penzance, and all that.

I have a growing hankering to eat at Abay again. Mmm... Ethiopean..

Tags: tech

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