Archive for the ‘Head scratchers’ Category

Broken Links

One and a half hours into my day and I’ve encountered two broken links on sites. Mind you, these are not companies with small web budgets and a lack of technical knowledge. The offenders are EA Sports and Dell. A click on EA Sports’ Rugby 2006 and 2005 Buy links brings up a Java null pointer exception. On the Dell site, clicking on Customize It! for a Latitude D410 brings up a page that says “Choose A System.” You’d think with both of their technical prowess, their dependence on the web for their business and the availability of quality tools out there, they could get it right. Frustrating!

Y2Kx “bug”?

Apparently, our (the US’s) multi-billion dollar feet of space shuttles has a “bug” in the computer software (read here).

“A computer problem could force NASA to postpone next month’s launch of shuttle Discovery until 2007 to avoid having the spaceship in orbit when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve….’The shuttle computers were never envisioned to fly through a year-end changeover,’ space shuttle program manager Wayne Hale told a briefing….The problem, according to Hale, is that the shuttle’s computers do not reset to day one, as ground-based systems that support shuttle navigation do. Instead, after December 31, the 365th day of the year, shuttle computers figure January 1 is just day 366.”

Quite frankly this is unbelievable and unacceptable. How could this problem not have been addressed. Haven’t the software engineers at NASA learned anything from the Y2K “bug”? This just makes NASA in particular, and the United States in general, look like complete buffoons.

BTW, I put “bug” in quotes because I really have a problem with calling what happened at the turn of the millennium a bug. Usually bugs are introduced in software by accident. The Y2K mess was introduced knowingly. Don’t get me wrong, I was perpetrator in this crime as well. I began my programming career in 1987 and I distinctly remember hashing this over with my boss at the time. When I said to him, “isn’t this going to be a mess someday,” his response was, “what do you care. You probably won’t be here and neither will I.” For the next 13 years I knowingly sabotaged the programs I wrote. Perhaps sabotage is too strong a word, but what else would you call it?

Mob rules?

I came across an article today on Reuters about the election in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Apparently a drunken army sergeant killed two election workers. Here’s what I find amazing:

“…people tried to lynch the soldier but when he was arrested went on a rampage destroying about half the polling stations in the town of Fakati, north of Bunia.”

What I don’t understand is how people can go from vigilantes to anarchists. What is the thought process going on here? Maybe I don’t understand the Congolese people or maybe, since I’ve never participated, I just can’t sympathize with mob thinking. Makes me wonder!