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Ovid (2709)

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Stuff with the Perl Foundation. A couple of patches in the Perl core. A few CPAN modules. That about sums it up.

Journal of Ovid (2709)

Wednesday March 12, 2003
03:53 PM

A wasted day

[ #11010 ]

I get an email from my boss asking why a particular Web program for searching by Zip codes is not working. I look into it and discover, to my great relief, that CGI::Carp qw(fatalsToBrowser); was not enabled. Why? Because this is the error message our client's customers could have seen:

can't get my zip(per) up

The clients who may have been exposed to this are very valuable to us and we could have lost a lot of potential business as a result. Now, I'm forced to stop my current work and go through the code written by the programmer responsible for that and ensure that there are no other "surprises" waiting for us.

This reminds me of an incident that happened here a couple of years ago. A programmer had me test some of his code and I discovered, to my astonishment, that one of the hyperlinks went to a Thai porn site. I discovered this right as our office manager walked up. I think she believed that I wasn't surfing porn, but since I was the new guy, it looked really, really bad. Had this slipped into production, we'd might have gone out of business back then. It's okay to have fun and games at work (it's mandatory, IMHO), but not with stuff like this, and never with potentially sexual content that a client might see.

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  • Even seeming non-offensive error messages can upset some customers. Years back, I worked at a company that was deploying a database at a hospital. The hospital folks were very much not amused by the phrase "fatal error".