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20 December 2007

The Software Equivalent of Duct Tape + Swiss Army Knife

Doing crazy stuff with crappy stuff

A few days ago, while waiting for the Metro to get me and some friends to a party, I was thinking about some of the crazy stuff I have done with crappy stuff in the past. I'm not a hardware guy, so I have to do the equivalent of building a rocket launcher with duct tape and a Swiss army knife in software. Here are two things that immediately come to my mind:

First was that crazy sales and contact management database I had built way back then, with FileMaker 3 (then moved to 4). Not crazy? No, so far that's just lame, as lame as FileMaker. But the crazy part was that this was a distributed, replicated database. Keeping the distributed databases from multiple locations in sync over email. It was possible for people to work on it offline on their laptops. The result was slightly crappy in hindsight, but it worked.

Next was of course the first SMS chat on TV (as far as I know ever), which was built in the time frame of 2 weeks. When the people who should originally do it gave up (without even trying), I stepped up and said: "I can do that." Well, I could, but all I had was a handful of crap hardware that nobody else wanted. Don't believe me? Would you say that a couple of Macintosh Performa 630 boxes with Mac System 7.6 are indeed crappy? One of them with 32MB RAM, the other two with 8MB. They were even crappy back in 2001 when this was taking place. Ups. I did this hack in AppleScript and using Claris Emailer. It worked quite well I'd say, even though the Claris Emailer mail database needed emptying quite often :-)

So, what are your software duct tape stories?

Posted by betabug at 11:57 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
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Re: The Software Equivalent of Duct Tape + Swiss Army Knife

I'll go from the present, backwards to the day I was born. :P

- I created two crappy xml-to-internal systems from scratch for an ISP following specifications written one paper (2 sides). Even if the systems seem crappy, it actually works. I'd like to sit and think about it with time and do something with "meaning", but it works.

- I also use python to do fast-reports and fix corrupted data. That's the swiss army knife in my job. Without it I wouldn't be able to type 4 bad lines of code and do something "useful".

- time ago a friend in a small company asked me to help him with a broken raid system. The RAID volume was detected except for one disk. I told him "try removeing another one".... The next step was to create a new array and format :P

So I believe that python fixes and does everything (other languages too, but for me it has been python.


BTW: time to go to sleep!

Posted by: graffic at December 21,2007 02:08
Re: The Software Equivalent of Duct Tape + Swiss Army Knife

An adventure with KA9Q.

Posted by: adamo at December 30,2007 20:15
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