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Who, Me? As nan twelvemonth rolls down to its inevitable conclusion, we're moving retired of Mondays. But person nary fear, gentle scholar – early Mondays will bring you further installments of Who, Me? successful which Register readers stock their tales of tech support gone wrong.

On this peculiar Monday, meet a scholar we'll Regomize arsenic "John" who, it seems, missed nan instruction astir ne'er putting placeholder matter anyplace it mightiness find itself successful beforehand of nan eyes of personification who ought not to spot it. Instead, he learned nan difficult way: connected nan job.

Back astatine nan commencement of nan century, John was moving arsenic a developer for a web creation business. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 was nan ascendant browser astatine nan time, and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) were only conscionable starting to tame nan ascendant designs of nan clip – nan scary that was nested tables wrong nested tables wrong nested tables. Ugh.

John's employer was astatine nan pointy extremity of nan CSS juggernaut and had built a very nifty tract for a customer who had 1 different request: it had to activity for visitors utilizing Internet Explorer 5, for Mac. Apple's ain Safari browser was still very caller astatine nan clip and while astir of nan client's Mac customers were apt to person made nan switch, galore would still beryllium utilizing Microsoft's unloved browser.

Specifically, nan client's constituent of interaction pinch John's patient was still utilizing IE5 for Mac, truthful it had to meet pinch her approval.

Now, nan instrumentality pinch that was that IE5 didn't grip JavaScript aliases CSS successful nan aforesaid measurement arsenic IE6 did, which meant a bunch of other server-side codification was written to outpouring into action if nan web server spotted a Mac moving IE5. Quite clever, really.

The process of putting it together was very frustrating, though, arsenic John was (and still is) a PC personification and had nary Mac of his own. He would person to hold until 1 of nan Mac-using designers near their instrumentality (or footwear them off) successful bid to trial his changes.

So astatine immoderate constituent successful nan improvement of his Mac-sniffing code, he added a none-too-subtle excavation astatine nan level that was causing him specified frustration: a connection that would look connected nan debugging surface erstwhile it had sniffed retired a Mac.

  • Enterprising techie took nan bumpy roadworthy to replacing vintage hardware
  • Sysadmin's favourite postulation of infallible utilities grounded … foully
  • IT sent nan intern to benignant retired nan nasty VP who was excessively important to fuss pinch backups
  • Why person conscionable 1 firewall erstwhile you tin occurrence all nan walls?

Fast-forward to nan completion of nan project, and it's proudly demonstrated to nan customer – including nan IE5-using Mac. The tract worked perfectly and nan demo apparently went well.

Until John's supervisor took a perturbed telephone call: "Why does nan website opportunity 'Stinky Mac' astatine nan apical of nan view?" nan supervisor was asked.

While nan leader tried to deliberation of immoderate bully logic nan website should proffer specified a connection to a user, nan telephone telephone sewage worse: "How does it moreover cognize everybody calls maine Mac?"

In nan decades since then, John has learned 2 very important lessons. First: Never ever fto nan debugging surface look successful beforehand of an extremity user. Second: Because nan debugging surface conscionable mightiness accidentally look successful beforehand of a personification whether you want it to aliases not, ne'er put thing connected location that you don't want a personification to see.

It's a silly mistake, but 1 that we astatine Vulture Central admit we've made erstwhile aliases doubly ourselves. If you've ever had a customer spot thing they ought not to person seen, you're hardly alone. Send an email to Who, Me? pinch your tales of silly mistakes and we'll stock your load pinch others.