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I once had a client specification that literally called for code capable of traveling backwards in time.

My employer harvested data for the client, and we were to deliver it in file format X at ten-minute intervals between 9 AM and 5 PM, save for the final delivery, which was in format Y (just X with a different footer). I did just that ... and they freaked. We were collecting low-volume data, and really only had one or two data points to deliver on any given day.

"QUIT SPAMMING US WITH EMPTY FILES!!!" they cried. "FIVE K'S EVERY TEN MINUTES ENCLOGULATES OUR BANDTUBES!"

Okay. So, my code checked every ten minutes, and only delivered if there was anything to deliver. Fair enough.

"BUT THE LAST FILE MUST BE IN FORMAT Y!!!" thethey screamed. "MODERN TECHNOLOGY CONFUSES AND ANGERS US! FIX IT OR WE WILL BEAT YOU WITH A MASTODON FEMUR!*"

(* -- It is possible I'm misremembering portions of the conversation.)

"So, I'm only to deliver the file if there's fresh data to deliver."

"YES."

"And the final delivery for the day is supposed to be a different file format."

"YES."

"Except I have no way of knowing which file will be the last of the day until the end of the day."

"YES."

"So the only way for me to implement this is to write code that goes backwards in time at the end of the day to redo the format on what turned out to be the final delivery."

"COULD YOU HAVE IT REPORT SPORTS SCORES? WE SAW BACK TO THE FUTURE II. BIFF TANNEN MAKES US HAPPY."

I refused, in part because violating causality is an unethical programming practice, in part because CPAN.org didn't have a module that would let me do it. (I checked.) In the end, they allowed me to send a file in format Y at the end of the day, regardless of whether or not it had any actual data. I'm pretty sure their bandwidth survived the hit.

I once had a client specification that literally called for code capable of traveling backwards in time.

My employer harvested data for the client, and we were to deliver it in file format X at ten-minute intervals between 9 AM and 5 PM, save for the final delivery, which was in format Y (just X with a different footer). I did just that ... and they freaked. We were collecting low-volume data, and really only had one or two data points to deliver on any given day.

"QUIT SPAMMING US WITH EMPTY FILES!!!" they cried. "FIVE K'S EVERY TEN MINUTES ENCLOGULATES OUR BANDTUBES!"

Okay. So, my code checked every ten minutes, and only delivered if there was anything to deliver. Fair enough.

"BUT THE LAST FILE MUST BE IN FORMAT Y!!!" the screamed. "MODERN TECHNOLOGY CONFUSES AND ANGERS US! FIX IT OR WE WILL BEAT YOU WITH A MASTODON FEMUR!*"

(* -- It is possible I'm misremembering portions of the conversation.)

"So, I'm only to deliver the file if there's fresh data to deliver."

"YES."

"And the final delivery for the day is supposed to be a different file format."

"YES."

"Except I have no way of knowing which file will be the last of the day until the end of the day."

"YES."

"So the only way for me to implement this is to write code that goes backwards in time at the end of the day to redo the format on what turned out to be the final delivery."

"COULD YOU HAVE IT REPORT SPORTS SCORES? WE SAW BACK TO THE FUTURE II. BIFF TANNEN MAKES US HAPPY."

I refused, in part because violating causality is an unethical programming practice, in part because CPAN.org didn't have a module that would let me do it. (I checked.) In the end, they allowed me to send a file in format Y at the end of the day, regardless of whether or not it had any actual data. I'm pretty sure their bandwidth survived the hit.

I once had a client specification that literally called for code capable of traveling backwards in time.

My employer harvested data for the client, and we were to deliver it in file format X at ten-minute intervals between 9 AM and 5 PM, save for the final delivery, which was in format Y (just X with a different footer). I did just that ... and they freaked. We were collecting low-volume data, and really only had one or two data points to deliver on any given day.

"QUIT SPAMMING US WITH EMPTY FILES!!!" they cried. "FIVE K'S EVERY TEN MINUTES ENCLOGULATES OUR BANDTUBES!"

Okay. So, my code checked every ten minutes, and only delivered if there was anything to deliver. Fair enough.

"BUT THE LAST FILE MUST BE IN FORMAT Y!!!" they screamed. "MODERN TECHNOLOGY CONFUSES AND ANGERS US! FIX IT OR WE WILL BEAT YOU WITH A MASTODON FEMUR!*"

(* -- It is possible I'm misremembering portions of the conversation.)

"So, I'm only to deliver the file if there's fresh data to deliver."

"YES."

"And the final delivery for the day is supposed to be a different file format."

"YES."

"Except I have no way of knowing which file will be the last of the day until the end of the day."

"YES."

"So the only way for me to implement this is to write code that goes backwards in time at the end of the day to redo the format on what turned out to be the final delivery."

"COULD YOU HAVE IT REPORT SPORTS SCORES? WE SAW BACK TO THE FUTURE II. BIFF TANNEN MAKES US HAPPY."

I refused, in part because violating causality is an unethical programming practice, in part because CPAN.org didn't have a module that would let me do it. (I checked.) In the end, they allowed me to send a file in format Y at the end of the day, regardless of whether or not it had any actual data. I'm pretty sure their bandwidth survived the hit.

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I once had a client specification that literally called for code capable of traveling backwards in time.

My employer harvested data for the client, and we were to deliver it in file format X at ten-minute intervals between 9 AM and 5 PM, save for the final delivery, which was in format Y (just X with a different footer). I did just that ... and they freaked. We were collecting low-volume data, and really only had one or two data points to deliver on any given day.

"QUIT SPAMMING US WITH EMPTY FILES!!!" they cried. "FIVE K'S EVERY TEN MINUTES ENCLOGULATES OUR BANDTUBES!"

Okay. So, my code checked every ten minutes, and only delivered if there was anything to deliver. Fair enough.

"BUT THE LAST FILE MUST BE IN FORMAT Y!!!" the screamed. "MODERN TECHNOLOGY CONFUSES AND ANGERS US! FIX IT OR WE WILL BEAT YOU WITH A MASTODON FEMUR!*"

(* -- It is possible I'm misremembering portions of the conversation.)

"So, I'm only to deliver the file if there's fresh data to deliver."

"YES."

"And the final delivery for the day is supposed to be a different file format."

"YES."

"Except I have no way of knowing which file will be the last of the day until the end of the day."

"YES."

"So the only way for me to implement this is to write code that goes backwards in time at the end of the day to redo the format on what turned out to be the final delivery."

"COULD YOU HAVE IT REPORT SPORTS SCORES? WE SAW BACK TO THE FUTURE II. BIFF TANNEN MAKES US HAPPY."

I refused, in part because violating causality is an unethical programming practice, in part because CPAN.org didn't have a module that would let me do it. (I checked.) In the end, they allowed me to send a file in format Y at the end of the day, regardless of whether or not it had any actual data. I'm pretty sure their bandwidth survived the hit.