TCLP 2008-06-11 Monologue: Unintended Uses (Comment Line 240-949-2638)

This is a feature cast.

The hacker word of the week this week is DEC.

The feature is a monologue trying to answer a question Kreg Steppe, a listener and fellow podcaster, posed about unintended use of free software.

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Grab the detailed show notes with time offsets and additional links either as PDF or OPML.

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2 Replies to “TCLP 2008-06-11 Monologue: Unintended Uses (Comment Line 240-949-2638)”

  1. I do network architecture not coding. But I had some time on my hands while working in a previous job for a major ISP. So I decided to test some SNMP based network accounting features. I mocked up a basic accounting system in Bourne Shell script that polled the interfaces of the routers every 5 minutes and added the numbers together. It was so efficient that it took 26 hours to boil down 24 hours of information.

    However, our old accounting system was based on web logs only, not other types of transfer, and my system showed much more traffic the customers were using but not paying for. This was a demo, just to see if it would work. There were still major research issues that needed to be done to make sure it was reporting valid numbers, tracked interface failures properly, associated interfaces properly with customers, etc.

    The day I showed it to my boss, he had the programming consultant rewrite the core of it in C and hand it over to the accounting department. No further input on my part was accepted. And as it happens, I left the company shortly after that, so I don’t know if they ever did anything else with it other than put it in production for accounting.

    That’s right. The network guy wrote the customer accounting program in about 30 minutes and it basically went straight into production. I wonder what unintended consequences arose after my departure.

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