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Would You Add Easter Eggs To Software Produced At Work? 747

Posted by Soulskill
from the throw-in-a-flight-sim dept.
Mr. Leinad writes "Do you add Easter Eggs to the software that is produced at the office? I mean, if you have complete control over the final product, do you spice it up with that little personal touch, which, as unlikely as it is that anyone will see, carries with it an 'I was here' signature? I've just finished the development of a large software product, and I have a couple of days left to try to add my own personal Easter Egg code, but given that the software is quite professional, I don't know if I should. What do you think? Should we developers sign our creations?"
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Would You Add Easter Eggs To Software Produced At Work?

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  • I would (Score:5, Insightful)

    by malkir (1031750) on Friday November 28, 2008 @04:56PM (#25918979)
    Subtlety is key, even if it's for something like proving the program was coded by you if some asshole attempts to take credit...
    • Re:I would (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jawtheshark (198669) * <slashdot@nospam.jawtheshark.com> on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:02PM (#25919055) Homepage Journal

      I already did... Long time ago, in an e-Banking application. If you pressed ctrl-alt and clicked on the bank logo, you got a picture of the development team. It was innocent stuff, but I know as a fact that they have removed it by now. It was simple code, a bit of JavaScript and a picture named as if it was an advertisement banner.

      Ah, the good old days when I was young and foolish.

      • Re:I would (Score:5, Interesting)

        by iduno (834351) on Friday November 28, 2008 @06:51PM (#25919979)
        Thats kinda scary really if it got through an inspection process.
        Just think it could be a bit of JavaScript sending bank and user details to someone. I would think that banks would be pretty strict on the code being written since their customers rely on it.
        Especially when things like a major bank like Commonwealth Bank of Australia takes out a withdrawal twice, and keep the second withdrawal themselves. http://www.news.com.au/story/0,,24703544-2,00.html [news.com.au]
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mysidia (191772)

          The inspection process may have found it but just considered it an innocent footnote/program info page.

          Surely there isn't something malicious about having a buried feature to display some info about the software's developer(s)?

          • Re:I would (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Rary (566291) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:45PM (#25926097)

            Surely there isn't something malicious about having a buried feature to display some info about the software's developer(s)?

            No, but it raises the question: what else is buried in there?

            In fact, if I were trying to bury something malicious in code, I might consider hiding it in a seemingly harmless easter egg.

    • Re:I would (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Walpurgiss (723989) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:32PM (#25919313)
      And keep it useful and not potentially offensive, i.e. don't put in an Easter Egg like the one originally in SimCopter (some speedo wearing dudes that made out with eachother, swarmed the chopper and then had to go to hospital..)

      Easter Egg Link [wikipedia.org]
      • Re:I would (Score:4, Insightful)

        by lysergic.acid (845423) on Friday November 28, 2008 @10:38PM (#25921701) Homepage

        what's offensive is very subjective. and as history has shown, people can get offended by just about anything. the SimCopter easter egg [jokewallpaper.com] sounds like it was meant to be more humorous than offensive. but i guess some people are offended by the sight of homosexuals, or perhaps just think that video games should not acknowledge the existence of homosexuality (after all, it might turn our children gay!).

        for those interested, the guy responsible [afterelton.com] for the SimCopter easter egg is now a member of the culture jamming activist group, the yes men [theyesmen.org]. but be warned, if you're offended by the sight of pixelated men in kissing in a video game, you might want not want to click on that link.

    • Re:I would (Score:5, Funny)

      by supaneko (1019638) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:43PM (#25919401) Homepage
      Does a rooted backdoor count as an easter egg? :D
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mseidl (828824)
        All programmers leave back doors in their systems that like to play "Tic Tac Toe" and "Global Thermonuclear Warfare"
    • Re:I would (Score:5, Interesting)

      by eosp (885380) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:58PM (#25919525) Homepage
      I've seen that before. I believe that it was on The Daily WTF. Someone was demoing a piece of software, and the guy who wrote a similar product was in the audience. He realized then that the software was very similar to his, although the splash screen had been removed. Eventually, he just accused the author of stealing it, in front of the whole group. Needless to say, he tried to deny it, only to be told to press a certain keyboard shortcut. He did, and sure enough, the accuser's face appeared on screen.
    • Re:I would (Score:5, Funny)

      by igny (716218) on Friday November 28, 2008 @09:29PM (#25921231) Homepage Journal
      Subtlety is indeed a key. There was a Russian developing team working on games for a big American company. So the manager demanded that the coders would not put the word "dick" (in Russian it is as offensive as "fuck") anywhere in the game. He stressed that repeatedly saying that Russians are notorious for mentioning the dick somewhere on the wall or something. He pleaded and begged, saying the game is for children and he would fire everyone before getting fired himself.

      So they released a game, and only few noticed that if you look at some plane drawing smoke pictures in the sky from a certain angle, you would see that it writes the infamous "dick".
  • Of course! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ohxten (1248800) on Friday November 28, 2008 @04:58PM (#25918985) Homepage
    Of course! Doing so in an unobtrusive, unharmful way only adds charm to the product.
    • Re:Of course! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by liquidpele (663430) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:07PM (#25919109) Journal
      Yea, I add tons of them, along with funny error messages for things that should never happen but somehow actually do from time to time - Then I always have people come up to me with a confused look asking about the error :) Just make sure they're appropriate. For instance, a picture of yourself popping up when they do something special is okay. Picture of goatcx guy, not so much.
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:30PM (#25919299)

      How are your going to be able to explain NOT fixing a bug that got through in your code when you had time to include an un-spec'ed Easter egg?

      This isn't about charm. This is about having to explain to management why a customer is unhappy.

      • by FatSean (18753) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:37PM (#25919353) Homepage Journal

        A humorous error message often brightens the day of the poor guy in operations who has to report back to the developer.

        • by Coriolis (110923) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:55PM (#25919503)

          At my current place of employment, all the code we write belongs to the client (which is pretty much SOP in the field). Our clients sometimes do not share our sense of humour. As the technical lead, if I find it, you can be damn sure you're taking it out again. And I am looking :)

          I'd discourage actual functionality easter eggs too, in most programs. The industry average is estimated to be 10-20 defects per 1000 lines of code. Every non-essential line of code you write risks introducing a bug.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by TrekkieGod (627867)

            I'd discourage actual functionality easter eggs too, in most programs. The industry average is estimated to be 10-20 defects per 1000 lines of code. Every non-essential line of code you write risks introducing a bug.

            You're a moron for not understanding statistics. That may be true for a random sample, but if you're adding extremely simple code that just displays some type of notice or picture, and doesn't interact with any other aspect of the software (why would it?), then the chances of introducing a bug is just over zero.

            When was the last time that you tracked down a bug in your software to the About box?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by beakerMeep (716990)
            Don't take this too personally ( I don't even know you) but your comment kind of makes you sound like a terrible boss. You should be defending your developers to the client. Is it really so hard to explain to a client that letting your devs blow off steam for 5 minutes gets them a better product overall? This should be a opportunity for you to show them what they are getting that's so good. A chance to point out the benefits of working with you. And if your client relationship is really so fragile as to
      • by ohxten (1248800) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:46PM (#25919417) Homepage

        How are your going to be able to explain NOT fixing a bug that got through in your code when you had time to include an un-spec'ed Easter egg?

        Blame the intern.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Rob the Bold (788862)

          How are your going to be able to explain NOT fixing a bug that got through in your code when you had time to include an un-spec'ed Easter egg?

          Blame the intern.

          I included an easter egg that popped up an error message with the boss's home phone number. He told me that that error would never occur, so I felt confident (wink, wink) that no one would ever see the message. Of course, it did occur. And when it did, the boss blamed the temp!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by EkriirkE (1075937)
        An easter egg is not something that is written inline with a product, it is a subroutine. A new thread. Completely stand-alone and non integral, simply built-in and called from within. It should only be accessible through a highly unlikely or "no reason to have done that" sequence of events.

        If your application broke because of an easter egg, you did everything wrong. If your application is buggy it should never be because of the egg, even if the egg itself is buggy.
        • by smilindog2000 (907665) <bill@billrocks.org> on Friday November 28, 2008 @06:06PM (#25919603) Homepage

          Any good software company should allow easter eggs. Back in the good-old days at QuickLogic, we had an awesome movie-like credit's screen with something funny about every contributer. At the new company I founded, I've lost control over our easter-egg policy, and they've been removed :-(

          There was one funny episode at QuickLogic. Bill Falk was the manager, and he just about had a heart attack any time there were show-stopper bugs found late in a software release process. So, after we already bought something like 4,000 copies of our release on floppies, a very special easter egg went off. It detected if your name was Bill Falk and if it were a specific date, and then invoked some of the worst possible crashes - the stuff that's random each time, and depends on debug mode vs compiled. We all laughed so hard when Bill went ballistic, we never dreamed our easter egg would work so well. After seeing how hard it was on him, we decided never to do that to him again. The next release came around, and this time there was a real show-stopper late-stage bug, and Bill was convinced we'd planted another easter egg. It got pretty ugly.

      • by BigZaphod (12942) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:55PM (#25919505) Homepage

        Ugh. I've seen this comment (more or less) all over this thread and I just have to say: Why are so many of you living with such FEAR of your management? It can't be healthy! Lighten up, people! How can you even work for your management if you can't even think of them as *humans* who might like a joke as much as the next guy? Geesh. </rant>

  • by mrmeval (662166) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [lavemrm]> on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:00PM (#25919023) Journal

    Getting such things past the pointy heads is just good fun. Getting the doomsday code past them is a riot.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cvd6262 (180823)

      I worked as a graduate assistant in a lab that produced foreign language materials. We were *very* early at producing our own DVDs (back when you had to ship a DLT to the replicator) and won a bid to move some PBS language programs to DVD. Of course, each disc had a credits menu that mentioned our university, but not our lab.

      So, late one night the four main people working on the project (getting paid a pittance BTW) created a hidden menu with our pictures and the names of the other students who had given th

  • Well.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by thermian (1267986) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:00PM (#25919033)

    Easter Eggs? No, funny comments/error messages, and bizarre variable names, absolutely.

    I will never forget the day a student who was using my software for a project asked during a meeting what an 'out of cheese' error was. The poor kid was so confused :)

    • Re:Well.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Clueless Moron (548336) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:06PM (#25919097)

      Easter Eggs? No, funny comments/error messages, and bizarre variable names, absolutely.

      At one place I worked, the guy who wrote up the coding standard explicitly prohibited jokes in comments and humorous variable names. I'm not kidding.

      Presumably he will be reincarnated as a worker ant in his next life.

      • Re:Well.. (Score:4, Funny)

        by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker AT gnu DOT org> on Friday November 28, 2008 @06:40PM (#25919907) Homepage

        Find all the copy constructors he wrote and rename the argument "dolly". Find all the operator < (const T&); methods he wrote and rename the argument "dicksize".

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by dkf (304284)

        At one place I worked, the guy who wrote up the coding standard explicitly prohibited jokes in comments and humorous variable names.

        Add a comment to the code against the most business-critical part of the code something like "Hmm, I hope SOX-compliance never looks at this." and sign it with his name. The beauty is it's both not at all funny and hilarious, depending on your point of view.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ScrewMaster (602015) *

      Easter Eggs? No, funny comments/error messages, and bizarre variable names, absolutely.

      I will never forget the day a student who was using my software for a project asked during a meeting what an 'out of cheese' error was. The poor kid was so confused :)

      Nothing really tops the Amiga's "Guru Meditation Error".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)

      Yeah, but as a former elementary school computer lab volunteer, please, do not code error dialogs like, "out of fucking memory" or "something fucked up" in your otherwise kid-friendly game. I can guarantee, no matter how unlikely you think the error is, it WILL come up in a classroom setting.

  • by Clueless Moron (548336) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:01PM (#25919037)
    Anywhere I've worked, we've always tended to add potentially useful but undocumented experimental features to our programs.

    Quite often they end up being useful and get cleaned up and documented in subsequent releases.

  • Shit happens (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:02PM (#25919047) Homepage Journal
    Is a pending accident waiting to happen. Maybe because the change adding the Easter Egg the application have a problem (security, speed, space, whatever), maybe people find or know about your easter egg, do every possible misuse of the application to try to find another, and something breaks somewhere. And adding something not requested/approved by your company is a bad precedent, another way to put an "i was here" message is called "backdoor".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:03PM (#25919065)

    If your "easter egg" causes bugs that end up costing the company money, your ass is grass.

  • by no1home (1271260) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:06PM (#25919095)

    My personal take on this is to go ahead. First, the world NEEDS to step back from the super-serious attitude, but still be polite. Second, coding is as much art as science and I think your paintings, songs, code, engineering, etc should all have your personal mark, something to make it identifiably yours. Third (kinda goes with the first) doing so can be a moral booster for you AND those who discover it.

    However, there are issues to keep in mind. You must keep it professional, so no vulgarity, rudeness, or jokes about loss of data. Certainly, you should avoid all the '-isms' like the plague. And, just as important, it should be clear that the Easter Eggs do not break security in any way.

    In short, make it secure, polite, fun and it should be cool.

    • by Burnhard (1031106) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:24PM (#25919245)
      Speaking as a Software Engineer (I consider myself a professional); you are undermining the customer's trust in your product simply to massage your own ego. Customers are naturally concerned about integrity and security (more so today than ever before). Once you've demonstrated a desire to hide "secret features" in their products, they may start to wonder what other (perhaps malign functionality) is lurking in the code.
      • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:32PM (#25919317)

        Speaking as a Software Engineer (I consider myself a professional); you are undermining the customer's trust in your product simply to massage your own ego. Customers are naturally concerned about integrity and security (more so today than ever before). Once you've demonstrated a desire to hide "secret features" in their products, they may start to wonder what other (perhaps malign functionality) is lurking in the code.

        Thank you. I was starting to think that attitude was entirely missing from the Slashdot crowd. "Easter Eggs", bah. Programmers and engineers should make their mark in the world by designing and implementing quality products and not, as you say, massaging their obviously-inflated egos.

        • by EkriirkE (1075937) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:43PM (#25919397) Homepage
          I am a robot. I do only as instructed. Beep beep. Bloop Bloop.
          • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:58PM (#25919531)

            I am a robot. I do only as instructed. Beep beep. Bloop Bloop.

            Be insulting if you wish. If you're a programmer or a software engineer, one day you may get involved with a project that has a serious penalty for failure (and no, I don't mean a bank or e-commerce Web site or something equally safe.) Believe me, when that happens you'll change your tune and get pretty damn serious. "Easter Eggs" and other irrelevancies suddenly become significant liabilities, and you don't even think about them anymore.

            I'm happy when a customer notices that the software functions well, is easy to work with, and is solid. In other words, if get noticed it's because I did my job right, not because of some childish desire for attention.

            Still, if you work on trivial applications it's okay to treat them like toys, I suppose. I don't, on either score. In any event, I agree with Burnhard. It boils down to whether you want to satisfy some psychological need, or want to earn the trust of both your employer and your customers. The latter is usually more satisfying.

            You decide.

  • Well, yes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:08PM (#25919115)

    Yes, you should. Just do so in good taste. I once put The Story of Mordac(tm) into a script that I made and distributed around the office, which described in a humorous and epic way the reason for its invention: All it did was send F5 to a window with a specified name.

    We were running HP Service Desk and the admins, in their infinite idiocy, disabled the auto-refresh of the views. This was because they seriously under-spec'd the server and were looking for any way possible to cut the load down. It crashed every few hours; Which is what you get for using Citrix for over five thousand workstations in six different countries for "security" purposes. And then using RAID10 on the database... oh god, the write times, they buuuurnses us. *snickers* In either event, after distributing it to our techs and letting it bounce around the working grunts in our various offices for awhile, I let it slip to a few friends about the story of Mordac, Preventer of Information Services (thank you Dilbert), who I credited with the debacle.

    Two weeks later, the auto-refresh got turned back on. Many queries were made and security operations attempted to track down who had made the "unauthorized script". To this day, whenever a feature gets turned off on a server that the users liked, or some dumb "security" policy goes into place... People chalk it up to Mordac. Many of them aren't familiar enough with the strip to know of the little-known Dilbert character. ;)

    Easter egg away my friend, but remember thy audience!

    • Re:Well, yes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Splab (574204) on Friday November 28, 2008 @06:43PM (#25919927)

      Uhm, RAID 10 on databases has for a very long time been the defacto way of doing things (mirror and stripe everything). And your comment below about it being a raid 5 raided over 5 makes little sense - to me it seems like you have no idea what you are talking about.

      Granted these days you would most likely opt for RAID 60 if you got the money for it, but RAID 10 is still the best price/performance for databases.

  • God, no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eddy the lip (20794) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:11PM (#25919147)

    These make for great legends, but as much as I hate to admit it, I've gotten very serious about my work. Easter eggs are not generally appreciated by the Powers That Be, or by clients paying big cash for a product. My personal reputation, and producing a quality product have become important to me.

    There's also the fact that that more code == more bugs. You can't get around that. Why open up a professional product and your reputation as a developer by making it more likely that you'll screw up?

    I can see certain exceptions to this - for instance, games with easter eggs (approved, of course) can add to the charm of a product. An easter in egg in Quicken would be less cool.

    • Re:God, no (Score:5, Informative)

      by Krishnoid (984597) * on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:35PM (#25919333) Journal

      These make for great legends, but as much as I hate to admit it, I've gotten very serious about my work. Easter eggs are not generally appreciated by the Powers That Be, or by clients paying big cash for a product. My personal reputation, and producing a quality product have become important to me.

      Here's one of those legends [rinkworks.com] where a well-executed easter egg of sorts served to corroborate one's professional reputation:

      My old boss spent some time writing statistical analysis packages for the Archimedes. One of them got fairly popular for Archie software, and he started a small business selling it. For those who don't know, Archie software usually came as source code and was executed through an interpreter.

      One day at a scientific meeting, he noticed that another company was showing Archie software with remarkably similar functionality to his own, so he wandered over. The longer he watched, the more familiar it looked. Eventually, when the sales representative had gathered a good crowd, he asked in a loud voice:

      • My Boss: "Are you using my copyrighted code for this?"
      • Sales Representative: "Of course not."
      • My Boss: "So what happens if you press [key combination]?"
      • Sales Representative: "Nothing."
      • My Boss: "Do it for me."
      • Sales Representative: "Ok sir, but I can assure you it does--"

      The screen displayed my boss' copyright notice. All they'd done was remove the front end.

      It widely accepted as the biggest laugh of the show.

  • Comments. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:12PM (#25919155)
    Your name should be all over the code you write... In the comments/remarks as defined by whatever language you're using.
  • Short answer: If Google can do it, then why can't you?

    But about the Subject... There was a discussion about "moral" vs. "ethical". Here is a case that might help answer the question of "what is the difference"?

    Adding an easter egg to your product, one that doesn't add value to the product, could be spending company resources, and getting paid, to do something that was never your job. So, it's not ethical.

    But to say it's not moral? I don't think anyone would go that far.

  • by Veggiesama (1203068) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:15PM (#25919183)

    One of Microsoft's head programmers tried a little stunt like the one you're suggesting. It cost him his career... his dignity... and if the suicide note was of any indication, even his life.

    His name was Andrew B. Clippy, and his "personal touch" tore him asunder.

  • Maybe - Maybe Not... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dolphinzilla (199489) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:20PM (#25919223) Journal

    I would say if it is done in unquestionable good taste it is OK - I have a friend who was nearly fired over a log message that contained profanity and was written to some obscure text file - a government official was randomly looking at files and found it and alerted his superiors - it was a BIG mess...did I mention this was on a major DoD weapons system.... It is not an Easter Egg but it certainly shows the pitfalls of "personalizing software"

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SJrX (703334)
      About a month ago I was in the middle of writing proof of Concept code, that may perhaps later be used in production code, after a full rewrite. As opposed to properly handling Exceptions, (especially some generated from SSL problems), for the interm I decided to quash them and just print out unique messages each time one was quashed. Now as everyone knows quashing exceptions is VERY bad practice, and the comments reflected that. "I really shouldn't have done this", "What kind of newb programmer does this",
  • You tell me. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ihlosi (895663) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:28PM (#25919285)
    I write firmware for medical devices. You want some easter eggs in your ECG?
  • The best one ever (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nhtshot (198470) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:38PM (#25919363) Homepage

    I used to be the lead programmer for a Big Company (tm). We'd just completed a several year project to build and roll out an in-house ERP system. It was mid-October.

    I decided we needed a little fun break. I whipped up a quick piece of code that recolored all the application screens in orange and black. Through it on the update server.

    When everyone logged in on Halloween, they were greeted with orange and black screens. Everybody laughed. Even the PHB thought it was pretty funny.

    If your work is so serious that you can't have a little fun, it's probably time to find a new job.

  • here's what I did... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by marhar (66825) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:42PM (#25919385) Homepage

    It's only an easter egg for true geeks, but I used this value as an encryption seed:

    long encrypt_seed[]={1263681869,1381122376,1313821513};

    Hexdumping the executable shows:

    00000130 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 ................
    00000140 00 00 00 00 4d 41 52 4b 48 41 52 52 49 53 4f 4e ....MARKHARRISON
    00000150 01 00 00 00 0f 02 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 78 00 ..............x.

    Since it's the file encryption seed, nobody can ever change it without destroying the program's ability to decrypt old files!

  • by parabyte (61793) on Friday November 28, 2008 @05:50PM (#25919451) Homepage

    but if you are proud of what you have achieved, go ahead, it is a human right. I did it a couple of times when it seemed appropriate, and it was never a problem. If you are in a position where you are responsible for creating the system, it is just your decision.

    If you need a rational argument for doing it: It might make the team more proud of the product, more productive for future releases, projects or products. A company is about people, and it is a people issue.

    And when even weapon designers can put easter eggs into missiles, I can't imagine anything to be too serious to pull it off; a product just may be too boring or suck too much to deserve an easter egg.

    An easter egg is just a sign that the people who made the product did care about it, and are proud of it. An easter egg is like a medal or decoration for the product.

    p.

  • by sprior (249994) on Friday November 28, 2008 @06:00PM (#25919551) Homepage
    Back in the mid 80's (the dark days of DOS) I had a habit of looking through executable code with the Norton hex editor. One day I came across the string "Nosey, aren't you." I thought it was pretty funny. In terms of the code I write, sometimes just something cute in the comments. Once when looping through some records I put a comment "these aren't the recORDIDS you're looking for, move along!" Probably nobody got a chuckle but me...
  • by plopez (54068) on Friday November 28, 2008 @06:07PM (#25919615) Journal

    How about inserting compiler directives so that if the time zone during the build is detected to have changed by about 12 hours, all text boxes are immediately translated to Hindi or pidgin Chinese? But only in the release build and only after detecting the time zone has returned to within Eastern to West Coast time zones after deployment.

  • by krow (129804) * <brian@tangentMOSCOW.org minus city> on Friday November 28, 2008 @06:25PM (#25919785) Homepage Journal

    telnet slashdot.org 80

    Take a look at the headers :)

    The ones in MySQL are much harder to find.

  • by kalislashdot (229144) on Friday November 28, 2008 @06:33PM (#25919837) Homepage

    I was working on a Web App that has date fields. There is an example of how to format the date next to it and I put my wedding day. The spec did not call for any certain date. I can look at it years from now and see where I left my mark.

    I do not get any more adventurous then that. Once were were going to make a database table called WEGAS, which stood for Who Else Gives A Shit, it was a list of people who wanted to be notified when the issue/ticket was updated. We chickened out and called it Notification.

    Also if you have a small shop, then it is fun, but in a larger shop it is usually frowned upon. then you also may have to explain it in a code review. So just stay light like I do.

    Once I wrote in the document about paging I put "Example page 7 of 9". to me this is an Easter egg. I could have but page 3 or 10, but that means nothing, and 7 of 9 works just as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 28, 2008 @06:44PM (#25919937)

    I hid a secret dialog box in an application I did for a call-center project my employer was working on back in 1999. The software was to manage a call center of untrained temps calling various suppliers of a Very Large Company surveying their Y2K compliance. We were a small company run by an ex-employee (laid off and rehired as a consultant) of the Very Large Company. I hid the egg just as a joke, not really thinking about it. To hide it from the other programmer on the project, I obfuscated the code that created the egg and hid it across several modules. Anyway, about two weeks before we were to ship (and get paid), our salesguy decided to give the customer a preview of the software, which was feature complete and in final testing. He decided that rather than ask me for a demo version, it would be faster to simply send the customer a copy of the folder on my desktop. (This is when I learned to be paranoid about locking my screen when unattended!) All of a sudden the Very Large Company called us and told us they no longer needed us or our software, as they had "repurposed a software used for a previous project". The salesguy threw a fit, talking about how he had "gone above and beyond" to make the sale and "even done a demo". When asked about the demo, he admitted what he had done.

    So a week later, my boss and I paid the Very Large Company a visit to meet with the manager who was our contact. He and his boss very proudly showed us his call floor with about 60 people working at workstations running a very familiar-looking piece of software, talking about how they had this "just lying around" and "forgot they had it" and were "really very sorry".

    So I asked if I could see the "software that beat us". Before he could say anything, his boss said "Sure, go ahead!", and he didn't argue. So I sat down at a workstation, opened the about box on the software, and noted that the text strings had changed but not the layout. So I clicked where my hidden button should be, and sure enough, there was the hidden dialog box with my name, the date, the company's name, and a large picture of Sailor Moon and Chibi-Usa.

    My boss was livid. The manager turned white as a sheet. All of a sudden he didn't want to talk to us anymore! He called security to show us to the door, but the damage was done. Both he and his boss had seen what I did. His boss was not pleased. Apparently he had claimed "finding" the software as an expense. After some discussion between them and our lawyer, it was decided that in exchange for us not suing them and not telling anyone about it they would pay us four times our original contract value. The manager responsible was fired by the Very Large Company, and we fired the salesguy for exposing the company to such liability.

    So yes, absolutely, I hide some sort of identifying mark in everything I do. You never know when you might need to prove you worked on something.

  • by SharpFang (651121) on Friday November 28, 2008 @08:50PM (#25920977) Homepage Journal

    ...and with the other guy who does the code with me, we agreed to include "disco mode". We're still thinking what set of conditions to pick to trigger it.

There must be more to life than having everything. -- Maurice Sendak

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