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25 years to figure out how astronomy, religion, and science were connected three millennia ago, and still have a few weeks left to finish making a video I'm working on. I feel your pain, and then some!
On a similar vein I once saw a developer break, it was not pretty.
After working for 4 years developing a system for an Oz bank and days prior to going into production the project was pulled, when he asked the reason for the cancellation the head of development replied with "why do you care, you were paid weren't you". The developer then decked his boss and broke down crying.
He was consequently sacked but not charged and we gave the development head hell till entire department was disbanded as non functional.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity -
I'm old. I know stuff - JSOP
The guy is the epitome of a meek and mild geek, I don't think he has ever thrown a punch before or since but after pouring 4 years of heart and soul into the development, well we did not blame him at all.
I think he actually got laid that night as I'm pretty sure one of the ladies took a shine to him.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity -
I'm old. I know stuff - JSOP
A couple of years ago I was tasked with fixing a problem in a product that wasn't mine, and the original author had passed away. On a 0-10 scale (10 being throw yourself off the cliff), the code was a 7. Embedded 'C' that was 20+ years old, had been through three or four compilers, and four different hardware platforms. All of which the code still supported through countless #if...#endif blocks.
I couldn't repro the problem, until I finally got Mr. Twitchy™ (a coworker) to help. Ultimately we found the bug was a lack of proper initialization in a 3rd party TCP/IP stack we'd purchased in 1995 and then spent the next 20 years modifying. If anybody knows the folks on the WireShark team, tell them I owe them all a or six, plus I'm willing to bear a child or two for them.
The correction was only a couple dozen lines of code spread over 3 or 4 places.
I spent over 200 hours of my time over a year debugging this issue. I figure we burned between $75K and $100K, for a system that originally sold for less than that. Sounds stupid, no? It does until you're told that this customer spends millions every year buying stuff from another part of your company, and their head guy just brought up this problem with our head guy.
It's amazing how much grit resembles abject terror at the thought of having to find another job after almost 30 years in your current position.
My worst are inherited project, that I have to bring up to working order after years of development... That means that I have to turn things upside down without breaking any external reference or look and feel if there is an UI...
"The only place where Success comes before Work is in the dictionary." Vidal Sassoon, 1928 - 2012
I wouldn't call it the worst, but it might have been the hardest thing I've done. In college, I had a class in analog control systems - the instructor was the lead engineer for the Phalanx Close-In-Weapon-System (CIWS) at General Dynamics, and was known for giving students exams that were based on real world problems with that system. At the time I had a HP-67 calculator, the one that could read and write programs from and to a magnetic tape that was fed by a tiny motor in the calculator. In preparation for the Final exam, my friend Bob Lanza and I spent an entire weekend - fueled by pizza, beer, and copious amounts of coffee - wrote a program for the calculator that could determine the roots of a 20th order differential equation. Thanks to that effort, we both passed, and the US Navy got a reliable weapon system.
In retrospect, that was more fun than writing an OS and Assembler for the Altair 8800...
I've got a mental health condition that impacts my short term memory and so coding has become steadily more challenging. I've had to make up for my lack of memory with additional effort in keeping all the moving parts straight in the code I write.
I'm just glad I can still code at all, even if it does take me far more effort than it should.
I've been coding since I was little. I don't really know what I'll do with myself if it ever gets to the point where I can't do it anymore.
Grinded a AAA service-driven video game out of the door. Routinely had to pull 16-18 hour days just to keep up with the demands. Ended up getting meningitis and subsequently needed major surgery to correct some damage from the same. I am now leaving the games industry.
Three months of painstakingly validating, benchmarking and documenting legacy Assembler functions to do high speed rotations of image buffers, extending all those functions to support 16bpp images and validate, benchmark and document those. A function for each rotation/mirroring combination and for each architecture from Pentium III up to i5 (basically x86 only, SSE, SSE2, SSSE3).
Now, the longest project has been another but it required only two small and easy sections of assembly... but a crapton of math and statistics. It was a parameterless (more or less) adaptive image analysis algorhitm that had to find the soldering line of an x-ray inspected can, follow it and remove those pixels from the computed area. Those f*ers could bend, zig-zag (ribbed cans produce a nice zig-zag line that can vary from straight if in the center of the image to 10% image width if in the edges) or disappear in the nois to reappear in the future.
6 months split in two tranches + performance evaluation and documentation.
GCS d--(d+) s-/++ a C++++ U+++ P- L+@ E-- W++ N+ o+ K- w+++ O? M-- V? PS+ PE- Y+ PGP t+ 5? X R+++ tv-- b+(+++) DI+++ D++ G e++ h--- r+++ y+++* Weapons extension: ma- k++ F+2 X
I can remember two occasions where I was forced to work very hard over several days, and even through the night.
In the first case the night shift was required because an unsalvagably damaged TeX file forced me to rewrite ~70 pages full of formulas (and a minor amount of text) based on a recent printout.
In the second case it was due to our company unexpectedly failing at an attempt to extend our deadline (IIRC the main reason for our problems was a constant influx of change requests from the client).
Other than that I was lucky enough to enjoy rather sane working hours. There were certainly spikes of work, but none so critical to have left a permanent impression in my mind.
GOTOs are a bit like wire coat hangers: they tend to breed in the darkness, such that where there once were few, eventually there are many, and the program's architecture collapses beneath them. (Fran Poretto)
I spent 2000 hours over a 2 year period writing a Fortran program with just myself for design and coding. A total redesign of an existing mess. It was fun at the outset. Lots of second guessing and loneliness in the middle. Please make it stop at the end.
It's a continuing saga!
Currently it's a new reporting app that my non-coding senior partner has dreamed up. She calls me multiple times a day to see where I'm at on it. As long as I continue to make progress, I can keep the beatingsnagging whining to a minimum.
To be honest, I've not entirely 'bought in' to this project and it's being done with a new set of widgets, so a bit of a learning curve involved. Luckily, they're really good widgets and really well documented. (actually, one of our sponsors)
I know what you mean though about getting through a process that is tedious and lasts more than a week or so. I just went through a rebranding of a winforms app having close to 100 screens. It wouldn't have been that hard except the designer chose a gradient background and image that required visiting each screen and moving things around to accommodate the new design. The hard part is getting started...once you have a routine, a rhythm, and a purpose it's just about getting it done...and hopefully, a better product for all the effort. At least it makes the time go faster!