Checking for a Null value in SQL

Yesterday I fell into a very simple but dangerous SQL trap.  Can you identify it? Found it?  It’s the comparison to null.  My intention was to get rows where another_column was null, however the query did not do so.  It didn’t give me any results where another_column was null, but didn’t give me any error either.  Why? Null in SQL is not a real value.  Null means “lack of a value” or “unknown”. Anything compared to null leads to an “unknown” result. Therefore, in SQL there are actually three values conditions can evaluate to: true, false, and unknown/null. This is called Continue Reading

The hello world hackathon project

This past week, the co-op students at A Thinking Ape participated in an internal hackathon where they had two days to develop something to show the rest of the company. Among the games and tools that resulted, one project stood out to me: a hello world app.  Yes, a hello world app. (For those not in the software development field, “hello world” is usually the first output that developers code when trying out a new platform or language.) It had a white background, black text that said “Hello World,” and a green button that was labeled, “I am a button.”  It Continue Reading

Make Word spell check uppercase words

It’s a little known fact that Microsoft Word by default does not spell check uppercase words.  I had the opportunity to read through many co-op resumes from a couple universities this past week, and the typos I’ve seen seem to support this observation. The problem comes when you have a section heading in capitals, such as “ACHIVEMENTS” or “RELEVENT SKILLS”.  Microsoft Word by default doesn’t indicate that the spelling is wrong! I’m not sure why this “feature” is enabled by default, as I’d think it would be better to have more false positives than to have typos go undetected.  In Continue Reading

How often do you see “Yay!” on packaging? (and a look at my workplace)

On Thursday, I found this on my desk after lunch. Excited, I was!  Yay!  My first professional business cards! There they are! 3 different coloured cards.  Green, blue and black.  I probably should have picked some more vibrant colours… In case you were wondering what was in the “Yay!” package, it is a card holder.  To tell you the truth, I opened that one first because “Yay!” just sounded so exciting. And here’s a glimpse of what it’s like at work:

Life of a new graduate

It’s the end of one era and a beginning of another.  Three weeks ago, I (finally) graduated with a B.Sc. in Computer Science, marking the end of my undergraduate student career.  Although it took six years, I think it was worth the time, especially the co-op work terms I did.  After all, it was my last co-op term at A Thinking Ape that got me my full-time position there. I just finished my second week at A Thinking Ape, and so far it has been a blast.  The company doubled its size since I co-oped there last year and now Continue Reading