Re: 6 weeks
"everyone had hard-coded the original value into their programs, rashly assuming politicians would not change their minds"
I knew people who worked in the vehicle registration system. Management swore black and blue that personalised registration plates would never be deployed in New Zealand and ordered the staff NOT to allow for it in the new system they were developing
About 8 months after the new system came online, personalised registration numbers were announced as a new policy from the Beehive. Thankfully said manager had been ignored and modules written "just in case"
I crossed paths with him myself about a decade later.
He was attempting to do offsite backups
By emailing the database files to an office in another city
Said files were ~90MB
Over a 2400bps dialup modem
Using a mail client which didn't declare the size of the message being sent
Starting at 5:30pm each day
That was when I discovered that SunOs 4.1.3 sendmail uses the swapspace partition (containing /tmp/) to buffer messages too large for memory
About the same time as I discovered WHY the system was running out of swap around 2am Tuesday to Saturday was when he sent a snide mail (dead trees) complaining that our service was unreliable. Pointing out the default 10MB limitation on email size was simply unacceptable to him (the receiving end also had a 10MB limit and had no intention of raising it, so bumping my limit was pointless).
It turned out he'd sold "email backups" to the higherups as a great way of reducing costs and had received a large bonus after demonstrating it - with 100kB files
He left the MOT shortly afterwards and then showed up at another large customer. A friend of mine worked there and whilst technically under him, was aware of the damage he was capable of (more importantly had a good personal relationshop with the company owners) and managed to prevent him making changes which would have impacted a multi-hundred million dollar mail order outfit
About a year after that it was mentioned that this manager had left under a cloud. The owners are conservative religious types (Not American conservative types) and one of them had walked into his office to find him broswing penthouse.com on his work machine, at lunchtime. As 98% of the employees were female it was deemed to be a hostile workplace issue and he was walked to the front door by security within minutes (Did I mention that there was a specific prohibition on accessing unauthorised resources from the workplace network as part of all employment contracts? And a firewall which whould have stopped that website even being visible?)