Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Hacks: Articles about programming in Python, Perl, Swift, BASIC, and whatever else I happen to feel like hacking at.

Paging Reed Richards: Stay in the Null Zone with Priceline!

Jerry Stratton, February 11, 2012

Priceline’s Null state: Come to Null, in the state of Null!; programming; mistakes

It may not quite be the Negative Zone, but Priceline just sent me an email for a two and a half star hotel in the null zone of the null state. It’s a bargain at $100 per night!

I followed through on the link because this sounds like the start of an old-school science fantasy novel, but the link just goes to Priceline’s Pecos, TX page of anonymous hotels.

Or maybe it’s a pocket Pecos mirroring our own, but everyone wears pointy beards?

I am mildly curious how the NULLs got displayed. Is it a missing IF (because why would there be an entry for money saved at a non-existent hotel?) or did the NULL get converted to a string too soon and thus turn into a condition true? Or does the city, state come back as an array, which always ends up being true if it has entries, even if all the entries are NULL?

The email itself wasn’t surprising: I was on Priceline via TripAdvisor looking at Pecos, because I will probably be driving to Dallas again soon and thought it might be nice to make it a three-day trip and stay in Yuma and something just across the border into Texas, rather than in Las Cruces, which, while it’s nicely situated halfway between San Diego and Dallas, doesn’t have much otherwise going for it. It was mostly shut down by the time I got there last summer, both on the way from San Diego and on the way out of Texas. Pecos is the most interesting-sounding stop around the two-thirds mark to Dallas.

“Always… no, never… forget to check your references.”

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