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Real Life Debugged » 2009 » April

Archive for ◊ April, 2009 ◊

What if everything in the world was made by Microsoft?

Sure, we’ve all seen the funky error messages, both real and fake. Yeah, Smart-House 2.0 Crashed my Kitchen was amusing, but the next extrapolation can be downright scary.

“Can of Peas - Professional” or “Can of Peas - Home Edition”?  Cracked.com ran a contest.  Enjoy them all, and wait for the last one to finish.


Yo, Today is December 31, 1969?
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 | Author: lisaksimone

Couple weeks ago, I was transported back to December 31, 1969 when I was informed a license for some software expired. Huh? I bet you’ve seen this - Mysterious Little time machine references to December 31, 1969 are caused by a simple software bug - so why does such obvious evidence continue to get completely overlooked before software is released?

That got me thinking so I Googled “December 31, 1969.” Of the first 100 search results, only 8 refer to that Wednesday evening nearly 40 years ago.

The other 92 entries? Oooooh, let’s have some fun exploring the debris trail of software date problems (with very few examples I found of what REALLY happened on December 31, 1969).

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Really, Your College Degrees ARE Worth Dirt!
Monday, April 20th, 2009 | Author: lisaksimone

Sometimes advertisements send confounding messages. FAILBlog rocks with examples. Some are amazingly obvious and others send subtle messages. The other day, an ad informed me that my advanced degrees are worth little more than rodent infested dirt and piles of rocks.

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“Lisa, you’re wrong and your technical claims are absurd.” So when do you throw in the towel? Especially when you keep debugging (for free)? I’ve hammered on this BitDefender “License expired” and now “no updates happening” problem for 14 days. I posted a few days ago about my BitDefender debugging - since then, I’ve provided additional updates on the BitDefender forum and then been awarded an extra year for free. And then attacked by a moderator.

Reward? Or bribe? Ahhhh well. Let’s ride the debugging train just a little bit further, shall we?

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Wedding Receptions - Want Fries With That?
Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 | Author: lisaksimone

So what does a Wedding Reception have to do with a Genetic Lab?

Indexed is always an interesting way to start the day. Surreal. Hits close to home.

Have some with your morning java.

What if Wilson informed House: “When I moved the code around, I found three subtle bugs that had probably been annoying users for months.”  Or what if House entered the room and tossed his team a stack trace?

John S. Danaher dreamed up a Debugging is Fun episode of House, likening their problem-solving skills in medicine to our problem-solving skills in software.

Debugging? Yeah.  Dediseasing? Nah, doesn’t sound to sanitary.  Yeeech.

I was psyched because that’s my book - technical mysteries for engineers packaged in individual episodes like House or CSI.  Cool!

And now, a preview of House, PE.

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I suspected my antivirus/firewall software had a virus. Ya see, out of nowhere at 7am over a nice cup of coffee, BitDefender screamed at me, “Your system is NO LONGER PROTECTED!

Huh?!? I renewed it last month. It’s been running fine!

BitDefender further admonished, “The specified key is not valid. Please enter a valid license key.” After much cajoling and growing ire on my part, it refused to yield, and dragged me way down the rabbit hole.

This is one of those debugging scenarios where you DON’T get access to the source code. OR access to any tool to debug it faster than real time. So, we’re stuck debugging by permutation, with the results of our testing presented as snippy little error messages. But pictures are so much fun, so let’s have a go at it.

(And one of those big hints… Party Like It’s December 31, 1969.)

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Christmas Tree Worms

Christmas Tree Worms

Photographers who drag electronics underwater tempt fate. Camera equipment requires special attention; gentle words of encouragement. I’ve had problems which occasionally prevent me from taking pictures, but one nagged me at the start of our Alaskan dive trip.

When we arrived, I was shocked to find beautiful colors and corals in Alaska that dwarf the beauty of many Caribbean sights. One of the few times I’ve see that many vivid colors in once place in my life!

But while attempting to capture this beauty as I was being swept along a steep wall, my strobe (flash) went temperamental and decided to flash only when it felt like it.

“WHY NOW?!?” I screamed through my regulator. “I NEED PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE OF THIS BEAUTY! No one will believe this is Alaska!”

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