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.

Beware the Evil Stack Pointers

Okay, so say the episode starts with a distracted guy accidentally spilling coffee near his keyboard, which launches a dire and horrible error message that flashes across his computer screen.  Possible doom and destruction - and the end of mindless surfing and Facebook updates.

Gotcha hooked so far?  Okay, then let’s cut to commercial.

Excerpts from John’s episode:

House: So we’ve got a user with an error page.

Taub: Do we have any idea what caused it?

House: (Sliding folders across the table) Here’s the stack trace.

Foreman: It’s probably just left over from that bug we fixed last month.

House: Am I the only one who’s looked at the changelists? We fixed that bug. We haven’t seen it in a month. This is something else. Ideas?

Kutner: Maybe they were written fine, and the server just read them in the wrong order.

House: But we read them again, and they’re still in that order. You think we read them wrong twice? Either the data store has completely lost its mind and is out to get this one particular user, or we wrote them wrong. (Idiot.)

Thirteen: Maybe something weird happened at the same time as we were writing them.

House: Okay, go look at the debugging logs.

Scene 5 - In the lab

Kutner: Man, these sanitized debugging logs suck.

Thirteen: Yeah, but too many people have access to these logs. You know Cuddy won’t let us keep anything juicy here.

So whaddya think?

I just cracked up! Can’t you just hear House calling Kutner an idiot for proposing that data has been read in the wrong order?

And House’s sarcasm, likely calling Cuddy a CAFEBABE, Foreman an A55 and blaming Wilson of dreaming about taking BABE2BED?  Exposing leaks?  Going to take a memory dump?

But alas, I don’t think I could truly enjoy House, PE if I can’t speculate, if even just for a moment, that the bug might be caused by Lupus, Vasculitis or Sarcoidosis.