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Real Life Debugged

Really folks, I’m not usually someone who posts rabid tirades against companies.  Well, I did work very hard to debug the 1969 bug (and several subsequent bugs) for BitDefender, who did not appreciate the publicity despite my best intentions.

But my forays into these arenas are the exception.

However, this whole Facebook Privacy Issue really has me going (see previous posts Eroding Privacy, Info are now Connections and your friends are sharing your info).

I found another privacy issue with Facebook I’ve not seen addressed elsewhere about the information it saves, but I’m guessing on a hack to address it.  The We Save Information Forever issue.

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I got a check from the Department of Defense that represents Your Tax Dollars At Work.  You paid for me to recommend where some of that defense money goes.  I tried my best, and I hope you’re happy with my performance.

Whatever your opinions or political leanings, I think we all agree that the effects of war on our warriors and their families is tremendous.  And we hear stories how returning soldiers and veterans don’t receive the best possible care.

Let me tell you about some of the medical research being funded.  Real research and development projects aimed directly at the most significant medical problems.  A huge new challenge is dealing with IEDs - Improvised Explosive Devices - causing blast injuries.  Those who survive often suffer lost limbs, traumatic brain injury, PTSD.

I’d like to tell you about where the money is going, and how the government decides to spend it.

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This short post has 2.5 parts.

1) Concise summary history of eroding Facebook privacy, and

2) another privacy thing you need to do that’s OUTSIDE your account and your own privacy settings.  And…

2.5) YOU have to keep checking when Facebook secretly adds new apps to your account.

Bet you didn’t know about the last two.  Let me address them in somewhat reverse order.

This, and my previous post - Rant about Facebook’s New Strong-Arm Anti-Privacy Upgrade, are part rant but mostly instructions to help you protect your privacy.

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I love tripping across relatively harmless bugs.  Amazing how the same types of bugs keep showing up over and over and how we don’t test our code enough before releasing it.

Weather.com has a new radar feature called TruPoint.  Rather than showing radar images from T-30 minutes to the present, this feature predicts future weather patterns of radar images.  T+30 minutes.  Kinda neat if it can actually show the magical storms that materialize out of nowhere just when the traditional radar implies blue skies for as far as the eye can see.

So if a prediction program is T+x, and x is negative, are we going forward or backward in time?

Anyway, I mucked around with the feature and got it to hang.  (Not on purpose.)

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<begin rant> I got an involuntary and unannounced reduction in my Facebook privacy yesterday.  No warning in email.  I visited my profile this morning, and was informed that “The things you care about will now link to actual pages.”  So, Facebook is mining my personal information to make connections I didn’t ask for.

Now all your Interests, etc., have been automatically linked to other pages, presumably to connect you with others having the same interests, and to provide you with more unsolicited information Facebook thinks you might like.  Wikipedia is offered as a sample source of such quality (ahem) information Facebook will thrust upon you.

Facebook presents what it’s already connected you to, and provides the option to opt-out.  But read the fine print - “If you don’t link to any Pages, these sections of your profile will be empty.  By linking your profile to Pages, you will be making public connections.

At the end of this post, I walk through several privacy screens to show where lots of these not-so-easy-to-find Privacy Settings are located.

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Category: Vent-Rant |  4 Comments
Let’s Debug It Live: Recovering My Hacked Blog
Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 | Author: lisaksimone

I’m writing this post in Word because I can’t access my blog. It was hacked this weekend to provide you dear readers with low cost designer shoes and a delightful Trojan virus thrown in for free.

It appears the Wordpress and Network Solutions combo had a design flaw, and Network Solutions sent step-by-step instructions to recover (most) of our content. Like a good engineer (ahem) I followed the directions carefully. Didn’t work. But according to Network Solutions tech support, I am a special case. (Oh, the irony.) Alex expedited my request and then Elmer prioritized my case and now I’ll receive help in 1-3 business days. Grrr.

Thing is, I dug around on the server and found some strange goings-on with my blog files. I think the current account hack fix upset the carefully balanced apple cart Network Solutions built during my last trouble ticket mess.

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I imagine kids on a Halloween scavenger hunt in the cemetery.  Each group’s crumpled paper reads, “Find and take pictures of headstones of the following people -”

Sitka Russian Cemegary Lisa Simone Copyright 2008

Dead person # 1.  Find the grave of a woman who was an avid Scuba diver, underwater photographer and author, and who looked like a million bucks without plastic surgery or Jimmy Choo shoes.

Watch the video of the tragic barrel racing event that took her life, and write down the name of the horse that skidded, rolled over and squashed  her flat.

Morbid, eh?  Well once again, technology is here to save the day.

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In the last post, we explored the cause of Cincinnati’s sweltering 222°F forecast.  After I mused about variable declarations and improper usage that we saw with the 119° snow day, reader John offered a different idea - that 222° was simply a typo for 22°.   I think he’s right, but we didn’t fully test the hypothesis against the original symptoms.  My bad.

And as software debugging usually goes, testing and fixing one bug opens the doors for more of their friends to come out and play.

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A couple weeks ago, we debugged a temperature sign displaying 119 °F degrees in the dead of winter. Turned out to be a variable out-of-bounds problem.

Above is another whacko temperature bug from Fail Blog.

I started mucking with this bug using the same logic. Since the correct value is probably around 23°F, and since 222°F  + 23°F looks dangerously close to 255, the magic roll-over (or roll-under) point of despair and destruction looks to be a prime suspect.

Flipping it around, 255°F - 222°F  = 33°F,  which is dangerously close to the freezing point of water (32°F).

And … 32°F is 0°C, which is another dangerous roll-under point for unsigned chars.

Finally, both the beyond-boiling temperature AND the “Alerts” box in the upper left corner are RED.  While the number of Alerts is zero, somewhere the software knows evilness has occurred.

This time you figure it out - what’s the exact cause of failure?

Related Posts:

Let’s Debug it: Snow That’s Hot to the Touch!
Bugs in Public - Errors in Software and in Common Sense

After waiting forever for pictures on my laptop to load to show my family, I finally decided to upgrade my RAM from 1GB to 2GB.  I was ready for SCREAMING fast performance.

Then the Windows Shutdown “Hibernate” option stopped working.

“System Error : Insufficient system resources exist to complete the API.”

Now, I live to Hibernate.  Or, I should say I don’t reboot my laptop unless I *have* to.  The computer gets to Hibernate whenever I take it with me so I can resume with all windows and programs exactly where I left them.

I love Hibernate.

But suddenly Hibernate and I were plunged into a Jr High school relationship of drama and fickleness.

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