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Real Life Debugged » Engineering humor

Tag-Archive for ◊ Engineering humor ◊

Drat those trial software versions!
Monday, October 04th, 2010 | Author: lisaksimone

I just *love* this stuff.  Trial versions are just that … stuff you get to use for a trial period.  Which (except for roll-under bugs that appear everywhere) tend to expire in reasonable time frames.

Below is a picture I took in Guam a couple weeks ago during a (painfully too long) layover.  Which might be more palatably (is that a word?) thought of as a surface interval between diving WWII wrecks in Truk Lagoon (awesome) and sharks and cool critters in Yap (no mantas.  Rats).

This display was, heck, 8 feet across.  All day it displayed video and ads.  In the middle of a pretty cool extreme sports-kinda video, the following appeared:

“BroadCam Video Streaming Server Upgrade Special..

“You have used BroadCam Video Streaming Server for a while now.  It is about time you should upgrade to the Professional Version.”

Coooool.  Just gotta love it!

I thought USB Cufflinks were a joke, but during a visit to Pasadena this winter, I found a Lego USB stick.  I thought that was pretty cool and would have made the purchase if not for the $39.99 price tag for 256KB.

Yes, srsly.

But Cufflinks.  Hmmm.   2GB each for a black tie evening of 4 GB.  My inner geek says, “Cool!” but I’m left wondering if I’m truly swayed by coolness, or after a longer pondering would file it in the “just because they can do it” category.

When, exactly, would USB cufflinks be a lifesaver?  Can you think of a situation during which one would be expected socially to wear cufflinks when easy access to several Gigs of data might be required?  And seriously, someone else wouldn’t have one on a key chain somewhere?  Even those little USBs fit nicely into an inner jacket pocket to maintain the smooth trouser look.

Fashion and function merging once again.  Because if you lose a snazzy cufflink, you’ll always have a data backup on the other arm.

Let’s Debug it: The Tastiest Bug Fix of All
Sunday, August 02nd, 2009 | Author: lisaksimone

After seeing this unintended oops a zillion times for real, it’s great to see it done on purpose! (I think.)

And the bug fix? Well of COURSE! Get rid of the evidence! :-)

You know the saying, “When I want your opinion I’ll give it to you”? The Onion presents a video that parodies how companies provide what they feel we should want. And like sheep, we assume that they are correct. Kinda like that 54-Button Remote Control.

Have a good laugh - Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop with No Keyboards.

Perhaps this isn’t such a parody after all …

My Blog Server(s) is Sentient and has Dementia
Saturday, June 20th, 2009 | Author: lisaksimone

What happens when you create a new user profile on a website and then it magically adds your picture to the profile? Do the servers trade stories after work over SMS martinis? Compare notes and plot random “Your Registration Has Expired” warnings to evil users?

I have a couple blogs with an elusive entity called “Wordpress.” I found out the hard way that massive social networking servers are as temperamental as Paris Hilton looking for a new BFF.

Apparently, according to Wordpress, I am 3 different people, but really only 2½, 2 of whom share the same face. Who had to be introduced to one another through a server matchmaker.

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By accident I surfed backwards in time this morning from 2009 to 1987. Omaba’s Federal CTO appointment crashed into a 25-year Technology Timeline. Who knew you could use “PERL”, “God”, “Powerpoint”, “Boiled” and “Duct Tape” in the same article.

Four mouse clicks and 10 minutes … the first PC. Start of the World Wide Web. Flash Drives. USB.  All from a press release about some dude from Virginia who may translate previous work in technology-related policy and development to bring the Federal government out of the dark ages.  Hmmm.

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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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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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DEADBEEF and Kids These Days
Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 | Author: lisaksimone

Someone should write an “Ode to 0xdeadbeef.”  For a couple years, I taught an embedded systems class at NJIT and used deadbeef to initialize memory and find memory leaks and the like.  My graduate students were initially confused that hex was useful for anything beyond binary conversions and writing ASCII characters to a display.

They tittered at cafebabe, feedf00d, and babe2bed.  Poor deprived children.

I always taught wandering through the room, and repeatedly tortured these unwitting victims with random demands, “What is 2ˆ16?  Why is it magic? What’s the hex value for ‘0′ and why is it a good one to memorize?”

From their initial stunned expressions, I could tell they secretly doubted the usefulness of such games, and wondered if Professor Simone was simply nuts.  To my joy and happiness, they caught the bug and starting bringing their fun words to class.

Denton Gentry wrote a fun “looking back in time” entry (aptly named “[0123456789abcdef]” ), reminiscing when discovering new words was a cool sign of superior nerdhood.  And nutty Professor Simone never thought of 0×0ddba11 or 0xf00f.  Ah, opportunities wasted.