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Blog : Posts tagged with 'bug'

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Frustration

In which things always go wrong … unless FP wants them to go wrong


Or, A Work Story.

We need a new printer. The MD says: “Order a new printer!” Our manager waits until he’s out of earshot, then says: “get Spare Printer X working and use that instead.”

So, I find Spare Printer X out, and do manage to get it working. I test it. It seems to be fine. But then, a strange thing starts happening.

I give it a page to print. Let’s call it Page A. It prints it. All is well.

I test a different page. Page B. The printer happily prints another copy of Page A.

A third page to the printer? Out comes Page A again.

Let’s try a four-page document. I get: four copies of Page A.

Switch to a different application. It works! It prints what I tell it to – Page X this time.

I print Page Y from that application. I get Page X again.

Go back to the first program. Still printing Page A.

Let’s reboot the printer. Let’s print. Oh look, Page A.

OK, it’s not the printer. Let’s reboot the printer, and the computer, wait ten minutes, turn them back on. Check there are no files spooled and waiting. Print something. Out comes: Page A. Now this, surely, is physically impossible.*

The boss pops down to check how I’m getting along. “It’s borked,” I say. “It only ever prints copies of the first thing you told it to print. It’s useless. Look.” I repeat my last, failed, print request. It prints perfectly. Arse.

“Looks fine to me,” says the boss. “Put it in, and see if they have any problems.”

Of course, I know it’s never going to work now.

* or at least, extremely improbable, if you follow Sherlock Holmes’ philosophy.

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Flooding

In which Exchange causes problems


Microsoft, everyone’s favourite evil behemoth, have been getting as much press as they can in the past few days to push their new operating system. At the same time, though, their software has been making my life a drag. And there’s nothing at all I can do about it.

The problem is their email server “messaging solution”, the horrible and nightmarish Microsoft Exchange. I know it’s a horrid system to babysit, but fortunately I don’t have to do any of that. Worse, though, it can make life bad for people like me who shouldn’t have to have anything to do with it.

Like most things Microsoft produces, it has a showstopper of a bug. It’s triggered by an innocent salesman* who decides to send an email to a long, long list of people at once. His (or her) own system has nothing to do with this; the problem is when one of the people in the recipient list uses a buggy Exchange. Their server will read the email, and send it out again. To all of the recipients. Thousands and thousands and thousands of times. Each copy looking like it’s coming from the original sender.

Moreover, some of those people will then reply, saying things like “why are you sending me thousands of emails, you fuckwit?” They don’t really help, though, because inevitably they push the “reply to all” button. Meaning they then generate a second email which triggers the same bug, so that email, too, gets duplicated thousands and thousands and thousands of times, until the administrator of the buggy server wakes up and takes their server offline to recover for a while.

Bugs in software are unavoidable. Most of them, though, don’t cause problems for more than one person at once. Bugs like that, though, that can block up internet connections and mail servers for hours at a time, should never have been released. Releasing software that disrupts the rest of the world, in that way, is unforgivable.

* Well, it’s not salesman-specific. But for some reason, it seems to be salesmen that set it off most of the time

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