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Debugging Humor

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To have no errors
Would be life without meaning

Historical note (from the Jargon File):

Admiral Grace Hopper (an early computing pioneer better known for inventing COBOL) liked to tell a story in which a technician solved a glitch in the Harvard Mark II machine by pulling an actual insect out from between the contacts of one of its relays, and she subsequently promulgated bug in its hackish sense as a joke about the incident (though, as she was careful to admit, she was not there when it happened). For many years the logbook associated with the incident and the actual bug in question (a moth) sat in a display case at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC). The entire story, with a picture of the logbook and the moth taped into it, is recorded in the Annals of the History of Computing, Vol. 3, No. 3 (July 1981), pp. 285-286.

To its credit, the jargon dictionary mentions several obscure forms of debugging. "Organic debugging" was the practice of setting a plant on a program listing; the idea was that bugs would crawl out of the code and into the plant. "Wave a dead chicken over it" was the term for a last, forlorn effort at diagnosing a problem, when the effort is more ritual than reality. There was also a description of hardware running in "casters-up mode.

 

The Twelve Bugs of Christmas

For the first bug of Christmas, my manager said to me

See if they can do it again.

For the second bug of Christmas, my manager said to me

Ask them how they did it and
See if they can do it again.

For the third bug of Christmas, my manager said to me

Try to reproduce it
Ask them how they did it and
See if they can do it again.

For the fourth bug of Christmas, my manager said to me

Run with the debugger
Try to reproduce it
Ask them how they did it and
See if they can do it again.

For the fifth bug of Christmas, my manager said to me

Ask for a dump
Run with the debugger
Try to reproduce it
Ask them how they did it and
See if they can do it again.

For the sixth bug of Christmas, my manager said to me

Reinstall the software
Ask for a dump
Run with the debugger
Try to reproduce it
Ask them how they did it and
See if they can do it again.

For the seventh bug of Christmas, my manager said to me

Say they need an upgrade
Reinstall the software
Ask for a dump
Run with the debugger
Try to reproduce it
Ask them how they did it and
See if they can do it again.

For the eighth bug of Christmas, my manager said to me

Find a way around it
Say they need an upgrade
Reinstall the software
Ask for a dump
Run with the debugger
Try to reproduce it
Ask them how they did it and
See if they can do it again.

For the ninth bug of Christmas, my manager said to me

Blame it on the hardware
Find a way around it
Say they need an upgrade
Reinstall the software
Ask for a dump
Run with the debugger
Try to reproduce it
Ask them how they did it and
See if they can do it again.

For the tenth bug of Christmas, my manager said to me

Change the documentation
Blame it on the hardware
Find a way around it
Say they need an upgrade
Reinstall the software
Ask for a dump
Run with the debugger
Try to reproduce it
Ask them how they did it and
See if they can do it again.

For the eleventh bug of Christmas, my manager said to me

Say it's not supported
Change the documentation
Blame it on the hardware
Find a way around it
Say they need an upgrade
Reinstall the software
Ask for a dump
Run with the debugger
Try to reproduce it
Ask them how they did it and
See if they can do it again.

For the twelfth bug of Christmas, my manager said to me

Tell them it's a feature
Say it's not supported
Change the documentation
Blame it on the hardware
Find a way around it
Say they need an upgrade
Reinstall the software
Ask for a dump
Run with the debugger
Try to reproduce it
Ask them how they did it and
See if they can do it again.

 

Brian Kernighan Law of Debugging Difficulty

Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it. -- Brian Kernighan

Important programming truths

This page contains a number of important programming truths that every budding programmer should know about. These truths are self-evident, and need no explanations.

The Bug Count Also Rises by John Browne (Imitation Hemingway Contest Winner).

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivs 2.5 License.

In the fall of that year the rains fell as usual and washed the leaves of the dust and dripped from the leaves onto the ground. The shuttles drove through the rainy streets and took the people to meetings, then later brought them back, their tires spraying the mist into the air.

Many days he stood for a long time and watched the rain and the shuttles and drank his double-tall mochas. With the mochas he was strong.

Hernando who worked down the hall and who was large with microbrews came to him and told him that the ship day was upon them but the bugs were not yet out. The bugs which were always there even when you were in Cafes late at night sipping a Redhook or a double-tall mocha and you thought you were safe but they were there and although Enrico kept the floor swept clean and the mochas were hot the bugs were there and they ate at you.

When Hernando told him this he asked how many bugs. "The RAID is huge with bugs," Hernando said. "The bugs are infinite."

"Why do you ask me? You know I cannot do this thing anymore with the bugs."

"Once you were great with the bugs," Hernando said. "No one was greater," he said again. "Even Prado."

"Prado? What of Prado? Let Prado fix the bugs."

Hernando shrugged. "Prado is finished. He was gored by three Sev 2's on Chicago. All he does now is drink herb tea and play with his screensavers."

"Herb tea?"

"It is true, my friend." Hernando shrugged again. Later he went to his office and sat in the dark for a long time. Then he sent e-mail to Michaels.

Michaels came to him while he was sipping a mocha. They sat silently for awhile, then he asked Michaels, "I need you to triage for me."

Michaels looked down. "I don't do that anymore," he said.

"This is different. The bugs are enormous. There are an infinity of bugs."

"I'm finished with that," Michaels said again. "I just want to live quietly."

"Have you heard Prado is finished? He was badly gored. Now he can only drink herb tea."

"Herb tea?" Michaels said.

"It is true," he said sorrowfully.

Michaels stood up. "Then I will do it, my friend," he said formally. "I will do it for Prado, who was once great with the bugs. I will do it for the time we filled Prado's office with bouncy balls, and for the time Prado wore his nerf weapons in the marketing hall and slew all of them with no fear and only a great joy at the combat. I will do it for all the pizza we ate and the bottles of Coke we drank."

Together they walked slowly back, knowing it would be good. As they walked the rain dripped softly from the leaves, and the shuttles carried the bodies back from the meetings.

Todd's Humor Archive The Charge of the Code Brigade

Half a Mb, half a Mb,
Half a Mb farther.
Churning out code, fixing bugs:
        The six coders.
"Forward, the Code Brigade,
Aim for the ship date," he said.
Churning out code, fixing bugs:
        The six coders.

"Forward, the Code Brigade!"
Was their a one dismayed?
Well though the coders knew
        Some bits were rotten.
Theirs not to feel surprise,
Theirs not to close their eyes,
Theirs but to see sunrise.
Churning out code, fixing bugs:
        The six coders.
        
Bugs to right of them,
Bugs to left of them,
Bugs in front of them,
        Crashes and freezes!
Stack traces so bizarre,
Pointers to near and far,
Zero dereferenced there,
Heap scrambled, frantic now.
Churning out code, fixing bugs:
        The six coders.

Softpanorama collection of debugging quotes:

reverend fun artchives cartoon display -- debugging

HUMOR User debugging session

I recall a "debugging session" with a user who had an interesting problem.
It seems that he was having a great deal of trouble with his PPP
connection under Chameleon. He was able to connect just fine with a PPP
session, but he had a great deal of trouble communicating with other sites.
It was like it would "go to sleep" for a while, then come back.

I pulled out my trusty "ping" utility to check his connectivity and saw
something rather strange. Packets would go through just fine for a short
amount of time, then there would be a long period of time between
returned packets. It would be normal again for a small period of time,
then quit again. Very strange.

I walked him through various things on the phone. Check this... Okay,
what do you have for that...

I was absolutely stumped why only packets would go through some of the
time. Usually in these sort of situations, either you see constant
packets, or nothing it all.

I told him to check something else...

Then it struck me. As I was telling him to check over various things, the
connection would "come alive". But as soon as he finished, the connection
would die again.

I told him to move his mouse back and forth across the screen. Sure
enough, the connection came alive once again. I told him to stop. The
packets stopped.

As it turned out, he had an interrupt conflict! The only way he could
push packets onto the network was to push his mouse around the screen. :>

 

NOVELL AppNotes Fifty Ways to Hose Your Code

(Tune:Paul Simon,"Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover")

The problem is all inside your code, she said to me;
Recursion is easy if you take it logically.
I'm here to help you if you're struggling to learn C,
There must be fifty ways to hose your code.

She said it's really not my habit to #include,
And I hope my headers won't be lost or misconstrued;
But I'll recompile at the risk of getting screwed,
There must be fifty ways to hose your code . . .
Fifty ways to hose your code.

Just blow up the stack, Jack,
Make a bad call, Paul,
You don't need to deploy, Roy,
Just listen to me.
Mess up the bus, Gus,
You do''t need to recurse much,
Traverse the wrong tree, Lee,
And set your code free.

She said, it grieves me so to see you compile again,
I wish there were some hardware that wasn't such a pain.
I said, I appreciate that, and could you please explain
About the fifty ways.

She said why don't we both just work on it tonight,
And I'm sure in the morning it'll be working just right.
Then she hosed me and I realized she probably was right,
There must be fifty ways to hose your code . . .
Fifty ways to hose your code.

Just lose the address, Les,
Clear the wrong Int, Clint,
You don't need to debug, Doug,
Just set your list free.
Mess up the bus, Gus,
You don't need to recurse much,
Just hit the wrong key, Lee,
And program in C.

Programmer Song by tlode%nyx.uucp@nike.cair.du.edu (trygve lode)

Oh, I'm a programmer and I'm O.K.
I work all night and sleep all day.

(chorus)
        He's a programmer and he's O.K.
        He works all night and sleeps all day

I type in code, I read my dumps, and even take them to the lavatory.
Next Wednesday I will finish debugging and write an oratory.

(chorus)
        He's a programmer and he's O.K.
        He works all night and sleeps all day.


Etc

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The Last but not Least


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