Scott Hanselman

Code, and Ninjas you can see...

June 24, '04 Comments [6] Posted in Bugs
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Patrick Cauldwell and I had lunch today and were talking about how funny it is when someone looks at code for hours trying to find a bug (or stray semi-colon) and the parallel was made with the Ninjas that The Tick couldn't see.  They would hold sticks in to disguise themselves as shrubbery.  As soon as they did this, they were immediately invisible to The Tick.  As soon as they moved the sticks, well, you get the idea.

I wonder what makes folks not see the Code that's right in front of them?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Thursday, June 24, 2004 10:52:51 PM UTC
Funny to everyone except the POOR SCHMUCK who can't see the missing semicolon. And heaven help the guy who points it out...
Thursday, June 24, 2004 11:21:52 PM UTC
Damn you're a good blogger Scott. You really are just the best.
I haven't read you in about a week, but I come back and everything you've said is just gold. (And printable gold too, thanks to that stylesheet!)

Leon
Friday, June 25, 2004 3:59:02 AM UTC
Urgh.

I just did a mon-wed trip to DC to make nice with a customer and try to fix an SSL /TLS problem they were having between us their customers mainframe.

We've been back and forward on it for a while, traces, logs, even adding a bunch of instrumentation to the code to try to figure out what was (or more corretly was not) going on.
Tuesday morning was spent with our Sys Dev in front of our own mainframe in Maryland trying to figure out what other logging we could turn on in CICS to track this thing down, and why the hell it worked just fine going against our mainframe, but not the customers.

Tuesday afternoon , around 2pm my cell phone rings (I'm with the customer). "Hey Ian, I was just looking at that code again, and the SSL initialisation could be wrong. try a 23 not a 2 in that api name".

10 minutes later we have a working conversation between our system and the mainframe once again.

There was no missing semi colon, there was a missing '3'. coast to coast trip, umpteen hours staring at code, and log files, and mainframe traces. 1 missing character in a stupidly named api.

Still don't know why our own mainframe didn't fail, but I think it may have silently negotiated down (although the logs don't show that). Now we have to make it fail, or our regresion tests are useless.

Still, the customer is happy, as are their customers - which I suppose is the main thing.

Richard - the guy who pointed it out is a hero! I was starting to run out of options.
Ian
Friday, June 25, 2004 7:58:25 AM UTC
We're a hedge. Really. Move along!
Scott Hanselman
Friday, June 25, 2004 3:35:27 PM UTC
Bastard code bug ninjas......
That's why whenever I find a particularly tricky bug I yell, "SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!"
Friday, June 25, 2004 7:29:21 PM UTC
This is 100% funny in itself, funnier for me, because I was writing a document for some of the bosses and admins at work and I don't quite know how, but my spell checker some how, some way, took like 38 instances of "non-JS" in an article about the ability of some browsers in our hand-held arsenal that were non java script enabled and changed it to "ninjas". I don't remember telling it to do that, but as the email went out and replies about ninjas started coming back to me, I saw the title of your post in my Outlook aggregator and thought "Scott doesn't work for us, how'd he find out about that" Thanks for scaring the something out of me.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.