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posted by Cactus on Saturday March 08 2014, @02:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the is-it-plugged-in? dept.

martyb writes:

"Remember that one bug that had you tearing your hair out and banging your head against the wall for the longest time? And how it felt when you finally solved it? Here's a chance to share your greatest frustration and triumph with the community.

One that I vividly recall occurred back in the early 90's at a startup that was developing custom PBX hardware and software. There was the current development prototype rack and another rack for us in Quality Assurance (QA). Our shipping deadline for a major client was fast approaching, and the pressure level was high as development released the latest hardware and software for us to test. We soon discovered that our system would not boot up successfully. We were getting all kinds of errors; different errors each time. Development's machine booted just fine, *every* time. We swapped out our hard disks, the power supply, the main processing board, the communications boards, and finally the entire backplane in which all of these were housed. The days passed and the system still failed to boot up successfully and gave us different errors on each reboot.

What could it be? We were all stymied and frustrated as the deadline loomed before us. It was then that I noticed the power strips on each rack into which all the frames and power supplies were plugged. The power strip on the dev server was 12-gauge (i.e. could handle 20 amps) but the one on the QA rack was only 14-gauge (15 amps). The power draw caused by spinning up the drives was just enough to leave the system board under-powered for bootup.

We swapped in a new $10 power strip and it worked perfectly. And we made the deadline, too!

So, fellow Soylents, what have you got? Share your favorite tale of woe and success and finally bask in the glory you deserve."

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bugamn on Saturday March 08 2014, @02:15AM

    by bugamn (1017) on Saturday March 08 2014, @02:15AM (#13052)

    Although I've had some fun with bugs. One of the earliest I remember I had while learning to program with C. I had a program with a for loop that for some reason seemed to execute only one iteration, even though the control variable presented proper values as if it had run the entire for. After a long time I noticed that instead I had put a ';' besides the for, changing completely the meaning of the code and still compiling.

    I have once also tried to compile something that made GCC throw an error and ask me to file a bug report with Debian, but I was too frustrated with work and deadlines so I threw it away and went for a walk. I still wonder what was the cause for the error.

    Another that I just remembered: I was writing a program to solve a problem for a programming competition in a training session. I don't remember specifics, but it had something to do with dividing area, perhaps it could be shared. I and a colleague tried to use some kind of "marks" to separate the groups, but the "marks" always had some problem that made them similar enough to cause errors. Then we decided to call rand() and the program simply worked.

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  • (Score: 2) by hankwang on Saturday March 08 2014, @12:15PM

    by hankwang (100) on Saturday March 08 2014, @12:15PM (#13163) Homepage

    I had a program with a for loop that for some reason seemed to execute only one iteration, [...]I had put a ';' besides the for

    This type of error (and wrongly nested if/else constructs) I stopped making when I started using an editor* that was syntax aware and would show from the auto-indenting that something was different than I wanted.

    *Emacs in my case, but surely there is a way to make vi/vim do the same. (ducking)

    • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by bugamn on Saturday March 08 2014, @03:19PM

      by bugamn (1017) on Saturday March 08 2014, @03:19PM (#13209)

      Yeah, I had just started learning, so I was using something like Crimson Editor. Now I have converted to VIm and Its lights shine through the code, allowing me to avoid those pitfalls. But Emacs is ok, I just don't like using Control and Meta.