Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Look mom! I can be a terrorist!

Probably the most disturbing tiny bit of SPAM to hit my in-box that I have seen consists of some spammer advertising weapons in e-mail. Hmm...let's see...I've got a few spare bucks or so and I have nothing better to do with my life than go become a professional terrorist.

(Hopefully you caught the oxymoron in that last sentence).

Really. These people have to be dead to themselves to realize that blowing themselves and a bunch of other people up is a complete waste of everyone's time and not an artform. We could all be writing programs that benefit society or something like that instead. I mean, I have a task list of at least 500 things that would keep every terrorist occupied for the next couple centuries. They would not have time to do anything else but write computer code. Besides, coding is fun. Programmers know this to be true. There are very few thrills on earth that get the adrenaline going than a late-night debugging session (roller coasters come close). Nothing else that causes one to find a brick wall when they figure out that the bug was caused by mis-spelling one letter...after 8 hours of debugging.

Yessiree! I could keep them busy and highly entertained for the next century or two.

I just got done with the longest debugging session in eons. CubicleSoft has this really nifty set of routines that generally manage crash bugs, memory leaks, etc. but this particular bug was causing me to run around everywhere chasing wild geese off in perfectly fine code. It took approximately 12 hours to find and squash the bug. Most of that time was spent upgrading those core routines so that I will never have a debugging session like that again. CubicleSoft rarely has crash bugs in production code and these routines are the reason why. Search for GlowCode on Google sometime. It is an "okay" piece of software, but nowhere near the pure genius of these routines. These routines blow GlowCode clean out of the water.

Now that I have got your curiousity whet, I think I will leave you hanging. GlowCode may be a profiling tool, but the tools CubicleSoft uses are fairly proprietary to the company. So, what the company uses has a fair chance of being incompatible with whatever your code base is. Just note that with the tools CubicleSoft uses, the time spent on debugging is basically nil...because the tools find the bugs automatically (at least the serious ones - they can't catch functionality bugs).

So, if terrorists want something to do and want to be professionals at something, they should either try "Operation: Blow up the Ocean":

http://www.homestarrunner.com/cheatcommando.html

Or coding.

Rock, rock on!

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