July 05, 2008

Software Bugs

On a daily morning call this week, someone said that they couldn't figure out what the defect was unless they reproduced it on the system where it failed. His remarks reminded me of this:

A Software Engineer, a Hardware Engineer, and a Departmental Manager were on their way to a meeting in Switzerland. They were driving down a steep mountain road when suddenly the brakes on their car failed. The car careened almost out of control down the road, bouncing off the crash barriers, until it miraculously ground to a halt scraping along the mountainside. The car's occupants, shaken but unhurt, now had a problem: They were stuck halfway down a mountain in a car with no brakes. What were they to do?

"I know," said the Department Manager. "Let's have a meeting, propose a Vision, formulate a Mission Statement, define some Goals, and by a process of Continuous Improvement find a solution to the Critical Problems, and we can be on our way."

"No, no," said the Hardware Engineer. "That will take far too long, and besides, that method has never worked before. I've got my Swiss Army knife with me, and in no time at all I can strip down the car's braking system, isolate the fault, fix it, and we can be on our way."

"Well," said the Software Engineer, "before we do anything, I think we should push the car back up the road and see if it happens again."

For me, I like the MacGyver approach and have been fortunate to be in a van once long ago where Jerry, an experienced mechanical engineer, was able to fix the brakes on the van by using his Swiss Army knife. As we were hours away from civilization, we were quite lucky to have him onboard.

(via Dreaming in Code)

Posted by Mary at July 5, 2008 11:33 AM | Miscellaneous | Technorati links |

Rasmussen: Obama 47, McCain 40

Posted by: ccokz at July 5, 2008 11:26 PM

Earlier in the day as he flew from Montana to Missouri, Obama told reporters he was surprised at how the media has "finely calibrated" his recent words on Iraq, and reaffirmed his commitment to ending the war if elected.

Obama said this:

BUTTE - For his first task as president, Barack Obama said Friday he'll call in the nation's top military officials and “tell them we have a new mission” - end the war in Iraq.

Him asking the military is seen as a weakening of the democratic position to end the war in Iraq.

Posted by: ccoaler at July 6, 2008 05:23 AM

'Once upon a time, in a kingdom not far from here, a king summoned two of his advisors for a test. He showed them both a shiny metal box with two slots in the top, a control knob, and a lever. "What do you think this is?"

One advisor, an engineer, answered first. "It is a toaster," he said. The king asked, "How would you design an embedded computer for it?" '

Posted by: Huskarl at July 7, 2008 09:26 AM

on the other hand...

Posted by: Huskarl at July 7, 2008 09:42 AM