1316: "Inexplicable"

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby freezeblade » Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:17 pm UTC

Back in elementry school we had a team of "tech wizards" which were picked by the IT department to go around and solve simple problems (usually meaning some quick fixes and helping teachers understand the new windows 95 boxes in their offices, and cable issues with the Apple IIg/s that existed for student learning use. This was quite the boring chore, and we were hell-raisers from the beginning, which led to plenty of little gui changes to the IIgs computers. Changes such as turning the background color bright red, pink, changing the font characters, filling the screen with impressive looking command spit-outs and ominus command choices.

All of this convinced the teachers that the IIgs labs were haunted. At least, that's what I'd like to think, the main IT guy probably was quite annoyed with us though (damn kids, get off my lawn).
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby Klear » Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:25 pm UTC

Ken_g6 wrote:I constantly exorcise my computer with distributed computing programs to prevent this kind of thing.

Oh, wait, distributed computing programs exercise my computer.

Uh, oh.
Image


I misread that as "disturbed", as in indian graveyard.

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby Mr_Rose » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:20 pm UTC

I've not had a "haunted" before but I did get a "demonically possessed" as the official diagnosis out of one of those local corner computer shoppes you get.
The BIOS kept resetting, you see. To exactly the wrong configuration, no matter what hardware was installed (this being back when manually setting IRQs was a thing), even if you put in new hardware that defaulted to settings that matched the last boot.
They had every tech in the shop standing over the thing all trying to figure out what the hell was going on even after about five new BIOS batteries and factory resets.
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby commodorejohn » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:54 pm UTC

Anybody who believes in a deterministic universe just hasn't worked with computers long enough.
"'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling."
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby sudo make me a username » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:21 pm UTC

Big GOOMHR for me, after working with some C programs and wondering what the hell could have caused the output I'm seeing.

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby KyteM » Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:48 pm UTC

About five years ago, for a college course involving programming in C, a classmate of mine ran couldn't get his program to work.
Stepping through the code, it turns out that his (single-threaded) program was changing the value of a single variable upon executing a malloc() instruction (no OOM or anything, it just changed). This was 100% replicable and happened in both his computer and mine, but we never could figure out WTF was going on there. In the end we just declared the code haunted, stored the value on a temporary variable, called malloc(), restored it and went on our way.

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:18 am UTC

What really get me are inexplicable problems which halfway convince me (and fully convince everyone I work with) that I am a literal wizard, like with straight-up magic. Not even "oh wow you know all this intricate arcane stuff"; literal, reality-warping-with-the-power-of-thought magic.

Like, a coworker shows me a problem in person. I watch him or her do it. I watch what they click very closely and every key they press. I make them repeat it so I can make sure it's not user error, but they're doing everything fine, so I'm convinced there really is something buggy and sit down to look at it. Just to be sure I repeat the problematic task myself... and the problem doesn't happen. I get up, the user tries it again, problem doesn't happen. Computer is fixed because... I touched it, apparently.

I have literally walked over to someone's desk, when asked for help, and as a joke placed my hands on their monitor and done my best tent revival minster impression and said "you're healed!"... and the problem goes away.

Or someone calls me over for help, they ask me what I'm going to do, I say I'm going to "look at it". I do -- I literally stare at their screen as though I'm casting some spell with my mind -- tell them to repeat the problem, and it's all better now.

Or most recently, someone spends all day trying to fix a problem that has been hounding them for weeks and finally gotten them fed up enough to try fixing it, but to no avail, so she finally Skypes me for help, and before I can respond, the problem spontaneously disappears, because she invoked my name I guess.

People ask me what it is I do and all I can honestly say is "magic" because I have no fucking idea. Maybe someday I can make a full-time career being some company's magic technology protection ward; not an IT guy, I don't actually have to know anything, I'd just get paid to be present and magically ward off the evil spirits that would otherwise impinge on users' productivity.
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby addams » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:40 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:What really get me are inexplicable problems which halfway convince me (and fully convince everyone I work with) that I am a literal wizard, like with straight-up magic. Not even "oh wow you know all this intricate arcane stuff"; literal, reality-warping-with-the-power-of-thought magic.

Like, a coworker shows me a problem in person. I watch him or her do it. I watch what they click very closely and every key they press. I make them repeat it so I can make sure it's not user error, but they're doing everything fine, so I'm convinced there really is something buggy and sit down to look at it. Just to be sure I repeat the problematic task myself... and the problem doesn't happen. I get up, the user tries it again, problem doesn't happen. Computer is fixed because... I touched it, apparently.

I have literally walked over to someone's desk, when asked for help, and as a joke placed my hands on their monitor and done my best tent revival minster impression and said "you're healed!"... and the problem goes away.

Or someone calls me over for help, they ask me what I'm going to do, I say I'm going to "look at it". I do -- I literally stare at their screen as though I'm casting some spell with my mind -- tell them to repeat the problem, and it's all better now.

Or most recently, someone spends all day trying to fix a problem that has been hounding them for weeks and finally gotten them fed up enough to try fixing it, but to no avail, so she finally Skypes me for help, and before I can respond, the problem spontaneously disappears, because she invoked my name I guess.

People ask me what it is I do and all I can honestly say is "magic" because I have no fucking idea. Maybe someday I can make a full-time career being some company's magic technology protection ward; not an IT guy, I don't actually have to know anything, I'd just get paid to be present and magically ward off the evil spirits that would otherwise impinge on users' productivity.

I believe you.
I knew a woman that was your opposite.

When machines started to become a threat to people that did not know much,
A woman I knew would walk by the copy machine, give it a dirty look and it broke down.

She hated computers.
She was not able to use her computer for work.

Other people were not able to use their computers while she was around.
She complained that they complained. It was a real Whiner's Corner.

Do you ooze love and understanding toward the machine?
That is not what she was oozing.

I know! It does not make sense.
That can't happen.

But, it does.
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We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:51 am UTC

addams wrote:Do you ooze love and understanding toward the machine?
That is not what she was oozing.

I like to think it's a combination of (from the computer's perspective) "finally! someone who speaks my language! I like this guy!" and "oh shit, the boss is watching, if I don't behave he might disassemble me".
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby addams » Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:08 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
addams wrote:Do you ooze love and understanding toward the machine?
That is not what she was oozing.

I like to think it's a combination of (from the computer's perspective) "finally! someone who speaks my language! I like this guy!" and "oh shit, the boss is watching, if I don't behave he might disassemble me".

Whatever it is, Keep doing it.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby Kit. » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:29 am UTC

KyteM wrote:About five years ago, for a college course involving programming in C, a classmate of mine ran couldn't get his program to work.
Stepping through the code, it turns out that his (single-threaded) program was changing the value of a single variable upon executing a malloc() instruction (no OOM or anything, it just changed). This was 100% replicable and happened in both his computer and mine, but we never could figure out WTF was going on there. In the end we just declared the code haunted, stored the value on a temporary variable, called malloc(), restored it and went on our way.

I've seen that done in production code. No wonder we have comics like this one.

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby orthogon » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:13 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Like, a coworker shows me a problem in person. I watch him or her do it. I watch what they click very closely and every key they press. I make them repeat it so I can make sure it's not user error, but they're doing everything fine, so I'm convinced there really is something buggy and sit down to look at it. Just to be sure I repeat the problematic task myself... and the problem doesn't happen. I get up, the user tries it again, problem doesn't happen. Computer is fixed because... I touched it, apparently.

:) I've been there, in both roles...

So back in the '80s my dad brought back a credit-card-sized solar-powered calculator from Japan. (In those days it was years before cool stuff from Japan made it to Europe). We were playing with it, and somehow we discovered that if I did a calculation, it came out right, but if my dad did it, it gave the wrong answer: 100% repeatably. Being men of science (well, man and boy) we were dumbfounded by this until we finally worked out what was going on. We were doing this at the kitchen table, and sliding the calculator between us; we realised that the light was better on my side of the table; somehow on his side there was enough light to make it recognise and display the keypresses and to attempt the calculation, but not to get it right.

I guess they figured that out in the end and started making things switch themselves off altogether if they didn't have enough supply voltage to work properly.
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby thevicente » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:20 pm UTC

The fucking motorcycle played a prank on me.

Yesterday, on the way to work, it made a strange clang noise, stopped and refused to turn on again. I had to have it towed.

Today the mechanic called and said there is nothing wrong with it.

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby WolfieMario » Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:50 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:
WolfieMario wrote:Literally my first thought:
Image
1108

No, you're not allowed to complain over the use of "literally" in this comic. It's part of the joke.

I wasn't complaining, as that would require missing the point of both comics. It was literally just the first thing that came to mind when I saw the comic.
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby Adam H » Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:11 pm UTC

WolfieMario wrote:
Adam H wrote:
WolfieMario wrote:Literally my first thought:
Image
1108

No, you're not allowed to complain over the use of "literally" in this comic. It's part of the joke.

I wasn't complaining, as that would require missing the point of both comics. It was literally just the first thing that came to mind when I saw the comic.
Haha, just ignore me, I'm an idiot. I didn't follow the link to 1108, I guess I thought it was a link to the latest comic or something. I thought you made up that third panel and were serious about Randall misusing "literally". Once again: me=idiot. :lol: :oops:
-Adam

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby Mikeski » Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:39 pm UTC

In my "programming in C" course, lo so many years ago at the university, I had a program that compiled differently when comments were removed. Verified with "diff" that I wasn't removing anything functional. Strip the comments, compile, good code. Leave them in, compile, undecipherable crash.

I think it was because I was an EE major, and the CSci machines were hazing me.

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby rmsgrey » Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:51 am UTC

Mikeski wrote:In my "programming in C" course, lo so many years ago at the university, I had a program that compiled differently when comments were removed. Verified with "diff" that I wasn't removing anything functional. Strip the comments, compile, good code. Leave them in, compile, undecipherable crash.

I think it was because I was an EE major, and the CSci machines were hazing me.


Fun thing with C-style comments is that you can set up code so that which bits are commented out toggles when you add/remove a '/' from the first line...

Not saying it's what happened with your code, but sometimes it's not obvious which lines are comments and which are code...

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby keithl » Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:20 am UTC

When Gordon Moore dies, ALL computers become haunted.

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby addams » Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:55 am UTC

keithl wrote:When Gordon Moore dies, ALL computers become haunted.

In fifteen years that man will be 100.
Maybe, he is an AI.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby Soft Hyphen » Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:15 am UTC

PolakoVoador wrote:In my experience, problems in Linux are usually less inexplicable than in Windows. Linux at least lets you see under the hood, and with some combination of skill, luck and a bit of magic, one can sorta understand what the hell was going on. Windows, on the other hand, wants to make things "easier" for you, by way of hiding everything and repeating "NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG"

In my experience, while every OS has its share of WTF-ery, for truly inexplicable pull-your-hair-out issues, Linux leads by a mile.

Acer laptop, originally came installed with Windows 7. Replaced it with Linux Mint 15. It would fail to boot up every other boot.

Every. Time.

And I mean, it wouldn't even get to the GRUB screen where you can select your kernel/recovery mode. Just, every second boot, like clockwork, it would show the Acer logo, then a blank screen. Hard boot or soft boot didn't matter. Reinstalled the bootloader, no change.

Even numbered boots: POST -> GRUB menu -> Linux.
Odd numbered boots: POST -> black screen.

Linux Mint 16 just came out. Wiped the hard drive completely, installed that.

And now, every second boot like clockwork... it skips the GRUB menu completely, and boots into Linux. No delay.

Even numbered boots: POST -> GRUB menu -> Linux
Odd numbered boots: POST -> Linux.

It's doing it right now.

I could try experimenting with various bootloaders, but honestly... how does something like this even happen? What possible magic bit could be flipped from one boot to the next to cause this? It's insane.

I'm not going to bother fixing it. I'm half-afraid if I muck with it too much, I might fix it without understanding why, then I will enver be able to reproduce it again, and start to question my own sanity. At least for now, I am secure in the knowledge that I'm not (completely) crazy.

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby Biliboy » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:06 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:What really get me are inexplicable problems which halfway convince me (and fully convince everyone I work with) that I am a literal wizard, like with straight-up magic. Not even "oh wow you know all this intricate arcane stuff"; literal, reality-warping-with-the-power-of-thought magic.

Like, a coworker shows me a problem in person. I watch him or her do it. I watch what they click very closely and every key they press. I make them repeat it so I can make sure it's not user error, but they're doing everything fine, so I'm convinced there really is something buggy and sit down to look at it. Just to be sure I repeat the problematic task myself... and the problem doesn't happen. I get up, the user tries it again, problem doesn't happen. Computer is fixed because... I touched it, apparently.

I have literally walked over to someone's desk, when asked for help, and as a joke placed my hands on their monitor and done my best tent revival minster impression and said "you're healed!"... and the problem goes away.

Or someone calls me over for help, they ask me what I'm going to do, I say I'm going to "look at it". I do -- I literally stare at their screen as though I'm casting some spell with my mind -- tell them to repeat the problem, and it's all better now.

Or most recently, someone spends all day trying to fix a problem that has been hounding them for weeks and finally gotten them fed up enough to try fixing it, but to no avail, so she finally Skypes me for help, and before I can respond, the problem spontaneously disappears, because she invoked my name I guess.

People ask me what it is I do and all I can honestly say is "magic" because I have no fucking idea. Maybe someday I can make a full-time career being some company's magic technology protection ward; not an IT guy, I don't actually have to know anything, I'd just get paid to be present and magically ward off the evil spirits that would otherwise impinge on users' productivity.


I don't work in the tech industry, but maybe we should start a company together. I have what I've taken to calling 'The Touch". When working on something with someone, and they start having issues, I walk over, look at what they're doing, and then reach out my finger and touch it, and many times it starts working. I've done this with cranky diesel engines, stuck or balky power tools etc.

I heard a story that might demonstrate what's going on though, from an old episode of Car Talk. (one of the puzzlers, actually) An old italian immigrant mechanic worked for a trucking company in the northeast, and many winter days a trucker would try to start his vehicle in the morning, have it fail, walk over to the shop, get this mechanic, and walk back. The mechanic, a devout catholic, would 'blessa da truck' and tell the driver to start it up, and bam, it would crank up.

The conclusion of the car talk guys was that the time walking to the shop after the initial attempts allowed heat to flow from the starter area to the rest of the engine, and then the truck would work. Maybe instead of a magic touch, we just have very good timing :D

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby alvinhochun » Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:33 am UTC

Mikeski wrote:In my "programming in C" course, lo so many years ago at the university, I had a program that compiled differently when comments were removed. Verified with "diff" that I wasn't removing anything functional. Strip the comments, compile, good code. Leave them in, compile, undecipherable crash.

I think it was because I was an EE major, and the CSci machines were hazing me.

A not-so-commonly-known thing about C is that if a backslash (\) is right before a newline character, the newline will be stripped. (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/7059 ... -backslash)

I've seen more than once that someone tried to be clever and write comments with non-alphanumeric characters, which ends up extending the comment to the next line which is the actual code. Heck, even quite a few IDEs does not highlight this "correctly" and it became a pain-in-the-ass to "debug".

Ultimately, this is due to human error, those who designed the C language. But if you don't know this, then the computer is haunted.

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby Mikeski » Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:46 am UTC

alvinhochun wrote:A not-so-commonly-known thing about C is that if a backslash (\) is right before a newline character, the newline will be stripped.

I can't imagine any unix user not expecting something like that to happen...

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby keithl » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:03 am UTC

Soft Hyphen wrote:Acer laptop, originally came installed with Windows 7. Replaced it with Linux Mint 15. It would fail to boot up every other boot.

If you Google "every second boot", you will find a far larger number of posts about a reinstall of Windoze doing the same thing. I'm guessing (as a hardware engineer) that you have "cruelty free hardware" - it wasn't tested, beyond putting Windoze on it and turning it on. Which only tests the hardware with that particular version of Windoze and that level of updates.

If there is a problem with one of the millions of logic gates or BIOS EPROM cells, it could result in some sort of cycle, perhaps spuriously setting a bit in the BIOS EPROM on one startup, then resetting it the next time. Even if the hardware was thoroughly tested, no PC chipset that I know about is tested with "100% fault coverage", or simulated at the OS level for the effect of every gate failure. The original Windoze did not exercise that gate or that BIOS cell, and the error wasn't found. If Windoze did exercise a broken gate and fail on boot, the manufacturer would have scrapped the machine (we hope).

Linux folk test such things by swapping boot drives around. Windoze gets upset and tells mommy in Redmond if the drive is swapped; Linux kernels just look at the hardware that's attached this time, and adapts. So if your hard drive boots properly in another similar (but not necessarily identical) laptop, it is a hardware problem in your laptop. If the hard drive does the pingpong in another machine, it is probably a hard drive problem (hardware or firmware).

Most people with Windoze problems just assume they are idiots and buy more hardware. The equivalent for Linux is to buy a preconfigured Linux machine, available from many different vendors. But if you want to actually figure out what is going on, Linux is pretty much your only option, and you will end up more knowledgable than the average consumer. If you don't care about that particular knowledge, spend extra money on a preinstall and save time.

Good debugging can involve a lot more digging than the above, but some of us enjoy the hunt. I help run a monthly Linux Clinic here in Portland, where people show up with the damndest problems and we try to fix them in an hour or two. Sometimes the best solution is Mr. Smacky, a 16 pound sledgehammer, wielded cathartically by the owner.

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby commodorejohn » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:13 am UTC

I'd like to propose a new theorem: as the length of a discussion increases, the probability of it being turned into a lecture on the superiority of Linux approaches 1.
"'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling."
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby Biliboy » Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:28 am UTC

Before or after Hitler is mentioned?

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby Klear » Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:31 am UTC

Biliboy wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:What really get me are inexplicable problems which halfway convince me (and fully convince everyone I work with) that I am a literal wizard, like with straight-up magic. Not even "oh wow you know all this intricate arcane stuff"; literal, reality-warping-with-the-power-of-thought magic.

Like, a coworker shows me a problem in person. I watch him or her do it. I watch what they click very closely and every key they press. I make them repeat it so I can make sure it's not user error, but they're doing everything fine, so I'm convinced there really is something buggy and sit down to look at it. Just to be sure I repeat the problematic task myself... and the problem doesn't happen. I get up, the user tries it again, problem doesn't happen. Computer is fixed because... I touched it, apparently. (...)


I don't work in the tech industry, but maybe we should start a company together. I have what I've taken to calling 'The Touch". When working on something with someone, and they start having issues, I walk over, look at what they're doing, and then reach out my finger and touch it, and many times it starts working. I've done this with cranky diesel engines, stuck or balky power tools etc. (...)


It's not so rare. I have it as well, call it "charisma".

Biliboy wrote:Before or after Hitler is mentioned?


Apparently Linux is Hitler.

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby RogerB » Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:50 pm UTC

Computers have always been haunted; as documented in the Jargon File.

I'm kind of surprised the Jargon File hasn't been mentioned yet. Or is it just that I'm so old I'm the only one who remembers it.

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby Coyoty » Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:59 pm UTC

poxic wrote:Image

Title text: 'It has a ghost in it. Take it back.' 'No.'

I have one of those. It draws little coloured boxes all over my screen sometimes, then goes to sleep under a blue blanket. Usually while I'm playing Skyrim.


You don't have a ghost. You have a ferret.

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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby Mikeski » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:00 pm UTC

RogerB wrote:Computers have always been haunted; as documented in the Jargon File.

I'm kind of surprised the Jargon File hasn't been mentioned yet. Or is it just that I'm so old I'm the only one who remembers it.

Nope, we all know about it. That story in particular.

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addams
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby addams » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:16 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:
RogerB wrote:Computers have always been haunted; as documented in the Jargon File.

I'm kind of surprised the Jargon File hasn't been mentioned yet. Or is it just that I'm so old I'm the only one who remembers it.

Nope, we all know about it. That story in particular.

The stickers are Amazing!
How many sets of stickers will be required to subtly transform our worlds.

Like a shadow of xkcd passing through the world.
Magic/More Magic (gently and precisely placed in the Train)

Would you look around?
Where will the Magic show up?

Anywhere?

Edit:
I know!
Do they still have the little trash bins?

Magic on the outside.
More Magic visible when bin is opened.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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keithl
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby keithl » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:27 pm UTC

commodorejohn wrote:I'd like to propose a new theorem: as the length of a discussion increases, the probability of it being turned into a lecture on the superiority of Linux approaches 1.
As will the probability that someone will confuse debugging tips offered to someone with a problem with a lecture about superiority. Linux isn't "superior" - helping others is, using whatever tools that permit helping to occur.

Heck, if someone brought a Commodore 64 to our clinic, I would help with that, because I reverse engineered one of those back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Voiding warranties is more fun than consumer obedience.

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orthogon
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby orthogon » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:28 pm UTC

Mikeski wrote:
RogerB wrote:Computers have always been haunted; as documented in the Jargon File.

I'm kind of surprised the Jargon File hasn't been mentioned yet. Or is it just that I'm so old I'm the only one who remembers it.

Nope, we all know about it. That story in particular.

Actually I didn't know that particular one, but it reminded me of an electronics project to build a crystal radio or something. It had one of those piezoelectric earpieces and I swear it still worked with only one of the wires connected. I guess those things have such a high impedance that you could get enough capacitive coupling to make it work, particularly if it was the ground I'd left unconnected, but still it freaked me out at the time.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

gladiolas
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby gladiolas » Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:36 pm UTC

The reason we haven't been contacted by aliens is they're still working out the bugs in their computers. :) :roll:

ShadedKnight
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby ShadedKnight » Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:00 pm UTC

I've actually had something like this, but it only happens in a certain location. Now, I haven't tested the limits of the area in which this happens, as my computer takes a long time to boot up, making it a bit unfeasable in the limited amount of time I have there, but here's the gist of it:

While at my family's ranch in Georgia, if I try to put my laptop into sleep mode (which I do often because of aforementioned long boot-up times, also happens automatically after 30 minutes of no action), it never goes to sleep, just hangs and eventually performs a hard shutdown.

If my computer is haunted, does that mean that it dislikes Georgia? I suppose it could also be the house itself has a ghost. Perhaps they're both haunted and the house's ghost doesn't like mine.

Snardaukar
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby Snardaukar » Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:45 pm UTC

You might say *shades* someone put a hex on it...

ncrosby
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby ncrosby » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:57 am UTC

I swear I'm cursed, and every computer I touch gets possessed by a ghost whose sole purpose is to put me through as much frustration and misery it takes to put me in a mental institution.

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ucim
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby ucim » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:52 pm UTC

I had a windows 98 computer whose launch bar* bar got ch*rped. For no reason I could figure out, it would refuse to keep its order. That is, I could drag the icons around, but the next time I booted, it would revert to the old arrangement. There is a setting to control this; it was set correctly, so that wasn't it. New icons would appear at the end, even after I put them in the middle.

I didn't mind that much because I already had an arrangement I liked. But it was one of those mysteries, and many who were far more windows-savvy than I could not figure out what it was that was locking the launch bar. I figured it might be a write-protected file, but could not find any file that was a good candidate for that. A mystery to this day.

Jose
* by launch bar I mean the set of icons just to the right of the START button, and to the left of the active-programs icons. I do not mean the tray (which is usually on the right and includes the clock). I think it's called the quick-launch bar, even though the tray is really the quick launcher.
Order of the Sillies, Honoris Causam - bestowed by charlie_grumbles on NP 859 * OTTscar winner: Wordsmith - bestowed by yappobiscuts and the OTT on NP 1832 * Ecclesiastical Calendar of the Order of the Holy Contradiction * Heartfelt thanks from addams and from me - you really made a difference.

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orthogon
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby orthogon » Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:14 pm UTC

ucim wrote:... There is a setting to control this; it was set correctly, so that wasn't it...

Oh, man that has to be the most annoying type of problem: when there is an setting to control exactly the specific thing that you want to control, but it doesn't actually have any effect. You get so excited when you find the option, only to have your hopes dashed.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Platypodes
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Re: 1316: "Inexplicable"

Postby Platypodes » Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:39 pm UTC

When I was a kid, my mom had a cheap pocket calculator that I thought was haunted or insane.

By day, it behaved perfectly naturally. But overnight, a line of mysterious symbols would appear on its screen. The top half of an 8. The bottom half of a 4. Maybe a normal number or two mixed in. Press "clear," and all would be normal.

I started writing down these ghostly messages. Sometimes they repeated.

Then I started doing arithmetic with them. Multiplying them by two, say, and writing down the result. The answer would usually be made up of fewer odd symbols and more numbers than the original. Multiply it again, and again a higher percentage of numbers. After two or three operations, it'd just be numbers that behaved normally.

The answers were consistent. The same ghost message multiplied by two would always give the same answer.

I'd still like to know why that happened.

I never did manage to convince my parents that any of this was the least bit interesting.
videogamesizzle wrote:so, uh, seen any good arbitrary, high numbers lately?


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