A wake for a deceased server

A wake for a deceased server

I blogged before about a marketing software I use for work in an attempt (so far unsuccessful) to earn my living. I also mentioned how this software developers most likely hate me fiercely. I’m the poking and prying kind of person, so I check in regularly with them to report bugs.

I’m probably in love with what appears to be the chief engineer of this thing. We correspond regularly. I send him naughty screencasts—videos of what’s happening on my screen while I’m using the app—as proof of bugs being at their end and not me being an ignorant who misclicked and blames the machine. (Of course I am an ignorant in general, but not in this case in particular.)

My favourite engineer sometimes responds as early as within an hour after I announce a new bug to notify me that the bug has been fixed. That’s all nice, but I’m thinking (haha, I’m thinking) he should have programmed it properly in the first place so he wouldn’t have to fix it later. To show my appreciation, I prepared a lovely surprise for him during the weekend.

I set up the software so to send automatic welcome emails to all contacts in the address book. About 2.500 emails should have been sent. The behaviour of the app did strike me as unusual after I set this up but I blamed my own ignorance (see above for ignorance). Well, later I learned that my action took the company’s servers down. I’m such a badass.

It was yet another bug, which caused 27.000 emails to generate over the weekend. Nothing much happened—I mean, at my end, as the emails were never sent, they just kept on generating on the server. The company should get better servers. And better engineers. And better software testers, preferably me.

I’m perversely proud of myself. (I’m always proud of myself perversely and I’m most proud of my most perverted achievements.) See, you can give me any software and I’ll prove you it’s poorly programmed. Without any knowledge of programming. Sure, I can’t fix anything, but I’ll break things that you thought were foolproof.

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Posted by Mara Eastern

I'm a sardonic blogger, snapper, scribbler and rhymer; a virtual space invader who indulges in cheerful negativism, morbid self-deprecation and bleak humour.

40 Comments

  1. Good work. I have a similar skill. I can spot an error in writing very easily. Makes me a great proof-reader 😉

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    1. I also proofread, as work, and I think spotting bugs in apps and spotting errors in a text requires essentially the same skill set. So it makes sense!

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  2. That is the art of software testing, breaking it is a good thing, and sooo satisfying 🙂

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    1. Especially good when it’s not up to you to fix it too.

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      1. And the sure and certain knowledge that you have ruined someones day by finding the bug

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        1. I’m a mean person by my own admission, so I guess yes, ruining someone’s day by making their incompetence get back to them is a bonus 😉

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          1. It is, especially if you can log the bug before lunch. You can ruin almost a whole day that way..

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          2. I tend to log bugs at nights and at weekends. That’s when I work. That’s when no one else works.

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          3. You should work for people in the southern hemisphere..

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          4. I’m not sure that would fix the problem. Though of course I could use it as an excuse – I work at nights because I’m a European in the southern hemisphere.

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          5. Of course, how extraordinarily stupid of me, you are southern hemisphere..

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          6. Yeah, I know 😦

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  3. Programs will always be glitches, and eternally temperamental. I think it’s like that with every software in every workplace. This morning at my work, my system forced me to change my password – keyed it in twice and wrote it down. Then the system shat itself and froze in the afternoon. So I shut it down. Tried to log back in. It wouldn’t let me in and I had to make an IT request and when I went home, I was still locked out 😀

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    1. You’re right, and it’s a shame. One would expect more – perhaps not flawlessness, that’s probably impossible to achieve – but at least the bugs should’t be so major. What you describe sounds like a major issue 😦 Hopefully your request for support will be duly and promptly handled!

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  4. How dastardly clever of you….I can break things though its a pain if I want to use it…how do you go with more simple devices like, if I let you loose in my kitchen would you break the kettle or the toaster? My programming ability ends after I turn it off then turn it on…..sad isn’t it…..anyway my new iMac continues to work nicely fingers crossed and touch wood…ouch!!

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    1. Thank you for calling me a clever breaker of things 😉 The art of breaking is often underrated. I could totally break your toaster too, I’ve done that before. Better not allow me in the kitchen. Or anywhere, for the matter. Actually, turning if off and on is the first step and sometimes fixes things, so you’re good!

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  5. Hahahahahaha !!!!! So good 🙂 I can see you got a perverse kick out of this little feat.Go you !

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    1. Thanks for not thinking me evil for getting a kick out of breaking things 😉 I’ll try to restrict my breaking ventures to, say, once a week or so.

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      1. Never! Do it as often as you like 🙂

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  6. Yay! Go Mara! 😂 What the heck of a software is this anyway?! It all sounds so complicated. Makes me wonder if all marketing software is (are?) like that … that the user is hooked up to their servers?! I’ve never had anything to do with stuff like that, so it’s all like ‘Greek’ to me.

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    1. I could share a link to the software, but it would be all Czech to you 😉 I can’t compare it with similar apps because I don’t know any similar apps; it seems ok, except there are too many glitches to my taste. I also can’t say how the server part of things works – I may know (very) little about front-end development, but absolutely nothing about back-end. So, to sum it up, I know nothing. Yet I can break it.

      Anyway, what the app can do is, for example, send automated emails to your customers (like the welcome email, Thank you for your subscription / your order etc.), categorise customers into groups based on their shopping behaviour, it can create questionnaires and forms… And it has the worst WYSIWYG ever. Hence I’m learning HTML forms to avoid the WYSIWYG . * sigh * Not too exciting, this thing. HTML still excites me though.

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      1. Jaysus! But I guess that must be good, when it works properly, and if you can make some moola from it, so much the better.

        HTML still excites me too, so does CSS (up to a point).

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        1. It’s irony that I ended up using a marketing app when I’m the kind of person who always unsubscribes from all newsletters and offers and whatnots. The unsubscribe link at the bottom of these mails is where I head first. Also, please don’t make me choose between HTML and CSS. It’s like choosing your favourite child. Or cat.

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          1. Yeah! Have you ever seen the movie (or read the book) “Sophie’s choice”? I read the book first, and it took ages (I thought) before I found out what the choice really was, but once I did … wow! Powerful!

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          2. I haven’t read Sophie’s choice (I should be ashamed), but I know what the idea is. Many books are spoilt for me, in a way, because as a literature student, I know most plots and denouements prior to starting to actually read the book. Do I remember it correctly that Sophie chose the kid whom she thought had a greater chance of survival?

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          3. In the concentration camp, she had to make a choice; which of her two kids to keep. The other one would just go to the gas chamber.

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          4. Yes, that’s what I thought… I think I saw the film version and didn’t particularly enjoy how convoluted it was – I always find different time frames and flashbacks confusing.

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          5. Yeah … I do too, when they keep jumping back and forth, like that!

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          6. I’m pretty much a conventional viewer/reader when it comes to different time perspectives. Other narrative experiments are fine with me but I can’t handle time jumps. Unless they’re shot, say, in sepia so I could tell it’s a flashback. But I still get confused about characters, I’m bad at distinguishing people from one another, so when, for example, two characters are blond women of about the same age and stature, I always confuse them 😦

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  7. “I’m perversely proud of myself … sure, I can’t fix anything, but I’ll break things that you thought were foolproof”.

    Thanks for the laugh. I got quite the chuckle from this one 😀

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    1. I’m happy to entertain 😉 I doubt that the people responsible for fixing what I broke (though it was their fault, not mine to start with) were as entertained, but let’s hope they’ll do it right the next time. No entertainment, but no bugs either!

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      1. For some reason, this reminded me of one of my favourite expressions when I used to work …

        “There’s nothing like a really big mistake for maximum exposure” 😉

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        1. I’ve never heard this before, which is curious because it makes so much sense! One can use it as a company motto: We don’t make mistakes. We’re achieving maximum exposure.

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    1. That’s what I thought too. I think the engineers didn’t share my sentiment. Serve them right. They should do their work properly.

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    1. It’s so great that everyone is amused by my “achievement”, except for the engineers affected by it, of course 🙂

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