Sometimes you just don't need to know


This pilot fish's programming team is working on a project written in Ada, but for some reason it keeps crashing -- complete with a dump of everything that's in memory.

"When the code would reach a certain line, it would fail spectacularly with a core dump," says fish. "We didn't have any sophisticated debuggers available, so we used the poor man's debugging method: adding logging every so often to help figure out what was going on.

"After several days of several of us working together on this one bug, we finally added an additional line of debug logging and the whole thing worked perfectly.

"We took out all debug logging and it would fail. We added the one line back and it would work.

"We had no idea why that one line of simple logging caused the whole thing to work. But that line of debug logging is still in the code -- and is heavily documented with instructions to never remove it."

Sharky knows enough to say this: Happy 200th birthday, Ada LovelaceUnfortunately, the world's first computer programmer can't tell me any true tales of IT life -- but you can, so send me your story at You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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