Adobe will use this crash report to help find a future solution to this problem.
December 12, 2009 10:29 AM   Subscribe

After Effects Crash Reports
posted by grumblebee (78 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
fail win!
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 10:39 AM on December 12, 2009


I wish I could start a sentence with "so someone hands me an orange shot of an orange fox in front of an orange sky". I never get to do that in my line of work.
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:40 AM on December 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


I love the sarcasm.

"I used a keyboard shortcut, it's one of the complicated ones, I forget...
oh, it was ⌘-Q. Perhaps tomorrow I'll select it from the menu, instead."
posted by graventy at 10:47 AM on December 12, 2009


This reminds me of how when you order something online, there's always a comments field. I guess it's for stuff like, "Please leave the package with the doorman if I'm not home." I don't like leaving it blank, so I usually write something. Sometimes just "Hi" or "Reading these forms must be really boring. Sorry." But lately I've started writing little movie reviews and stories.
posted by grumblebee at 10:49 AM on December 12, 2009 [26 favorites]


This reminds me the amusement of debugging a program, and it crashes, and asks if I want to send an error report to Microsoft. Maybe if they had a "forward source code" option, and sent back working code. (MS does occasionally provide really good tech support. Often without asking for your registration code. Coming from an MS hater.)

This a great find, grumblebee, thanks. I don't know who to side with on some of these, shades of "landlord hat."
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:55 AM on December 12, 2009


For some reason PS CS4 crashes on exit for me about 90% of the time. I've never had the patience and wit to write such a lovely crash report. Awesome.
posted by Bovine Love at 11:00 AM on December 12, 2009


Me too, Bovine Love, me too.
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:12 AM on December 12, 2009


Haaaa! I know this dude! He's awesome. I directed him to this page.
posted by piratebowling at 11:27 AM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Remember the time (1993-1997 or so) when Adobe apps were stable right out of the box? Yeah, me too.

I miss the pre-broadband days. It's all too easy to put huge patches online and ship half-finished, unstable garbage every 18 months. Adobe went from a company run by design people to a company run by salespeople. I'd rather be waterboarded than install Creative Suite on a Mac and run Adobe Updater - a gazillion authentication dialog boxes, plus random, cryptic disk images bouncing in the dock. Microsoft does a better job with their Mac software, for Christ's sake.
posted by porn in the woods at 11:31 AM on December 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


Office 2008 has developed a highly amusing habit where, everytime I quit Word, it throws up the Crash Reporter. I'd prefer if if it did actually crash, so I could be legitimately annoyed at Microsoft rather than just bemused.

I used to enjoy having fun with OS X's built-in crash reports — when Flash used to crash Safari (in the pre-Snow Leopard days), I use to write jokey feedback on the offchance an Apple engineer would read it. On days where it really got on my nerves, I'd beg them to buy Adobe just so they could kill the Flash project. Adobe seriously need to get it together. PDFs are awesome, but when I have to open them on a PC I totally lose my shit. Why the hell does it take THREE WHOLE MINUTES (seriously) to open a three-page file when a ten year old iMac can do it in less than ten seconds?

(Don't get me started on browser plugins. No, really, don't get me started.)
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 11:41 AM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


CS2 forever!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:42 AM on December 12, 2009


Remember the time (1993-1997 or so) when Adobe apps were stable right out of the box? Yeah, me too.

Illustrator 8 on the Mac. The single most solid-as-a-rock, bullet-proof, happy-to-work-24-7 piece of software I've ever used. Period.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:42 AM on December 12, 2009


Hey guys. Nice to see people are still enjoying these, I had kinda forgotten about them! I have some new ones that I'll try to put up next week.
posted by ndrw at 11:53 AM on December 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Photoshop once crashed, and I was stupid and didn't save 2 hours of work, so I lost it all. When it popped up again it gave the crash report form, which was promptly filled with expletives. I felt angry at first, but then sad because I wanted to take out my anger on something and that someone was a faceless intern working for Adobe who had to read that crash report.

Well, faceless intern, if you're reading metafilter I just wanna say I'm sorry for being an asshole. You didn't deserve that.
posted by hellojed at 11:55 AM on December 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


CS2 forever!

Photoshop has never been as stable as it was pre-Creative Suite. You ever use Adobe Bridge to browse your photos? It's like watching grass grow. And it's just an image browser for chrissake! How on God's green Earth can you possibly justify the gigaflops of CPU usage needed for this abomination? ACDSee 3.0 (which opens pre-Creative Suite PSD files just fine, by the way) is a 600 kb executable and can do basically the same thing, with at least an order of magnitude less horsepower.

And let's here it for Adobe changing their file formats every.single.release! Fuck compatibility straight up it's incompatible ass! That's what I say.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:16 PM on December 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


You should see the ones I filled out the weeks every app would crash on XP, and the OS would freeze up forcing a hard reset.

I got pretty creative.
posted by clvrmnky at 12:25 PM on December 12, 2009


CS3 and 4 are so fucking crashy. Every time I quit AICS4 it crashes.

I'd still be using AICS2 for all my art if not for the fact that it barfs all over my Intel machine. Or maybe all over Leopard. I really don't know which.

I've turned in my share of obscenity-laden diatribes in the crash report dialogue, especially when I was discovering that doing complicated things to gradients with the annoying new "gradient inspector" hidden tends to make it crash. Le sigh.
posted by egypturnash at 12:25 PM on December 12, 2009


Adobe just doesn't care about its Mac customer base. And that will keep biting them in the pocketbook as more of those customers switch to more stable and faster alternatives.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:37 PM on December 12, 2009


Illustrator 8 on the Mac. The single most solid-as-a-rock, bullet-proof, happy-to-work-24-7 piece of software I've ever used. Period.

Amen. It was freaking work of art.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:44 PM on December 12, 2009


You should go read the Firefox crash report comments. They're pure vitriol and hate.
posted by jeffamaphone at 12:45 PM on December 12, 2009


Adobe doesn't care much about it's windows customer base, either, to be honest. Getting support for Adobe is like watching a small dog try to bite a large beach ball - the dog tries to get the ball in its puny, inadequate jaws and the ball slips out of the dog's grasp each time. Sad, really, because it takes more small dogs to corner the ball and actually help one another out.

... If you haven't figured out my terrible metaphor, the ball is Adobe and we're all dogs
posted by neewom at 12:46 PM on December 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


You should see the ones...I got pretty creative.

CRASH TEASE!
posted by sexymofo at 12:48 PM on December 12, 2009


Adobe went from a company run by design people to a company run by salespeople.

After the release that had "close download manager" translated as "nära nerladdningschef" in Swedish, I'm not sure they're run by people at all. Nor computers, for that matter. Not sure what they're using, really.
posted by effbot at 12:55 PM on December 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Funny, that feels eerily similar to trying to render things in 3ds max. At least now I know to save every single time I press the render button. That's 3ds max 2010 - I am assuming the previous versions are even worse.
posted by wet-raspberry at 1:01 PM on December 12, 2009


Blazecock Pileon: "And that will keep biting them in the pocketbook as more of those customers switch to more stable and faster alternatives."

You mean Windows?
posted by boo_radley at 1:08 PM on December 12, 2009


I took a screen cap of one of the best crashes I've ever gotten, think this was Illustrator CS1 (file says 2006). I've developed a twitch to hit apple+S every 30 seconds.

Learning all the things* that will make Adobe crash is part the fun!**

*opening files, saving files, exiting the program, editing paths with pen tool, working for 10 minutes, etc
**torture that consumes you.

posted by fontophilic at 1:12 PM on December 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


"nära nerladdningschef"

Hahahaha!
posted by soundofsuburbia at 1:13 PM on December 12, 2009


After the release that had "close download manager" translated as "nära nerladdningschef" in Swedish, I'm not sure they're run by people at all. Nor computers, for that matter. Not sure what they're using, really.

'splain please?
posted by griphus at 1:24 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


After the release that had "close download manager" translated as "nära nerladdningschef" in Swedish...

Is that something awkward (or at least more awkward) in Swedish? Google translate seems to think it's correct, at least.
posted by Evilspork at 1:27 PM on December 12, 2009


nära is close as in 'near', and while a chef may be one kind of manager, well...
posted by Wolfdog at 1:30 PM on December 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


PDFs are awesome, but when I have to open them on a PC I totally lose my shit. Why the hell does it take THREE WHOLE MINUTES (seriously) to open a three-page file when a ten year old iMac can do it in less than ten seconds?

If you're just reading PDFs and not having to edit them or anything, I heartily recommend Foxit Reader. It's small (just over 5 MB), fast, and free. It's one of the first things I install on a new PC.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:49 PM on December 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Translating it back to English doesn't really work -- what makes that translation so bizarre is that the words seem to be translated one by one, completely ignoring the context they appear in, and whenever the translator was faced with multiple choices, they invariably picked the wrong Swedish word. Yet, the resulting nonsense has then clearly been tweaked to be grammatically correct, something a computerized word-to-word translation wouldn't have done.

In other words, whoever translated that doesn't know what the words of the language mean, but knows the grammar. That's a bit unusual, and moves this from being just yet another bad translation to a category of its own.
posted by effbot at 1:49 PM on December 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


And post-preview -- what Wolfdog said. I guess something like "near the person in charge of downloads" captures the essence of the Swedish translation pretty well. Seeing that on a button is a rather big WTF in itself, but that's nothing compared to the WTF process Adobe must have been using to come up with this in the first place.
posted by effbot at 2:06 PM on December 12, 2009


You mean Windows?

I was thinking Final Cut Pro, etc. on a Mac.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:09 PM on December 12, 2009


ACDSee 3.0 is a 600 kb executable and can do basically the same thing, with at least an order of magnitude less horsepower.

Funny, I think ACDSee is abysmally slow and a resource hog. Try PMview and be amazed -- now THAT is what I expect a multi-gigahertz CPU to be like.

I really miss the speed and utility of my old OS/2 applications.
posted by intermod at 2:15 PM on December 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was thinking Final Cut Pro, etc. on a Mac.

Also, look into Pixelmator for Mac.
posted by device55 at 2:19 PM on December 12, 2009


You know what runs extremely well? CS4 on Win7. Who would've guessed it.
posted by damehex at 3:15 PM on December 12, 2009


Adobe went from a company run by design people to a company run by salespeople.

This.

I've been using Adobe products (first on Mac, then Windows, and recently back to Mac) since about 1994 and it kills me to watch and experience what they're doing to themselves. They were SO GOOD (and not just compared to Quark Express) and they've turned to shit.

I used to look forward to doing stuff with their products because they were so much fun to use and now I just have this sense of resigned dread; huge, slow behemoths that take an eternity to open and make doing anything a chore unless you're maxed out on RAM and overclocked.

Okay, that's a bit overwrought, but they have gone from being innovative and user-focused to totally sales-oriented and bolting on as many widgets as they can, and in the process have alienated their users.

I saw ndrw's page a while back and really enjoyed it, I just hope Adobe listens.
posted by dolface at 3:24 PM on December 12, 2009


While they're good for a laugh on the Internet, I hope these don't actually get submitted like that. Part of my job is reading bug reports, and thes are not good reports. They contain lots of noise, which honestly makes bugs harder to screen and dissect. When you have to read a hundred bugs a day (not necessarily new ones, mind you, but if you work on a large piece of software you will read an insane amount of brand-new and not-brand-new bugs reports every day), everything adds up.

Bug reports should only contain what happened, what you were doing, and any useful additional information (log files, system config, etc). They shouldn't contain huge paragraphs of sarcasm, because they still have to be read carefully in order to determine if they're not completely sarcasm. Someone reading the bug later isn't psychic and has to read every word of the bug to find out if there's important information hiding somewhere. A big paragraph of snark and lol hurts an engineer's ability to read the bug.
posted by Mikey-San at 3:25 PM on December 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


The number of typos in my post should be a lesson as to why you should never post twenty minutes after waking up.
posted by Mikey-San at 3:28 PM on December 12, 2009


I think after about the 8000th time the crash reporter pops up, even the kindest and most empathetic among us are going to stop giving a shit about making life easy for whoever's stuck reading the bug reports. This is doubly true if there has never been any indication that making detailed, accurate reports actually leads to a negative trend in the number of bugs and crashes.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:34 PM on December 12, 2009 [8 favorites]


I think ACDSee is abysmally slow and a resource hog

Not the most recent version. Everything after 3.1 is crap. But 3.0? 3.0 is the fastest image browser on my system, easily. I'll have to check out PMview some time to compare.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:41 PM on December 12, 2009


"Not the" == "No, I don't mean the"
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:42 PM on December 12, 2009


Mikey-San that's a fair-enough point, but it's missing the bit about companies not shipping crap products.

Shoving something broken out the door in order to meet sales- or marketing-defined ship dates is the wrong way to do it. I understand that there have to be deadlines, but the products need to work too.

I get that bug reports work better if they're succinct (I have to read them too) but I also get that people are not quite sane when that crash report dialog shows up; I've been there (and continue to be) on a regular basis, which is why I took the sharp scissors and Xacto off my desk.
posted by dolface at 3:43 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Adobe engineers know fine well that their Mac experience is shit, and they do what they can about it. It's just there are huge swathes of execs, and paid trolls like John Dowdell (check out this whiny gem for a taste) who are much happier still fighting the PC vs Mac wars of 1998.

Flash on the Mac is so awful that an internal Adobe engineer took pity on us and smuggled out ClickToFlash. It's so woeful that people who saw builds for the iPhone reported battery life as short as 30 minutes. The Reader team is also heavily anti-Mac, but thankfully it doesn't matter because OS X's built-in PDF readers stamp all over the Windows experience for 90% of use cases.

This emacs vs vi kind of nonsense holds them back on the iPhone, and as the Mac's marketshare is soaring amongst the sorts of people that Adobe wants to sell to, it seems especially bizarre that they'd cling to Windows, of all things. Yet they do, and their software is land of the bizarro crashes.

(For a taste of what their engineering teams can do when left alone by the execs, look to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Creative. That's what the company of Postscript is capable of, when not busily trying to force itself to help enable people to reconnect with their focused content in dynamic ways)
posted by bonaldi at 3:44 PM on December 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


While they're good for a laugh on the Internet, I hope these don't actually get submitted like that. Part of my job is reading bug reports, and thes are not good reports.

Yeah, well, they're not Adobe employees, they're customers who have bought a product which doesn't perform.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:48 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not the most recent version. Everything after 3.1 is crap. But 3.0? 3.0 is the fastest image browser on my system, easily. I'll have to check out PMview some time to compare.

Have always preferred XnView, myself.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:52 PM on December 12, 2009


Mikey-San that's a fair-enough point, but it's missing the bit about companies not shipping crap products.

You have read into my post something that is not there. I have not and am not commenting at all on what a company needs or does not need to do better. My entire post was crafted to avoid doing that.

These are funny bug reports, but not good ones. I wanted to point this out for people reading the thread who perhaps might not identify that they're bad and why, in case they decide they'd like to file bugs against a product that isn't working correctly for them.
posted by Mikey-San at 4:01 PM on December 12, 2009


You guys know that a huge chunk of Adobe is pretty much owned by Microsoft these days, right? It's jointly owned by a few holding companies which are in turn controlled by Redmond. The rest, I believe, is a mix of common stock and some investment firms.
posted by spiderskull at 4:04 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, well, they're not Adobe employees, they're customers who have bought a product which doesn't perform.

It doesn't matter who they don't work for. The reason you file a bug report is to inform engineers of problems in an attempt to help resolve them. Engineers will have to wade through your paragraph of snark to analyze your problem.

If you want to rant, there are more appropriate places to do so. A bug report is not one of those places.
posted by Mikey-San at 4:05 PM on December 12, 2009


I don't want to derail the thread, so if anyone wants to talk more about it, feel free to MeMail me.
posted by Mikey-San at 4:08 PM on December 12, 2009


It doesn't matter who they don't work for. The reason you file a bug report is to inform engineers of problems in an attempt to help resolve them. Engineers will have to wade through your paragraph of snark to analyze your problem.

If you want to rant, there are more appropriate places to do so. A bug report is not one of those places.


That's all well and good, but really, by implementing this type of bug report feature in a live product you are asking for snark. When a program they paid a thousand bucks for frequently completely flakes out and loses hours of work people have a right to be snarky. Detailed accurate bug reports are for internal QA, which, apparently, Adobe doesn't believe in.
posted by graventy at 4:20 PM on December 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


Mikey-San, fair enough, but crash reports for this kind of software are not written by engineers, they're written by designers or artists, people who CHOSE a career in computers that does not involve working directly with code (if these were Eclipse bug reports it would be different).

I get your point and it's a valid one, the stuff below is venting and steam on my part so feel free to disregard it.

Asking them to submit a cogent paragraph on what was happening at the time of the crash is laughable; they just lost an hour's work and in general it's work that's not conducive to submitting to CVS, Subversion, or, god forbid, Perforce.

Adobe sold them a product that was advertised to do certain things (like not lose work). This is a market-ready product, not an alpha or a beta or an RC, this is a PRODUCT that costs a metric assload of whatever the local currency is, and it sucks in a fair amount of cases.

On preview: I'm not sure there's a better place to rant than a bug report for a commercial product. Customer support emails are generally unresponsive, the phone trees are worse, and stuff just doesn't work. Users want to share the pain, and bug reports at least FEEL immediate.

I'm not picking on you, and you're absolutely correct that a less meandering and sarcastic report would be more helpful to the person trying to fix the bug, but it misses the point that the person writing that meandering and sarcastic report could use some feedback too.
posted by dolface at 4:25 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sigh. What graventy said.
posted by dolface at 4:26 PM on December 12, 2009


If you want to rant, there are more appropriate places to do so. A bug report is not one of those places.

I understand that, but castigating your customers for not being more engineer-like is not a winning strategy. Instead, make the products high quality enough where bug reports become much more rare.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:28 PM on December 12, 2009


Obligatory: Dear Adobe.
posted by ao4047 at 4:59 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hope these don't actually get submitted like that. Part of my job is reading bug reports, and these are not good reports.

I'm willing to bet those are examples of the umpteenth crash reports those users have filed. Oh, I'm sure the first dozen or so were actually as helpful as they could make them. But, you know, you can file just so many crash reports before you give up hope that they actually do any good. Eventually...say around the 50th crash for no apparent reason...the snark sets in. And, quite honestly, those reports are about the most direct path one has to vent to Adobe. And, hey, it's actually a path they want you to head down.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:59 PM on December 12, 2009


While I've never used AfterEffects, I think I've bought and used every other product Adobe has ever made over the years. (Yea, Illustrator 8 was good, but 6 was fo' schizzle!)

As an old-timer, I can almost pinpoint the day Adobe ran out of ideas. It was right after the release of PS 6.0. I could almost hear a certain coldness in their voices when I'd call in a registration number. It was all downhill from there.

Adobe used to be my hero company--they made the software that made a Mac worth having. Now they're a fat, bloated hog, wallowing in their own filth. (Honestly 1.39 GBs for Illustrator? For Illustrator? It's a vector art program! Is it simultaneously controlling a moon shot or something? What's it doing in there with all that space?!)

I've switched to Pixelmator for now, which is a surprisingly good replacement for Photoshop. If only there was an alternative to Illustrator. (I swear, I'd pay cash money right now for a SnowLeopard port of Illustrator 8.)
posted by silkyd at 5:02 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know what runs extremely well? CS4 on Win7. Who would've guessed it.

Agreed.
posted by Hicksu at 5:07 PM on December 12, 2009


The Reader team is also heavily anti-Mac...

Looking at how atrocious Windows Reader is, it's hard to imagine the Mac-side version being any worse.
posted by Evilspork at 5:37 PM on December 12, 2009


As an old-timer, I can almost pinpoint the day Adobe ran out of ideas. It was right after the release of PS 6.0. I could almost hear a certain coldness in their voices when I'd call in a registration number. It was all downhill from there.

BTW, this is the copy I still have on my XP computer. I plan on going to 7 soon for music production, which is where I have that old copy of PS. Not sure if it will run in compatibility mode, but if not, I'm giving up on Photoshop for good. I priced the CS about six months ago thinking it was time to get my skills back up to par, when I discovered that the complaints about CS have gotten progressively worse and far more prevalent as the years have gone by. Also, the price has become prohibitive for casual learning, and it's not worth it to get a cracked copy. I used to think this software was passing me by as my graphic skills became less relevant, but now I feel like I dodged a bullet.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:56 PM on December 12, 2009


I plan on going to 7 soon for music production

Windows 7, that is.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:56 PM on December 12, 2009


You know what runs extremely well? CS4 on Win7. Who would've guessed it.

I am not a fan of MS, but Windows 7 is not bad. I reserve the right to change my mind after Service Pack X, but I'm relieved that it's not as bad or worse than Vista. I am going to Windows 7 for music production soon, because I need native 64 bit support and a stable platform. Looks like it might be the right one. XP is getting long in the tooth, and no native 64 bit ... But I still prefer *nix or Mac for just about everything else, but I need hardware support for music which is only available through Win.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:59 PM on December 12, 2009


I love this thread. Yes, feel the hate flow through you!

I was given a first-gen Mac Mini a couple of months ago, not exactly a powerhouse machine and almost obsolete from the day it was originally sold (one of the last non-Intel models), but learning the Mac way of doing things has been fun, and I'm considering getting a more-current Mac for my next computer.

Except, for some reason, when I upgraded the memory in it, almost to the day, it started getting really crashy. Both Safari and Firefox would bomb out frequently, and that's not even talking about the kernel panics. I strongly suspected bad RAM, but memtest's exhaustive suite of tests turned up nothing.

Then I realized, the crashes only happen when I'm using the internet. And running FlashBlock on Firefox seemed to cut them down a lot. I had been avoiding Flash-heavy web pages, like YouTube, when the box had only 512MB in it. Now that my browsing habits had changed, the system became extremely unstable in just such a way as to look like it was a RAM problem.

I used to enjoy having fun with OS X's built-in crash reports — when Flash used to crash Safari (in the pre-Snow Leopard days)[...]

PowerPC Macs are stuck in those days forever now.
posted by JHarris at 6:16 PM on December 12, 2009


If you want to rant, there are more appropriate places to do so. A bug report is not one of those places.

I'm a senior software QA guy and I think that customers of crappy software have every fucking right to rant in a bug report. If a product is that bad, it's really gone beyond being a mere technical issue to be debugged and fixed in a service pack. I'd bet that there'd be nothing in a soberly composed bug report that the development team hasn't already seen a thousand times. When software is that bad, it's the company culture that needs to be fixed and not the code. If an application crashes that easily and that often, don't you think that the QA team has already filed bug after bug and that management has ignored them every time? A steady stream of obscenity filled rants from customers might actually cause a flicker of comprehension in a feature obsessed product manager's brain, that maybe they should direct some development resources toward stability.
posted by octothorpe at 6:16 PM on December 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


figure I should weigh in here, I wrote all these bug reports and yes I did submit them as screencaptured... I dabble in software design and realize that yes, there are real people behind the products we use. The after effects team has inherited a ludicrously complex codebase that has been ported across multiple operating systems and architectures. I've looked at stack traces for ae crashes, hell I've even done a bit of reverse engineering on it in times of extreme curiosity. I'm sure even what they're allowed to do to fix things is limited for fear of breaking legacy systems. I wrote these tongue in cheek because
a) the comment field is probably left blank 99 times out of 100
b) they might actually have a sense of humor :P
posted by ndrw at 6:52 PM on December 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


Don't get me started on browser plugins. No, really, don't get me started

So, what do you think about browser plugins?

It's a vector art program! Is it simultaneously controlling a moon shot or something?

The Apollo Guidance Computer had 2048 words (at 16 bits each) of RAM, and 36864 words of ROM. In today's terms, 4K of RAM, about 80K of ROM based system code.

So, moon shot? That's *easy*.
posted by eriko at 6:54 PM on December 12, 2009


I love this thread. Yes, feel the hate flow through you!

Isn't picking on a software giant cathartic?

I'm a senior software QA guy and I think that customers of crappy software have every fucking right to rant in a bug report.

This. This whole comment.

I worked with a software company in the services department, although it being a small company I did a number of different jobs. QC, QA, some support work... You can't release a piece of software without at least a couple minor bugs. In truth, there's at least one large, glaring bug that the developers know about but are not allowed to work on until at least one of the larger customers complains. Support calls are routine, but support isn't in charge of fixing known bugs, they're there to log complaints, usability issues, enhancement requests and log bug reports. Those in charge of actually working on those bugs and enhancements are given only so much time, and normally that time is shunted off until the next development cycle. I am very glad I wasn't a manager in charge of either QA or dev.

Anyway, my main job was to putter around in Acrobat and other production tools most of the day with production and QC. By the time the office got a site license of the Acrobat 8 alpha, I'd used the dev version and was not impressed. It had its improvements, certainly as far as the bugs I normally encountered went, but overall it was slower and less impressive. When I was doing production work, I'd work in and save the file in 7, finish the batch, then open the batch in 8 and save again. Rinse and repeat for Acrobat 9. By the time I was laid off, I was running versions 7, 8 and 9.

The problem with Adobe's bugs is that there's no clear recourse for some of them. A crash on close isn't so much an issue if the data's been successfully saved, but a crash 99 times out of 100 when using a particular feature isn't much of a feature. It isn't so much the developer's fault or the fault of QA, it's a problem with the allocation of those resources to QA and the developers. If it takes a multitude of customer complaints in noticeable, over-the-top ways, then so be it. I know that's the way it worked with us.

...sorry. That rant had been building.
posted by neewom at 7:20 PM on December 12, 2009


Detailed accurate bug reports are for internal QA, which, apparently, Adobe doesn't believe in.

Typically, companies shipping products like this have large QA departments. They "believe" in QA, as in having some, they just don't listen to them.

All the crashes you guys are experiencing were probably well-known to QA since before the product shipped. I'll bet nickels to dollars the the department head didn't have any decision-making power, and could only cringe in horror as the overpaid execs stuffed shit in a box and shoved it out the door.
posted by Malor at 7:54 PM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dammit, I hit post too soon. Continuing...

In my experience, the best software companies don't ship until QA says they can ship... the head of QA has absolute block power on whether a program goes out the door. This clearly doesn't make perfect software, as that's still dependent on the fundamental code quality and development process, but a strong QA department will wring the best possible results out of whatever programming team you've put together. If they're rock stars, it'll be brilliant; if they're plebian, it'll be tolerable; if they really suck, even a strong QA will still ship a bad product.
posted by Malor at 8:00 PM on December 12, 2009


I weep for Freehand.
posted by rodgerd at 8:53 PM on December 12, 2009


Problem and system information:
Host Name:      aether
Date/Time:      2008-01-03 17:38:41.886 -0800
OS Version:     10.4.9 (Build 8P2137)
Report Version: 4

Command: Safari
Path:    /Applications/Safari.app/Contents/MacOS/Safari
Parent:  WindowServer [61]

Version:        2.0.4 (419.3)
Build Version:  2
Project Name:   WebBrowser
Source Version: 4190300

PID:    3814
Thread: 0

Exception:  EXC_BAD_ACCESS (0x0001)
Codes:      KERN_PROTECTION_FAILURE (0x0002) at 0x00000105

Thread 0 Crashed:
0   ...romedia.Flash Player.plugin 	0x25292fc5 Flash_EnforceLocalSecurity + 174797
1   ...romedia.Flash Player.plugin 	0x250b7b5e 0x24ed7000 + 1968990
2   ...romedia.Flash Player.plugin 	0x250e8f7c 0x24ed7000 + 2170748
3   ...romedia.Flash Player.plugin 	0x2502d2c9 0x24ed7000 + 1401545
4   ...romedia.Flash Player.plugin 	0x2510bf32 0x24ed7000 + 2314034
5   ...romedia.Flash Player.plugin 	0x2527bcb1 Flash_EnforceLocalSecurity + 79801
6   ...romedia.Flash Player.plugin 	0x2526865a Flash_EnforceLocalSecurity + 354
7   com.apple.WebKit               	0x9520a9fb -[WebBaseNetscapePluginView sendEvent:] + 303
8   com.apple.WebKit               	0x9520cae9 -[WebBaseNetscapePluginView sendNullEvent] + 154
9   com.apple.Foundation           	0x928352de __NSFireTimer + 199
10  com.apple.CoreFoundation       	0x9082c7e2 CFRunLoopRunSpecific + 3341
11  com.apple.CoreFoundation       	0x9082bace CFRunLoopRunInMode + 61
12  com.apple.HIToolbox            	0x92ddc8d8 RunCurrentEventLoopInMode + 285
13  com.apple.HIToolbox            	0x92ddbfe2 ReceiveNextEventCommon + 385
14  com.apple.HIToolbox            	0x92ddbe39 BlockUntilNextEventMatchingListInMode + 81
15  com.apple.AppKit               	0x93282465 _DPSNextEvent + 572
16  com.apple.AppKit               	0x93282056 -[NSApplication nextEventMatchingMask:untilDate:inMode:dequeue:] + 137
17  com.apple.Safari               	0x00006f96 0x1000 + 24470
18  com.apple.AppKit               	0x9327bddb -[NSApplication run] + 512
19  com.apple.AppKit               	0x9326fd2f NSApplicationMain + 573
20  com.apple.Safari               	0x0005f7de 0x1000 + 387038
21  com.apple.Safari               	0x0005f6f9 0x1000 + 386809


Please describe what you were doing when the problem happened:

Hi, Apple Engineer! What's up? Sorting through sonar reports, I see. Would you mind forwarding a note to one of the Adobe Flash developers? I imagine you guys must know each other pretty well by now. Here's the message:

  Hey! Fuck you, asshole!

thanks,
-Ryan

posted by ryanrs at 4:11 AM on December 13, 2009 [5 favorites]


A steady stream of obscenity filled rants from customers might actually cause a flicker of comprehension in a feature obsessed product manager's brain

Not a chance. Anything of actual interest to a developer is being submitted behind-the-scenes anyway (your operating system, a running processes list, dumps of specific locations in memory, the date, your current IP address and your network adapter's MAC address, etc., etc., etc.).

I actually think it's kind of funny that they leave a little box for the user. That's pure psychology right there. That box is the user-interface version of the New York City crosswalk button. It does nothing. The point of it is to calm you, because naturally you're going to be pissed at this point in the game, and there's nothing that can be done to help you. Not really. Not until a patch is released, anyway. So here's this little box and you get to play engineer and tell us why you think your computer done broke.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:59 AM on December 13, 2009


Not a chance. Anything of actual interest to a developer is being submitted behind-the-scenes anyway (your operating system, a running processes list, dumps of specific locations in memory, the date, your current IP address and your network adapter's MAC address, etc., etc., etc.).

I don't think that's true. For application bugs almost all of the system configuration information gathered is irrelevant*, and often the crash occurs in a completely different place to where the problem is, so even the stack trace is useless. Knowing which feature triggered the crash is the most important part.

(* it still amuses me every time someone emails me a bug report that describes in detail exactly which model of Macintosh they have)
posted by cillit bang at 6:06 AM on December 13, 2009


(* it still amuses me every time someone emails me a bug report that describes in detail exactly which model of Macintosh they have)

Hmm, when I'm bug reporting, I always include at least my processor and total memory. If it's on Windows, and uses more than basic Windows graphics, I tell them my specific video card and driver revision. If it uses more than basic sound, I tell them my soundcard and driver revision. I do this under the assumption that if it's Excel, it probably doesn't care too much about my driver revs, but if it's Super Awesome Game Of The Month, it probably does. And from what I've seen of visible data in bug reports, the actual hardware models of things don't always show.

I figure it can't hurt, and might help; the problem might not be theirs at all.

Reporting the processor might not be necessary, but I bet that's how they determined that subtle flaw in those early overclocked Celeron 300As... you could crank those things to 550Mhz, and they worked perfectly, except for one specific instruction that occasionally failed on a fair number of the chips. That caused instability in a few games, where most worked fine, and it took them quite some time to figure out what the issue actually was.

OCing isn't as prevalent anymore, but eh, more info doesn't hurt anything. Maybe it's just noise, but from the individual user perspective, it's not possible to tell.
posted by Malor at 7:53 PM on December 13, 2009


I wish I had more evidence of my claim. The information comes from someone who knows a lot of inside (and not-so-obvious) goings-on in Silicon Valley. I will try to find some reliable sources.
posted by spiderskull at 8:18 PM on December 13, 2009


also, the adobe bug reporter I *think* already has a stack trace and basic system info, ram processor etc
posted by ndrw at 8:33 PM on December 13, 2009


"so someone hands me an orange shot of an orange fox in front of an orange sky".

ndrw, did you work on Fantastic Mr. Fox?
posted by otherthings_ at 8:26 AM on December 14, 2009


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