Funny stories and bugs in tech

July 8, 2023

This is a collection of stories and bugs in the tech world that i found funny. They are mostly all from my bookmarks pages, but the other day i tried to find them here, so why not put theme also?

Only crash leaving it on over night!?!

A game that only crash when QA leaves it over night? From this twitter thread (Quoted here for archival purposes)

I feel your pain! We had a ‘fun’ one on LittleBigPlanet 1: 2 weeks to gold, a Japanese QA tester started reliably crashing the game by leaving it on over night. We could not repro. Like you, days of confirmation of identical environment, os, hardware, etc; each attempt took /

Over 24h, plus time differences, and still no repro. Eventually we realised they had an eye toy plugged in, and set to record audio (that took 2 days of iterating) still no joy. Finally we noticed the crash was always around 4am. Why? What happened only in Japan at 4am? We begged

To find out. Eventually the answer came: cleaners arrived. They were more thorough than our cleaners! One hour of vacuuming near the eye toy- white noise- caused the in game chat audio compression to leak a few bytes of memory (only with white noise). Long enough? Crash.

Our final repro: radios tuned to noise, turned up, and we could reliably crash the game. Fix took 5 minutes after that. Oh, gamedev….

I cannot print on tuesdays!?!

From this bug report it seems that ubuntu wont let you print on tuesdays

What a fascinating bug!! My wife has complained that open office will never print on Tuesdays!?! Then she demonstrated it. Sure enough, won’t print on Tuesday. Other applications print. I think this is the same bug. Here is my guess:

Using Memory Errors to Attack a Virtual Machine

This isnt a bug, but the mere idea of someone pointing a lamp to a memory computer to corrupt it and gain access to execute unauthorized code is bizarre and beautiful at the same time to me. Here is the paper

The case of the 500-mile email

If not being able to print on tuesdays was funny to you, imagine these people debugging why they couldnt send an email to distances longer than 500-miles.

1983 Soviet nuclear false alarm incident

When an error in a radar almost made us live a nuclear war, but someone prevented it by saying:

Petrov cited his belief and training that any U.S. first strike would be massive, so five missiles seemed an illogical start.


How an overflow error made the launch of the ARIANE 5 a failure

Bit Flip

How cosmic rays almost made an election in Belgium useless by flipping a single bit. Here the full chapter

One in five genetics papers contains errors thanks to Microsoft Excel

Excel trying to be smart about month names, made one in five genetics papers contains errors

How did MS-DOS decide that two seconds was the amount of time to keep the floppy disk cache valid?

Sometimes user testing is the best way to get some magic numbers.

Mark Zbikowski led the MS-DOS 2.0 project, and he sat down with a stopwatch while Aaron Reynolds and Chris Peters tried to swap floppy disks on an IBM PC as fast as they could.

They couldn’t do it under two seconds.

Here the full article

Light Commands

Hack into anyone’s Alexa’s microphone by shinning light. Here the full article

Side-Channel Attack Turns Power Supply Into Speakers

Nothing is invulnerable when you could turn your powersupply into a speaker

Illegal numbers

As computer information could be represented by numbers, laws decided that some number are illegal. Beautiful distopian world we live on.


As i said in my previous post this set-top-box was classified as a weapon for a little moment.

Screaming memory

As technology advances, its easy to laugh at first attempts, but this idea of a “screaming memory” always makes me laugh.

TV interfering internet connection

You turn your TV on, and suddenly all the village lost its internet access. What could be happening?

Root certificates

When someone tried to add their own root certificates. Add Honest Achmed’s root certificate, Add my root CA cert to mozilla’s trusted root CA cert list

Resolved invalid? What’s the difference between Honest Achmed and the other CAs? Just an audit report? The community should chip in!

Cars stopping because updates

Another event occurred in 2019 when a Chinese NIO electric automobile stopped in traffic and imprisoned its occupant for over an hour after it was disabled by an over-the-air software update. At least one Lucid Air EV was also disabled the same way in 2022.

Testing software in production in a hospital

I’ve been told the worst thing that can happen to a developer is their code crashes in production? Well…. what happens if that production environment is in a hospital? This video tells the story of one of the Therac-25 incidents, and how Ray Cox ultimately died because of a programming error in a safety critical system.

This isnt funny at all, but another example of how important and delicate is to put software in things that are critical to human beings

how a simple bug in software ended 6 lives

Sometimes hardware bugs exists

Rust std fs slower than Python!? No, it’s hardware! by Xuanwo its an interesting deep dive into some AMD hardware bugs.

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