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“This cookie is frowning” and other bug reports

I collect silly bug reports to remind me that computers are hard. Here are my favourites so far:

The cookie is frowning

From Apple Open Radar report #22651414.

The Cookie Emoji (🍪 U+1F36A) is frowning. I mean just look at this thing (attached screenshot)! It doesn't look frowning when it's big, only when it's small. Cookies are supposed to be happy! Same problem on iOS and watchOS.

Steps to Reproduce:

  1. Send a cookie emoji character (U+1F36A) to yourself in a messaging app (iMessage is fine).
  2. Look at that tiny frowning cookie!

Expected Results:
Cookies should be happy.

Actual Results:
This cookie is frowning.

10.11 Beta (15A278b)

My cat sat on my laptop and now the right side of the keyboard types the wrong characters

It's the age-old story: pet sits on laptop, laptop proves incompatible with pet.

See the response here.

My car won't start when I buy vanilla ice cream (it’s fine with chocolate)

This is a short and wonderful story of ice cream, patience, and a dedicated engineer that's too good to spoil by summarising. I recommend reading the whole thing here.

Their own summary is apt, though:

Moral of the story: even insane-looking problems are sometimes real.

I can’t log in when I’m standing up

From the ever-frightening Tales From Tech Support subreddit.

One day a sysadmin gets a call from the factory floor and after the usual pleasantries the user says:

I can't log in when I stand up.

The sysadmin thinks that it's one of those calls again and goes through the usual:

Is the power on? What do you see on the terminal? Have you forgotten your password?

The user interrupts:

I know what I'm doing, when I sit down I can log in and everything works, but I can't log in when I stand up.

The story continues here, and I want to believe it's real.

We can’t send email more than 500 miles

I started reading this report on email limited to a physical distance of 500 miles with great skepticism that such a thing could ever present itself. I finished with “Ah, but of course. The speed of light!” The power of heroic support work and an open and inquisitive mind.

Why does subtracting two dates in 1927 that were one second apart give me 353 seconds?

Jon Skeet's famous answer to a thorny date-time question is one of those but, of course! — it's this broken on purpose moments that programmers encounter every week:

It's a time zone change on December 31st in Shanghai.

Basically at midnight at the end of 1927, the clocks went back 5 minutes and 52 seconds. So "1927-12-31 23:54:08" actually happened twice, and it looks like Java is parsing it as the later possible instant for that local date/time - hence the difference.

See also: Time zones are hard.

Why do I see "Gimme gimme gimme" in man output?

From the department of Accidental Easter Eggs comes this story of an ABBA lyric snuck into the source of a hugely popular command line utility.

The top-voted answer is lovely:

er, that was my fault, I suggested it. Sorry.

The bug in the machine

From the “original” bug report where a moth was found in a relay, cited as the cause of a bug, and physically taped to the report:

Photograph of a moth retrieved from a relay

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Filed in: Support

Nick Cernis

About the author

Nick Cernis is a software developer writing about code, web culture, and surviving the internet age. Contact him here or learn more.