Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Girl who Cried Error

Although I staunchly refuse to learn anything practical, important or serious from life in general and my life in particular, there are some observations I have made over the years. One of these deals with the fear of failure, which ought to have a proper name in my opinion.
 Now it might be an unusual thing to say but I believe that failure is, for the majority of population, beneficial. It introduces human beings to humbleness, which all but very few of people I have come across direly need. It is one of the best teachers around, for there is no better way to learn something then to attempt it and fail in the attempt.
 Forgive me, my reader, if I seem to be generalizing too much. What I mean to say is that there is no better way to learn programming than to write code with errors. Wait, there is: to write code with bugs. Oh, the joy of inserting print statements line by line! Though HDLs belong to a group of nice languages, their status cannot be compared to the eternally beloved C++, just because they do not possess the simple print statement.
I might have written something about a final year project some time ago. Thing is, it is a rather important and necessary part of my otherwise-devoid-of-important-things life. The poor thing might get a full post to itself one of these days.
So, as I was saying, there is a project and I am responsible for a part of it.To be honest, I am rather the I.T. girl of the team, the one who configures software and debugs problems related to the os, the underlying kernel and the io ports. Things that normal people consider too boring for their time.
Anyways, I have often observed that fear of failure can hold you back way more than actual failure can. Some time ago, I was climbing down a flight of stairs. There was a long wire in my way.Now it so happened that I was trying so desperately to avoid getting tangled in the wire that I actually slipped on the stairs and slided down some 5-6 steps.
A normal person might have been humiliated, I guess. Not yours truly. I just got up with my head held high, ignoring the pain in my knee and the dirt all over my clothes and said 'I am all right' to my mother in a reassuring tone.
Of course, normal people might be embarrassed if their mother would say in a shop loudly while looking at a pair of elegant shoes 'Dimagh durust hay! Dobara girna hya kia!'.
Again, yours truly is just irked,  not embarrassed.
So our project was put on hiatus due to a problem we supposedly had. The size of the data we had to process was larger than the memory block allocated by the underlying API. So I decided, of course, to change the default memory mapping of the system. I tried this, and I tried that, and nothing worked. By now I am qualified to write a book on '101 ways of changing memory map for API X'. It goes without saying that all these methods are unsuccessful, and almost all of them cause the processor to throw tons of error and hang.
Other steps taken by the persistent spook:
1. I bugged my team mates and told them that we might be stuck at this problem forever, when I am quite aware of a member's horror for infinite loops.
2.I dragged my team mates to a far away place in the sweltering heat of May and bugged some outsiders there. A nice person really tried to help us.
3. Then I tried to make some sense of the entire thing, something I absolutely despise. The only thing I am any good at are 'jugaars'; in fact, the entire project is nothing but a collection of jugaars.
Now that is a skill I might add to the list of my professional skills. Reminds me, I have a serious interview in a couple of days. The guys at that place better hire me, or I shall suffer from a broken heart. Need I remind anyone of he 'hell hath no fury....' saying? If they don't employ me, I'll have my revenge. When I am the commissioner of the city.
As for the mapping problem, there wasn't a solution because, as it turns out , there wasn't a problem at all. The default configuration worked like a charm, once I tried it, for in my over-zealous state, I had messed with it without any regard for the actual, physical memory of the system.
Tip for the future: before getting hyper about a problem, be sure to confirm that the problem exists in the real world.


  1. Do let me know when you are the commissioner of the city as there may be a couple of things I will be wanting you to do :P
    Honestly, really interesting post! Keep posting

    1. Definitely, and you shall be the gun.
      Stories of others' falls are always very interesting, no? :P

  2. Proper name for fear of failure: Atychiphobia.

    And good luck with your FYP and the interview!

    1. And it seems serious! I never realized that my problems are so very real.
      Thanks for the good wishes, they are much appreciated.

  3. one of your most interesting posts! I agree that debugging is the part where you learn most about programming. wish you good luck for the job. Hope you get it because I feel it is the kind of job that you would surely enjoy.