Many thanks to Tristan Morris for creating a beautiful illustrated hardcover print edition of the site

moderately geeky  moderately geeky

Case 74


After several days spent shovelling snow, the nuns Yíwen and Hwídah succumbed to the bitter cold and were given leave to recuperate in the hot baths. A blindfolded young monk was sent there to find them.

“Master Yishi-Shing says that he has swum deep through your ocean of log files and discovered a pearl,” said the monk. He waved a printout in the general direction of the splashing until it was taken from his hand.

“These are stack traces for NullPointerExceptions,” sniffled Yíwen. “All were thrown during our long-running data processing job.”

“Most likely the problem is bad data,” said Hwídah, her voice muffled by the hot towel she had draped over her face to clear her sinuses.

“Many pardons,” said Yíwen to the monk. “But I cannot tell what records were being processed. Where are the info messages that we log to provide context?”

“They are no longer output,” said the monk. “The flood of spurious warnings and errors was causing the log files to grow too quickly. Something had to be done to prevent them from filling up the disk. So Yishi-Shing decreed that debug and info messages, being non-critical, should be suppressed.”

Yíwen sighed, thrust the printout into the arms of the sightless monk, and slipped back into the bathwater. “Yishi-Shing rakes the seabed for pearls only. He throws out every oyster unopened because their shells are ugly and his raft is small.”

“He has forgotten the very purpose of fishermen,” said Hwídah from under her towel. ‘Now, bedecked in orphan pearls, we will starve for want of oyster-meat.”

* “Stealthy Wombat” offers this poem:

Yíwen and Hwídah sift the yard for Yishi-Shing’s pearl
In spring, he loses it again
Ahab searched the seas for the white whale
The whale was white, but oh! So broad the ocean!

Topics...  logging, error handling