Vince the PM burst into Rick's office like a blister. "Have you replied to ticket 178843 yet? No? Why not? How could you not! This is urgent! It's a failure at the customer site!"

Rick calmly checked the ticket manager. The ticket had arrived only 45 seconds ago, so no, he had not replied to the ticket yet. Rick calmly and silently read the ticket while Vince hyperventilated over his shoulder. The customer reported that the database client failed with the error "Segmentation Fault - Core Dumped".

"Someone probably screwed up a decimal point," Rick said. "It's always some little thing like that. I'll have them email me the core file so I can tell where the application crashed."

"We can't do that," Vince said.

"Sure we can," Rick said. In small words, he began to explain how adb and the symbol file would let him interpret the core dump, but Vince cut him off.

"Don't treat me like an idiot," Vince said. "I was reading cores before you were in diapers. But that core is a binary file."

There was a long gap in the conversation as Vince was sure his point was clear, and Rick was sure that Vince had no intention of actually making sense. With a huff, Vince warned, "We might get a virus from a binary file!"

Rick rolled his eyes and explained why this was an extremely unlikely possibility. For a half hour, each one of his attempts seemed only to make Vince dumber. "You cannot have them send us a binary file through email!"

"Fine," Rick said. "We can have them take a hex dump of the core file, and send that. I can convert it back and extract the data-"

"Data? We can't have them send us data!" Vince shrieked. He gave Rick a deep look of betrayal, as if to accuse Rick of wanting their network to get destroyed. "We could get-"

"-a virus?" Rick finished. "No, we won't."

Vince was having none of it. Rick, obviously, did not have the faintest idea how network security worked. "You really need to read more trade magazines," Vince said.

Rick focused instead on proposing new ideas. FTP? Virus. SFTP? HTTP Upload? Morse code? Virus. Overnight the file on a thumb drive? Too slow and still, virus.

"Look, we don't have time for all these foolish ideas," Vince said. "Just have them fax it to us. They can take that hex dump, print it out, and fax it to us. We'll use the interns to type it back in, and then you can load it up in the debugger, and then there's no way we could possibly catch a virus. Call the customer and tell them to do that."

The fact that Vince left the conversation with his skull still attached to his neck was either a testament to Rick's restraint or Vince's exceedingly high dodge bonus to armor class. Rick called the customer, and over the sound of his teeth grinding together, he explained the situation.

There was an extremely long pause at the other end of the line. Eventually the customer said, "You work for a group of morons."

"The customer is always right," Rick said, "but I'm still going to need you to fax that over."

They used enough paper to deforest a small South American country. The first few faxes didn't come across as fully legible. Then one of the interns dropped the stack of un-numbered pages. After getting the pages distributed the interns miskeyed a few characters. A careful page-by-page check found all of the mistakes, and Rick was finally able to use the debugger to analyze the core file. The problem was an unitialized variable.

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