Debugging Spirit

There’s a cool article over on Wired News talking about some of the problems with debugging a software system that’s 35 million miles away. It’s pretty light on the technical details, but it gives you an idea of the amazing difficulty of the task. Computers are hard enough to debug when they’re sitting right in front of you, but could you imagine working on something with a three minute ping?

[brian@samus ~](3)> ping
PING 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from icmp_seq=1 ttl=247 time=188195.2 ms 
64 bytes from icmp_seq=2 ttl=247 time=188180.3 ms 
64 bytes from icmp_seq=3 ttl=247 time=188175.7 ms 
64 bytes from icmp_seq=4 ttl=247 time=188177.8 ms 
64 bytes from icmp_seq=5 ttl=247 time=188172.0 ms

--- ping statistics --- 
5 packets transmitted, 5 received, 0% packet loss, time 191458ms 
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 188172.0/188180.2/188195.2/8.920 ms 
[brian@samus ~](4)>