Archive for the ‘Fun with Software Traces’ Category

The Power of Simplicity

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

STATUS (Debugging Slang, Part 36)

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

STATUS - Something important to check for just now.

Examples: If only programmers checked statuses of their functions more often than statuses on Facebook…

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Process Monitor Log Visualized

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

Whereas, when naturally visualized with Dump2Picture, a CDF trace looks like a sea with embedded library, a process monitor log looks more like a fragment from a memory dump with some large scale internal structure:

Its 450×1280 slice:

Top and bottom of x4 magnified image:

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Phenomenology of Software Diagnostics: A First Sketch

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Influenced by stages of Husserlian phenomenological investigation I propose the following stages for the investigation of phenomena as it appears in software execution artifacts such as memory dumps, traces and logs:

1. Bracketing the outside source code as reduction to patterns of phenomena independent from causal software engineering explanations.

2. Constructing the computational world for the given incident (the so called horizon of computation).

3. Comparing with “computed-in” experience of past computational worlds from which all universal patterns of computational structural and behavioral phenomena emerged.

PS. According to the above software diagnostics is a phenomenological science of patterns. Most probably this sketch will be revised soon. In the mean time here’s a funny coincidence. The first step in a phenomenological method is the so called epoché. I provide my own interpretation of this - “exception processing of crash” hypothetical episteme. Similar to EPOCH metaphysical grand conjecture that our World is just one enormous exception processing handler after Big Bang.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Bugtation No.159

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Software diagnosis requires intelligence.

Dmitry Vostokov

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

STaMPs (Debugging Slang, Part 33)

Monday, June 25th, 2012

STaMPs - Software Trace and Memory Patterns. Stack Trace and Memory Patterns.

Examples: Got a few visible stamps on this trace. And more stamps on that crash dump.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Music for Debugging: Make It Through This Trace

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

Software trace analysis is notoriously difficult so a bit of folk music is needed to make debugging sessions less boring. The following album came to my attention in a local library and after listening to it I recommend it for software log analysis sessions:

Make It Through This World

Here’s my own track title interpretation:

1. Dream Away The Defects
2. This I’d Analyze
3. A Magnifier
4. Make It Through This Trace
5. Don’t Let It Go Unanalyzed
6. Request-Reply Pair
7. I Love It When It’s Short
8. No Higher Specs
9. Said, Said.
10. When I Think Of You, My Customers
11. Close to The Defect
12. A Debugger For You Now

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Happy New Spiking Year of Software Trace Analysis!

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

I created a special picture based on CPU and memory timing diagram (an optimistic version of the original computicart):

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Bugtation No.150

Monday, December 19th, 2011

150 bugtations so far…

Program history has two sides, a computational and a human.

Philip Schaff

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Second Eye (Debugging Slang, Part 25)

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Second Eye (or sometimes a stronger variant “second pair of eyes”) - another engineer you typically need when you don’t see anything useful in a memory dump, software trace or source code for problem resolution purposes. You are anxious to recommend something useful.

Examples: Don’t see anything in this huge trace. I need a second eye.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Cloud Traces

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

I was inspired today for a new comic art movement called Computicart (Computical Art). The first composition is called Cloud Traces (remember that memory dumps are just bigger software traces and software traces are just smaller memory dumps):

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Bugtation No.141

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

“… the vital point for you to understand is that all” tracing “must be conducted with the creation of” solution “in mind. That is what must colour and control your selection of” tracing “events.”

Michael Allen, The Truth About Writing

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 5 is available for download

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

I’m pleased to announce that MDAA, Volume 5 is available in PDF format:

www.dumpanalysis.org/Memory+Dump+Analysis+Anthology+Volume+5

It features:

- 25 new crash dump analysis patterns
- 11 new pattern interaction case studies (including software tracing)
- 16 new trace analysis patterns
- 7 structural memory patterns
- 4 modeling case studies for memory dump analysis patterns
- Discussion of 3 common analysis mistakes
- Malware analysis case study
- Computer independent architecture of crash analysis report service
- Expanded coverage of software narratology
- Metaphysical and theological implications of memory dump worldview
- More pictures of memory space and physicalist art
- Classification of memory visualization tools
- Memory visualization case studies
- Close reading of the stories of Sherlock Holmes: Dr. Watson’s observational patterns
- Fully cross-referenced with Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, and Volume 4

Its table of contents is available here:

www.dumpanalysis.org/MDAA/MDA-Anthology-V5-TOC.pdf

Paperback and hardcover versions should be available in a week or two. I also started working on Volume 6 that should be available in November-December.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Flags and Handles are Everywhere!

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Frequently caught myself recognizing bit values like 100084 when I’m looking at car plate numbers. Sometimes I see a number and wonder whether it is a valid window handle.

Do you also have similar perceptions? Please let me know if you have different memceptions :-)

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Bugtation No.139

Monday, March 14th, 2011

“… he who has not been in” support “does not know what” debugging “is.”

Attributed to Leo Tolstoy, by Adam Ulam, The Bolsheviks

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

The Window of Opportunity (Debugging Slang, Part 23)

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

The Window of Opportunity - WYSIWYG. Requires scrolling or search to get most of it.

Examples: He opened a log file in notepad and was staring at it with disbelief. There was no error. After some time he closed the window of opportunity.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Pre-analysis (Debugging Slang, Part 21)

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Pre-analysis - Avoiding crash dump analysis anti-patterns like wrong dump or zippocricy. Sometimes it goes with wild explanation no one asked for. Checking whether a software trace is empty before sending it. 

Examples: He is always doing !locks pre-analysis before sending any dump.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Resolution Rush (Debugging Slang, Part 18)

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Resolution rush - The rush of software technical support and maintenance engineers to provide the resolution to a suddenly escalated incident.

Examples: After it crashed 3 times in a row at the customer site our VP was called and we all got the resolution rush.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Follow the Twitter Trace: Special Logo

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

This specially designed logo explores the concept of Twitter message stream as a software (t)race:

Follow DumpAnalysis @ Twitter: http://twitter.com/DumpAnalysis

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -

Forthcoming Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 5

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Five volumes of cross-disciplinary Anthology (dubbed by the author “The Summa Memorianica”) lay the foundation of the scientific discipline of Memoretics (study of computer memory snapshots and their evolution in time) that is also called Memory Dump and Software Trace Analysis.ca

The 5th volume contains revised, edited, cross-referenced, and thematically organized selected DumpAnalysis.org blog posts about crash dump, software trace analysis and debugging written in February 2010 - October 2010 for software engineers developing and maintaining products on Windows platforms, quality assurance engineers testing software on Windows platforms, technical support and escalation engineers dealing with complex software issues, and security researchers, malware analysts and reverse engineers. The fifth volume features:

- 25 new crash dump analysis patterns
- 11 new pattern interaction case studies (including software tracing)
- 16 new trace analysis patterns
- 7 structural memory patterns
- 4 modeling case studies for memory dump analysis patterns
- Discussion of 3 common analysis mistakes
- Malware analysis case study
- Computer independent architecture of crash analysis report service
- Expanded coverage of software narratology
- Metaphysical and theological implications of memory dump worldview
- More pictures of memory space and physicalist art
- Classification of memory visualization tools
- Memory visualization case studies
- Close reading of the stories of Sherlock Holmes: Dr. Watson’s observational patterns
- Fully cross-referenced with Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, and Volume 4

Product information:

  • Title: Memory Dump Analysis Anthology, Volume 5
  • Author: Dmitry Vostokov
  • Language: English
  • Product Dimensions: 22.86 x 15.24
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Opentask (10 December 2010)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-906717-96-4
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Opentask (10 December 2010)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-906717-97-1

Back cover features memory space art image Hot Computation: Memory on Fire.

- Dmitry Vostokov @ DumpAnalysis.org + TraceAnalysis.org -