Weirdest Bug in Human History

Get out your rubber chicken and mojo hand. I have just discovered the weirdest, most mysterious bug ever encountered.

I signed off on my broadband installation yesterday morning, but later in the day discovered it was messed up. Frequently, the network would freeze up, and, after a delay, the CABLE indicator on the modem would start flashing, indicating (what I believe to be) retraining after loss of signal.

If I left the system quiescent, everything would be fine. Streaming audio would continue to stream. The occasional email message would come through. It was when I did stuff that started creating connections, primarily web surfing, the problem would occur. The problem was highly intermittent, but would eventually be triggered with enough clicky-clicky on links.

Now, here is the scary part. If I point my web browser to E-Bay, the page will not load and the failure will be triggered. No other web site does this consistently, and E-Bay does so without fail.

And if that isn't strange enough, it gets even weirder. This happens only when I use the Mozilla browser. If I use some other browser, such as Opera or Lynx, the page comes up just fine.

I am at a total loss to explain how, under the known physical laws of this universe, such a failure mode could happen. Therefore, the obvious answer is that it isn't happening, and I am just hallucinating.


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re: Weirdest Bug in Human History

I found a second site that also caused consistent lockup. T-W was by today and fixed the problem by swapping out the modem. I'm still perplexed how the modem could be sensitive to different data in this way.

re: Weirdest Bug in Human History

I hope Jenny doesn't mind me telling this story that she told me, years ago.

When she was buying her first powerbook, which must have been in '94 or so, she ordered it with the optional internal modem. This was in Japan. In her then techno-naivete, she asked the salesman whether the modem would be able to handle both Japanese and English. He wasn't sure.

To a more sophisticated computer user, the idea seems laughable. Then you come along and post something like this.

Very strange indeed.

re: Weirdest Bug in Human History

Its Carnivore (or Echelon) man.. The 'man' is out to keep your data down!!

Is that a black helicopter?

re: Weirdest Bug in Human History

Hmm, maybe it's Orrin Hatch.

re: Weirdest Bug in Human History

Adam - it's doubtful. My massive trove of illegal MP3s is still intact.

re: Weirdest Bug in Human History

I've seen this problem before. The cable-modem uses NAT and is designed specifically for Windoze. I upgraded my kernel and Mozilla and the problem went away.