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Site Tweak: Dealing With Common Errors Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

29 May 2018

Some errors seem to happen repeatedly no matter what we do to prevent them. Especially if they are committed by other people. But most infuriatingly if we're the culprit.

For a while now we've been employing a new weapon to combat our more common errors. Voice feedback.

We first used voice feedback in our code either to mark the progress of lengthy operations. Our ingest code to copy, convert and copyright our images and our local text searching software both display progress bars and talk to us about what's going on. And we really liked that.

So we decided to use voice feedback for error reporting, too. But a nice voice we enjoy hearing, not a Dominican nun or drill sergeant.

Our code displays a lot of error messages because our expertise lies in finding a lot of ways to make all sorts of errors.

In the old days, you simply displayed error messages with a print statement. An obscure one would do, maybe with just a negative number to identify it. That Canon B200 error we mentioned the other day is a perfect example.

Our code displays a lot of error messages because our expertise lies in finding a lot of ways to make all sorts of errors.

But those error messages must be read. And are therefore easy to ignore. Or miss entirely.

The code that generates the HTML pages for Photo Corners, for example, displays a lot of information about what it has done to the text file it processes. There are all kinds of stats, a few helpful warnings and possibly even error messages.

We routinely ignore all of it, having seen it thousands of times by now. We just click the OK button and look over the final file.

But voice can't be easily ignored.

So a few errors we never seem to be able to avoid migrate to the site. If they're particularly embarrassing, we might write some code to correct them for us. But sometimes the error isn't simple enough to let code solve it.

So last week, we started adding voice warnings about all the errors in the code that processes these pages. And it's working out very well.

Things that used to get by us in the heat of the moment (like forgetting to update the matinee count) are now brought to our attention by our lovely disembodied assistant Federica.

And she knows just how to get our attention. Speak to us in Italian!

We hope you don't notice any improvement. But we're certainly enjoying the new approach.

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