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jdavidb (1361)

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J. David Blackstone has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering and nine years of experience at a wireless telecommunications company, where he learned Perl and never looked back. J. David has an advantage in that he works really hard, he has a passion for writing good software, and he knows many of the world's best Perl programmers.

Journal of jdavidb (1361)

Wednesday March 01, 2006
04:02 PM

Unsolicited screenshots

[ #28838 ]

Another common-sense, obvious business procedure that apparently isn't so obvious:

Please don't send screenshots to me unsolicited.

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  • Or an MP4 of a video capture of me handwaving while describing the problem?
    • Randal L. Schwartz
    • Stonehenge
  • Why would people be sending you screenshots exactly?
  • Reminds me the day we got at perl5-porters a bug report containing a jpeg file, copy of a DOS console displaying a rather trivial perl error (such as "Global symbol requires explicit package name" or so). (Can't find it now.) Nicholas commented privately that this way of reporting bug was crap: the reported could have used, at least, a lossless image compression format!
  • If users have a problem with our GUI app, they'll copy the entire screen and send it rather than just describe what the problem is. When there's a SQL error, a box pops up with the current SQL statement. Unfortunately, it's a scrolled box and the statement is usually truncated in the screenshot. I often have to tell them to copy and paste all of the text in that box :-)
  • I used to routinely debug intranet apps (web frontend, db backend) using Windows .BMP snapshots, each sized several dozen megabytes... it made one debug fast unless I wanted my email quota to run out pretty quickly.

    • File size is often a problem, but the big problem is the often irrelevancy or redundancy of the screenshots.

      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers
    • Oh, and sending it to me when I'm not the one responsible for the problem (because you CC'ed it to everybody and their dog) is also a problem, particularly if it's a really big file.

      I have very few apps for which a screenshot would help in debugging.

      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers