The Bug

by ELLEN ULLMAN | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0385508603 Global Overview for this book
Registered by HoserLauren of Burlington, Ontario Canada on 3/3/2006
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Friday, March 03, 2006
Bought this for cheap from Chapters. I'm a geek and this is a geek book!

From Chapters:
The Bug is a mesmerizing first novel about a demonic, elusive computer bug and the havoc it wreaks on the lives of the people around it. This rare combination–a novel of ideas and a suspense–is a story about obsession and love that takes readers deep into both the personal and virtual life.

In 1984, at the dawn of the personal-computer era, Roberta Walton, a novice software tester at a SiliconValley start-up, stumbles across a bug. She brings it to its inadvertent creator, Ethan Levin, a longtime programmer who is working at the limits of his knowledge and abilities. Both believe this is a bug like any other to be found and fixed and crossed off the list. But no matter how obsessively Ethan combs through the depths of the code, he can''t find its cause. Roberta runs test after test but can''t make the bug appear at will. Meanwhile, the bug, living up to its name, "The Jester," shows itself only at the least opportune times and jeopardizes the fate of the company.

Under the pressures of his obsession with the bug and his rapidly deteriorating personal life, Ethan begins to unravel. Roberta, on the other hand, is drawn to the challenge. Forced to learn how to program, she comes to appreciate the intense intimacy of speaking the computer''s language.

As she did in Close to the Machine, Ellen Ullman brilliantly limns the space between human beings and computers–a space we all occupy every day as we peer into our monitors. Ullman has been a computer programmer for more than twenty years, and having switched from code to prose, she has shown herself to be a unique, revelatory writer. She is the insider who can articulate the realities of the technical world, taking readers to emotional and intellectual places fiction has never brought them before. With The Bug, Ullman proves she is not only a remarkable essayist but also a master storyteller.

Journal Entry 2 by HoserLauren at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Friday, March 30, 2018
Ethan Levin is a programmer, responsible for the interface of new database software. This is 1984 and it's the first software of its kind where databases across a network are talking to each other. Many investors are involved in this company and pushing for this software to launch quickly. Berta is a QA tester and one day, by moving her mouse a fraction below an open menu, the entire program freezes. This is a critical level one bug and it happens to be from Ethan's code.

While Ethan tries to find what is causing this bug, he's also having problems at home. His girlfriend leaves for a trip to India with a mutual friend and Ethan is pretty sure she has cheated on him. Work is consuming him and he isn't making any time to fix his personal life.

This book speaks about a technical world, but in language that non-technical people can understand. That said, if you have absolutely no interest in tech, I'm not sure there's enough in this book to be appealing. The story moves forward very slowly, which usually I find boring, but I really enjoyed Ullman's writing style which was enough to keep me engaged.

Having been a developer in the past, the interactions between programmer and QA were pretty spot on. It's always the other person's fault. How many times has a developer said "user error" to a QA tester? And though I've never been there myself, I've seen that bugs can absolutely consume people. Everything about Ullman's writing felt authentic to me.

Journal Entry 3 by HoserLauren at PATH (Toronto's downtown walkway) in Toronto, Ontario Canada on Sunday, June 17, 2018

Released 1 yr ago (6/15/2018 UTC) at PATH (Toronto's downtown walkway) in Toronto, Ontario Canada

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