Very specific and annoying situation here:

- Working on a machine learning project with other people
- I'm on Linux, they use Windows
- We code in python
- We generally use vscode for development, and its python extension

I implement some basic neural networks with tensorflow, and add a bunch of logging for it. I test it on my machine and it works fine.
But, my group mates report that "after a few seconds the entire client hangs".
Apparently it only happens on Windows?
We start debugging the hell out of the code I implemented, added 20 log messages and sat there for a solid hour.

Until I make one very odd realization: the issue doesn't happen when I run the script in my terminal, instead of vscode with the debugger. So I try different debug settings, using an external terminal instead of vscode's built in debug console seems to fix it too.
And I make another observation: In the debug console, some messages don't seem to appear at all, while the external terminal shows them just fine.

So, turns out, that printing an epsilon character: “ε” (U+03B5), causes the entire thing to hang up.

It's the year 2020 and somehow we still can't do unicode.
I'm so done, what on earth.

  • 26

    Glad you figured it out. Good catch.
  • 4
    @Demolishun I guess I was lucky.

    The script would just hang after 2 seconds without any error message, if I didn't notice these things by pure coincidence, this could have cost us days...
  • 8
    @LotsOfCaffeine Unconscious competence. Sometimes it is referred to as "the knack". It is when you get intuitive about problem solving and it looks like magic to the outsider.
  • 3
    There's quite a lot of things that don't support wide characters. UTF-8 is a multi-byte-encoding hack to the solution.

    It will be many years before wide characters are the norm and not the exception
  • 8
    Reminds me of a comment on a post talking about Javascript being used in the SpaceX Dragon2's onboard flight interface.

    "The fact that they successfully sent astronauts to space with a system using a language that equates 10 + "5" as 105 and 10 - "5" as 5 is a demonstration that even the zenith of human technological marvel is still held together with duct tape."
  • 3
    @alcatraz627 that sounds terrible oh my god
  • 2
    This. Thread.
  • 1
    @Demolishun exactly. That gut feeling comes from experience. It’s not really coincidence, it’s experience.
  • 0
    don't use windows, we are in 2020 and people still use windows that's the weird thing
  • 1
    @LotsOfCaffeine Here is the cool thing. You relayed an experience. I told you it was because of X and gave you a positive experience to attach that original experience to in your mind. Now you have raised confidence and will continue to attach positive experiences to this idea. So even if the original idea was not correct, it will end up helping you develop the knack. Manifest destiny.
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