Telugu Crackers in My Soup By Brian Simpson

     I do not understand exactly how this sort of computer foul up could occur, but I am aware, from the failure of the school computers, that there are unexplained gremlins in the system, and sometimes I think that computer science is not really a “science” but a modern form of witchcraft. There was a computer crash the first day back at school because one of the host servers crashed when two students went onto the same site, viewing the same video, presumably because bugs then got into the system, I think, but the tech guy does not know why: 

“There’s a new iOS bug that can crash your iPhone. A symbol in the Indian language known as Telugu can wreak havoc over the software. iOS 11 will struggle to render it whenever the symbol is placed into a text field. Apps that try to do so will freeze and shut down. The problem gets worse when chat or email apps get involved. PCMag tried the bug on an iPad by sending it messages loaded with the Telugu symbol. Mayhem ensued.

The iPad immediately crashed when the messages were received; iOS’s notification bar failed to process them, forcing the whole system to stop and reload. However, the problems didn’t end there. Messages written with the Telugu symbol can effectively disable any chat or email app that tries to fetch them on startup. Facebook Messenger, for instance, shut down whenever it came across a chat containing the symbol.

Making matters worse is how other apps, like Yahoo Mail, can constantly trigger the bug when iOS goes idle. That’s because the apps will persistently try to display emails carrying the Telugu symbol as a notification. As a result, our iPad was stuck in a cycle of periodic iOS freezes.”

     This is very puzzling: why should a particular symbol cause such havoc? How can it be that sophisticated pieces of technology just fall away over such a seemingly trivial matter? This, to my mind raises grave doubts about the ultimate safety of the high teach society, which could at any moment come unstuck in ways that we never expected, through black swan, or is it black death, events? 



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Tuesday, 16 July 2024

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