Zen and the Art of Error Messages

It’s time to wrap up yet another year of bugs, blue screens, diagnostic techniques, and troubleshooting topics. I’d like to finish the year on a positive note, and to that end, I'll share with you the contents of an email message I received a few days ago. The message describes a novel and appealing alternative to the cryptic error messages we receive every day—one that delivers bad news with poetry and style. The introduction that accompanied this message claims that technology folks in Japan have replaced Windows’ vague and, oftentimes, downright ugly errors with haiku messages that precisely describe the situation.

For those of you who've forgotten your high school English lessons, the rules for composing haiku are strict and thus appeal to techies who like order in the universe. Each poem has 17 syllables: The first line has five, the second line has seven, and the third line has five. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the contrast between the graceful, empathetic, mystical haiku messages and the harsh, tech-speak Windows versions, as Table 1 lists. I’d opt for the haiku version; nothing like a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. Happy holidays to all!

Table 1: A Kinder, Gentler Windows
Haiku Error Message Windows Error Message
Your file was so big.
It might be very useful
But now it is gone.
File not found.
The web site you seek
Cannot be located but
Countless more exist.
Internet Explorer was not able to open this Internet Site. The requested site is either unavailable or cannot be found.
Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent and reboot.
Order shall return.
The system process Lsass.exe terminated unexpectedly with status code -1073741819. The system will now shut down and restart.
Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.
Program aborting:
Close all that you have worked on.
You ask far too much.
Explorer caused an invalid page fault in module filename.
Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.
The instruction at "0xXXXXXXXX" referenced memory at "0xXXXXXXXX". The Memory could not be "read".
First snow, then silence.
The thousand-dollar screen dies
So beautifully.
With searching comes loss
And the presence of absence:
"My Novel" not found.
Search is complete, there are no results to display.
The Tao that is seen
Is not the true Tao until
You bring fresh toner.
Error printing document, retry or cancel?
Stay the patient course.
Of little worth is your ire.
The network is down.
RPC server is unavailable.
A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.
SpTimeoutSynchronized: Adapter 0X80F09790 had interrupt pending - the system may not be delivering interrupts from this adapter.
Three things are certain:
Death, taxes and lost data.
The Guess which has occurred.
\{Delayed Write Failed\}. Windows was unable to save all the data for the file x. data has been lost.
You step in the stream
But the water has moved on.
This page is not here.
302 - Object Moved or 404 - File not Found.
Out of memory.
We wish to hold the whole sky
But we never will.
Your system is running without a properly sized paging file.
Having been erased,
The document you're seeking
Must now be retyped.
Search is complete. There are no results to display.
Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.
Explorer.exe has generated errors and will be closed by Windows. Dr Watson will run and create a log file.
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