Tech Note #69: The Fuck You Cracker

Little do you know, until it’s too late, but many electronic systems feature a sort of latent failure mode that can be triggered by a seemingly asymptomatic event happening seconds, minutes, even days prior.

The Fuck You Cracker

Meet the Fuck You Cracker.

When the Fuck You Cracker detonates, it goes off taking the software, sometimes hardware, but always at least a bit of your hard work with it.

The event that lights its fuse is often very strange and minor. In the case of Ericsson IRD satellite receivers, one detonator is a loss or glitch in the black burst sync input when the receiver’s internal frame sync is enabled.

In the case of these camera robotics, it’s a slow loss of nitrogen gas pressure in the pedestal which led to loss of even lens zoom/focus control minutes before a live show. Seen here: Deco Drive before the magic is applied.

Rawr XD

Other examples I can think of:

Internal software fault on a Mazda 6 ECU causing runaway battery charge to 19VDC

Sony XDCAM deck losing sync and trashing closed caption data on line 9 in a recording quietly– it went from Closed Captioning to Clclososeded  Cacaptptioioniningng.

Any number of I/O accesses to an NFS filesystem that’s gone offline

The Monroe Systems DASDEC, where a received EAS alert hangs forever in the machine’s “inbox” if it’s received with an out of range valid time, and there’s no way to delete it or let it expire until the valid window comes up again. This is fine unless you put audio of a national EAS test alert into it, as the infamous Bobby Bones show incident did– the DASDEC will always auto relay this, you cannot override or filter it out, thus not only causing the Fuck You Cracker fuse to burn until it’s valid again but possibly also relighting the fuse on any station that monitors yours………

I’m sure you’ve also run into the Fuck You Cracker. Watch out, it’s a sneaky one.

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