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I just had a funny but mentally draining experience I wanted to share. I received a call from one of my company's clients, who was having a problem with a Perl program that someone at my company (not me) had originally written. I had the original program available, but the client had modified it heavily, and for security purposes our employees are not allowed to see the changes they've made. Also, the guy who is maintaining their program is not very familiar with Perl. (What a messed up situation, I know.)

So I was tasked with helping our client, who is not familiar with Perl, debug his Perl program, which I had not written and could not see, over the phone. The conversation went a lot like this:

Him: "Well, there's a while loop that says while left parenthesis left diamond capital I capital N right diamond bracket right parenthesis left curly brace and some if elsifs and inside the elsif I have C-H-O-M-P semicolon followed by on the next line, dollar type equals tilde lower-case S forward slash backslash N forward slash space character forward slash lower-case G semicolon, does that sound right?"

Me: "Whoa."

redo; }
It was a little more complicated than transliterating characters, though, since I had to deduce the structure of the code, and had to ask questions I thought would lead in promising directions to find the source of the error he needed to fix. Eventually I discovered a bad assumption that was being broken somewhere other than where he thought the problem was. The fix I had him make was also not pretty, but the best I could do over the phone.

Mostly I just wanted to get that experience off my chest, but I'm also curious: have any of you Monks had similar experiences? How did you handle them?

In reply to Debugging Perl over the phone by thelenm

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