The walls of my friend's house sometimes randomly got corrupted

Raymond Chen

One evening, I had a series of three dreams. In each one, I visited an unusual home. In the third dream, I visited the home of a friend of mine. He lived in a white stucco split-level, a stereotypical suburban home. What made the house interesting was that if you did things just right, dark dots would appear on the wall and slowly consume it. My friend explained, “This house is running a very old build of DirectX, and sometimes it just does that.” We set up a repro and calculated that when the dots appeared, stack usage was exactly 5124 bytes. This was a 16-bit house, and the stack overflow into the heap caused a return address to be changed to point into the DirectDraw flood fill function.

When I told my friend about this strange dream, he quipped, “I’ve since then upgraded to a 64-bit house.”


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