Cover by Joel Spolsky

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nineteenGET CRASH REPORTS FROMUSERS—AUTOMATICALLY!1

APRIL 18, 2003

I used to work as a developer on the client software for one of the largest American ISPs. Our software was used by literally millions of people. Even the rarest bug had the potential to affect hundreds or thousands of users. For the beta version of our newest release, we used an automated crash collection technique that collected crash reports from the field and summarized them in our bug-tracking database, allowing developers to find and fix bugs that happened only in the field. These were usually the kinds of bugs we would never have caught in the test lab, since we couldn't possibly reproduce every bizarre PC configuration our customers might have. So, I felt extremely confident ...

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