dmarley: Fingerpainting (Default)
[personal profile] dmarley
I am a genius! And also, amazingly stupid!

One of the problems I was having with my old computer was that all kinds of image files were getting mysteriously corrupted while in my New Fic folder. This did not happen to them while they were in any other folder, just the New Fic folder, and it only happened to files that had some kind of images with them, like .pdfs or picture files. Since there were Other Issues with my computer, I figured that this was probably just some thing with the hard drive going wonky.

I've had my new computer for a few weeks now, and so far all has been well with images and such in the New Fic folder. Until today. I opened a .pdf to read it, and lo! It was wonky. So was every other image and .pdf in the folder.

Surprisingly, I didn't hyperventilate, or even panic. I just re-downloaded all the .pdf files that were in there and made sure I saved them in a different folder.

But I was worried. Did I have a virus? Had I copied over some kind of corrupted file from the old computer? Was the folder name cursed?

Then I noticed something. All the wonky files had been modified in the last day. Since I don't ever alter .pdfs, just read them, this was rather suspicious. Then I remembered the suspiciously high number of ellipses that had been replaced the last time I had nuked special character ellipses in the--wait for it--New Fic folder. It's not unusual for the number to get into the thousands (because fanfic writers use a lot of ellipses), but the twenty thousand plus was a bit excessive.

Unless, of course, I was busily nuking important bits of code in .pdf and image files that would cause them not to display properly, that is.

I tested this by copying over one of the freshly-downloaded .pdfs and running an ellipses replace. Sure enough, it corrupted the .pdf all to crap. Mystery solved. Genius status confirmed. Moron status also confirmed.

I've now instructed Text Wrangler not to treat unknown files as text. (This is not the default, by the way, I changed it. See above, re status.)

I suppose the important thing is that if you're going to screw yourself over, at least be able to figure out how you're doing it. Eventually.
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September 2012

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