There’s no place like 127.0.0.1

I recently experienced a mini-disaster on my Dev Environment and spend quite a while (over the weekend!) re-installing stuff. It was triggered by the most annoying of bugs: one without an error message to paste into Google. Googling (sorry Google legal) for the cryptic but unique error message spat out as a windows system process bites the dust is a sure fire way of hitting apon a forum entry / blog post / msdn article that has some deep insight into your problem.

So what do you do when your machine just hangs? There are a 101 different ways to describe your predicament and without the cryptic error message you have no primary key for your error hunt. You have to actually try and figure out what is going on yourself, and waste weekend time! Ouch.

Well my mute bug involved ASP.NET Development Server. I found that all of a sudden I could not connect to the Dev Server using trusty old Firefox. I tried all the usual suspects; firewall settings, disabling latest firefox addins, re-installing Web Dev Express. All to no avail. I continued on my re-install rampage until (while waiting for VS2008 to download) I found that although I could not connect to localhost using FireFox or IE7 I could connect using Opera and Safari. Yikes!

So I replaced localhost with 127.0.0.1 and all the browsers worked. And that was my lead. I pinged localhost to find that my system was pinging ::1: (the IPv6 loopback address). I typed ipv6 uninstall and was back in business. (Makes you wonder if there’s a sploit in there)

What a monumental pain the butt that was and it really highlghted how much I use Google as my tech support. But when you think about it, if the error message itself is not of any use (since its just a key) why not switch to Error Haiku. At least your user would get a laugh…

Errors have occurred.
We won’t tell you where or why.

Lazy programmers.

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