September 28, 2007

anyone using Excel 2007?
— Purple Avenger

You might want to consider using an abacus for a while until Microsoft gets this bug fixed...

...Yesterday evening we were alerted to an issue in Excel 2007 (and Excel Services 2007) involving calculation of numbers around 65,535. The first example that we heard about was =77.1*850, but it became clear from our testing as well as additional reports that this was just one instance where Excel 2007 would return a value of 100,000 instead of 65,535...
65,535 100,000 pretty much the same in galactic terms I guess. Microsoft - "we enable your failure"

Posted by: Purple Avenger at 04:37 PM | Comments (53)
Post contains 100 words, total size 1 kb.

1

Wow.


That's an incredibly odd bug. I can't imagine what warped code might accidentally cause that.


Posted by: Entropy at September 28, 2007 04:40 PM (HgAV0)

2 Wow, looks like they still have some 16 bit code in there.

Nice going, guys.

Posted by: Dead Career Sketch at September 28, 2007 04:40 PM (NdG3x)

3 When they fix that, they should also go and alter office so it looks like it used to.  I hate the new layout.

Posted by: buzzion at September 28, 2007 04:41 PM (TY0jZ)

4 I can replicate it in my version of Office 2007.  Pretty funny

Posted by: Kaitain at September 28, 2007 04:43 PM (4ep6C)

5

Cool! Maybe my bank uses Excel 2007. And I'll get an unexpected $34,465 windfall.


Awww.....who the fuck am I kidding? By the time I have $65,535 in the bank, milk will be $149.99 a gallon.


Posted by: Sticky B at September 28, 2007 04:50 PM (wkjFE)

6 Bring backVisicalc.

Posted by: eman at September 28, 2007 04:50 PM (hc1YY)

7

True story,


I've never used excell, ever.


Everytime I ever found excell's options useful, I ignored excel, and I just linked it to a database in macro, because I know that there is more shit coming.  Ain't done it in a number of years, but, really, anything that requires an excel template, will eventually be used in other ways.


Had a PC (fucking genius) and he said I should find my own answer, and he used excel for the batallion formats, but, it's more user friendly, and more easily managed in a DB.  Not as efficient in terms of the 'puter, but less likely to be fucked up by stupid people.


Posted by: Wickedpinto at September 28, 2007 04:50 PM (QTv8u)

8

ABSOLUTE control through macro definition.


Posted by: Wickedpinto at September 28, 2007 04:51 PM (QTv8u)

9 Oh, Excel, I'm gonna need those TPS reports.

Posted by: Um Yeeeeeaaaaahhhhhh at September 28, 2007 05:16 PM (voOdD)

10 I can't imagine what warped code might accidentally cause that.

I can.  But then again I've looked at millions of lines of Microsoft code over the years and I know what they're capable of ;->

Usually its someone trying to be cute and get a little more performance out of something, but the elaborate scheme has certain cases where it doesn't work.  I've seen them knowingly ship a "blue screen" generating operating system crash bug because the buggy code was faster than doing it right.  I've heard their managers defend this in the past by saying "well, nobody would ever do ____ anyway".  Of course, customers in the field do shit weirder and more retarded than programmers and testers would ever think of, so that sort of rationalization invariably fails in the field. 

Posted by: Purple Avenger at September 28, 2007 05:29 PM (iuG/e)

11 I'm having a sucky time with Vista.

Posted by: pajama momma at September 28, 2007 05:36 PM (Tbl5c)

12

When I was a Mudder, my specialty was breaking shit, Purple.


Everyone (most of the original wizzes, all of the "gods" and "demi-gods" had CS or EE histories,) knew what they were up to, but somehow this retarded lunatic was able to break that mud all the time.


Posted by: Wickedpinto at September 28, 2007 05:37 PM (QTv8u)

13

Programing by committee is just as bad a job as legislation by comittee, and for some reason they both have the same outcome.


Bigger committee's, bigger code/laws, bigger loopholes, that can do more damage.


I recommended, that an Alt mud be designed, and that the "gods" be reduced, and that the code be tested with people like me, and especialy one other person, who was a cheater, that cheats would worship, that guy found a way to turn a "joke" spell on the mud into a completely safe way of killing 99's.  Fucking guy was VERY scientific as a player, and thats why he never became wiz, which is bullshit, that should be WHY he became wiz.


But hey, dorks have their own hierarchy too.


Posted by: Wickedpinto at September 28, 2007 05:41 PM (QTv8u)

14 my specialty was breaking shit

Me too.  I did a lot of development and performance work, but my true calling was breaking stuff.  I have some unexplainable talent for sensing where bugs are.  I would spend a short time (like 10 minutes) quickly inspecting the code for some module and develop a non-specific feeling about its general quality.

I don't know how to describe it, but in 10 minutes I could tell if there were going to be big problems in some module of thousands of lines of code. 

I also have a very good hit ratio thinking "how might this fuck up?" and writing a quick test case to check out my suspicions.  Usually I hit pay dirt about 60% of the time playing that game.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at September 28, 2007 06:16 PM (iuG/e)

15 BFD.

It's a lousy display bug that doesn't change the calculated result, only the value shown in the cell.

Whoopdee-frickn-doo.

Oh, and Bill Gates cock tastes like strawberry.

Posted by: Purple Fury at September 28, 2007 06:29 PM (G4KmV)

16 only the value shown in the cell.

Which is no big deal because all spreadsheet users are of course blind, right?

Posted by: Purple Avenger at September 28, 2007 06:33 PM (iuG/e)

17 Who needs Excel 2007?  What has Microsoft added to 2007 that an ordinary person might need that you cannot get in  Excel 2003?  Anything exciting?

Posted by: Mike Z. at September 28, 2007 06:35 PM (GLMrI)

18 I don't use excel, windows, pc's, computers, cars, refrigeration, or light bulbs. All that crap is of the debil.

Posted by: wahhaw at September 28, 2007 06:39 PM (1UR5O)

19

People, people


Calm down. This is a floating point issue combined with a format conversion issue. Google IEEE floating point for more background.


Simply put, IEEE floating point numbers have, and have always had, a limited precision, which is a reasonable tradeoff for a larger dynamic range. It is inherent in the format to have some decimal real numbers that cannot be represented exactly in binary real number format.


When you convert the binary representation to text for display, the result you get depends upon the algorithm used to do the conversion. There are 16 values that give the display noted above. The numbers are (in hexadecimal double precision floating point notation) 40EF FFDF FFFF FFFA, 40EF FFDF FFFF FFFB, 40EF FFDF FFFF FFFC, 40EF FFDF FFFF FFFD, 40EF FFDF FFFF FFFE, 40EF FFDF FFFF FFFF, 40EF FFFF FFFF FFFA, 40EF FFFF FFFF FFFB, 40EF FFFF FFFF FFFC, 40EF FFFF FFFF FFFD, 40EF FFFF FFFF FFFE, and 40EF FFFF FFFF FFFF.


Posted by: Hank Rearden at September 28, 2007 06:57 PM (ES4Ca)

20 Fucking Cylons.

Posted by: eman at September 28, 2007 07:03 PM (hc1YY)

21 always a bridesmaid...{sob}

Posted by: 41EF FFFF FFFF FFFM at September 28, 2007 07:25 PM (uOvAE)

22 I happily use office 2003.  At the college where I teach, it uses Office 2007.  '07 SUCKS BIG TIME! IMHO.  But most of my fellow faculty persons (must be PC, it is heavily left leaning) agree.

Posted by: Dennis P. Skea at September 28, 2007 08:44 PM (+WuRB)

23 I can't imagine what warped code might accidentally cause that.

Some sorta 16 bit binary somethingorother.
65,535 (decimal) = 1111111111111111 (binary) (16 "1"'s)

Posted by: Brendan at September 28, 2007 09:36 PM (2jQGY)

24 Simply put, IEEE floating point numbers have, and have always had, a limited precision

True, but I seriously doubt that's what's going on here.

My money is on some idiot code that's casting small integers to 16 bits when it shouldn't. The fact that this happens around 65,535 is highly suggestive.

Posted by: Dead Career Sketch at September 29, 2007 01:51 AM (NdG3x)

25 By the way, Hank: why should people "calm down", regardless of the source of the error? Excel is sold for calculations. That's why people buy it. It produces WRONG ANSWERS under certain conditions with small integers, nowhere near the range of IEEE floating point, and WAY outside the range of a normal FP round-off error.

Therefore, it is broken.

Badly.

Posted by: Dead Career Sketch at September 29, 2007 01:57 AM (NdG3x)

26 This is a floating point issue combined with a format conversion issue.

Undoubtedly.  Microsoft compiler RTL guys figured out how to do this correctly 20+ years ago though.  More like 25 years if you count the rebranded Lattice compiler MS was selling for a short while.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at September 29, 2007 03:20 AM (iuG/e)

27 How many Microsoft programmers does it take to change a light bulb?

None - the new standard is darkness.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at September 29, 2007 03:21 AM (iuG/e)

28 Actually, I think the problem is that you are using the Lancet Edition of Microsoft Excel 2007

Posted by: No One of Consequence at September 29, 2007 03:59 AM (VZ3dS)

29 *cough* OpenOffice.org *cough*

Posted by: not that ryan at September 29, 2007 06:18 AM (J3svr)

30 What has Microsoft added to 2007 that an ordinary person might need that you cannot get in  Excel 2003?  Anything exciting?

I use 2003 at home and am happy with it. I use 2007 at work because that's what came with the computer I bought from Dell, and Microsoft put in a goofy new interface for 2007 that I find pointless and annoying and makes it harder to do the stuff I want to do.

I'm guessing the new interface is more like how Vista does things.

BTW, if anyone can find the Excel 2007 equivalent for the Tools --> Options menu which was in every previous version of Excel I've ever used, I would appreciate you telling me what it is.


Posted by: OregonMuse at September 29, 2007 06:30 AM (dtQ3T)

31 I'm having a sucky time with Vista

I will never willingly upgrade to Vista, never, no never.  I will use XP until either I die or Microsoft somehow makes it so it can't be sued, in which case I will then switch to some flavor of Linux, or a Mac.

Vista is a dog. It is basically a huge wad of DRM with bits of an operating system attached to it.


Posted by: OregonMuse at September 29, 2007 06:34 AM (dtQ3T)

32 so it can't be sued

should be: "so it can't be used"

Argh.

PIMF

Posted by: OregonMuse at September 29, 2007 06:35 AM (dtQ3T)

33 wait a minute, this moron blog doesn't have a preview option

Posted by: OregonMuse at September 29, 2007 06:36 AM (dtQ3T)

34 OregonMuse, to get to the Options in Excel 12, hit the Office button in the upper left, then choose "Excel options" at the bottom left of the pop-up.

I like Office 2007 better than previous versions, but that's just me. I use Excel, Word, and Access every day, and have for years. BTW, best deal evar: If you have an ".edu" email addy, you can get Office 2007 Ultimate for ~$60, which is considerably cheaper than any deal at my school. Check it out here:

http://www.microsoft.com/education/ultimatesteal.mspx

Posted by: skh.pcola at September 29, 2007 07:26 AM (jFpwo)

35 Er, "bottom right", not left, for the "Excel options." Whoopsies.

Posted by: skh.pcola at September 29, 2007 07:27 AM (jFpwo)

36

Been running vista on my dev laptop for awhile.  It is in no way "a dog". 


The bullshit whining about Vista is the same exact shit that XP went through.  Oh, its a resource hog.  It spies on you.  It sucks.  Baaaaaaawwwwww.  And it'll be the same shit five years from now when Vista is being superceded.  "I'M NOT LEAVING VISTA FOR THIS NEW BLOATED SPYING OPERATING SYSTEMBAWWWWWW"


Posted by: mcgurk at September 29, 2007 07:53 AM (ajbe7)

37 I've had nothing but problems with Vista. My two excellent printers that they say they supply the drivers for don't print correctly. There is either banding or smearing.  My wordprocessing program doesn't work correctly, either. I've tried every fix suggested, wasted hours on tech lines, etc. I really hate my laptop.

Posted by: dave at September 29, 2007 08:07 AM (bGPt5)

38 FWIW, MS is offering an XP downgrade for Vista users. 

Posted by: Purple Avenger at September 29, 2007 08:30 AM (77M+c)

39 Is there any way Vista doesn't suck? I've heard absolutely nothing good about it. What a pointless upgrade, what was Mircrosoft thinking?

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at September 29, 2007 09:31 AM (wmgz8)

40

"What a pointless upgrade, what was Mircrosoft thinking?"


That just like Apple, they could put out anything and the masses would flock to it whether it was better or not. I too will stick with Office 2003 until they pry my laptop from my cold, dead fingers.


Posted by: John F Not Kerry at September 29, 2007 11:07 AM (4gHqM)

41

MS is offering an XP downgrade for Vista users. 


Is that true? I can hardly use any of my old programs anymore. Can't hardly download anythng off the internet. Nothing is compatible.


This may have been the same with XP, but that doesn't do me any good right now.


Posted by: pajama momma at September 29, 2007 11:17 AM (Tbl5c)

42 Try office 2004, oh no that was Mac only, ha ha , Vista is a iffy copy of OSX, history repeating itself!! by the way how is your keystroke logger, I dont have one, Iwork, I think has a spreadsheet that stops short of rocket science (unlike exel) but is easy to use . Still I guess some folks can afford the heavy hardware cost to run Vista.

Posted by: chris edwards at September 29, 2007 11:21 AM (7Kaal)

43

You know what? Somehow a keystroke logger got onto my computer. I had over $3000 ripped off of me from paypal. While I was on the phone with paypal charges were going through. Paypal told me, huh, bummer for you, you shouldn't have given anyone your password.


Uh, I didn't. And I didn't open any phishing emails either.


Sister who's a mac user makes fun of me too. *sniff* *sob*


Posted by: pajama momma at September 29, 2007 11:48 AM (Tbl5c)

44 I won't be moving to Vista.  Not at home, at least.  I'm going to migrate to Linux after XP becomes obsolete.  I've already been experimenting with Ubuntu, Fedora Core, and OpenSUSE.  Linux is certainly different but after learning the ropes I can say that I like what I've seen so far.

Posted by: Mike Z. at September 29, 2007 01:07 PM (GLMrI)

45 Is that true?

http://pcworld.in/news/index.jsp/artId=6619196

Posted by: Purple Avenger at September 29, 2007 01:50 PM (77M+c)

46 The wierd thing to me is that Microsoft did really well over the years taking suggestions and requests from people to fix their next OS and each one was better and had the features people wanted and asked for. Then they put out this that has.. what is it that it does better, other than take enormous system resources? Directx10? That's it?


I pity all those game designers who are relying on Vista to run their new zowie games. Maybe they should have checked first.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at September 29, 2007 03:50 PM (wmgz8)

47 I'm running W2K on the machine I'm typing on.  I saw no reason to upgrade to XP.  If NT4 had simply been updated with PnP and USB support, I would have stayed with that.  NT4 is a hotrod compared to anything that came after it.

I still run NT4, 3.5 and 3.51 server on some file servers in the Batcave.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at September 29, 2007 04:41 PM (77M+c)

48

@#25,


No, it is not badly broken, since the calculation is correct within the limits of floating point limited precision math. The display problem will be fixed within days because it is the text output conversion which is slightly broken, and this is involves the office 2007 xml file format. How do I know this? The only values that give the error are the 16 IEEE floating point numbers listed. This can be verified by attaching a debugger to Excel 2007 and trapping the conversion function.


How many programmers read this blog? Am I the only one?


I have been a Microsoft beta tester for years. All of my computers, including my file server, run Vista without any trouble. I will say that Vista dislikes flaky hardware and/or flaky drivers. Oh yeah, I believe that most of the drivers supplied by Microsoft are not written by Microsoft.


Posted by: Hank Rearden at September 29, 2007 05:18 PM (ES4Ca)

49 Microsoft must have embedded the original Pentium chips into Excel.

Posted by: physics geek at September 29, 2007 06:18 PM (vKMFv)

50 The bullshit whining about Vista is the same exact shit that XP went
through.  Oh, its a resource hog.  It spies on you.  It sucks. 
Baaaaaaawwwwww


The only whining I recall about XP is that a good number of previously functioning devices no longer functioned -- which lasted about as long as it took the vendors to release upgraded drivers. Also, I don't recall any offers of "downgrading" Vista to XP, nor did Dell suddenly announce that they would sell you a new computer with NT or W2K instead of XP.

The fact is that Vista is getting rasberried up one side and down the other. I think it's going to be the new Windows ME


Posted by: OregonMuse at September 29, 2007 07:24 PM (dtQ3T)

51 And thank you for the Excel tip, skh.pcola.  I simply did not notice that option.  I will try it on Monday when I get in to work.


Posted by: OregonMuse at September 29, 2007 07:26 PM (dtQ3T)

52 How many programmers read this blog? Am I the only one?

I've been writing assembler code for 30 years and am intimately familiar with IEEE 754. 

It displayed egregiously wrong answers and you're trying to spin it like it didn't.  We're not talking about a rounding/chop error way down in the fractional part.

The seriousness of a bug is related to how it can impact the customer, not how easy the code is to fix.  This bug could cause people to make seriously wrong financial/engineering decision -- THAT means its serious.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at September 30, 2007 04:06 AM (bEmmq)

53 I can't believe these words are coming off of my fingers, but I actually really like Office 2007 - this particular bug aside. I've had to write a few how-to guides for some of the applications, and I've really enjoyed using them. Word, especially, has some really nice new features.

Posted by: Farmer Joe at September 30, 2007 09:53 AM (gDNGv)

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