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January 25, 2005 12:01 AM

Broken: Paranormal error message

AThis error message says that a "possible rogue application... is attempting to access the unknown."

Also unknown what happened next.


well, click continue and it wont be unknown anymore now will it?

Posted by: Dragon at January 25, 2005 01:00 AM

looks like a hoax to me.

Posted by: PlantPerson at January 25, 2005 08:44 AM

Dont click Continue! The "Unknown" is way too scary!

Posted by: Tim at January 25, 2005 09:50 AM

This looks like a software firewall type program. IE tried to access the Internet, and this program tried to stop it. The message is broken, but the cause makes sense (possible rogue application (otherwise known as virus/worm/trojan) trying to access the Internet). The box should also have an "Allow, always" option, so you can tell the firewall which programs to ignore - I don't want my firewall telling me every time I open my web browser.

Posted by: anitsirK at January 25, 2005 09:57 AM

Not a hoax, from what I can tell. It's a window from BlackICE App Protection, apparently.

Posted by: Ciaran at January 25, 2005 09:58 AM

Looks like an example of the hazards of using variable substitution in an error message. The code will look something like " attempting to access the $RESOURCE", where $RESOURCE is a variable containing the human-readable name of the thing that's being accessed. (This might be something like "email port", "Internet", "USB port", or whatever, depending on the application.)

The idea is that you end up with an informative message: "This program is trying to access the printer". But if the default value is "unknown", when you drop it into that sentence, you get a very delphic error message.

Posted by: jaed at January 25, 2005 10:04 AM

I just love error messages written by programmers.

Posted by: Jacques Troux at January 25, 2005 10:36 AM

Use Sygate Personal Firewall. It's free, it's easy to use, and it doesn't give you nonsense bullshit messages.

Programmers won't fix stuff like this until they begin to realize that users won't stand for it-- and start losing business.

Posted by: James Schend at January 25, 2005 12:02 PM

Re: Jaed's message.

If you break down the error message syntactically then you can find out how to do the variable substitution:

* S: Internet Explorer is attempting to access the internet;

* S: [Subject=Internet Explorer] [Predicate=is attempting to access the internet]

* Predicate: [VerbPhrase = is attempting] [PredicateObj = to access the internet]

* PredicateObj: [VerbPrase = to access] [Object = the internet]

Or, (though "pre" tags don't work I guess):

IExplorer is attempting to access the internet


Subj. Predicate


Verb Predicate Obj.


V. Obj.

The correct substitution is:

$SUBJECT is attempting to access $OBJECT

Where $SUBJECT is "Internet Explorer", "EvilVirus", "_AN_ Unknown Program", and $OBJECT is "_The_ Internet", "_An_ unknown forbidden resource", "your USB port_S_".

The broken error message obviously makes assumptions about what it's substitution is going to be, so fits it into an assumed predicate object syntax, rather than doing the substitution on the whole objective part as it should.

This is the kind of thing programmers ought to be good at!!

Posted by: Reed at January 25, 2005 02:17 PM

••-~ - Dammit Who talked!

Posted by: WGB Spender at January 25, 2005 03:41 PM


Posted by: jenner at January 25, 2005 04:53 PM

LOL - he rocks mine too!

Posted by: mark at January 25, 2005 07:56 PM

And mine, too ;-)

Posted by: dusoft at January 26, 2005 06:45 AM

Re: Reed...eeze up on the geek talk brotha!

Posted by: lizzy at January 26, 2005 06:36 PM

Your Internet Explorer has Phicic Powers.

Posted by: Invalid Atribute Index Adam at January 27, 2005 10:19 PM

What's broken is that the program thinks that iexplore.exe is a "Rogue application." C'mon. Internet Explorer. Duh.

Posted by: Brian at January 29, 2005 01:52 PM

No, thats how smart the program actually is, Internet Explorer is a blight on the internet, it is the source of all adware and spyware! BURN IT!!! i would have uninstalled it, if it wasnt for the fact that windows wont function properly without it installed.

Posted by: Dragon at January 29, 2005 05:24 PM

I've been attempting to access the unknown ever since I read my first sci-fi book when I was 11 but I still have to interact with people on a daily basis who just take life too seriously. Where can I apply for the rogue position?

Posted by: KB at January 30, 2005 08:12 AM

Eh, probably a bug, but put yourself in the programmer's position. Could that person possibly have estimated every situation? Um, no, no way. So, they had this bucket- "unknown". So, they had something like variable A "is attempting to access the" variable B. Is there a better way? Probably, but imagine that millions of people get to see *your* work... think someone won't find some combination of data or argument that will make you look like an idiot?

Posted by: lighten up at February 5, 2005 09:35 PM

Why would you want to use IE. Use Mozilla Firefox. No popups or anything. Way better.It has tabs too so you don't have to keep switching between browser windows. you can get it at

Posted by: I.E Sucks at February 23, 2005 09:55 AM

that's new ie feature- seances.

i doubt your precious mozilla has that!

what's it mean by 'rouge application?' has it somehow lost control of one application or another?

Posted by: Bob at March 25, 2005 09:25 AM

feature- seances

Huh? Anyway, what Reed said is basically that the error message was pieced together from predefined chunks.

Posted by: Mike at April 15, 2005 11:35 PM

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